NEWS: Evaluation given higher priority by practitioners

More PR activity is being evaluated now than four years ago despite the fact that no more money is being spent on it.

More PR activity is being evaluated now than four years ago despite the

fact that no more money is being spent on it.



New research by Dr Tom Watson, managing director of Hallmark PR,

comparing the results of a survey of IPR members with data from 1992

shows that the amount of PR activity being evaluated has increased from

77 per cent then to just under 90 per cent today.



The proportion of budgets given to evaluation, has not, however, kept

pace. Of the 156 IPR members who responded, 80 per cent said evaluation

now accounts for up to five per cent of budgets - little change from

1992. But most (61 per cent) agreed that this would increase in the next

five years. As in 1992, the majority (58 per cent) said evaluation was

mostly done by in-house staff with 58 per cent believing the trend would

continue.



A major change is the use to which evaluation data is put. Whereas in

1992 one of the most common was to value media coverage in advertising

value equivalents (AVEs) or opportunities to see (OTS), these did not

even feature among the top five uses in 1996. And 62 per cent said AVEs

were ‘not a valuable measure’ compared with just 21 per cent who thought

they were.



Commenting on the result, Dr Watson said: ‘People are using the

information qualitatively rather than to give some sort of spurious

value to their work.’



He added that the advances were partly because PR professionals were

more research literate. ‘The issue is also being discussed a lot more

partly because of the coverage PR Week has given to it,’ he said.



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