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
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
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.