Practitioners don’t tap the full potential of measurement and evaluation

By: Rebecca Hadler / 30.05.2016

© The Holmes Report

The new and first Global Communications Report (GCR), a comprehensive survey of senior public relations executives, provides an in-depth insight into the evolution of the global communication industry by analyzing emerging trends in talent, structure, compensation and diversity. It also holds interesting information on communication measurement and evaluation.

The survey predicts that the worldwide PR agency business will approach $ 20 billion by 2020. Industry leaders, both in agencies and in-house, believe future growth will be driven by measurement and evaluation among others. It ranked third on a list of 18 potential growth drivers. Furthermore, there is universal agreement that over the next five years, executives will be expected to deliver more strategy, more creativity and more measurement.

However, the current measurement models are still focused on the output (total reach or total impressions) rather than on business outcomes. Total reach was rated as the most common form of measurement (68%), followed by impressions (65%) and content analysis (64%). Only 41% of the respondents try to measure the return on investment. The most common metric reported for social media measurement is a simple count of followers (78%), followed by reach (77%) and interactions such as likes or comments (76%). Only relatively few are tracking sentiment (62%) or social listening, such as real-time monitoring on conversations (47%), or changes in opinion or action (36%).

The names of the authors of the survey show that the GCR might be a little USA-centered and no information about the respondents’ countries of origin etc. is given.  But comparing the results of the CGR with the ones of the European Communication Monitor (ECM) 2015, similar tendencies can be found. The ECM conceptualizes evaluation and measurement activities by using the DPRG/ICV standard framework which is composed of four levels of impact: input, output, outcome and outflow. Output measures like clippings and media responses (82%) dominate. Only 39% of the respondents said that they measure the impact on financial and/or strategic targets and the impact on intangible/tangible resources at the outflow level is assessed by just 36%.

The detailed results will be presented at the World Public Relations Forum in Toronto, Canada, 29 – 31 May 2016.

Please find the executive summary of the report here.

About the Global Communications Report
The Global Communications Report (GCR) is conducted by the University of Southern California’s Center for Public Relations, the Holmes Report, the Global Alliance, the Institute for Public Relations, the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, the PR Council, the Worldcom PR Group and the Public Relations Society of America. The sample for this survey is a convenience sample of all senior public relations and communications practitioners. The data for this study was collected online via the Qualtrics research platform from February 8 to March 7, 2016 (460 respondents).

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