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How Covid will impact Digital PR in our industry

Download the full Digital PR and Communications Report here.

As with all annual studies, in the 2020 edition of the PRCA Digital Report, Covid will have skewed results significantly. It’s always hard to read between the lines of these types of reports, but I think there are some notable headlines that deserve your time and reflection.

Finding the budget – When asked about the reasons holding back a greater use of digital and social, this year 35% cited lack of budget – up from 27% last year. Interesting the reverse was true for lack of time – 28%, down from 39%. Covid will disrupt  headcount across our industry. But when we build back, hopefully we’ll build back with greater digital skills. Then we need to support these experts with budget to do the job. Hopefully businesses will see that investment in digital channels will payback and help our businesses recover faster.

Digital transformation – The idea that Covid will be a driver for digital transformation is clearly present in the 2020 study with 92% of agency respondents saying clients were motivated to increase spend on digital and social media due to Covid.

Emerging technologies need more support – Despite this, it seems like the tried and tested digital tactics are being favoured by clients and agencies – with emerging technologies like chatbots, AR/VR and voice/search apps actually seeing a decline in usage compared to 2019.  Education is perhaps a factor here, with 25% saying they need more education and insights on AR/VR, in particular.

Legacy approaches on the wane – And yet it’s clear that some practices of the past are starting to see significant declines. Online press release distribution is down 21% in 2020 at with only 30% of agencies saying they are expected to do it by clients compared to 51% in 2019.

Covid bringing new revenue streams – And we’re seeing the emergence of wholly new areas – such as virtual events organisation, with 76% of agencies saying they expect to help clients with this in 5 years’ time.