PR & Comms trends for 2020 – what’s on the horizon this year?

2020 has arrived and so we’re looking at some of the key themes that might shape and influence our work here at AMBITIOUS.

The Cision and PR Week annual Global Comms Report is always a great insight into industry trends, so we’ve been mulling over the findings from its latest report looking at 2019. As a PR-led agency, we’re thrilled to see data supporting the importance of earned media and traditional PR activity – but it’s also exciting to see how social continues to shape the landscape.

Here’s a round-up of some of the main themes we’ll be taking note of for next year.

PR is staying close to its roots

This was a strong theme in the report, which opened with an overview of how much budget brands are apportioning to earned, owned and paid media.

In 2019 there has been a significant growth in how much is being spent on earned media, with 34% of the overall media budget going here. A further 35% goes on paid and 31% on owned, proving that there is still value in traditional PR activity.

This sentiment continued to be clear when respondents were asked to select the type of influencer ‘most effective at impacting consumer behaviour’. Here, mainstream journalists came top with 27%, ahead of celebrities, everyday consumers and bloggers.

Not only are journalists seen as more important this year, they have also leapt up in importance from just 16% last year.

What are the outcomes of earned media?

It’s positive to see a strong global trend for earned media among PR professionals, but how do they think this content is received by people?

The report asked four questions to see how confident PRs are when it comes to earned media content. On the upside, 67% said they were confident that people actually read the content and 77% said people clicked a link within the content.

What was less favourable to hear was that only 40% had confidence in what people do after they consume the content – although nearly half (46%) felt that the content had resulted in ‘any digital or real-world behaviour’.

Social is significant

The significance of social media in a PR’s toolkit is growing too. In this year’s report, 62% placed social media among their top three forms of content ‘most effective at influencing purchase behaviour’, up from 54% last year.

When it comes to social channels, there has been a notable rise in the importance of Instagram, which has taken over Twitter’s place as the second-most important social channel to PR pros. Facebook keeps its lead, with 35% choosing it as their top channel, however Instagram has leapt up in popularity from 9% last year to 22% this year.

What are the biggest challenges facing PR professionals?

  • Budgets being tightened– this came out as the top challenge, with 20% saying this was an issue.
  • Measuring impact– a close second was the inability to measure impact effectively, at 20%.
  • Other challenges– included the 24-7 chatter about your brand among external sources (14%) and talent and recruitment (13%).

What do you think are the key PR themes for 2020?

We’ll certainly be taking note of these findings in 2020 but we’d love to hear your thoughts. What are the biggest challenges facing you as PR professional, and what do you see as a big theme for the coming year? Connect with us on Twitter @Ambitiouspr to let us know!

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