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45 Marketing and PR Statistics that Recap the Year We Had in 2020

Here’s a look at statistics across PR, marketing, and social media that were surfaced in the various reports and studies covered on this blog throughout 2020

Many of the blog posts published here are based on survey research, analytical studies or other sources of data. At the end of the year, I go back through all the posts and build a list of statistics that characterize the last 12 months.

Every entry links to both the article I originally wrote – and to the underlying source, report or survey. The list below is broken into four sections:

  • Marketing statistics from 2020
  • Public relations statistics from 2020
  • Content marketing statistics from 2020
  • Social media statistics from 2020

It’s worth pointing out, that even while these statistics were published in 2020, many will have utility as benchmarks and best practice guidelines for years to come.

Marketing Statistics from 2020

1. Effective marketers focus on the long term.

B2B marketers that outperform peers are more likely to devote 40% or more of their marketing budget to long-term goals, according to a survey of 450 respondents.

(Source: Outperform the Competition)

2. Marketing effectiveness during a recession.

A study by a marketing analytics firm found “On average, brands that increased media investment [during a recession] realized roughly a 17 percent growth in incremental sales, and more than half saw subsequent improvements in year-over-year ROIs over a two-year period during the recession.”

(Source: Fend Off Reactionary Cuts)

3. Effect of thought leadership on reputation and sales.

According to a study by Edelman, “48% of decision-makers spend an hour or more reading thought leadership content each week. In addition, “89% of decision-makers say thought leadership “can be effective in enhancing their perceptions of an organization.” Finally, “49% of decision-makers say that thought leadership “can be effective in influencing their purchasing decisions.”

(Source: Effective Thought Leadership in B2B)

4. B2B sales cycles are taking longer.

Some 68% of B2B professionals surveyed say it takes longer to complete B2B sales cycles compared to a year ago.

(Source: B2B Sales Cycles)

5. Live events shrink by 64% in 2020.

PwC estimates live events, conferences and tradeshows have shrunk 64% as an industry. Event dropped from a roughly $16 billion market in 2019 to about $6 billion in 2020, according to a study reviewed by Marketing Charts. “PwC doesn’t see this market recovering to last year’s size until some time after 2024.”

(Source: US B2B Tradeshows)

6. Shifting the live event budget.

About 40% of respondents to a survey by Webbiquity and the aggregation service B2B Marketing Zone expected to reallocate funds for live events to other marketing tactics. The survey found, “The top three areas live event budgets will be reallocated to are content creation (43%): hosted webinars (40%); and search marketing (33%).”

(Source: Content Marketing is the New Conference)

7. Provide more opportunities for audience interaction.

“Audiences crave participation and interaction,” according to a survey by Path Factory. It found “67% of virtual event attendees report that having opportunities to participate and interact with the speakers and other attendees makes them more inclined to stay, listen, and engage.”

(Source: Ways B2B Marketers Can Improve Virtual Events)

8. Customers are frustrated with email irrelevancy.

Some 67% of customers rely on email to communicate in the B2B space, but vendors are mucking up the channel with irrelevancy, according to a report. “Of B2B executives surveyed, 53% are frustrated by receiving too many irrelevant emails and ads from suppliers.”

It’s not just the campaigns that miss the mark, but responses to direct inquiries as well. The study notes “when they do try to connect with the senders, 36% say they can’t get answers to simple questions, and 35% feel that services typically are impersonal.”

(Source: B2B Email Disconnect)

9. CMOs are juggling a dozen duties.

“More than 50 percent of CMOs indicate they are responsible for 11 or more distinct marketing activities,” according to a survey by Deloitte and the CMO Club.

(Source: 3 Studies Branding and Marketing)

10. The most in-demand marketing skills.

The Deloitte and the CMO Club survey also found, “The most sought-after skills: data science (78%), analytics (68%), and user experience (60%).”

(Source: 3 Studies Branding and Marketing)

11. Top marketing challenges.

Finally, nearly three quarters (72%) of marketers said their top challenge was “creating the best customer experience to increase brand loyalty,” in the Deloitte and the CMO Club survey.

(Source: 3 Studies Branding and Marketing)

12. CX is the best way to distinguish your brand.

A poll of 1,000 marketers by digital asset management company Bynder asked about the top ways to distinguish a brand. Customer experience (CX) received the most votes (27%) however answers were varied: 21% said brand authenticity; 19% said visual brand identity; and11% said emerging channels.

(Source: 3 Studies Branding and Marketing)

13. Happy employees are the ultimate growth driver.

Brands that emphasize employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX) achieve business growth nearly 2x faster, according to a study by Salesforce.

(Source: Want the Fastest Growth in Business?)

14. Most PR pros report to the CMO…

Most respondents with communications or PR responsibilities report to the head of marketing (41%) according to the 3rd annual JOTW Communications Survey for 2020. Another one-third (33%) say they report to the CEO, while the remainder is spread across other reporting structures including the COO (7%), human resources (5%), strategy (5%) and legal (3%).

(Source: Should PR Report to the CEO or CMO)

15. …but the majority think they should report to the CEO.

In response to the question: “Who do you think PR and comms shop should report to?” 71% of 337 respondents to a Twitter poll said they should report to the CEO. Another 24% said the CMO; 4% said the COO; and 2% said HR.

(Source: Should PR Report to the CEO or CMO)

Public Relations Statistics from 2020

16. The media PR salary: $100,000.

The median public relations salary in the U.S. is $100,000 in 2020; it’s higher for in-house PR and corporate communication roles at $145,500 and lower for PR agencies at $90,000.

(Source: 2020 Public Relations Salary Survey)

17. Media relations is ever more challenging.

Three-quarters (75%) of PR and comms pros say media relations is getting harder – up 25% over three years.

(Source: Media Relations Keeps Getting Harder)

18. Does PR think the media is biased?

A survey if three hundred PR pros asked, “Do you believe professional reporters are objective and unbiased?”  Here’s how the answers added up: 3% said always; 41% said often; 37% said sometimes; 17% said rarely; and 2% said never.

(Source: A PR View of Media Bias [Survey Data])

19. Are PR pros truthful?

Do PR professionals present accurate and truthful information? A survey of 300 PR pros found 95% say “often” or “sometimes.”

(Source: Code of PR Ethics?)

20. The deluge of PR pitches.

According to a survey of journalists by Muck Rack, 48% of journalists responding to this survey said they get between 1-5 pitches a day; 18% get between 5-10; 12% get upwards of 10-20; and 13% get 20 plus pitches a day.

(Source: 21 Media Relations Insights from 4,000 Journalists)

21. The utility of embargoes and exclusives.

About 52% of PR pros say embargoes are still useful, according to the 2020 JOTW survey. However, one in five don’t see value in embargoes. By contrast, 64% of comms pros still find value in offering reporters exclusives.

(Source: Embargoes and Exclusives in Media Relations)

22. Most reporters are more likely to cover exclusives.

Three-quarters (75%) of journalists say they are more likely to cover a story if they are offered an exclusive, according to a survey of 1,000 reporters by Muck Rack.

(Source: 10 PR Industry Studies)

23. Pitch proof points with claims.

According to a survey of reporters by a PR firm, about three-quarters (74%) said proof of claims; 50% are looking for what makes the product or brand unique; 41% seek a personal hook or story; 41% like statistics; 35% want financial aspects.

(Source: 21 Media Relations Insights from 4,000 Journalists)

24. Journalists produce 10+ articles per week.

A survey by Cision found many journalists produce “10+ pieces a week.” Think about how much work that is – if you as a PR professional had to write 10 press releases or 10 blog posts per week.

(Source: 21 Media Relations Insights from 4,000 Journalists)

25. Politics complicated PR and business communications.

Most (72%) communications professionals say partisan politics makes their job harder in the year 2020.

(Source: Partisan Politics Complicates PR)

26. Data, storytelling and blogging of grow in importance.

Data & analytics (76%), storytelling (74%) and content marketing, like blogging (74%) were increasingly important to PR pros in 2020.

(Source: What Does “Storytelling” Mean to You?)

27. PR tech costs on average between $4,750 – $10,925.

“Annual spending on media intelligence solutions for public relations professionals increased 7.2% in 2019, reaching a record $4.5 billion,” according to a new report from Burton-Taylor International Consulting. The company estimates an annual subscription prices range between $4,750 – $10,925.

(Source: The Most Recommended PR Tech Vendors)

28. PR takes on content and SEO duties.

“PR professionals have a wider variety of responsibilities these days, going beyond just pitching to journalists. In a survey of 3,700 global marcomm professionals, a new report from Talkwalker finds that the majority of respondents consider content marketing (77%), influencer marketing (67%) and link building for SEO (56%) to be within their purview.”

(Source: PR Tech Sum for March)

29. The best day to put out a press release.

European-based Prowly analyzed 55,470 press releases sent in 2018 and 2019 and found “the best day to send a press release is on Thursday when the average open rate jumps to over 26%.”

Separately, U.S.-based Onclusive and Business Wire, which analyzed 15,000 press releases and concluded, “…the best days to put out news releases to generate coverage articles are Tuesdays and Fridays.”

(Source: PR Tech Sum for March)

30. The news is recycling content.

As much as 34% of content is being republished and recycled, according to an analysis by Chris Penn for the marketing data consulting company Trust Insights.

The effect for business is that it’s “getting harder to be seen.” For businesses that rely on PR and earned media, Mr. Penn says, there are 30% fewer pitching opportunities.

(Source: The News May Be Recycling Much of its Content)

31. Proving the value of PR.

The top PR challenge facing communicators is measuring impact, proving value and demonstrating ROI, according to 50% of respondents. However, in a subsequent question, only about half of respondents “often” or “always” measure their communications efforts. The other half measures their efforts just “sometimes,” (38%) “rarely,” (11%) and even “never” (2%).

(Source: Overcoming the Top PR Challenges)

32. The top metrics PR is tracking.

Among the top 10 metrics communicators say they are currently tracking include web traffic (71%), impressions (63%), email open rates (51%), number of 3rd party mentions or placements (50%), estimated site traffic and (i.e. SimilarWeb) (48%).

(Source: PR Measurement)

(click image for higher resolution)

Content Marketing Statistics from 2020

33. B2B prospects consume 11 or more pieces of vendor content.

According to a survey by Spiceworks Ziff Davis, about half (47%) of B2B technology decision-makers say they consumed 11 or more piece of vendor content over one year. Some 13% say they consumed 20 or more pieces of content, while another 13% consumed 50 or more pieces of content

(Source: B2B Prospects and Vendor Content)

34. Credibility through content marketing.

A majority, 81% of respondents said they have built credibility for their organization through content marketing over the last 12 months. Even more, the number of respondents that say as much has steady grown over the last two years – 75% cited credibility a year ago and 68% said so two years ago.

(Source: Can B2B Build Credibility with Content Marketing?)

35. Effective blogs tend to publish longer posts.

The average blog post has been getting longer and longer. According to a survey, the average blog post is 1,269 words.

But here’s the insight: bloggers who write longer posts are also more likely to report strong marketing results. Multiple surveys and data studies support this conclusion.

(Source: Blogging Drives B2B Marketing Results)

36. Most B2B marketers aren’t thrilled with their own content.

According to a survey by Radix Communications, “68% of B2B marketers are not proud of their own content.” The report breaks out numbers out like this: about one-third (28%) like less than half of the content they produce; another third (37%) like just a “handful” of the many pieces they produce; and 3% don’t like any of their content.

(Source: B2B Marketers are Unsatisfied with their Content)

37. Podcast consumption grows steadily.

More than 100 million Americans listen to podcasts monthly, according to The Infinite Dial 2020 by Edison Research. That’s up roughly 5% from the same study last year and adds to the slow and steady growth of the medium.

(Source: PR Tech Sum November)

38. Top goals for content marketing.

According to the B2B Content Marketing 2020 report, “68% of top performers use content marketing to build a subscribed audience and 83% of the top performers use it to nurture subscribers/audiences/leads.”

(Source: Content Marketing is the New Conference)

39. Long-form earns more traffic, shares and backlinks.

Long-form content, that is content with 3,000 or more words earns 3-times as much traffic, 4-times as many shares, and 3.5 times as many backlinks than articles of average length, according to a study by SEMrush of 700,000 articles.

Similarly, a study by BuzzSumo and LinkedIn examining 40,000 of the “most shared” content found posts of less than 1,000 words are linked to 10 times on average. This jumps to 13 for posts over 1,000 words, and then leaps to 26 for those over 2,000 words.”

(Source: 4 Studies Show the Power of Long-Form Content)

40. List posts earn more shares.

A study by Backlinko examining 912 million blog posts found that “list posts get an average of 218% more shares than how to’ posts and 203% more shares than infographics.”

(Source: 4 Studies Show the Power of Long-Form Content)

41. Survey says put datelines on your blog.

An informal poll I posted to Twitter with 166 respondents found 77% believe you should put date lines on your blog posts when you publish them.

(Source: Arguments For and Against Including Dates on Blogs)

Social Media Statistics from 2020

42. Traditional media drives social media.

“More people (59%) now discover news through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media; these platforms deliver minimal information by way of headlines, video excerpts, and sound bites,” according to a piece by Burrelles. “Consumers are becoming more media savvy and often seek out the details and facts by clicking through links to traditional news media websites.”

(Source: PR Tech Sum July)

43. The media tunes into Twitter.

The first two places journalists go to find news is online newspapers and magazines (60%) and Twitter (22%); print news is a distant third with 5%

(Source: Journalists Love Twitter)

44. People are worn out with politics on social media.

“Some 55% of adult social media users say they feel ‘worn out’ by how many political posts and discussions they see on social media, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults conducted July 13-19 [2020]. This share has risen 18 percentage points since the Center first asked this question in the summer leading up to the 2016 presidential contest and 9 points just in the past year.”

(Source: Another Reason for Business to Avoid Politics)

45. Video performs best on Instagram.

“A study on Instagram engagement discovered that video posts receive 2x engagement of other post types…Data was compiled by HubSpot and Mention after analyzing 48,065,694 Instagram posts from 306,278 top users.”

(Source: PR Tech Sum for March)

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Photo credit: Image by Bessi from Pixabay and respective studies

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