Home > PR > Less publicized but more interesting takeaways from 3 reports on marketing and PR

Less publicized but more interesting takeaways from 3 reports on marketing and PR

PR pitches earn a 45% open rate and a 3% response rate; the top metrics for marcom and PR by segment; Europe is more satisfied with PR agencies than the U.S.

The vendor community that serves PR has published a handful of reports over the last few months. I’ve taken some time to pour over these and summarize some of the more interesting and less publicized findings for you. As always there are links to the underlying resources for anyone interested.

But before we dive into the summaries, here’s a quick plug for a free event I’m doing this Thursday with Michelle Garrett. She’s started a new YouTube show called “PR Explored” that will be broadcast live.

And now on with the summaries of those three reports…

1. PR earns a 45% open rate and 3% response rate on pitches

Reporters opened about half of the pitches (45%) they received in Q4 2023 and responded to about 3%. So, says Propel, which provides PR software. The company tabulated these measures based on the pitches sent through their systems.

Is that good? The response rate is slightly higher than all of 2022, but it’s lower than all of 2020. Studies show the average email marketing campaign has a 20% open rate and 2% CTR.

Some of the other findings of note include:

  • About 89% of reporters open pitches within 24 hours;
  • About 83% of reporters respond to pitches within 24 hours (if they respond);
  • If they are going to write a story, about 76% do so within seven days;

Propel recently told me they have about 500 customers – and the report says this analysis is based on 425,000 pitches sent through their system in Q4 of 2023. Mathematically, that works out to about 283 pitches per customer per month.

If this sounds interesting, consider reading my in-depth briefing on their platform: Propel is a viable alternative for all-in-one PR software.

Read more: The Propel Media Barometer – Q1 2024 by Propel  

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2. Top metrics for marcom and PR vary

The top metric for marketing communication (marcom) leaders is leads generated while the top metric for PR is stories placed. That’s according to a report by Muck Rack based on 193 survey responses from marketing and PR professionals late last year. The breakdown for the top metrics for each segment follows below.

The top metrics for marketing communications leaders:

  • 46% lead generation;
  • 45% web traffic;
  • 45% social media engagement;
  • 35% conversion rate;
  • 33% sales;
  • 30% brand share of voice;
  • 24% followers/social media;
  • 18% ad impressions/ reach; and
  • 11% SEO rankings.

One observation on metric for B2B marketing is that most tech companies have striving for a “marketing sourced pipeline.” I first heard the term in 2013, but it’s grown increasingly popular, because marketing people like to give new names to traditional concepts.

What exactly is that?

Well, it depends on who you talk to, but my take is it’s what we used to call SQLs, or sales-qualified leads. These are contacts someone, usually and SDR, has determined to be a prospect with a budget and intent to buy.

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The top metrics for PR leaders:

  • 48% number of stories placed;
  • 46% reach/ impressions;
  • 36% website impact;
  • 33% revenue impact;
  • 27% key message pull-through;
  • 22% social media impact of your own social channels;
  • 21% social engagement of earned coverage;
  • 20% pitch performance;
  • 19% share of voice; and
  • 14% sentiment.

It’s interesting that the PR software community has put so much effort into natural language processing (NLP, which is a precursor to generative AI) to evaluate sentiment – and yet it’s dead last on this list of metrics.

Sentiment is really hard to get right – and even when it’s right it’s not often useful. For example, some vendors evaluate an article wholistically, while others will evaluate it line by line which provides a more granular score. The problem is, by the time these tools tell you sentiment is bad, it’s just telling you what you already know.

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Some of the other statistics from the report that stood out:

  • Meeting peers. 64% of respondents say they meet with their counterparts weekly; 17% say they do it monthly; 3% quarterly; 6% say a few times a year; and 11% say never; and
  • Team alignment. 56% say their teams are “very aligned” while 42% say “somewhat aligned.” Just 2% say they’re not aligned at all.

I’ve also completed a briefing on Muck Rack in 2020, which I believe is still largely relevant, as I haven’t seen any platform alternating product announcements since Muck Rack Aims to be an All-in-One PR Tech Platform for Media Contacts, Outreach and Monitoring

Read more: The State of Marketing and PR Leadership 2023 by Muck Rack

3. Europe is more satisfied with PR agencies than the U.S.

Globally, nearly half (45%) of the 427 in-house communications polled by PRWeek in late 2023 employ an outside agency. That number is significantly higher in the U.S. (59%) than it is in Europe (39%) and APAC (35%).

Satisfaction with the performance of that outside agency varies. While 40% of in-house communicators overall are “very satisfied”’ with their agency, satisfaction sinks to just 28% in the U.S. and 14% in APAC said the same. Europe seems to be very happy with their agencies – some 62% are very satisfied.

While I’m based in the U.S., I do a lot of work with European companies, looking to expand in the Americas, and I’d have follow-up questions:

  • Why?
  • Are journalist layoffs in Europe comparable to the U.S.?
  • What percentage of European companies hire U.S. PR agencies

Additional findings from the survey I found interesting are:

  • Generative AI. Just 32% said they use generative AI “frequently.” Another 33% report using it occasionally and 27% are considering experiments. Just 7% say they are unlikely to use it;
  • Top social channels for PR. Respondents said the top social channels for PR are Facebook (73%), Instagram (71%), LinkedIn (61%) and YouTube (52%). Twitter landed in a distant fifth place at 36%, even though 90% of journalists say they are still on it and that it can be a highly effective platform for media relations;
  • People with the most influence. The survey asked respondents who they thought were the most influential people in persuading consumers to take action. Other consumers were the top choice (57%), followed by: executives (44%), employees (44%), micro influencers (42%), journalists (39%), social media influencers (37%) and celebrities (36%).

Read more: 2024 Global Comms Report by PRWeek

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Do you have a marketing or PR study to pitch? Here’s how to get covered on this blog or successfully pitch a guest post.

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If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
A quick look back at 18 PR statistics summarizing the profession in 2023

Image credit: DALL-E and respective reports

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