The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) has released its fourth annual PRCA Digital PR and Communications Report, produced in partnership with YouGov, providing insight into how the PR industry is performing with digital communications.

Interestingly, in-house budgets have risen by 9% in a year, with continued growth expected in the next 12 months, as video content is now the leading area of digital spend, and a leading offer from PR and communication agencies.

An intriguing result from the report, included the findings of why brands are on social media. The in-house leaders pointed to awareness and reach as leading factors, with 85% of brands on social media aiming to drive more audience reach, 80% to drive awareness of what the brand does, and 75% to drive awareness of the brand. In these results, it is interesting to see that social is about awareness and reach, whereas digital advertising is often judged solely on clicks.

Furthermore, the report revealed there was a mismatch between what agencies offer, compared to what clients want. The report asked, what services are clients most likely to expect from PR and communications agencies, and the results were varied. 65% expected online media outreach, and online press release distribution, with 61% expecting social influencer outreach.

However, the most prevalent digital services offered by PR and communications agencies included 86% for blogger outreach/engagement, 86% for video based content and 85% for social influencer outreach. It is interesting to see that want agencies provide, is not necessarily the specific digital services a client needs.

Another key aspect of this year’s report, is the findings, that agencies are focussing on improving skills in areas that are not traditionally ‘PR’. The report presented the leading areas where PR agency staff would like more training. This included 38% for training on SEO, 30% for paid search and 26% for paid social media activity.

This year’s report shows a key development of the digital market, as both companies and agencies are willingly investing in both digital and social services. This is encouraging as it shows the industry is beginning to respond to the demands of the changing media scene.