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The TikTok explosion and other digital trends revealed by latest PRCA study

With digital media such an integrated part of our lives - both personally and professionally - it is smart to survey how social platforms are used in PR. This is the ninth year the PRCA has published the Digital PR and Communications Report. If you are a geek like me, you may have the PDFs from previous years to compare and contrast. But for the most relevant insights, why not juxtapose the results against your own company’s answers to the survey? Are you ahead or behind the curve? For extra credit, compare the social channels used in a recent campaign to the use by the target audience. Gold stars if they match.

Behind the numbers

Are brands using social media less? Or just readjusting the mix of platforms? 62% of in-house respondents say their digital budgets have increased over the last 12 months. Good news, but especially interesting to ponder where that extra spend is going. 71% of agencies say they provide content creation for clients. But only 34% of in-house respondents say they expect them to. Does this hint at the rise of in-house creative teams? A question for next year’s survey.

TikTok power

The top-line from the survey results show 73% of agencies expect to use TikTok in client campaigns over the next 12 months. Notice the word expect. Given the explosion of TikTok in the last two years, one might expect that number to be 99%. In actual 2022 usage, it doesn’t make the top five platforms (or even hit the 42% agencies self-forecasted two years ago). Is the PR industry late to the TikTok party? Probably. Although FleishmanHillard can claim Rob Mayhew, a one-man band for demystifying TikTok, as its head of influence.

LinkedIn and PR

This is the first year LinkedIn has topped the charts for most used platform on the agency side, just nudging perennial leader Twitter out of first position. As a longstanding Twitter addict myself, I understand the love the PR industry has for this platform. Sadly, the user numbers don’t match, (unless your target audience is journalists). Twitter has about one-third of the users claimed by TikTok.

Skills shortage

One trend that shows clearly in the report is the need to keep up with the ever-changing digital landscape. Dangerously close to half of agency respondents (43%) said they do not receive enough digital training. Over a third (36%) of in-house PRs say the same. That’s an easy fix imo. (Full disclosure: I am one of the instructors for the PRCA training programme, including TikTok, Reddit, Content Marketing, and a popular Digital Masterclass). As we all skill up for 2023, I can’t wait to see next year’s report.

Written by Candace Kuss, digital group co-chair at PRCA

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