PR Measurement Predictions From the PRNEWS 2024 Agency Elite

While fielding applications for the PRNEWS 2024 Agency Elite Top 100, we tasked agencies with envisioning what the future of the PR and communications industry would look like in several years. We found that the evolution of measurement strategies, tactics and tools were top of mind for many top-tier organizations.

Indeed, 66% of PR professionals say that producing measurable results is critical to increasing the value of PR among stakeholders, according to Muck Rack’s 2023 State of PR Measurement report. Yet proving that value remains a top challenge for PR pros, making effective measurement strategies all the more vital to the industry’s success.

Following are five predictions for the future of PR measurement according to several of our Top 100 Agency Elite.

1. PR Measurement will be more aligned with business goals. A recent interview published with the Institute of PR named this a priority for the organization’s Measurement Commission. “We are seeing increasing interest in tying audience perception to overall business outcomes, said Olivia K. Fajardo, M.A., Director of Research at IPR. As modern tools offer more accuracy and deeper insights, PR agencies can offer more quantifiable results, Just Drive Media predicts. As a result, PR teams will be able to better align metrics with both communication goals and the broader objectives of executive teams, allowing PR initiatives drive outcomes—not just media visibility.

2. The advancement of AI will lead to more SaaS platforms dedicated to PR measurement and reporting. AI will supercharge the measurement space. Instead of PR pros relying on metrics like unique monthly visitors, AI-enabled platforms will uncover systems that align closer to companies’ revenue goals, BLASTmedia predicts, which in turn will demonstrate the impact and importance of brand building.

3. Metrics will shift from reliance on advertising equivalency to more comprehensive, PR-driven methods. The industry will move away from advertising equivalency as its primary metric, 10Fold Communications says. Similarly, with clients seeking to understand the impact of PR on their bottom line, BerlinRosen predicts, traditional metrics like impressions will subside as communication itself evolves and audiences access news and content in different ways, requiring agencies to adapt.

4. Metrics-driven capabilities will serve as competitive differentiators. Agencies that use business intelligence and marketing automation tools will edge out the competition, particularly for technology companies, which are highly metrics-driven. This will encourage PR agencies to have modern measurement systems in place and, Alloy predicts, technology companies may work exclusively with agencies that are equipped with such measurement tools.

5. Measurement will be backed by hard data. By 2028, sophisticated measurement tools will track every click, conversion and dollar spent, predicts SourceCode Communications. Proving ROI will be critical, and agencies will need to demonstrate the tangible impact of their efforts. Moreover, since earned media metrics do not necessarily tie to the bottom line, SPM Communications, Inc. says, agencies will need to prove—with specific data points—how PR dollars result in sales.