New PRSA study examines tech trends—what’s new and what’s working today?

by | Jun 1, 2018 | Public Relations

PR professionals are ramping up their spending on technology, with a focus on mobile and improving analytics, according to the Public Relations Society of America and APPrise Mobile‘s second annual Technology Trends survey.

Among the most eye-opening findings:

  • Companies increasingly recognize the importance of mobile technology—yet there is no real strategy behind the use of mobile in the workplace.
  • In addition, email continues to be the most highly used messaging tool, despite the fact that most respondents believe it is not the most effective form of communication.
  • Compared to last year, there is also greater usage of and reliance on newer communications technologies such as social media, social collaboration and messaging.

More than 700 PR industry pros responded to the second annual survey, which sought to understand companies’ budget priorities, what technologies are most effective, and what needs to be done technologically to ensure that communicators are best equipped to do their work.

“We’re seeing greater adoption of social and mobile media, without companies relinquishing established strategies and channels,” said Anthony D’Angelo, APR, 2018 chair of PRSA, in a news release. “Technology investments are certainly going up, and the next step will be for organizations to assess whether their ROI is growing commensurately.”

“The vast majority of the workforce is now comprised of younger generations like millennials and Generation Z,” said Jeff Corbin, CEO at APPrise Mobile, in the release. “They are dependent on the small screens of their mobile devices, so we need to think not so much about what technologies we use, but rather how we effectively use them to get our key messages into the hands of our targeted audiences.”

Key findings from the survey are below. The complete report will be released as part of a PRSA/APPrise Mobile webinar on June 7. Register here.

State of technology spending

  • 44 percent of respondents said their company is investing more in technology now than it did last year; 36 percent said it is about the same.
  • Of those who said their company is spending, 51 percent said in mobile technology, 51 percent in analytics and 4 percent in video.
  • Fewer than half of respondents said their company does an “OK” job in offering digital tools to communicate; 38 percent said their company should “rethink” their digital workplace communications strategy; and only 9% said the company they work for does a great job.

Usage of technology year-over-year

  • Messaging technologies: 14 percent to 42 percent (200-percent increase).
  • Mobile: 8 percent to 23 percent (188-percent increase).
  • Social Collaboration: 15 percent to 37 percent (147-percent increase).
  • Social Media: 26 percent to 50 percent (92-percent increase).
  • Intranets: 53 percent to 65 percent (23-percent increase)

Evolution of mobile

  • Only 44 percent of respondents said their companies have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy as compared to 48 percent in 2017.
  • 97 percent use their personal mobile device for email.
  • 56 percent use messaging apps on their personal device.
  • 33 percent access their company’s intranet on their mobile device but 71 percent said the experience either doesn’t work or is difficult.

Fewer employees report that messaging tools have been implemented across their entire company (38 percent) compared to last year (45 percent). At the same time, more employees report that messaging tools are used primarily by groups of employees (55 percent) compared to last year (31 percent).

  • Skype: 30 percent.
  • Slack: 14 percent (down from 41 percent).
  • Facebook Messenger (12 percent).
  • WhatsApp (11 percent).

The survey data was collected via a SurveyMonkey poll largely comprised of PRSA members. In total, 717 communications professionals responded to the questionnaire conducted from January 17, 2018, through March 3, 2018. Communications professionals of varying tenure, industry, age demographic and agency/in-house designation were included.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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