As the late George Bernard Shaw once said, "It is the mark of a truly intelligent person to be moved by statistics." Moved to the point of action however, is the purpose of most of today’s statistical information. Whether it’s a future prediction or shines light on the current state of a marketplace, statistics can be incredibly telling — especially within the public relations arena. Public relation firms are constantly balancing multiple moving parts: industry trends, consumer behavior, technology advances and media shifts. Currently, there is a true necessity to implement new data driven methods for the benefit of clients and their brand.
To prove it, here are five stunning statistics that will ultimately change the way the public relations industry looks at their current business model.
1. The average American attention span in 2013 was 8 seconds.
That’s an entire one second less than the attention span of a goldfish, which clocks in at 9 seconds. It’s also down from an average of 12 seconds in 2000. That one statistic says a lot about society in general, but from a public relations standpoint it really illuminates the need for incredibly well-positioned and compelling content. If a client’s content appears in the wrong outlet, there is little chance it will get any play based on this average attention span. If it is in the right outlet but lacks intrigue, the same result can be expected. With such a limited window of opportunity to make an impact, content must be appropriate to the audience and really spark some sort of motivation to engage.
The shrinking attention span also highlights the need for continuous, never-wavering PR activity. Even if that means short, concise content 8 seconds after 8 seconds after 8 seconds.
2. Every two days we produce as much data as was generated in all of human existence leading up to 2003.
I’ll just say it for you…that’s a lot of data. So much data that it’s incredibly easy for a client’s gems to drown and never be seen again. There are two major ways to make sure this doesn’t happen. The first is proper placement. Seeking out appropriate, hyper-focused websites and publications that match a client’s demographic will give her content the best chance of being seen by the eyes who matter most. You need to ask, where is my content going to receive the most attention? Where will it be noticed?
The second tool for keeping your client afloat in the constant data tsunami is through well-implemented keywords and SEO that cut through the clutter.
3. More than 1.2 billion people access the web from their mobile devices.
How far we’ve come from the old-school “Zack Morris phone”? Who would have thought 10 years ago that we would have this much access through our mobile phone — yet here we are on the 4th generation (4G) of mobile internet access. But why does this matter to public relations? Well, because you’ve got to hit your audience wherever they are. It’s not good enough to just have computer-friendly content or advertising when so many people are using their smartphone to search and sift for information. You need to have the ability to move from platform to platform, whether it be through mobile apps, mobile advertising, or publishers who can convert to mobile settings. Mobile internet access isn’t going away. In fact, it’s only going to increase.
4. B2B companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per month on average than non-blogging firms.
This just solidifies the importance of having clients produce their own content. Whether it be through thought leadership, case studies, opinion pieces, round-ups of panels, or press releases, having a constant flow of original content can benefit clients exponentially.
5. Millennials are 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites.
Like it or not, the Millennial Generation is going to be a huge audience moving forward. They are also the demographic that is challenging the way society operates — especially with technology. This statistic is just one example of how Millennials are influenced differently compared to other generations who may not depend on social media or blog content for news, information, or recommendations. But as the Millennials begin to take over — and they will take over — the public relations industry needs to adapt to their likes, dislikes, and trends, which ultimately means becoming more social media friendly and more tech savvy.
Sources: 1. National Center of Biotechnology Information at the U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2. IBM 3. Trinity Digital Marketing 4. Social Media B2B 5. Symphony IRI Group
Originally published Jun 12, 2014 8:00:28 AM, updated July 28 2017