The public relations agency business continues to recover from the downturn of 2009, according to a new survey of agencies conducted by the Council of Public Relations Firms.
More than two-thirds (68.4 percent) of respondents reported that projected 2010 revenues would be higher than in 2009, with almost 70 percent attributing this to new client gains. Two-thirds (67 percent) indicated that their new business pipelines were stronger in the third quarter than a year ago. Margins were doing well too, with over half of firms seeing higher margins, and almost all of the rest seeing flat margins.
And a plurality (38.9 percent) expected that, based on discussions with clients and prospects, PR budgets would be higher in 2011 than in 2010.
More than 80 percent of firms surveyed reported that more requests for digital and social media expertise would be one of “the most frequent new business trends” for 2011. Within the social media practice, video and blogging were cited most often as growth areas for participating firms. Other new business trends identified by at least half of the group included more requests for measurement of ROI, more project work, a shift away from traditional media relations toward “online influencers” and more integrated campaign development.
As a result of the upturn, nearly 40 percent of firms anticipate an increase in hiring activity in the fourth quarter of 2010.