Monday, November 14, 2011

Dreaming into oblivion

Spurred by the responses to my enquiry into the attitudes of the CIPR presidential candidate's attitudes towards online public relations, I have been looking at the research and umpteen surveys (third party, good provenance,  UK centric, affecting online PR) available that could inform my thinking.

In the last year, there have been well over 100 items of research and surveys.

Many surveys would, in any other discipline be dismissed as fanciful.

For example, in an economy growing at less than 2% per annum:



  • The number of UK visits to internet video platforms in September rose by 36% year on year, to 785million[i]. 77% of marketers plan on increasing their use of YouTube and video marketing, making it the top area marketers will invest in for 2011[ii].
  • Debenhams unveiled a more than 70% rise in online sales during its latest financial year. Online value was up by 73.8% at £180.4m. Online now accounts for 7.4% of Debenhams’ total sales[iii].
  • Online grocery sales at Sainsbury’s grew in the order of 20% in the first half of its financial year.  Dairy Crest showed fast growth for its online grocery service. Sales are up  50% on its sales at the same time last year[iv].
  • Online retail in the UK will grow at a ten percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years[i].
  • Forrester projects that online retail across 17 of the largest EU markets in Western Europe will hit €114 billion by 2014
  • UK Internet use will be up by a factor of 3 in 5 years.
  • 190 million Europeans will shop online by 2014 (up from 141 million today).
  • Internet marketing budgets in the autumn of 2011 are up 16% and search marketing is up 9% four times more than all other marketing activity.
  • The console games sector remains the most lucrative platform. 
  • With an estimated £1.6bn spent on console gaming in 2011; £450m on PC/Mac games; £400m on casual games, £350m on MMOs and £330m on PC/Mac downloads with £300m on mobile gaming.
  • British gaming is big. We spend 43m hours gaming every day[i]
  • This is a huge sector and with Kinect being made available for PR applications, an interesting area for development[ii].
  • The cultural component of PR in areas like languages are also significant[i]
  • Human Resources and internal communication is now much predicated on the internet with some companies[i] creating social networks inside the firewall[ii]
  • recruitment today is mediated online[iii] with the UK lagging in international comparisons[iv].  Practitioners need the capability to manage corporate doubts and expectations to inculcate internet thinking as a culture[v].
  • Meantime 60% of organisations have not yet implemented internal social media training which is a serious internal communications issue[vi]
Fascinating stuff.

Then came the big story. 

The Connected Kingdom report of 2009 (PdF) revealed that the online commercial sector internet earnings is £360 billion. 

Now, as a very general rule of thumb if you add up the budgets of advertising, marketing and sales promotion of most companies you will find it is between 3-5%.  Is this £10 to £18 billion, I hear you ask.

Well the whole of the UK PR industry is worth £7.5 billion.

With a bit more calculation, I estimate that online PR is worth about £5 billion and is growing at the rate of 10% compound per year.

Is this reflected in the shape of the PR sector or are we dreaming that it might all go away and we can all go back to el Vino's.