You didn’t have time to read all the PR predictions (#PRedictions) for 2019? Don’t worry. Here’s a rapid fire summary of the summaries:
PR parameters: The power of #PR professionals to drive engagement on social, build links and boost search rankings will grow. PR companies that use sophisticated measurement metrics will secure larger budgets. Specialist skills will increasingly empower freelancers in PR. The PR gig economy will continue to grow. As social becomes all encompassing, crisis management plans that have gathered dust will become redundant. Analytics-driven PR companies will increasingly have an edge over those which are creative-first or media-relations heavy.
Metrics: Advertising value equivalence will continue its slow (and overdue) death. PR outcomes will rise in credibility compared to PR outputs. Data science specialists will be more sought after. Linkless mentions will increasingly add value as search becomes more sophisticated. There will be more emphasis on conversions as opposed to ‘likes’, blog comments and number of followers. “Impressions” will decline in worth.
Digital/tech: Video streaming will go from strength to strength. Video analytics software will become more popular with brands. Brands that use AI better in conversations will win. Up to 50% of searches will be voice search by 2020. With new screen time tracking apps, people will become more aware (and feel more guilty) about the time they are spending on devices.
Social: “Stories” may soon overtake news feeds on social. “TV” such as IGTV and Facebook Watch will boom. Brands will seek out niche mid-sized influencers more. Securing organic results on social will become difficult. Scepticism over the role of influencers will increase.
Society: Brands that discover their “social purpose” will do well. For most people, GDPR will be seen as Y2K – much ado about nothing. As print media budgets decline, media relations will become more fraught. Loss of trust in media will continue. Trust in experts will rise. Consumers will respond more to people they trust (not paid celebs). Consumers, tired of polarised information and opinion, will turn more to consensus builders and impartial experts. Legislators will show their teeth by scapegoating one or two big organisations that fall foul of GDPR and other laws. The extent of Russian interference in the West’s online platforms will become more widely understood.
Travel PR: The tourism industry will increasingly suffer reputation issues due to overtourism, environmental degradation and cultural flattening. The “F” word will be replaced by “P” – plastic. Augmented Reality experiences will start to emerge at tourism attractions.
In short, anyone in PR hoping for a digital detox in 2019 is in for a shock. Just plug in and enjoy the #digitalPR ride.