The ICCO Trends Barometer for Q3 2013 reports rising agency confidence in the future, backed by high levels of new business activity. Agency heads reported strong confidence in their agencies’ prospects, with client budgets stable or growing. The one area of concern for bosses remained over-servicing levels, which continue to increase.
It also reveals an overwhelming belief among agency heads (93%) that measurement and analytics in PR has never been more important.
A quarter of respondents reported client budgets to be growing, with the number reporting the opposite down from 16% to just 13%. The majority of respondents (62%) saw stable client budgets.
Agencies continue to see high levels of new business activity, with 74% of agency heads describing their businesses as ‘busy’ or ‘very busy’ – a rise of nearly 7% from the previous quarter.
As seen in previous quarters, over-servicing continue to increase. Close on a third (29%) of respondents reported it as having grown ‘marginally’ or ‘significantly’ - a rise on levels in Q2 (26%). Only around one in ten respondents reported a decrease.
Agency heads reported significantly greater confidence in their consultancies’ prospects in Q3 than in Q2. Net confidence levels rose from +18 to +39%.
This quarter, we asked some additional questions to get more insight into the way agencies worldwide approach the question of measurement and analytics in PR.
Measurement and analytics in PR has never been more relevant or important, according to 93% of responses.
It follows a number of speakers at the ICCO Summit in Paris all agreeing that measurement and analytics was an element part of the PR consultancy of the future.
In the Q3 Barometer, nearly 60% of respondents said clients were showing more interest in measurement than they were two years ago.
However, some ICCO members remain to be convinced of the importance of measurement with 59% of people taking part in the Barometer survey saying it was “too complex” and 29% saying measurement only “looks backwards”.
"These are encouraging figures from ICCO members that ‘measurement matters’. I was particularly interested to see the 60% figure of clients taking more interest in measurement now which backs up AMEC’s own research that clients are driving the PR member company interest in measurement."
Barry Leggetter, Executive Director, AMEC
Leggetter said efforts need to continue to show PR professionals that measurement was not as complex as they perhaps imagined to integrate measurement into their PR work.
"PR leaders increasingly recognise the importance of evaluation for the future of our industry. Crucially, they are practical rather than idealistic in how to make measurement an integral part of our work. It can't just be retrospective. It has to be intelligent, but also manageable. ICCO and AMEC will work tirelessly to ensure that those requirements are met."
Francis Ingham, ICCO Chief Executive
ICCO is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in 29 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australasia. Collectively, these associations represent over 1,700 PR firms.
Members of the board of national PR consultancy trade associations were surveyed online during November. Respondents based in 22 different countries participated.
 Participating countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK, USA.