•   80% of PR corporate positioning for senior executives globally is not driven by social media analytics – in the UAE it is slightly less at 74% 
  • Only 8% of C-level executives in the UAE use social listening tools for reputation management 
  •  15% of UAE PR professionals use social listening tools for newsjacking – in line with the global average
  • The survey also revealed regional differences between PR offerings, ROI metrics, and influencer marketing – benchmarked against a global average

Dubai, UAE, 04/02/2020. Key areas where PR professionals can unlock a competitive advantage in 2020 have been highlighted in new research released today. Leading social listening and analytics platform, Talkwalker, joined forces with global market research and data analytics firm, YouGov, to gather data from 3,700 marketing and communications professionals based in the Middle East, Europe, USA, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America to release new research about the industry.

Talkwalker’s Global State of PR report reveals how different regions define “PR” and how communication departments can not afford to be siloed anymore. It highlights the different ways in which PR professionals use social listening tools in their day to day work, and which metrics they currently measure. This revealed that they are creating significant value in their role by increasingly embracing social listening for media management, influencer marketing, and real-time online crisis and reputation management.

The global adoption of social listening and analytics in the industry was reported at 48%. Countries with the highest reported use of social listening tools include France (75%), Italy (72%), United States (71%), South Africa (71%), India (68%), and the UAE (59%). Conversely Sweden (25%) and Norway (28%) reported the least use. While nearly half of PR professionals globally confirmed that their companies use social listening tools, only 15% of them utilize them for newsjacking – a huge missed opportunity, considering newsjacking is widely considered as a PR technique that can drive mass coverage and influence sales in a measurable way. 

The global users of social listening tools in the marcomms industry have traditionally been social media managers and data analysts – however Talkwalker’s 2020 Global State of PR report reveals that PR account managers, executives, coordinators, directors, and vice presidents together accounted for 33% of global users. In the UAE, the number is slightly less at 28%. Nevertheless, this represents an interesting development for the PR industry as it maximizes the potential of social listening to protect, measure & promote brands. Shockingly, however, the report also revealed that C-level executives account for only 8% of global users of social listening tools in the industry, despite reputation and crisis management being critical to this role in the PR industry. 


Finally, as influencer marketing has evolved into a key opportunity for marketers today – worth up to $10 billion in 2020 –  Talkwalker asked PR professionals how they engage with influencers, who they engage with, and which metrics they measure to prove ROI. The biggest surprise was that the industry is not actually dominated by Instagram, as many would think. For B2C influencer campaigns, 70% of PR professionals used Facebook to engage with influencers, compared to 68% using Instagram. In the UAE, Instagram is ever so slightly ahead of Instagram with 72% of PR professionals engaging with influencers for B2C campaigns on Instagram and 71% on Facebook. 

The gap is higher when it comes to B2B influencer campaigns, with 65% of global PR professionals collaborating with influencers on Facebook and 53% on Instagram. In the UAE, 76% of PR professionals collaborate with influencers for B2B campaigns on Facebook and 62% on Instagram. LinkedIn and Twitter, surprisingly, are lagging behind at 58% and 45% respectively, despite commonly being regarded as more traditionally B2B platforms.  PR professionals were also quick to jump on the fairly new social media platform, TikTok, with 8% using it for B2C influencer campaigns and 4% for B2B influencer campaigns. In the UAE, the adoption of TikTok for B2C campaigns is even higher at 12% and equal to the global standard for B2B campaigns at 4%. 


“The PR landscape has certainly undergone a lot of changes to keep up with today’s shift to digital. It is a very exciting time for the industry with plenty of untapped potential for PR professionals to go fully social and unlock the huge benefits that social PR strategies could offer,” said Robert Glaesener, Global CEO at Talkwalker. 

“We strive to offer PR and Communication professionals cutting edge solutions in the social listening and analytics space, empowering them to protect and optimize their brands’ reputation globally.  Most recently, we launched  Conversation Clusters, a data visualization tool that maps topics visually from millions of social media conversations, enabling PR professionals and marketers to easily uncover and exploit stories, trends and content that can be leveraged in communication and PR campaigns.”

For more data from Talkwalker’s 2020 State of PR survey, with detailed regional analysis, download the complete report here.