Data and research in PR

Updated: Aug 1, 2019


This week, I joined Ella Minty’s #powerandinfluence chat on Twitter for the first time in longer than I’d like. The chat focused on one of my favourite topics, ‘The importance of research and data in public relations', led by MD of Chalkstream and #StateofPR author Ben Verinder.


What followed was like-minded PR pros sharing best practice, go-to resources and learnings based on their own experiences. The full chat transcript is a mine of information and available to view here.


Inspired by the exchanges I had among peers, I want to share some of the key takeouts, both from the chat and from practitioners who’ve followed up directly since, here on my blog too.


Useful information sources


Google trends



When it comes to measurement, start with the data you have at your fingertips. Google Trends is a free tool which ‘analyses the popularity of top search queries in Google Search across various regions and languages.’


The platform enables tracking of search terms over time as well as performance against other search terms and performance across different geographies.


You can take Google Trends lessons free here.


Market research and social survey firms


Primary research is a great way to acquire consumer and customer insights to inform ongoing communications strategy. But, as the chat explored, this is not always possible or necessary.


There’s already a wealth of opinion polls, white papers and research reports conducted by market research firms readily available in the public domain. Here’s some of Verinder’s top picks:


Ipsos Mori - The UK market research company has an extensive archive of opinion polls and public attitude research from 1970 onwards freely available on its website.


YouGov - Polling firm YouGov offers an online trends search, displaying articles, research and survey results from its global database. It also measures the popularity of brands and public figures through its ‘YouGov ratings’ tool, scoring them based on millions of responses from the British public.


ONS - The official body for statistics on the UK economy, population and society, ONS is a rich source of information, useful for exploring market trends and behaviours among demographics.


UK Data Service - Billed as the ‘UK’s largest collection of social, economic and population data resources’, the UK Data Service supports research communities across academia and business sectors alike.


Ofcom media literacy studies - UK communications regulator Ofcom has an archive of media literacy research useful for comms research and understanding the media landscape.


AMEC Definitive Guide: Why AVEs are invalid



I’m a big fan of AMEC and its mission to eradicate AVEs off the face of the planet. But, sadly, the vanity metric persists and is still requested by big business in some quarters. I’m thankful to the chat for flagging this definitive guide on why they don’t work - offering 22 reasons to say no to AVEs.


GSC Evaluation Framework 2.0


I heard about this framework when it launched last year, but confess I never gave it the thorough reading it deserves. The government’s communication framework for paid and non-paid communications activity focuses on three results areas: behaviour change, recruitment and awareness. The framework draws on metrics identified by AMEC (inputs, outputs, outtakes and outcomes) and can be applied outside of purely campaign work.


Adobe Experience Festival 2019


This year’s Adobe Experience Festival, a virtual conference for digital marketers, brought together experts from tech and consumer brands to discuss everything from 2019 digital trends to unlocking consumer insights through research and big data. If you missed it, you can access recordings of the interactive sessions here.


A big thanks to Ella Minty, Ben Verinder, Richard Bagnall, Jennifer Sanchis and Harriet Small for sharing the tips and resources mentioned in this blog. Here's a final piece of inspiration from Ben on working to make data-driven PR the norm...



Want to share your thoughts on any of the above? I’m always interested to hear feedback on the blog so please get in touch via the comments section below, email me at clairesimpsonpr [at] outlook [dot] com or drop me a line on social media.

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© 2018 Claire Simpson​.