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Pareto Principle applied to PR

Whilst compiling ranking data on how popular PR agencies are, we noticed that the Pareto principle appeared to be in action. The Pareto principle was derived on observations, for instance 80% of wealth is owned by 20% of the people. This 80/20 rule crops up everywhere in life and it seems the PR industry is no exception.

PR Agency Popularity

ActiMedia has details of over 10,000 PR agencies around the world - of course some PR agencies are more popular with journalists than others. We analysed the viewing patterns of each PR agency over 2009 and found some interesting results. Firstly only the details of 9,708 agencies were viewed - in other words there were approximately 300 PR agencies that literally nobody looked at over a period of 1 year. The most popular PR agencies were viewed by over 30,000 people over the year whilst the least popular was only looked at by 1 person! The table below shows the Pareto principle in action with a relatively small number of PR agencies having the largest number of people viewing their details. Although some agencies were viewed by only a few people, they were viewed multiple times by the same person. We eliminated multiple page views by the same person and similarly page viewings by search engines such as Google.

Number of People Viewing an Agency's detailsNumber of PR agencies
0 -> 100 4026
100 -> 500 5131
500 -> 5000 500
> 5000 14

The top 100 most popular PR agencies are viewed by 20% of all visitors to ActiMedia.

On ActiMedia we also track and log statical information on journalists visiting agency websites and the sending of email to PR agencies. We observed similar distributions and popularity of visiting their websits and sending them email, confirming the popularity of the highest ranking PR agencies. Not all PR agencies are Internet savvy, so there was not a 100 correlation in the lists as not all PR agencies have websites and email addresses listed on ActiMedia.

We also ask journalists and PR consumers whether they would recommend the agency, and we collect the votes. Analysis of the votes shows a similar pattern. We found that although we have a population of 10,000 agencies, we have only ever received votes for approximately 3,500 agencies. So in order words no-one is interested in 65% of agencies. The distribution of votes shows a similar pattern.

Votes for agencyNumber of PR agencies
> 10 138
9 34
8 34
7 67
6 99
5 149
4 232
3 390
2 693
1 1703
0 7076

The most recommended agencies received significantly more than 10 votes, again indicating that the most popular agencies are not just a bit better than others but significantly better. Analysing the top 20 most recommended agencies and comparing this to their popularity reveals that 13 out of the top 20 also feature as ranked in the top 100 most popular agencies! i

So what can we conclude from this? Well not all PR agencies are equal. There are clearly some PR agencies that the public and journalists are more interested in than others. In a world where publicity is important and clients are looking for results, to question whether unpopular PR agencies can deliver comparable PR value to popular PR agencies. The fact that we are not seeing journalists emailing unpopular PR agencies suggests that there is a strong correlation to popular PR agencies and media coverage for their clients.


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Sun Oct 22, 2017
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