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Is Social Media more important than Traditional Media in Public Relations Campaigns?

December 17, 2010

Amid all of the hype about social media and public relations comes an interesting survey that appears to pour a little cold water on some of the claims.

Conducted in the US, this analysis by eMarketer found the average adult still spends far more time watching television than on the Internet – almost twice as much in fact.

The study also found that consumers spend more time on mobile devices than reading newspapers and magazines combined.

While there is no doubt of the importance of incorporating social media and other online tools to enhance your media messages, it’s worth noting that according to eMarketer’s results, the amount of time adults spend getting information from traditional media (TV, radio, newspapers and magazines) still far outweighs the amount of time they spend using the Internet or mobile devices- 392 min/day to 205 min/day.

Proponents of a public relations campaign that relies heavily on social media should also heed results from the Pew Research Center. This survey suggests that only 8% of American adults that use the Internet use Twitter. Of those that do use Twitter, only 2% do so on a typical day.

This survey also showed that 74% of American adults are internet users, meaning that the Twitter cohort amounts to 6% of the entire adult population.

It seems sometimes the statistical evidence doesn’t support the hype.

For full eMarketer results see:

For full Pew Research Center results see:

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