PR vs Advertisement

Mike Adams
Dec 28, 2019 · 2 min read

When it comes to conversion rates, which one has the highest? Obviously there are tons of factors that goes into this — for example, some projects can’t get press but they can get tons of sales via facebook ads, while others can get lots of press but can’t afford the CPA of advertisement.

To simplify things, we are going to use a hypothetical example of an ideal product that is totally buzzworthy, and is priced high enough to maximize ROI from ads.

With that being said, let’s take a look at what channel would produce the highest conversion rates for this hypothetical product.

An article in Fast Company makes the claim that “AirPR’s data show that PR generates conversion rates 10 to 50 times that of advertising conversions.”

It’s worth noting that AirPR is an analytics company that sells data to top tier PR firms. Kind of like Cision (a publicly-traded company). Obviously there may be some bias here, so let's take a look at another source.

An article in Adweek made the claim that “A 2014 Nielsen Study concluded that PR is almost 90% more effective than Advertising.”

Nielsen Studies are widely known to be generally fairly accurate, so it’s safe to say there is a lot of truth to this source.

But why is this true?

When you read about a product in the New York Times, it’s a much higher sign of quality than a product you keep seeing over and over in a youtube or facebook ad.

On top of that, Facebook usage amongst people under 40 is widely reported to be falling. Most people use adblockers as well, so it can be kind of hard to reach a young audience using ads. This is only a minor factor though.

We strongly believe the biggest reason why PR has higher conversion rates is that it’s basically hardcore influencer marketing. If you read every day — they are going to have a fair amount of influencer over you, ergo whatever products they endorse are going to see really appealing to you.

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Mike Adams

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