A few months ago we asked for responses to a more detailed survey about irrelevant press release emails to follow up the surveys that were carried out at the end of 2009. Despite a number of people’s best efforts to encourage responses unfortunately only 43 recipients completed the survey. The small sample means that these results are insufficient to draw firm conclusions from. However on the positive side the respondents were a good cross section of types of recipient (journalists, bloggers and editors) and sectors covered (technology, consumer, current affairs etc). I must apologise for the tardiness in getting these results published though, we have been rather busy lately at RealWire towers and I was also hoping to tie this in with the output of the CIPR round table event which has been delayed a little I believe due to their own busy period.

But as promised the responses can be found here Inconvenient PR Truth Second Survey Response Data (1464) in their original state with the names removed so anyone can pull together their own analysis.

However for anyone who doesn’t have the time we have pulled together some slides which summarise the results of the majority of the questions below and can be downloaded here.

Inconvenient pr truth 2nd survey graphs

View more presentations from RealWire.


Irrelevance levels of sender groups
The senders with the highest levels of irrelevance were releases sent via Databases and Search and Marketing Agencies. The senders with the lowest levels of irrelevance (i.e. sent the highest proportions of relevant press releases to recipients) were PR professionals sending direct themselves, in particular In House and Freelance PRs, followed by PR Agencies.
This is illustrated by looking at what proportion of recipients receive less than one in five relevant press releases from each group:
1st Search Agencies – 85% of recipients (where stated) say less than 1 in 5 press releases from this type of sender are relevant
2nd Databases – 77%
3rd Marketing Agencies – 75%
4th Wire Services – 55%
5th PR Agencies – 37%
6th Freelance PRs – 28%
7th In House PRs – 27%
ie. 3 out of 4 or more recipients experience very high irrelevance from Marketing and Search Agencies and via Databases, compared with only 1 out of 4 recipients who experience high irrelevance from Freelancers and In House PRs.
Steps to identify relevance
Only a small minority of recipients take specific steps to identify sources of relevance such as white lists or email rules, whereas the vast majority either just open emails that look interesting or filter based on the sender’s name.
Requests to unsubscribe
The majority of requests to unsubscribe are actioned but around 1 in 5 recipients still said they had on occasion asked PR Agencies and Database providers to unsubscribe them when this has not been done.
Impact on productivity
Total time spent dealing with irrelevant press release emails was estimated to be approx 18 minutes per day with 36% of recipients considering this to be a significant issue for their productivity and 53% seeing it as a significant source of frustration (these are recipients that scored 3 or more on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 was no issue and 5 was a major issue).
Total time spent dealing with phone calls about irrelevant press releases was estimated to be approx 9 minutes per day with 56% of recipients considering this to be a significant issue for their productivity and 77% seeing it as a significant source of frustration (scale as before).
Around 40% of press releases received were identified as having attachments despite 34% of recipients saying they didn’t want to receive content this way and a further 52% saying it would depend what was being sent.

Any queries or comments please either post below or drop me a line or tweet me @AdParker.