News: PR professionals AI usage rockets throughout 2023

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PR professionals’ confidence is returning as usage of AI tools shoots up, according to the latest ICCO and PRCA Confidence Tracker.

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Confidence returning despite challenges

Confidence is returning with 76 per cent of responders ‘confident’ or ‘very confident,’ but is still lower than any reading in 2022 or 2021. Those ‘not very confident’ are down since May from 16 per cent down to 10 per cent, which is more consistent with previous readings, although still noticeably up from 2022. Across various global regions, reasons cited for lack of confidence frequently refer to uncertainty and economic conditions, as opposed to anything PR-specific. Whilst those most confident tend to refer to stable pipelines, strong sector growth and faith in accurate positive projections for 2024.

AI usage rockets

Over the course of 2023, the shift in claims on practical usage of AI tools has been remarkable. The number using AI tools ‘very’ or ‘fairly regularly’ has increased from 36 per cent to 47 per cent. This now dwarfs those not using AI tools at all, which has fallen from 29 per cent to 18 per cent and the number never expecting to use these tools has stayed at 9 per cent. There is a clear trend of professionals shifting from “planning to use” into active users of AI tools and regular usage becoming mainstream, barring a few outliers.

Most regular and long-term usage tends to refer to data analysis and performance measurement, whilst newer applications refer to image and content creation, copywriting first drafts and meeting notes. Many respondents site plans to implement training. Those not using AI tools refer to data sensitivity, lack of trust in accuracy, or not being applicable to a particular job function.

PRCA managing director, Renna Markson (pictured), said, “The surge in AI adoption among PR professionals underscores a notable shift in the industry landscape, as confidence rebounds amidst evolving challenges. The latest ICCO and PRCA Confidence Tracker, reveals a noteworthy uptick in the use of AI tools. This surge in AI integration signifies a growing confidence among professionals, reflecting a strategic move from planning to active implementation.

“The decline in the number of professionals not using AI tools—from 29 per cent to 18 per cent—and the consistent 9 per cent of those never expecting to use these tools underscore a broader industry trend towards mainstream adoption. However, challenges persist, with concerns around data sensitivity, trust in accuracy, and applicability to specific job functions cited by those still hesitant to embrace AI.”

Q&R conducted the latest Pulse Check survey with ICCO and PRCA members as part of the Confidence Tracker series. The survey included two questions, one relating to AI, the other business confidence. Responses were collected over the course of 5 days using an appropriate survey method and data was analysed to obtain a snapshot of members’ mood.