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Which of the big PR agencies are most social?

PR agencies sell their clients advice on how to 'manage' social media. But how good are they at doing it for themselves?

My view is that big agency networks offering social media advice must walk the talk. Those that cannot show they know what they are doing for their own brands will lose out in the battle to advise others.

So, to see how some of the world’s largest PR agencies stack up, my firm Sociagility has, for the second year running, analysed the comparative performance of 25 leading global networks, measuring the effectiveness of each agency’s social media presence.

The result is the Global PR Network Social Scorecard, which ranks agencies based on their social media effectiveness, power and engagement.

To come up with the rankings, we applied our PRINT™ methodology – the same as currently being used to track the performance of Olympic sponsors on the London 2012 Social Scoreboard – to 25 of the leading PR networks in the Holmes Report Global PR Agency Rankings 2012. This proprietary system underpins our range of social media planning and measurement services, which – as we announced yesterday – can now be licensed by agencies to inform and demonstrate the value of social media campaigns for clients.

ImageThe 10 PR networks using social media most effectively, based on the PRINT Index™, are (last year's ranking in parentheses):

  1. Edelman (1)
  2. Ogilvy PR (3)
  3. Euro RSCG (6)
  4. Ketchum (2)
  5. The Hoffman Agency (9)
  6. MSL Group (18 – the most 'improved' on last year)
  7. GolinHarris (5)
  8. LEWIS PR (12)
  9. Grayling (16)
  10. Cohn & Wolfe (4)

The full list and detailed scores can be found at

Comparative Reality

Unlike social media measures based on some theoretical ‘perfect’ score, the PRINT™ methodology is completely quantitative and provides relative rather than absolute indicators of performance. In real life there are no absolute social media performance scores for brands – it’s just a matter of whether one brand is better than its competitors. This is the key to determining whether social media activity is actually delivering a real return on investment.

Status versus Potential

As an addition to the overall PRINT Index™ ranking, we also looked at measures of Status and Potential. These combine the attributes that contribute to each agency’s PRINT Index™ score into two dimensions which reflect overall strength (Status) and the degree of engagement by and with the brand (Potential).

The Status rankings show the advantages of the big battalions: well-known, lots of touch-points, marketing effort/spend and legacy. But Potential tells a different story and suggests areas in which smaller networks can compete, through direct, authentic and transparent engagement. Thus smaller agencies like The Hoffman Agency can score well overall while lacking the mass of the big global networks.

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