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Introduction

Welcome to the 12 Days of Data, our look back at the data that made marketing in 2019. We’re looking at the year that was from an analytics perspective to see what insights we can take into the next year and decade. Sit up, get your coffee ready, and let’s celebrate some data.

Press Release Statistics of 2019

On Day 8, we dive deep into the press releases themselves, after looking at the most used words yesterday. Thanks to the Google News database hosted by the GDELT project, we’re able to read a substantial subset of all press releases in 2019. What can we tell about the press releases of the year?

12 Days of Data, Day 8: Press Release Top-Level Statistics of 2019

Big headline statistics: out of 37,748 press releases randomly sampled (approximately 20% of all releases this year), we see:

  • Almost 14% were sent by agencies.
  • 60.74% sent via a wire service.
    • Top 3 wire services include PR Newswire, PR Web, and BusinessWire.
  • 56% of releases include email contact information.
    • But of those releases, 18% of the email contact information is invalid.
  • The median number of clicks a release gets? Zero.

Key Takeaways

Press releases and news releases still have a role to play, especially in highly-regulated industries. Financial services and investment firms subject to rules such as SEC Regulation FD (Fair Disclosure) still hold the newswire release to be the gold standard of acceptable public disclosure; while the SEC ruled that social media was an acceptable form of disclosure in years past, the nature of social network algorithms could potentially imperil that ruling in the years to come. If you have news to distribute that requires public disclosure in a time-tested (and more importantly, court-tested) manner, use a press release.

That said, for anything else, you’re probably better off using some other form of content distribution or influencer outreach rather than a straight press release. With a median of zero clicks, literally no one sees a majority of press releases, ever. The exception would be those companies that put true, significant effort into a news release with an announcement that’s actually newsworthy; our colleagues at wire services have pointed out that when you have actual news that people would care about, news releases perform as well as other forms of outreach.

And what are we to make of the shocking number of releases that have invalid contact information? That’s not a press release issue – that’s an industry issue. The nature of the public relations industry is that it experiences incredible churn, between 20-50% per year. As such, it’s no surprise that so many contacts have expired in just one calendar year, hinting at the continued stressful environment in public relations.

We’ll turn our eyes from press releases to news in the next Day of Data. Stay tuned!

Methodology

Trust Insights used Google’s GDELT database to extract a random sample of 37,781 press releases posted to the database in calendar year 2019. Releases were identified by keywords and phrases in the URLs of articles, as well as the domain names of major commercial newswire services. Because of the selection method, there is a bias towards releases published in the English language. Releases under five sentences were excluded from the analysis. Wire services were identified by regular expression search of domain names in press releases, or in the hosting URL of the release. Email addresses were identified by regular expression in the release body. Agencies were determined by regular expression analysis of the email domain name for common agency suffixes. Email addresses were validated with the Million Verifier validation tool. The period of the study is January 1, 2019 – December 5, 2019. The date of data extraction is December 16, 2019. Trust Insights is the sole sponsor of the study and neither gave nor received compensation for data used, beyond applicable service fees to software vendors.

Read the 12 Days of Data Series

  1. Facebook Brands Stats for 2019
  2. Facebook Influencers Stats for 2019
  3. Instagram Brands Stats for 2019
  4. Instagram Influencers Stats for 2019
  5. YouTube Top Viewed Content for 2019
  6. YouTube Influencers Stats for 2019
  7. Most Overused PR Words for 2019
  8. Press Releases Stats for 2019
  9. News Stories Stats for 2019
  10. Content Republishing in 2019
  11. SEO Link Decay in 2019
  12. Email marketing forecast 2020

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