The 10 biggest challenges for data analytics in communications

Too little time, lack of tools, and unstructured data are the biggest hurdles to successful data analysis in communications. That is the result of a current survey by newsaktuell and Faktenkontor. 220 specialists and managers from corporate communications and PR agencies in Germany and Switzerland took part in the survey.

The communications industry is divided when it comes to data analytics: Just under half of the companies analyze and evaluate data for professional communication, while the other half do not. The biggest hurdles to successful data analysis are too little time, lack of tools, and unstructured data. This is the result of the current PR trend monitor by news aktuell and Faktenkontor. 220 communications professionals from Germany and Switzerland took part in the survey conducted by the dpa subsidiary and Faktenkontor.

Data analytics has not yet established itself in corporate communications: Only 44 percent of companies use data analytics in professional communications, while 46 percent do not. The most commonly cited reason for sluggish data analysis is lack of time: 35 percent of respondents don’t know when to integrate data analysis into their workflows. The second most aggravating factor is the infrastructure: 30 percent of PR professionals lack the appropriate tools to extract, analyze and evaluate data from the various systems. Almost as often, there is a lack of structure in the data: 28 percent state that there is too little structured data material in the company to set up data analytics professionally.

One in four companies lacks the necessary skills: 26 percent of respondents believe that they do not have enough employees with the appropriate competence in data analysis. In addition, there is a lack of the right organizational structures and budget: for one in four respondents, unclear processes and responsibilities make it difficult to systematically evaluate data (25 percent), and they are also thwarted because no budget is made available for data analytics tools (24 percent).

But the will to deal with the technical topic of data analysis is not always there either: For one in five PR professionals, data analytics fails because employees are not willing to acquire new skills in this area (21 percent). In addition, poor internal networking is a problem: Departmental silos and a lack of internal collaboration prevent access to the data required, say 19 percent.

However, only very few respondents blame top-down structures for the failure of data analytics: Only 5 percent state that data analytics is imposed “from the outside” on the communications department. It is just as rare for data analytics to fail due to reservations or fear because it is seen as a threat to one’s own area of work (5 percent).

Data analytics knowledge: satisfactory

One in three PR professionals rates their own competence in data analytics as satisfactory and would give themselves a school grade of 3 (30 percent). Only 6 percent give themselves a “very good” rating. After all, just under one in five respondents rated their own data analysis skills as “good” (19 percent). However, the majority of PR professionals score between adequate and poor: one in four of those surveyed gave themselves a grade of 4 for data analytics (23 percent), and one in eight gave themselves a grade of 5 (13 percent). In turn, according to their own assessment, 6 percent of communications professionals have no competence at all in this discipline (grade 6).

Most common areas of application for data analytics

The vast majority of communications departments already using data analytics analyze data in the areas of social media (79 percent), media monitoring (70 percent) and website or blog (68 percent). As many as 44 percent evaluate data to analyze the market and the competition. Only just under one in three communications departments uses data analytics to compare its current strategy and draw conclusions for a future strategic direction (31 percent). One in four companies uses data analytics to monitor and evaluate its own image and reputation. One in five companies evaluates data for internal communications (21 percent). Crisis communication comes in last place: only 18 percent of the communications professionals surveyed use data for their communications in the event of a crisis.

All results once again at a glance:

1. Aggravating factors for data analytics in the company:

Missing time 35%
Missing tools 30%
Too little structured data 28%
Lack of competence 26%
Unclear processes and responsibilities 25%
Lack of budget 24%
Too many different data sources 21%
Lack of readiness for the topic 21%
Departmental silos prevent data access 19%
Data-To-Value not recognizable 17%
Privacy rules prevent access to data 16%
Data analytics is imposed “from the outside” on communications department 5%
Fear / reservations: Data analytics is seen as a danger 5%

2. level of knowledge of data analytics among communication professionals:

Very good (1) 6%
Good (2) 19%
Satisfactory (3) 30%
Sufficient (4) 23%
Poor (5) 13%
Unsatisfactory (6) 5%

3. use of data analytics in communication:

Social media 79%
Media monitoring 70%
Website / Blog 68%
Market and competition analysis 44%
Target group / stakeholder analysis 38%
Strategy 31%
Topics / agenda setting 31%
Image / Reputation 25%
Internal communication 21%
Crisis communication 18%

Source: PR-Trendmonitor by news aktuell and Faktenkontor. Online survey in February 2022 among 220 communications professionals from companies, organizations and PR agencies in Germany and Switzerland. Multiple answers possible.

About news aktuell

a wholly owned subsidiary of dpa, news aktuell provides companies, institutions and associations with effective access to the media and consumers, helping them to tell their stories simply and successfully. Via the digital tools ots and zimpel, PR content reaches all media formats such as classic print titles, high-click online portals or social networks. In addition, news aktuell publishes all of its clients’ PR content on, one of Germany’s widest-reach PR portals. In this way, all relevant target groups are reached worldwide, from editorial offices to specialist blogs, digital influencers to interested private individuals. news aktuell has been on the market since 1989 and employs over 135 people. The company is headquartered in Hamburg. Further locations are in Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich.

Press contact:
aktuell GmbH
Janina von Jhering
Deputy Head of Corporate Communications
Phone: +49 40/4113 – 32598