The 2017 survey explores trends like visualisation, social bots, and benchmarking in strategic communication. Other topics covered by the largest study on strategic communication and public relations (PR) worldwide are the consequences of hypermodernity for communications, its contribution to organisational success, the longitudinal development of communication channels, strategic issues in the field, and characteristics of excellence. The European Communication Monitor 2017 is based on responses from 3,387 communication professionals in 50 countries. Detailed analyses are available for 20 countries and different types of organisations (companies, non-profits, governmental, agencies).

Key insights


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  • Visualisation: 94% of communicators believe in a rising importance for strategic communication, but competencies and  processes are still nascent
  • Social bots: 73% confirm ethical challenges; but only 15% of organisations will use it in the near future
  • Hypermodernity:  cultural transformation influences stakeholder relations
  • Benchmarking: less common in communications compared to other functions, mainly focused on messaging activities (up to 51%)

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Background and credits

Research team

Ansgar Zerfass, University of Leipzig (GE) – Lead Researcher;
Angeles Moreno, University Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid (ES); Ralph Tench, Leeds Beckett University (UK); Dejan Vercic, University of Ljubljana (SI); Piet Verhoeven, University of Amsterdam (NL)
Assistant researchers: Markus Wiesenberg, Ronny Fechner

National research collaborators

Emanuele Invernizzi, Milan (IT), Valerie Carayol, Bordeaux (FR), Jesper Falkheimer, Lund (SE), Finn Frandsen, Aarhus (DK), Oyvind Ihlen, Oslo (NO), Vilma Luoma-aho, Jyväskylä (FI), Waldemar Rydzak, Poznan (PL), Denisa Heilova, Prague (CZ), Alexandra Craciun, Bucharest (RO), Milko Petrov, Sofia (BG), Evandro Oliveira, Braga (PT), John Gallagher, Dublin (IE), Andrea Catellani, Louvain (BE), Liudmila Minaeva, Moscow (RU)

Organisers and partners

The ECM 2017 was organised by the European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA) and the European Association of Communication Directors (EACD), supported by partner PRIME Research and media partner Communication Director magazine.