Resilience in Advertising: How Digital PR Thrives Beyond Cookie Dependency

With the onset of a cookieless future, there’s a major shift in marketing afoot.

We’ve spoken about this at length in our recent article on the Post-Cookie Age, and there’s a real temptation to think that this “nothing will ever be the same again” situation roughly equates to one big mess for you and your business.

However, as you’ll know if you’ve already read that blog, this brave new world presents plenty of opportunities too!

We think that digital PR is going to be an absolutely key way to leverage some of these new opportunities, and we’re convinced that it’s going to be a major player. In fact, it’s already a major player, but in a world where the need to stand out from the crowd, build trust, and showcase unique creativity is more important than ever before, so is digital PR.

Digital PR puts brand at the heart of what it seeks to achieve and, even though the cost of living crisis is putting the squeeze on small businesses, leading 23% of brands to cut their digital PR budgets, we’d implore you not to join them. Digital PR is an invaluable investment, and you should ideally be stepping it up, not cutting back on it!

Join us as we think about what digital PR is, what it can achieve for you and your business, why you should consider using it, and why our experts are ideally placed to help you.


TL;DR: Digital PR has already proven to be an essential part of growing brand awareness in an online-focused world, and is a key player when you need more backlinks and traffic to your site. However, the downfall of cookies means that many forms of digital advertising are becoming increasingly untargeted. As a result, digital PR is going to become even more important. It doesn’t depend on cookies, so it can still function at maximum efficiency.

What Can Digital PR Offer?

A duck with a PR megaphone

Put simply, digital PR puts your brand in front of the right audience and turns them into a loyal following. There are huge advantages to this sort of increased exposure, both in terms of marketing gains and enhanced brand ethics:

  • Awareness of your brand grows
  • You’re likely to get more backlinks (akin to “votes” for your website)
  • Your site is likely to get more traffic from interested parties
  • Your service/product offering is likely to convert more often

Digital PR does all this (and more) by leveraging approaches like:

  • Competitor Analysis – Digital PR pros can look where your competitors are getting backlinks from, or what they are leveraging for brand awareness. Armed with these insights, they can utilise their findings to improve the presence of other businesses.
  • Newsjacking – It pays to keep one ear to the ground to catch wind of any media conversations in your industry! Digital PR specialists are always listening and ready to fire out a press release, article or quote that takes advantage of a golden opportunity.
  • Generating Coverage & Links – Digital PR is one of the best ways to gain links to your site in a sustainable and natural way. Digital PR experts can track down high-quality and relevant backlinks that will boost keyword rankings and brand awareness.
  • Thought Leadership – Google’s algorithms prioritise EEAT (experience, expertise, authority and trustworthiness), and digital PR makes sure that the right audiences know just how much talent fantastic businesses (like yours!) have to offer.
  • Data-Driven Content – Because of the amount of tools that digital PR specialists have at their disposal, any content they create can be fuelled by a flood of concrete data. With all of those learnings, the chances of content succeeding are greatly enhanced.
  • Digital Speaking Opportunities – Webinars are an obvious fit with Digital PR. However, digital-focused in-person events (like Brighton SEO) come with their own press, and digital PR pros are old hands when it comes to online build-up and coverage.

Digital PR vs. Traditional PR

At this point, we should probably take a moment to talk about traditional PR. Just how does digital PR differ from traditional PR?

Well, we actually have something of a hot-take on this, but to begin with, we’ll define the two disciplines at face value.

The clue is in the name, but digital PR and traditional PR actually differ in all sorts of ways.

Firstly, there’s the obvious: digital PR is focused upon online channels like websites, blogs, paid social media and organic social media platforms, podcasts, webinars, infographics, online publications, and influencers, while traditional PR is more concerned with print publications (e.g. newspapers and magazines), television, radio and in-person events.

As you’d expect, digital PR measures metrics like website traffic, search engine rankings, social media engagement, online mentions, and inbound links to gauge success. On the other hand, traditional PR tends to be judged by the number of media placements, advertising value equivalents, and circulation/viewership figures.

So far, we probably haven’t said anything that you couldn’t have guessed yourself, but there’s more to it than that:

  • Digital PR is much faster. A tweet can be visible to millions of people within minutes, whereas a newspaper article can take a day or more to be printed and distributed.
  • Digital PR reaches wider. The almost limitless reach of the internet and social media is at your fingertips when you invest in digital PR.
  • Digital PR is two-way. In traditional PR, you make a statement. Digital PR enables a conversation, with direct audience engagement and real-time feedback.
  • Digital PR lasts longer. Digital PR pieces remain accessible online and can be found through search engines for an extended period of time.
  • Digital PR is more targeted. A big billboard is highly visible, but might be reaching a less relevant audience, whereas digital PR zeroes in on dedicated online audiences.
  • Digital PR is more trackable. Many tools are available to collect data. 500 people might attend an event, but only DPR can track how many people they go on to reach!
  • Digital PR can show, not tell. Talking isn’t always enough; digital PR can send users to your site to experience what you have to offer, and do so via a beneficial backlink.

Don’t get us wrong, traditional PR principles are still relevant and useful in certain situations, but digital PR has become increasingly important in today’s landscape. After all, everyone has a website, and everybody is connected to the internet. Stats from Superlinks have shown that an overwhelming 90% of surveyed professionals put online/digital platforms as the ideal option for pitching a PR campaign to the media, with more traditional methods coming in at 63-66%. Your single biggest audience is online, and traditional PR alone can’t reach it.

90% of surveyed professionals put online/digital platforms as the ideal option for pitching a PR campaign to the media

However, it’s worth emphasising that digital PR techniques are also increasingly popular precisely because they are more easily measurable. According to Meltwater, 51% of PR experts put social listening as a valuable way to measure and assess reputation, and ⅔ of them use social listening tools on at least a case-by-case basis (one-third of these individuals do so daily). Digital PR is a vital part of your toolbox, and is only going to grow in prominence!

But now here’s our hot-take; digital PR is now so essential that the old division between traditional and digital PR isn’t relevant anymore.

Years ago, you had traditional PR, digital PR and maybe SEO. Now, any traditional PR campaign worth its salt will inevitably result in digital PR. An effective traditional PR campaign will always need to reach an online audience, whereas a digital PR campaign can function perfectly well without billboards, in-person talks, events and the like. In that sense, digital PR is no longer an offshoot of a wider art form, but a standalone approach.

As a result, PR of all types is now essentially a collective, and you can’t necessarily differentiate between traditional and digital. The principles that are in use are the same!

However, there’s no doubt that PR that reaches an online audience (which we’ll continue to refer to as “digital PR” for the sake of simplicity!) tends to be more beneficial in a world where people spend more time online than they do looking at billboards or watching TV.

And in light of recent changes, digital PR is now even more vital.

Why Use Digital PR Now?

First of all, we’ll return to comments that we’ve made concerning the cost of living crisis putting the squeeze on business spending, and the fact that PR does wonders for brand ethics.

To address the money side of things, it’s fair to say that most people just don’t have as much cash to hand as they used to. On the business side, service providers like Meltwater state that organisations “face increased economic and competitive pressures”. However, you can see this trickle down to consumer spending too, during any scale of purchase. Once upon a time, if a person liked a house and could afford it, they’d become a homeowner. Now, there’s a sense that, although they might love one, there’s so much expense and uncertainty with a mortgage that they really need to think it through. On the smaller end of the scale, a dress buyer might look at a £70 dress that was previously £50 and agonise whether they are really getting £20 extra value. The squeeze upon income means more decisions need to be made.

On the ethics side of things, people are now much more environmentally and ethically conscious. Buyers are focused on reviews, how businesses treat their staff, how they major upon recycled or biodegradable produce, and what their charitable commitments are. All of this sort of stuff matters to people way more than it used to.

Digital PR ticks both of these boxes. Being highly-targeted and data-driven, you can be far more certain of a stronger ROI when you invest in digital PR. Brands can’t easily track how many people have seen their billboard or listened to their radio feature. They may have an average footfall for the area they’ve placed the billboard within, or an average number of radio listeners, but there’s no way of showing how engaged these audiences are. With digital PR, you can explore not only traffic, but also where that traffic has come from to determine if it’s from an article you’ve published, or a publication you’d been featured in that week. You can see if conversions have increased, and even add UTM tags to your URLs to track user journeys – there are just more reporting opportunities available. And by reaching out to the largest audience there is (i.e. the online audience), there’s no better way to showcase how awesome a business is from an ethical perspective.

As an aside, some businesses worry about coming off as braggy if they talk about doing good online, but people like to see these kinds of interactions! For instance, we recently spoke to a brand that made absolutely great products, but they were missing a massive opportunity to do some good too. We advised them to partner with some local charities by donating some of their products. These products had minor defects that meant it was impossible to sell them, but they were still fantastic quality. It was a win-win situation. If this brand decides to take our advice, then we absolutely think that this will be a story that people will love to read about!

However, there’s also another reason why now is a great time for digital PR.

Going back to our earlier article on the post-cookie age, we outlined that an incoming focus upon privacy is inevitable. Cookies were deeply problematic, and things like iOS14’s arrival had already made it harder to reach your audience via once-favoured platforms like Facebook.

Although the strengthening of online privacy is a massive positive in many ways, it will bring about an influx of untargeted ads.

  • Chrome is the world’s most popular browser, and it’s binning third-party cookies
  • Google ads is making remarketing harder
  • YouTube is owned by Google, so it’s likely to follow Chrome’s lead at some point
  • Facebook advertising is already less targeted

With such a drastic shift, many business owners are reconsidering their marketing efforts, as what may have worked effectively in the past may now be significantly less impactful.

Enter digital PR: a strategy that can still reach the audience that you need to reach in a way that showcases your brand in a positive, trustworthy, authoritative light!

Digital PR allows your target audience to discover and fall in love with your product and your services, and it does so just as effectively without cookies. The key goals of digital PR include the safeguarding of brands, the unification of user bases, and the ability to meet people at a place where they can listen; this is exactly what’s needed in the post-cookie age!

Of course, although we’re singing the praises of digital PR, and are convinced that we’re right to do so, there are also a plethora of other digital strategies out there that can benefit your business. This is why we’re a full-service digital agency, which means that our digital PR campaigns are not carried out in silo, but are conducted as part of a harmonious strategy that works to achieve your wider goals. Our holistic approach encompasses content marketing, SEO, CRO, and more. We believe that this gets you the best results, and maximises any gains.

If you’re looking to optimise your online presence so it not only rides out the challenges of the modern world, but thrives in spite of them, then get in touch now, and we’ll help you clean up!

Written by
Eve Foster
Eve Foster

Get Your Free Consultation

Whether you’ve read something on our blog that’s piqued your interest, or have a digital problem that you'd like us to solve for you, our experts are here to answer your questions.

  • 1
    Discuss Your Problem.Share what you’re looking to achieve with our talented team and explore tailored service solutions that will deliver the results you’re after.
  • 2
    Hear Our Proposal.Learn about how we can use our wealth of experience to create a digital strategy that works for you, and even develop a bespoke approach to rise to your unique challenges.
  • 3
    Anticipate the Solution.Discover the cutting-edge technology and innovative methodologies that have already helped some of the UK’s biggest brands to smash their KPIs.

By submitting this form you agree to our privacy policy.