NEW YORK — New research into the Influence 100, the Holmes Report's annual list of the world's most powerful in-house communicators, reveals that PR budgets and agency spend are increasing.

PR budgets are enjoying something of a spike: after years of mostly freefall in the numbers of our CMOs and CCOs who were managing budgets of more than $100m – from 50% in 2015 down to 11% last year – this year it’s back up to 31%.

Those who peg their budget between $75m and $100m dropped to 6% from 14% last year, but those handling a budget of between $50m and $75m rose from 11% to 17%.

Around 60% of our Influence 100 now manage a PR budget of more than $25m, a big swing from last year, when 56% were managing a budget of less than 25%.

Most respondents said budgets had stayed flat compared with the previous year, although budget increases of between 5% and 30% were cited. A small number said they had seen double-figure budget cuts over the past year.

The numbers indicate that the individuals in our Influence 100 now control PR and other marketing spend of more than £4.8bn – up 45% on last year’s figure of $3.3bn, although still less than the $6.5bn recorded when this survey launched in 2012.

Agency spend also appears to be up on 2018, with 11% spending more than $30m on their PR agency partners, compared to just 3% last year. More than a third (34%) of respondents spend between $10m and $30m on PR agencies. At the lower end, the number of respondents spending less than $1m was down slightly from 20% to 17%.

In-depth research into how the Influence 100 manage their teams, budgets and agencies can be found here, including reporting lines, trends in team size, integration, agency responsibilities, and pitch processes, including the role of procurement.

The Influence 100 can be found here, including profiles of each executive and comprehensive insights on their demographics and background. Still to come are insights on diversity, AI, influencers and future challenges, as well as the companies and individuals that our Influence 100 find most inspiring.