About 29 per cent of UK marketers give their online PR work to outside search marketing agencies to deal with.

This is according to a new report from E-consultancy, which also showed that 22 per cent outsource online PR to web development companies, with 51 per cent utilising PR agencies.

Almost two-thirds of the more than 300 respondents said they had a separate online PR division, while the report also suggested that online PR is still perceived as a particularly specialist and technical internet marketing function.

Michelle Goodall, online PR and social media consultant for E-consultancy, explained that traditional PR agencies are increasingly facing the issue of their online PR clients not always being the budget holder.

"That budget holder has clear ideas about measurement and ROI in an online environment," she commented.

"This is one of the reasons why online PR is being outsourced to search marketing and web development agencies who have developed their own version of online PR metrics."

Research company Shape The Future recently published survey findings indicating that six in ten UK firms intend to spend more on their websites in the next 12 months, while 42.5 per cent were looking to increase PR investment.

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