Online PR executives will focus more on figuring out the issue of how to measure social media accurately this year as the recessionary climate forces firms to concentrate on return on investment.

This is according to the Econsultancy Online PR Trends Briefing, which indicated that internet marketing professionals still do not know how to best measure the effectiveness of their social campaigns.

In the online PR sector specifically, 2009 will be spent trying to come up with best practice guidelines, which will see metrics feature prominently in these.

However, "metrics such as improvements in search can be an effective way to benchmark online PR, but such measures neglect the wider value of company reputation," Aliya Zaidi of Econsultancy noted in a blog post.

"In addition, the lack of wider industry standards is preventing companies from being able to validate the outcomes from buzz monitoring technologies," she added.

Nearly three in ten advertisers view social media integration as offering the biggest brand growth opportunities, according to a poll by the Association of National Advertisers conducted last year.

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