CIPR report finds AI tools in public relations set to explode


Most comprehensive review to date of AI use in public relations finds that while the technology has been slow to develop in the past five years it's poised to explode.

The public relations industry is “sleepwalking into a technological future” unless it gets a better understanding of the potential applications and limitations of artificial intelligence (AI) and wider technology. 

New research published today by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has found that there are now 5,800 technology tools with potential applications in the public relations industry, covering a wide range of areas including research, planning, measurement, content, data and insights, management, reporting and workflow.

The report – 'Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools and the impact on public relations practice' – is the most comprehensive review to date of AI use within the profession.

The report is a story of two halves. The first half examines the current tool landscape for public relations and is based on analysis of the Chiefmartec dataset built by Scott Brinker. The second identifies the explosion to come in communications, public relations, and marketing tools as a result of the GPT-3 Large Language Model and other related AI-based technologies.

Co-authored by Andrew Bruce Smith and Stephen Waddington, with contributions from Professor Anne Gregory, Jean Valin and Scott Brinker, the research found that whilst AI is present in just two percent of the original 5,800 tools analysed, the range of tools and technologies available has grown rapidly since January 2023, following the launch of the ChatGPT dataset at the end of November 2022, with the potential to impact every aspect of public relations practice.

The report also calls for urgent attention to the ethical issues thrown up by the rapid growth of AI, including whether practitioners need to declare using AI in their work and whether the technology could be weaponised to create misinformation at unimaginable speed and scale.

Andrew Bruce Smith Chart.PR Hon.FCIPR, Chair of CIPR's AIinPR Panel

Practitioners who are prepared to invest time and energy into understanding the role that technology can legitimately and ethically play in public relations are more likely to enjoy the best that the AI has to offer as a digital assistant to human agency and creativity, free to spend time on tasks such as data analysis, and relationship management.

Andrew Bruce Smith Chart.PR Hon.FCIPR, Chair of CIPR's AIinPR Panel
Stephen Waddington Chart.PR, Hon FCIPR, Managing Partner, Wadds Inc. and Visiting Professor, Newcastle University

This report has been published at an inflection point in the public relations tools market. The growth has been steady over the past five years but has exploded with the release of the ChatGPT and related generative AI based technologies. Practitioners can readily see many of the tactical public relations activities such as transcription, editing and content development being handled by machines.

Stephen Waddington Chart.PR, Hon FCIPR, Managing Partner, Wadds Inc. and Visiting Professor, Newcastle University


The CIPR partnered with Scott Brinker, editor, Chiefmartec, to undertake this research. Scott has built a comprehensive dataset of more than 10,000 tools used in marketing and related fields including public relations.

The Chiefmartec database, published each year since 2011, is an open-source project that invites public submissions. You can access a graphic of the entire database and filter the database by parameters including tool category, function and the year that a specific tool launched.

The Chiefmartech database integrates with the G2 software marketplace. G2 is a dataset of more than two million software tools. The number of reviews on G2 and average user rating is included within the Chiefmartech database and can also be interrogated.

The CIPR’s analysis of the Chiefmartech dataset suggests that there are 18 categories, involving around 5,800 tools that have the potential to be applied to public relations practice.

A challenge with publishing a report of this nature in a highly dynamic and innovative environment is that it may quickly become out of date. The AI tools that are discussed in the context of their application to public relations are examples available at the time of publication. The CIPR will continue to track innovation in this area and provide guidance to members.

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the world's only Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners with nearly 10,000 members.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).