Members of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) are using more in-house agencies and nearly half of them were established in the last five years, a new study reveals. Marketers indicate an overall satisfaction with in-house agencies, citing a variety of benefits—but a majority still work with outside experts.
Released on Monday, “The Continued Rise of the In-House Agency” asked 412 ANA members about whether or not they use in-house agencies, as well as services provided and general sentiment.
The study revealed a 36 percent jump for in-house agency use over the last decade—78 percent in 2018 compared to 58 percent in 2013 and 42 percent in 2008. Many of these in-house agencies are new, ANA found, with 44 percent established within the past five years.
Moving agency services in-house offers a number of benefits, ANA members said, with cost efficiency at the top of the list. Other primary benefits listed include better knowledge of brands, speed and nimbleness, and institutional knowledge.
While previous in-house work might have been confined to “low-hanging fruit” like promotional materials and internal videos, the study found that today’s agencies offer a much broader range of services. Respondents indicated that over the last five years, services that experienced the most growth include creative strategy, media strategy, social media (both creative and media), and programmatic media buying.
Brands are putting these agencies to use, respondents said, with 90 percent of respondents saying the workload of their in-house agency has increased in the last year. More than half—65 percent—said the workload has increased “a lot.”
“Traditional agencies are becoming increasingly challenged as marketers move more work in-house while encouraging their external agencies to provide differentiated services and increased value,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice alongside the findings. “We expect the current trends to continue, with accelerated client movement to in-house agencies.”
While it’s true that many brands continue to bring services in-house, the practice of using outside agencies isn’t necessarily on the decline. A full 90 percent of respondents admitted to still using outside agencies. In fact, 42 percent of work is conducted with these agencies, marketers revealed.
The ANA study reflects similar results of an August study by Forrester and the In-House Agency Forum. Surveying 325 companies, 64 percent indicated that they had an in-house agency, a 20 percent increase over the last decade.