7 trends shaping agency’s future – and how to keep up
September 13, 2021
From the death of third-party cookies to the rise of in-housing, these trends are changing the agency landscape – and making data and tools more important than ever.
So, if you’re looking to conduct better audience segmentation analysis, here are three techniques that should help.
Media agencies have an important role in the advertising ecosystem. They must help brands navigate the fragmented media landscape. By identifying the optimal audience segment for every client and campaign, you can improve advertising performance and achieve greater ROI. Yet, despite this clear purpose, agencies are under increased pressure to prove their worth and drive results on limited budgets.
In the agency world, longevity depends on a deep understanding of industry trends and changes, and a willingness to pivot accordingly. Let’s consider a few factors impacting the role of media agencies in 2021, and how you can use data to demonstrate value for brands.
1. Data-driven everything
According to a global survey by Econsultancy and Adobe, “data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual” is the single most exciting opportunity for brands and agencies. Advertisers expect their partners to use data to improve every aspect of marketing, including campaign planning and audience segmentation. As nearly everything is measurable now, agencies are facing greater scrutiny to deliver quantifiable results. Using data and tools to improve audience understanding and media planning will lead to a marked improvement in campaign performance. In addition to tools, agencies must recruit teammates with data analysis skills and create a culture that champions data-driven decision-making.
2. Saying good-bye to cookies
The reign of third-party cookies is coming to an end. By 2022, Google Chrome will replace third-party cookies with privacy-friendly alternatives. Cookies played an important role in targeting and ad measurement. Advertisers will look to agency partners for guidance on how to reach hyper-targeted audiences in this new landscape. Thus, you must keep up with innovations in targeting and measurement alternatives. That includes using contextual targeting and unique identifiers.
One alternative to cookies is to integrate with publishers and distributors to develop privacy-complaint strategies for collecting data. In addition, you can use analytics-based modeling to make informed predictions about campaign performance. Google proposes that its “Privacy Sandbox” – a suite of APIs for targeting, measurement, and fraud prevention – will be an effective cookie replacement. But, some advertisers worry this will lead to Google’s continued dominance and strengthen the walls of its “walled garden.”
3. Digital duopoly alternatives
Speaking of Google,eMarketer estimates that more than 61% of U.S. digital advertising spending in 2021 will go to the duopoly: Google and Facebook. Globally, these giants will snag 52.3% of digital ad spending this year. Amazon and Alibaba are also growing fast, but marketers may seek alternatives to these juggernauts to diversify the media mix and keep up with audience expectations. Consumer trust in the duopoly is wavering, as The Drum reports. You can provide value for brands by gleaning a nuanced understanding of audiences’ behavior, preferences, and relationships with media, including social media platforms.
4. CTV’s rising star
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated connected TV (CTV) adoption in many countries. A September 2020 study with more than 10,000 respondents across France, Germany, Spain, the UK, and the US found that 44% of consumers used CTV devices more during the pandemic. US CTV ad spending will increase from $8.11 billion in 2020 to $18.29 billion in 2024, according to eMarketer. It is not just younger audiences tuning in. An estimated 32.8 million baby boomers were CTV viewers in 2020, and that figure will continue to rise. Marketers will expect media agencies to understand this emerging space and the role it is playing for their customers.
5. In-housing’s in the house
A growing number of brands are moving elements of their marketing in-house to drive cost-efficiency and gain more control of their advertising. In fact, 73% of marketers have moved at least part of their digital marketing in-house over the last year, according to a report from February 2021. According to the survey data, 63% of marketers have seen a positive change in ROI since adopting in-housing. Respondents say in-housing is beneficial because it improves agency transparency and reduces external costs. But, the in-housing increase doesn’t mean brands won’t need partners. Rather, they are looking for more transparency into how ad dollars are spent and greater control over their image and campaign creative. So, instead of seeing this trend as a threat, find ways to empower advertisers to understand and participate in their marketing. Media agencies that position themselves as true partners, with collaborative tools for improving audience understanding and segmentation, will effectively complement in-house marketing teams.
6. Bouncing back after Covid
After a decline of -8.8% last year, the international marketing agency dentsu is predicting global advertising to increase by 5.8% in 2021, to US $579 billion. This is even higher than the industry’s 10-year average of 4.5% growth. Certainly, increased ad spend is a good thing for agencies, particularly those that prove they have the data and know-how to connect with audiences in 2021. One area of opportunity is ecommerce. Globally, ecommerce sales rose to $26.7 trillion in 2020, making up 19% of all retail sales, up from 16% in 2019. Your agency can prove its value by mastering ecommerce and understanding how online and offline behaviors affect online purchases.
7. Living an omnichannel reality
Whether they are shopping or simply watching content, consumers expect seamless experiences across devices and channels. Thus, advertisers are working to understand audience behavior and the often complex and personalized path to purchase. Media agencies must also adopt omnichannel strategies. For example, you need solutions for understanding cross-media reach and frequency and measuring a holistic ROI of integrated campaigns. This hinges on data and tools, which are increasingly becoming an agency’s competitive advantage.
Want to learn how to get more from your data?
Each of the trends outlined above may give agencies another opportunity to provide value to advertisers. But not without the right knowledge and tools.
For tips and tricks for deriving more success in 2021, including underutilized strategies for audience segmentation, download Telmar’s free eGuide,“How agency professionals can achieve more success in 2021.”
The guide includes insider advice for improving your approach to audience and market research, data integration, data visualization, and media planning with strategies designed for today’s fragmented media landscape.
The guide also introduces overlooked, but highly-effective statistical tactics you can use to discover hidden relationships between audiences, identify hard-to-spot factors across different variables, segment more effectively, and expertly match the right audience to the right media mix. These tactics will help you empower your team, streamline processes, and deliver measurable ROI for clients.