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Mike Shaw, dataxu

It’s not just about the numbers

Adtech continues to flourish in 2019. For many of us working within the adtech industry, one of the core terms in the business of media buying is data. While our daily tasks revolve around numbers, numbers and… more numbers… there is so much more to a successful agency than their ability to analyse and evaluate data. As we progress through February, we ought to consider some of the lingering qualms on media agencies’ minds.

Providing a 360 degree-service

In our fast-moving industry, 12 months can completely change the way we work. Media agencies and tech providers have to constantly evolve and make the most of the digital transformation in order to stay relevant in the future. Over the past year, dataxu asked a number of media agencies in the UK and abroad about the services they think will still be relevant in the future. The agency representatives that we spoke to know what brands need now and over the next few years and have already started internal processes to meet these needs.

One of the biggest areas of growth in agency’s offerings will be operational consulting. While 31% of UK agencies offer this service today, 38% expect to be working in this field by 2023. At the same time, 16% told us that they need to gain expertise in consulting in order to stay relevant in the future. This shows us that agencies are aware of the threat of consultancies moving into their sector. Accenture launching a programmatic unit in recent months did not go unnoticed. However, agencies are not planning on going down without a fight. By moving into consultancy services themselves, agencies are trying to ensure that brands will continue to see the value of independent media buyers and won’t be tempted by the sector’s new competition.

Staying on top of digital

Alongside consulting capabilities, many agencies also told us that they need to become better at developing creatives and being seen as a partner in digital transformation. While these may seem like two separate issues at first, they both come down to the same main worry: In an over-crowded industry, media agencies feel that they need to offer a complete 360-degree service to brands. By offering creative, analytical and consulting services, they will be able to grow their business at scale and retain their clients in the long term.

The disruption of industries and digital transformation are topics that every company in every sector will have to encounter and deal with over the next few years. Media agencies are perfectly placed to advise their partners; however, they will have to undergo a transformation themselves before being able to assist their brand clients. In 2019 and beyond, agencies will have to heavily invest in their programmatic capabilities. New formats such as Advanced TV and programmatic audio are spreading fast, and it will be those agencies that are able to work with a broad range of channels that will retain business.

Beyond data

When looking at 2019 and into the 2020s, there are a number of key topics that will stay with us for years to come. Maximising the use of data is always going to be one of them. GDPR turned 2018 into a key year for the industry, fundamentally changing the ways we are able to work. The regulation has kick-started a change that will be felt for a while, with companies across sectors rethinking their business models and coming up with ways to use data in the consumers’ best interest.

However, media agencies need to consider their future beyond data capabilities. They ought to look further afield and learn from the successes of consultancies and creative agencies. By making sure they are able to act as a trusted partner for brands, and providing an all-round service, agencies will be able to withstand changing industry trends and remain relevant for years to come…

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