Across the market, it looks like digital agencies are feeling the pinch.
Digital is no longer a new field – we’re in a mature market now, with much greater transparency and a greater level of savvy. The display market is changing -thanks for the upsurge in quality inventory available across advertising exchanges, the bulk-buying/traditional media trading model is no longer the only option, and one more reason for a client to consider taking more of the digital media spend in-house.
Clients are looking to agencies to add real value, rather than perceived value – margins are being squeezed and delivery targets are higher than ever (as a separate note this is resulting in general feeling of dissatisfaction/devalue with a lot of the people we speak to in the agency market). Becoming more data-centric, leveraging bulk-buy deals on technologies and adopting performance model/becoming more media agnostic is the modern digital agency mantra.
On the advertiser side, squeezing every last drop out of campaign performance is more important than ever. Understanding consumer behaviour/attributing conversions to influence future marketing plans is key. Testament to this is a surge of acquisitions by some of the industry megaliths across analytics, bid management, tag management, MVT platforms, retargeting solutions and more – industry players like Adobe, Oracle, IBM and (of course) Google hungrily buying up specialist tech companies to stitch together a Frankenstein-esque end-to-end technology platform. We’re also seeing the likes of Adnologies enter the market with a more bespoke/‘bottom up’ approach towards the technology conundrum, and campaign management platforms like Marin and Ignition One partnering/merging with Criteo and AdJug respectively to diversify their offering now the search foothold is in place.
What does this mean for recruitment? We’re in a market which is changing and which will demand a different sort of skillset – we need to put digital on the map for more undergraduates. We need to steal some of the mathematicians and economists from mouths of the hedge funds and investment banks; we need to pinch the programmers from the software companies and the business strategists from the management consultancies. We need to inject a different breed of digital marketers into the industry.