Last fall, the Association of National Advertisers in the U.S. released headline-grabbing survey results revealing that 78% of its members had taken some agency work in-house, with cost the most frequently cited reason for doing so.
Asked about the primary benefits to having an in-house agency, 38% said cost efficiencies, 19% said better knowledge of brands, and just 12% said speed and nimbleness. Only 6% cited greater control.
But at a Canadian industry event focused on in-housing in Toronto this week, attendees heard a very different story about both the prevalence and benefits of taking agency work in-house.
“I would just say proceed with caution if [cost] is your objective. There is a big up front investment required from a technology standpoint,” said Lauren Felix, senior manager, media and digital strategy for Bayer Consumer Health, which announced last year it would take its media in-house by 2020. “This was all about control, transparency, improved performance [and] becoming more efficient. It was not about cost savings initially.”
Felix was one of the presenters at the event hosted by the Association of Canadian Advertisers.
In-housing has become a popular industry topic for a number of reasons: marketer concern about lack of transparency, the rise in biddable media and automated buying, pressures to control costs and improvements in technology all contribute.
However the practice became a much bigger story last year when the ANA numbers came out revealing just how quickly it was catching on with marketers: just 42% reported having in-house services in 2008 and 58% in 2013.
However, a small survey conducted by the ACA revealed that the trend is not nearly as pronounced in Canada. Kicking off the event, ACA president Ron Lundrevealed that just 40% of 43 ACA respondents have some form of in-house agency (48% in English Canada and just 17% in Quebec).
In terms of the types of services being taken in-house…
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