Digital Agencies must ‘Tool-Up’ to Survive the Big Squeeze

The demise of many shallow-rooted digital agencies has already begun and looks set to become even more brutal for the industry with the ‘double whammy’ of threats and disruption to their business models.

While programmatic digital ad spending in the UK continues to increase (from £1.99 billion in 2015 to £3.39 billion in 2017 and predicted to rise to £4.52 billion by 2019) the dynamics of the ecosystem are changing fast.

Firstly, with advertisers feeling increasingly frustrated by the walled garden lack of transparency offered by the Big Digital players such as Facebook, Google and Amazon, ever-increasing numbers of companies are taking their programmatic ad buying in-house. Currently, it is estimated that 35% of major advertisers operate their programmatic campaigns in-house and is forecast to grow to more than 60% of companies who will be operating their programmatic campaigns in-house by 2022.

Secondly, amidst uproar from the advertising industry with claims – and denials – of conflict of interest, Accenture Interactive has launched Accenture Interactive Programmatic Services as a means, they say, of improving their clients’ digital media buys.

Traditionally Accenture’s involvement in the digital media industry has been to audit the performance of media agencies on behalf of their clients. Now, Accenture Interactive would, in theory at least, be able to see and swap information from competitors in other parts of the Accenture business that could improve their own programmatic offering. Unsurprisingly, Accenture denies it would do this.

The solution for digital agencies is to ‘tool-up’ their offerings.

Rather than simply operating through the SAAS-operated platforms of Big Digital, as at present, agencies need to offer managed programmatic campaigns with Real-Time-Bidding, client-facing dashboards for transparency and full accountability.

In so doing, agencies will counter the drive by their clients to in-house programmatic buying while challenging the threat of Accenture Interactive. This is precisely why US-based digital advertising agency has opened an office in the UK, able to provide agencies in the UK and Europe with the tools and technology to compete and survive in this fast-changing environment.

To learn more about Digital Ignite and what it can do for your agency, contact Fiona Swainston, SVP Digital Ignite, Europe, via

Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash