Blog Article

Should I Stay (With My Agency) Or Should I Go (In-House) Now?

As ad industry headlines highlight brands bringing media buying in-house, speculation is that agencies are doomed, sure to be victims of self-service advertising technology. I think the reports of these deaths may be greatly exaggerated.

Now, “in-housing” is a real trend. According to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) 35% of marketers expanded their in-house media buying capabilities in 2017. That’s more than double the amount from the prior year. Several brands have successfully reduced their reliance on external agencies and created their own ad teams. NetflixP&G and AB InBev are just a few heavy-hitters whose in-house moves have served them well.

The motivations driving the trend are also very real. Brands want greater transparency and better control over their data, supply chain costs and execution while also avoiding reported potentially questionable agency practices.

But the in-house grass isn’t necessarily greener for everyone, and for every success story, there’s a tale of someone who bit off more than their organization could chew. But in-housing needn’t — and for many, shouldn’t — be an all-or-nothing proposition. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), only 18% of brands have moved 100% of their programmatic in-house, while 47% have adopted a hybrid approach, taking control of some parts while still retaining outside suppliers for others.

Of course, this hybrid approach comes with its own complexities and questions that marketers need to consider, starting with which solutions and services should be brought in-house and why. For any brand making this assessment, here are four questions to keep in mind.

Originally published 10/17/18 on Forbes.