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ANA: Eight In Ten Member Advertisers Have An In-House Agency.

If it feels like more advertisers have their own in-house agency, it’s not your imagination. Eighty-two percent of ANA members have an in-house agency in 2023, a new all-time high. That’s up from 78 percent in 2018, 58 percent in 2013, and 42 percent in 2008.

The upward trajectory is expected to continue. The advertiser trade group predicts penetration will eventually peak at 85 to 90 percent. “In-house agencies should no longer be considered a trend,” ANA says in The Continued Rise of the In-House Agency: 2023 Edition. “They have become firmly entrenched as part of the holistic marketing ecosystem and are now a mainstay."

The top benefits for advertisers in bringing agency functions in house continue to be cost efficiencies (topping the list by a wide margin), followed by better knowledge of brands, institutional knowledge and having a dedicated staff.

While much of the creative services provided have to do with digital media, such as social media, search and email, a growing amount of creative for radio and other traditional media has moved in house.

Over the past three years, 65 percent of ANA survey respondents have moved some established business that used to be handled by their external agency to their in-house agency.

Among the most commonly moved types of services are creative services for print collateral, direct mail, internal communications, out-of-home, and radio. Other services that have moved from external to in-house agencies are media services for social media and search and media strategy.

ANA says media is the “final frontier” for in-house agencies. While over 90 percent of respondents handle some creative in-house, 54 percent of in-house agencies handle some media planning/buying services. Those who have considered bringing media in-house but have not yet done so told ANA in qualitative discussions that is because media is “too complex.”

Thirty-two percent of respondents have in-house programmatic capabilities, in-line with 30 percent in 2018. “That suggests that the initial push among early adapters to bring programmatic capabilities in-house may have peaked,” the ANA report says.

Just because more services are moving in-house doesn’t mean advertisers don’t still work with external shops. Ninety-two percent of respondents also work with an external agency. That’s mainly due to bandwidth/capacity reasons, such as when the in-house agency is too busy, or for capabilities that an external agency has that do not exist internally.

Fielded in February and March 2023, the ANA survey invitation was emailed to client-side marketers who are ANA members. For the survey, ANA defined an “in-house agency” as a department, group, or person that has responsibilities that typically are performed by an external advertising or other MarCom agency. Download the study results HERE.

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