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One of the biggest trends we have seen this year is the growing interest in in-housing, with direct platforms like Google and Facebook making it appear easy to self-serve. The moment has even gained enough traction for the incoming head of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, Nigel Vaz, to officially note it as a major issue for agencies.
In a speech to set the tone for his tenure, which began in May, he highlighted that the public trusts advertising executives less than politicians and estate agents. When considered alongside the current in-housing trend, the advertising industry needs to find new ways to evolve. This means developing new relationships with clients that centre on a revenue-growing partnership, rather than simply spending ad budgets. Clients will increasingly need partners to help them manage their in-housing journey, providing the support and expertise they need to ensure a successful transition.
Certainly, the research suggests that clients are becoming increasingly interested in taking on some advertising responsibilities. A Digiday report, for instance, found 91% of brands have moved at least a part of their digital marketing operations in-house.
The report also found that 61% of marketers who have in-house teams will still partner with agencies for creative production, with 63% actually believing in-housing is a passing trend.
The apparent contradiction is probably best answered by some brands believing they can save budget by handling some of the simpler work in the execution of campaigns while still realising they need the strategic expertise and creative talents offered by an agency, not to mention their access to data and media buying power.
Similarly, figures from the Association of National Advertisers published in January, relating to 2018, show that three in four advertisers now in-house creative, while a third handle their own media. However, none handle their own strategy.
The in-housing trend shows no signs of tailing off any time soon and 2020 will continue to see the development of a range of models as brands restructure their approach to agency partners.