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February 11th, 2015 | Read more articles from 2015 or Visit the News Archive
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—Digital Ad Spend Picked by Agencies as Biggest Change to Industry in 2015—

February 11, 2015 (CHICAGO) – Advertising agencies entered 2015 with optimism, expanded client budgets and big plans for growth, according to a new agency survey conducted by STRATA, the leader in media buying and selling software.  

The fourth quarter agency survey found more than half (53%) of agencies report they see their businesses growing in 2015 compared to a year ago. Forty-five percent of agencies say they plan on hiring more staff, the highest percentage ever recorded in the history STRATA Agency Survey. This optimism is not unfounded as 35% of the agencies polled say their clients are increasing their budgets from last year, representing a 50% increase from just two years ago. 

Those dollars will be spreading into newer mediums in 2015, as 81% of agencies are more interested in digital advertising than a year ago. Furthermore, 41% of agencies foresee increased digital ad spend as the biggest change coming to the advertising industry in 2015. While those changes may be coming, TV leads digital as the medium with the most client focus at 44% compared to 27%, respectively, followed by digital video in third place. Media mix was the biggest concern for ad agencies for the second straight quarter (41%), followed by client attraction (32%) as agencies are adapting to the competing advertising platforms. 

Forty-four percent of agencies are confident that online videos are reaching their intended audiences, a 10% jump from the third quarter. Thirty-five percent of agencies say videos only reach their intended audiences some of the time, and half of agencies responded they are still unsure if they are getting good value for their online video ad purchase.

“Ad agencies are expecting to see larger budgets from their clients along with increased demand for digital. The growth in these key areas and the increasingly fragmented media landscape are putting pressure on agencies to become more efficient,” said Joy Baer, STRATA President. “Initiatives like programmatic buying and better support of digital video are paramount for our clients and the industry in 2015.” 

More agencies are planning on using programmatic as 37% report that they will carry out between 10-20% of their ad buys programmatically, up 30% from the third quarter. Just under a quarter of agencies (24%) say they trust programmatic buying to properly execute their ad orders; one-third of agencies are still unsure. The improved ability to reach targeted audiences is the top benefit of programmatic purchasing according to 41% of agencies, while 39% of agencies report the quality of inventory as their greatest concern, closely followed by transparency of inventory sources (34%).

Other key findings:

Facebook and YouTube both reached new all-time highs for ad agencies in the STRATA survey as 96% and 72% of agencies say they will use those platforms in their client campaigns, respectively. Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn all saw respective growth at 54%, 27% and 27%

Print advertising lost favor with agencies as 66% say they are less interested in print than a year ago, tying a low point for the medium

Streaming radio remains strong as 48% of agencies say they are more interested in it than a year ago, and only 8% say they are less interested



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