Eight in 10 independent media agencies now have full service, traditional and digital offerings and buying traditional media through digital pipes is on the rise, the new IMAA Indie Census for June 2023 has revealed.
Almost all (93 per cent) indie agencies are planning and buying traditional media via digital, including BVOD, digital out-of-home and digital radio, the report, which surveyed the Independent Media Agencies of Australia’s 160+ members, found.
The rise of digital buying and channels have seen agencies concerned about privacy legislation, with more than 85 per cent believing that the proposed privacy and data recommendations from the Government will impact the industry a lot/somewhat.
Despite Australia’s challenging economic conditions, more than 60 per cent of independent media agencies are growing in 2023, with the majority predicting growth of up to 25 per cent.
However, indie agencies are anticipating a softer second half of the year with 30 per cent predicting the ad market will decline by up to 10 per cent, and almost 20 per cent saying it would be flat. More than one quarter of agencies (28 per cent) said the ad market would grow by up to 10 per cent. Any growth would be driven by three factors: economic conditions, programmatic/digital platforms, and client confidence.
Cost of living is also a key concern among agencies, with around 95 per cent saying it concerned them a lot/somewhat.
Indie agencies have also embraced a flexible working environment for their staff, with almost 80 per cent offering a hybrid office and work from home model, and almost 10 per cent operating with a fully work from home model.
As well as offering flexibility, agencies have also introduced initiatives, such as extra leave and education, along with profit share, paid parental leave and a four-day working week, to attract and retain staff.
Agencies view sustainability as important, with more than 70 per cent saying it was extremely or somewhat important or a current initiative, with another 20 per cent prioritising sustainability as a future focus. And media owners’ sustainability credentials are increasingly important, with more than half (55 per cent) saying it will soon influence their buying decisions.
IMAA CEO, Sam Buchanan (lead image), said: “Our Indie Census showed that our members are still positive about growth this year, despite predicting a softer ad market. The most interesting story, however, is in the convergence of media agencies. It’s no longer a digital versus traditional industry, almost everyone is full-service and all planning and buying will be going through digital pipes. This means that traditional media companies will never have heard of some of their agencies in years to come – but they should.
“Our members have also demonstrated their ability to be agile, offering hybrid workplaces and industry-leading initiatives to attract and retain staff, plus lean into their values such as advocating for a sustainable ad supply chain.”
Part two of the Indie Census 2023, to be released soon, will delve into media channels and growth predictions.