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29 Surprising Facts About The Agency Business

The agency business is changing rapidly. Many say that agencies should be scared, others say it’s the best time ever to be in the business. We at Filestage won’t give you an opinion on that, just the basic facts.

Note: All the stats that aren’t connected to a time or state are based on the previous year (2014) in the U.S.

Famous Facts

1. Creative ideas by ad agencies aren’t always original. The blog Joe La Pompe has currently revealed 1,797 copycats in advertising. (Joe La Pompe)

2. Clients tend to change their agency faster than ever before. The average agency-client tenure is believed to be less than 3 years. In 1997 this number was 5.3 years. 13 years earlier it was 7.2 years. (Bedford Group Consulting)

3. In the bad days of 2009, all ad agencies combined cut an average of 41 jobs a day. (Ad Age)

4. There are more than 120,000 agencies in the U.S. alone and over half a million worldwide, according to Brian Regienczuk, CEO at Agency Spotter. (Quora)

5. Over 4/5ths of ad agencies employed fewer than 10 people in 2010. (Statista)

6. More than 188,900 people work at advertising agencies. That’s 11,5% more than there were 5 years ago and the highest number since 2001. For comparison: The fast food restaurant industry had 3.7 million employees in 2014. (Statista)

7. New York is the no.1 ad agency city. The name ‘mad men’ is derived from the large concentration of ad agencies on Madison Avenue. In 2013, there were over 2,000 ad agencies in the city. (Statista)

8. The revenue of the 4 largest agency holding companies (WPP, Omnicom Group, Publicis Groupe, and Interpublic Group of Cos.) was almost twice as much as the revenue of the other top 50 agencies combined in 2011. (Ad Age)

What Changed the Agency Business Lately

9. The digital share of agency revenues climbed to 40%. (Ad Age)

10. The $43.6 billion revenue generated by agencies is higher than ever before. It’s an increase of 5.3% compared to 2013. The growth was mostly driven by new digital revenue. (Ad Age)

11. Ad agencies offer new job positions that didn’t even exist years ago: Jobs like Creative Technologist, Community Manager and Information Architect are now common in agencies.

12. The video production share in ad agencies is rising fast. 48% of ad agencies offer video, compared to 26% in 2011. (BrightRoll)

13. Art directors receive an annual mean wage of $103,030 which is an 23.7% growth from 2005 to 2014. (BLS)

The Advertising Market

14. The top 5 companies that spend the most on advertising are: Procter & Gamble, AT&T, General Motors, Comcast and Verizon Communications. (Business Insider)

15. The share of internet advertising spending increased from 6% in 2005 to 24.8%. (Statista)

16. WPP is the world’s biggest agency holding company with a revenue of $15.6 billion in 2013. (Rediff) For comparison: The biggest agency group in Germany is Serviceplan, with a gross income of € 201.63 million in 2013. (Statista)

17. The average Chief Marketing Officer’s tenure is 43 months. This is an increase of 46% compared to 2006, where the average tenure was 23.3 months. The client CMO usually decides which agency the company decides to work with. (SpencerStuart)

18. The advertising market is growing consistently. In the year 2010, it was 5 times bigger than in 2000. In 2000, it was roughly twice as large as in 1990. (Carrington)

19. Facebook’s revenue was 12.5 billion, mainly from advertising. (Invespcro)

20. The top 200 advertisers spend a combined record amount of $137.8 billion. This marks an increase of 2% compared to the previous year. (Ad Age)

21. The annual mean wage for media buyers is $61,410. (BLS)

Video is Dominating the Ad Business

22. The average ad spending of the top 100 advertisers on YouTube was over 60% higher than in the previous year. (YouTube)

23. 60% of agency respondents on the BrightRoll 2015 Agency Survey think that mobile video will experience the largest overall increase in digital media spending. (BrightRoll)

24. The amount of ad spending on YouTube increased over 40% compared to the previous year. (YouTube)

25. The most important success metric for video production agencies are completed views. They rank at 20%, compared to CTR with 10%. (BrightRoll)

26. TV still has the biggest share of ad spending. A forecast by Strategy Analytics estimates a share of 42% in 2015. (TechCrunch)

27. The cost for the production of a 30 second TV commercial was at an average of $342,000 in 2008. (Small Business)

28. In 2016, companies will have to spend $5 million for a 30 second Super Bowl ad. (Fortune)

29. Adland offers an archive where you can watch 43 years of Super Bowl commercials. It starts with Super Bowl III in 1969. (Adland)

If you want to learn more about video advertising, check out our post on Why Video Marketing on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is So Powerful. And if you enjoy lists on advertising and the agency business, you can check out our list of the Top 100 Advertising Blogs and their Best Articles.

Which fact do you like the most? Let us know in the comments.

Excited about marketing and design. He loves to deconstruct expertise and find the 20% which accounts for 80% of the results.

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