How the media agency is reinventing itself in the digital age

How the media agency is reinventing itself in the digital age Liz Morrell is a freelance business journalist and content creator with more than 20 years writing experience, including 15 in retail and associated sectors. She is a regular contributor to MarketingTech but also covers a number of other industries in her freelance capacity. Contact her via LinkedIn or at


There are many sectors and businesses that have seen huge change in the digital age but probably one of the most dramatic changes comes in the world of marketing where digital marketing and advertising technology is now the norm.

The effect that is happening on media agency models, and the staff that they employ, is huge. According to a new survey of 200 UK media agencies by AdRoll 86% of UK media agencies have now evolved their businesses to reflect the influence of advertising technology on their companies and industry.

And as they change, so their staff are changing too. The report, Welcome to the Era of Mad Tech, suggests that 80% of agencies say that buyers are evolving more into becoming tech strategists and traders whilst planners are transitioning into the role of data analyst according to 88% of respondents. 83% meanwhile say that both buyers and planners’ roles are evolving into that of account managers and creative consultants.

It’s a change that such media agencies have worked hard to adapt to, so that rather than simply becoming strategic consultants such agencies have, by embracing analytics and data specialisations, instead evolved to meet the changing requirements of the industry. 69% of those surveyed described themselves as tech savvy whilst 60% said that they had expanded their mobile and social offerings in the past year – as opposed to 39% who chose to adopt a more consultative approach.

The report also showed that most agencies were working closely with their ad tech partners – with 90% saying that they had a close relationship with them. More than half (56%) said that they had benefited from productive collaborations whilst 46% said that ad tech was allowing their agency to provide clients with effective technology-based solutions at more competitive rates.

However there are challenges. 40% of agencies said that they found it hard to develop profitable models around their ad tech partnerships whilst 47% said that ad tech wasn’t as easy to monetise as traditional media.

Marius Smyth, managing director of AdRoll EMEA said relationships had to be improved further to gain the most benefit from the changes in the market. “To move further forward we should unite as a triumvirate formed of the agency, the ad tech platform and the client – it comes down to establishing an even greater means of communication between all parties,” he said.

“Ad tech companies themselves have a responsibility to help agencies best use emerging technologies to deliver optimal results and best practice,” Smyth added. “The industry must come together to be open, transparent and comfortable with learning and improving as we go. That way, we will all prosper on the promise of ad tech.”

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