With all the hype around the in-housing of programmatic media buying, you'd be led to believe that it is a turn-key, simple solution that every marketer has or is planning to implement; the corollary of which is that the media buying agencies are in real trouble. The Myers Report 2020 Media Supply Chain Study, a survey of 200 top leaders in the advertising and agency media buying world, set out to uncover the reality.
What we found was actually a strong complement to the ideas we spoke about in our recent article, "Agency-Marketer Trust in the Programmatic Era. Progress Has Been Made," where we explained that trust is building as marketers work with agencies to define audiences and navigate privacy waters. It seems that media buying agencies actually do have quite a bit of value and in-housing programmatic buying is not a slam-dunk.
Although there continue to be efforts to bring all types of traditional media (OOH, radio, national and local TV, OTT) into programmatic interfaces (DSP, SSPs), the execution of that vision has, to date, not met the promise — and the bulk of those buys continue to require human engagement to manage. It's an area that will continue to evolve, for sure, but the advantage still goes to having an agency for media mix allocation, planning, and execution.
According to several programmatic industry players with whom we spoke, marketers that have in-housed have gained a greater appreciation of the necessary programmatic back-office functions around attribution, billing, and conflict resolution that agencies have mastered at scale. The concept of programmatic media being as easy as trading stock on E-Trade was more hype than reality.
Our report illustrates that the practical reality of running an in-house agency doesn't always achieve the theoretical benefits. While 44 percent of advertisers surveyed did say that in-housing had resulted in more efficient media plans, a nearly equal amount (40 percent) disagreed.
There have been and will always be in-house agencies. Based on The Myers Report survey, marketers have a better understanding and appreciation of agencies' value. In addition to growing trust in agencies as partners in managing first-party data, there's hope that relationships are strengthening. For agencies, it's a bit of good news and, perhaps, quote Mark Twain: "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."
The Myers Report Media Supply Chain Study was conducted in 4th quarter 2019 with 197 respondents. The study is available to MediaVillage member companies. For details, contact Maryann Teller at firstname.lastname@example.org.