Thinking about taking your advertising and marketing in-house? You aren’t alone. Brands are increasingly turning in-house for their marketing, advertising, and media needs and are benefitting from it. A recent ANA survey of 412 client-side marketers showed that 78% of respondents have an in-house agency, which is up from 58% in 2013. Much of this increase has happened within the past five years.
While brands are taking different approaches to in-housing, ANA’s report uncovered certain trends about which tasks are being insourced. Brands often begin their in-housing journey with a hybrid structure, as shown in a recent IAB study that found 47% of brands have partially moved programmatic functions in house.
More brands are also moving media planning and buying in-house; in the past 3 years, 26% of programmatic buying shifted in-house.
In-house agencies often provide strategy, creative, and media planning/buying, but in the past five years, significantly more companies are moving even more functions in-house: content marketing, creative strategy, data/marketing analytics, media strategy, programmatic media, and social.
Brands are seeing a number of advantages by insourcing their advertising and marketing. 38% of advertisers polled by ANA cited cost-efficiencies as the number one benefit. Brands are also benefiting from greater transparency, as well as more ownership and control of data. For others, relying on dedicated staff rather than an external agency means faster turnaround times, and a better knowledge of the company’s brand.
Despite these benefits, the road to in-housing isn’t always easy, and many brands who decide to shift resources internally face a number of bumps along the way. As recorded in ANA’s The Continued Rise Of The In-house Agency, the biggest challenges teams experience relate to managing an increased workload and scaling efficiently. This is consistent with a commissioned study conducted by Forrester on behalf of Albert, in which 35% of marketers surveyed who are moving in-house are struggling to scale efforts due to a lack of resources, and 21% are finding it difficult to find and retain talent for their in-house agency.
75% of marketers surveyed in a Digiday study stated that taking programmatic ad buying in-house was the most difficult. Marketers surveyed also reported search and creative production among the hardest to take in-house.
Artificial intelligence can solve for these challenges to make in-housing possible. Marketing AI solutions can handle functions related to campaign planning, optimization, and management in paid search, social, and programmatic digital campaigns. Autonomous AI solutions are able to make audience and creative optimizations 24/7, conduct ongoing bid adjustments, and test thousands of creative/keywords. When an AI takes control of digital ad operations, marketers are freed up from rote, mechanical tasks that are better suited for machines and discover they are empowered to return to the greater purpose of marketing – building powerful brand and audience connections. The result? More scalable, efficient, and effective digital ad campaigns, all while having control, ownership, and transparency over customer data.
For companies considering a transition to in-house, it’s the perfect time to incorporate a technology assessment. Brands in this transitional phase have an opportunity to review current tech capabilities and needs, identify missing resources and new roles required, and uncover knowledge gaps. During this assessment, they may find that AI will be the right tool that can alleviate concerns about transparency, scalability, efficiency, and effectiveness, all while improving results.
To learn how one brand used AI to help them shift their marketing and advertising in-house, read this case study.