Twelve Top Takeaways from ANA In-House Agency Report

October 15, 2018

By Bill Duggan


A new ANA study on the topic of in-house agencies concludes that the number of marketers with in-house agencies has grown substantially and workloads for those agencies are increasing. Findings are based on an ANA survey in which 412 members participated. The ANA also surveyed membership on in-house agencies in 2008 (10 years ago) and 2013 (five years ago), so the current research provides a unique and consistent benchmark on the evolution of in-house agencies. Here are the twelve top takeaways from our survey.

  1. In-house agency penetration is rising and workloads are increasing.
    • 78 percent of ANA members have an in-house agency in 2018, versus 58 percent in 2013 and 42 percent in 2008.
    • For 90 percent of respondents, the workload of their in-house agency has increased in the past year, including 65 percent for whom the workload has increased "a lot."
  2. Forty-four percent of respondents said their in-house agency was established within the past five years, contributing to the recent rise in overall penetration of in-house agencies.
  3. In-house agencies provide a range of services, including strategy, creative for traditional media, creative for digital media, and media planning/buying. Services that have grown significantly over the past five years are content marketing, creative strategy, data/marketing analytics, media strategy, programmatic media, and social media.
  4. Top benefits of in-house agencies are cost efficiencies, better knowledge of brands, institutional knowledge, dedicated staff, and speed/nimbleness.
  5. When asked to identify a single primary benefit of having an in-house agency, cost efficiencies were top ranked by a wide margin.
  6. Overall satisfaction with in-house agencies is high — 79 percent are satisfied, including 20 percent who said they are "completely satisfied."
  7. Ninety percent of respondents also work with an external agency. For those respondents, an average of 58 percent of all the work for their company is done in-house.
  8. Over the past three years, 70 percent of respondents have moved some established business that used to be handled by their external agency(ies) to their in-house agency. Top services moved have been content marketing, social media, and influencer marketing.
  9. Thirty percent of respondents have in-house programmatic buying capabilities.
  10. Seventy-nine percent of in-house agencies have in-house video production capabilities; 49 percent established their in-house production capabilities within the past five years.
  11. Top KPIs used to assess the effectiveness of in-house agencies are cost savings, speed to market, and business performance.
  12. The biggest challenges for in-house agencies are related to managing growth. Specifically, the two top challenges are managing workflow due to increased projects, and scaling efficiently/managing resources.

Going in-house is one of the hottest trends in the marketing industry. Get up to speed by reading the full report, "The Continued Rise of the In-House Agency."


Bill Duggan is a group EVP at the ANA.

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