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A new report by We Are Amnet examines the state of the advertising and marketing industry after what has been a period of rapid and often enforced change. It looks at some of the emerging trends in a much-changed ecosystem, providing sector insights for industry leaders and brands alike.

The report finds that not only are brands bringing more of their creative work in-house, but the nature of the work being entrusted to in-house capabilities has changed. Despite some brands reporting issues with coping with rapid growth, the figures clearly demonstrate that an overwhelming majority are satisfied with their outcomes.

Savings and satisfaction with in-housing

Unsurprisingly, most of the report’s findings point to a sector landscape that has changed rapidly – change that has only accelerated in the last couple of years. It’s clear that KPIs for in-house work have evolved in that period, moving from purely financial considerations to being dominated by concern for quality. The responses given to those questions offer an indication that, increasingly, brands trust in-house capabilities.

It also seems evident that this trust hasn’t grown merely because organisations feel they have little choice but to bring work in-house, because while the KPIs may have moved away from the bottom line, the benefits of in-housing certainly have not. There is, the report finds, clear financial advantage in in-housing: 91% of companies surveyed report up to 30% savings against their traditional models. So it’s probably no surprise that 87% of brands surveyed confirm that they are satisfied with the outcome of in-housing their work.

In-housing has matured

We Are Ament’s report shows a clear maturation in the types of services that are being handled in-house, with strategic work now being routinely trusted to in-house creatives. Indeed, in 2021, ‘brand strategy’ was the top response given for the type of work being moved in-house.

So while 95% of respondents do still also use external agencies, over a third of them now produce all creative work in-house. Furthermore, the report lays down some pointers for how in-house agencies demonstrate their value to their owners, including proving positive ROI, building relationships with external clients, and even turning down certain projects when it’s in the brands’ best interests.

We live in a digital world

The report looks at the market in a much broader context, too, finding that total market spend is down apart from across digital activities. Responses suggest this is at least partly as a result of organisations striving to keep up with the racing pace of tech development. And with good reason: digital-first companies have ridden out the pandemic better than others, according to leading analysts.

The report concludes by looking forward, focusing on the trends for 2022 and beyond. It finds an increased focus on customer retention in content, the continuing growth of augmented reality in our everyday lives, increased use of AI in customer behaviour prediction, and a surge in consumers using voice-search capabilities.

In conclusion, the report finds that content is still the way forward, with the hard sell increasingly anachronistic. In one telling statistic, it finds that brands with blogs produce 67% more leads per month than those without them. Content, it seems, is still king.

Click here to download the full report.

Saskia Johnson

Author Saskia Johnson

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