The new IMAA Indie Census for June 2023 has revealed eight in 10 independent media agencies have full-service, traditional and digital offerings and buying traditional media through digital pipes is on the rise.
Almost all (93%) indie agencies are planning and buying traditional media via digital, including BVOD, digital out-of-home and digital radio, the report, which surveyed the Independent Media Agencies of Australia’s 160+ members, found.
The rise of digital buying and channels has seen agencies concerned about privacy legislation, with more than 85% believing that the proposed privacy and data recommendations from the Government will impact the industry a lot/somewhat.
Despite Australia’s challenging economic conditions, more than 60% of independent media agencies are growing in 2023, with the majority predicting growth of up to 25%.
However, indie agencies are anticipating a softer second half of the year, with 30% predicting the ad market will decline by up to 10% and almost 20% saying it would be flat. More than one quarter of agencies (28%) said the ad market would grow by up to 10%. Any growth would be driven by three factors: economic conditions, programmatic/digital platforms, and client confidence.
Cost of living is also a key concern among agencies, with around 95% saying it concerned them a lot/somewhat.
Indie agencies have also embraced a flexible working environment for their staff, with almost 80% offering a hybrid office and work from home model, and almost 10% operating with a fully work from home model.
As well as offering flexibility, agencies have also introduced initiatives, such as extra leave and education, along with profit share, paid parental leave and a four-day working week, to attract and retain staff.
Agencies view sustainability as important, with more than 70% saying it was extremely or somewhat important or a current initiative, with another 20% prioritising sustainability as a future focus. And media owners’ sustainability credentials are increasingly important, with more than half (55%) saying it will soon influence their buying decisions.
IMAA CEO, Sam Buchanan, said: “Our Indie Census showed that our members are still positive about growth this year, despite predicting a softer ad market. The most interesting story, however, is in the convergence of media agencies.
“It’s no longer a digital versus traditional industry, almost everyone is full-service and all planning and buying will be going through digital pipes. This means that traditional media companies will never have heard of some of their agencies in years to come – but they should.
“Our members have also demonstrated their ability to be agile, offering hybrid workplaces and industry-leading initiatives to attract and retain staff, plus lean into their values such as advocating for a sustainable ad supply chain.”
Part two of the Indie Census 2023, to be released soon, will delve into media channels and growth predictions.
This comes after the IMAA called on the Queensland Government to better support Australian small businesses.
The industry body has asked the state government to put Queensland first by working towards a minimum of 35% of annual state Government advertising spend to go through local and independent media agencies.
The IMAA has opened discussions with the Queensland Government on how to translate progressive policy and commitments into positive outcomes for independent media agencies. A significant percentage of IMAA member agencies are locally owned and operated and provide a critical voice for our community.
See also: IMAA calls on Queensland Government to support local business through indie agencies