WPP Spent $1B on Facebook Last Year, and Nine Other Agency Facts You Need to Know

Written by
Bradley Johnson
Advertising Age

May 1, 2016

May 1, 2016 • Author: Bradley Johnson

Like This: 198,900 of You Work for Ad Agencies, Highest Number Since Dot-Com Days

Agencies are hiring, their stocks have been climbing and revenue is rising as digital drives growth across the spectrum of disciplines. Ten facts from Ad Age's Agency Report 2016:

  1. U.S. agency revenue increased 6.5% to a record $46.8 billion in 2015, according to Ad Age Datacenter's analysis of more than 1,000 agencies, networks and companies.
  2. Digital captured 41.3% of 2015 U.S. agency revenue, including digital work at all agency types, from ad and media to PR and pure digital plays, up from 39.7% in 2014.
  3. All major agency disciplines grew last year, with revenue gains that ranged from 3.8% for customer relationship management and direct marketing to 8.7% for healthcare marketing.
  4. U.S. ad agency employment in December reached its highest point (198,900) since the early 2000s dot-com bubble.
  5. The number of media agency staffers and independent media reps hit an all-time high in December (47,200) after breaking through its dot-com peak earlier in 2015.
  6. Digital media employment in January passed broadcast and cable TV employment. Digital media staffing grew 13% in 2015, tracking with agencies' digital revenue (up 13.5%).
  7. WPP last year pumped $1 billion into advertising on Facebook on behalf of its clients, up from $650 million in 2014. WPP this year expects to place more than $5 billion in advertising with Google, its biggest media relationship.
  8. Of the world's five largest digital agency networks, only one is owned by a traditional agency company: Wunderman, owned by WPP, at No. 5. Top four: Accenture, IBM, Deloitte and Epsilon.
  9. Adland's Big Five -- WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, Interpublic and Dentsu -- in 2015 completed more than 100 acquisitions and investments. The biggest: Publicis' $3.7 billion purchase of Sapient.
  10. Investors are bullish on agency stocks. In April, WPP hit an all-time high, Omnicom reached its highest-ever adjusted closing price and Interpublic traded at its highest level since 2002.

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