Nearly Half of Agencies Expect Business to Increase in the First Quarter of 2017

By Erik Oster 

According to a survey conducted by Comcast-owned media buying software company Strata, agencies are pretty, pretty, pretty confident about their outlook for 2017.

We take this conclusion to mean that humans will still be alive and engaged in the eternal struggle for food, shelter and companionship … thereby ensuring both the continued sale of goods and services and the advertising that facilitates the sale of those same goods and services. But it’s definitely not a self-promotional survey, no sir!

100 agencies responded to the survey, with 43 percent of respondents saying they expected their business to increase in the first quarter of next year, and just 11 percent saying it would decrease. This marks a rebound from quarter two of this year, which found agency business decreasing, accompanied by increased concerns over needs to downsize. The Strata survey found that some 42 percent of agency respondents anticipated needing to increase their staff next year, without a single agency anticipating a need to downsize. (That seems overly optimistic to us.) 51 percent of agencies identified expanding their client roster as their chief concern, with only 13 percent viewing client retention as the top priority.

Also noteworthy was a continued trend toward digital advertising. While broadcast remained clients’ top priority for 34 percent of agencies, digital moved up to the number two spot at 27 percent (a 79 percent increase over the previous year), while display fell to third at 15 percent.

That said, expect to spend more on paid social placements next year. Only 6 percent of participating agencies say they will spend between 26 and 50 percent of their budgets on paid social in the next quarter, but that tiny total is still 321 percent higher than the same stat during the first quarter of this year.

We are not the only ones who find these results to be surprisingly optimistic!

“At the end of a year that could be defined as turbulent, if nothing else, one of the upsides we’re seeing is the swift reversal in agency outlook and confidence,” Strata vice president Judd Rubin said in a statement. “Earlier this year, we found that agencies had major concerns about budgets and revenue, but we’re now seeing much more optimism heading into 2017. We’re excited to see how this new confidence impacts advertising strategies next year.”