Advertising Industry: Who Are the Largest Advertising Agencies?

Who are the largest advertising agencies?

What are we talking about in this article?

The advertising industry is massive, and more and more advertising agencies are being founded to ensure that there are plenty of options for customers. Indeed, even small businesses are spending nearly $10,000 on average for digital marketing; meanwhile, the digital advertising industry’s total value is significantly higher than $563 billion. 

With the number of ad agencies rapidly growing, and digital marketing becoming an increasingly prominent form of marking solution, marketing agencies are experiencing renewed demand for their services. However, there are certain advertising and creative agencies that have managed to secure a far more significant hold over the global advertising market. Today, we’ll be taking a look at some of the biggest advertising and marketing agencies around in 2021, and some of the stats for global agency networks.

Advertising Industry’s Stats

With so much being spent on advertising, it’s important to be aware of the advertising industry’s stats. Fortunately, we’re on hand to give you some idea about how the statistics line up for digital marketing and content creation brands.

How Much Is Spent on Global Digital Marketing and Advertising?

Digital advertising is a rapidly growing field, and consumers are spending increasing sums of money on digital direct marketing services. From Chicago to Boston and everywhere in between, digital advertising is proving itself to be effective, affordable, and reliable – so, growing numbers of businesses are investing in social media and digital agency support.

But what do the stats say about the global spending on digital marketing and advertising companies? Well, digital marketing agency spending has increased around the world, although North America is generally one of the biggest investors into the sector. Western Europe follows North America as one of the biggest investors. 

Small businesses spend, on average, up to $10,000 per month, according to Statista, on Google Ads marketing – showing just how massive the sector is. Furthermore, the amount spent on social media marketing company services grew exponentially to $31 billion for 2016 – which represented almost twice the value spent on marketing services just two years prior. 

Advertising Industry

For 2019, the price of global advertising was massive – a staggering $563 billion. Evidently, then, the role of marketing agencies and marketing services is quite staggering – and so, businesses absolutely need to consider the potential benefits of investing in advertising services. 

Does My Business Need to Invest in Digital Marketing Services?

At this point, you might be wondering whether your business needs to invest in digital marketing services, and if so, whether full-service support is necessary. Indeed, marketing is important for all manner of businesses, not just multinationals and large-scale firms. As we’ve already summarised, even relatively small businesses can find themselves spending significant amounts of money on marketing services from professional ad agencies – and so, media agency services are important for many firms.

But why is this? Indeed, it’s important to consider why media agencies provide pivotal services. In fact, considering that 84% of people expect a brand to put out content, the importance of SEO services is clear to see. Therefore, it’s often fair to say that the most successful companies are often those which invest in direct marketing services to target their customers.

Who Are The Top Advertising Agencies by Revenue?

There are a huge number of advertising agencies, as we’ve already established. These range in size from small digital marketing teams through to massive, multinational firms that are among the largest advertising agencies. 

Today, we’ll be looking at which of these are among the largest advertising agencies, to help give you a clearer overview of the digital marketing agency.

Who Are These Advertising Companies?

Arguably, the top spots for ad agency spending are held by Google and Facebook, with 37.2% and 19.6% of spending respectively. However, there are many other marketing agencies which also provide CRM and SEO services; some of the largest multinationals are listed below. 

WPP plc

The single largest digital marketing multinational agency is WPP plc, a marketing brand that’s based in London. The United Kingdom is well known for providing high-quality SEO services and digital consultancy support, especially for the healthcare field. It stands to reason that the top spot would be held by a London-based firm. WPP plc has a total revenue of 17.34 billion USD and employs 130,000 employees, far outstripping the number of employees on any other digital marketing agency’s payroll.

The firm describes itself as a creative transformation company, and provides full-service CRM and SEO for firms in many industries.

Oddly enough, WPP PLC’s origins were in 1971, when the brand was founded as Wire and Plastic Products plc. In fact, it was a manufacturer of wire shopping baskets, and subsequently became the parent company of a teapot and jug manufacturer. In short, the brand’s early days were a long shot from its current role as a digital marketing agency. It was only in 1987, when WPP plc acquired the largest design and advertising company in Scotland, that they set their foot into the digital marketing field for the first time.

Some of WPP plc’s subsidiaries include VMLY&R, Ogilvy, GroupM, Wunderman Thompson, and more.

Advertising Industry

Omnicom Group

Coming in at second in the list of the largest advertising agencies is the Omnicom Group, which is based in New York and employed almost 80,000 employees as of 2019. Impressively, despite having 50,000 fewer employees than WPP plc, the Omnicom Group still achieves an annual revenue of 15.29 billion USD.

The Omnicom Group specializes in corporate communications, global media, and digital marketing. Its CRM services are particularly highly sought after for their efficacy. 

It and its networks (including BBDO, DDB, and TBWA Worldwide) provide numerous fields of content. These include healthcare marketing, experiential marketing, direct marketing, branding, public relations support, and strategic media buying and planning.

The company operates in over 100 countries globally, making it one of the largest multinational firms in the digital advertising industry. It was hoped that a merger between the Publicis Groupe and the Omnicom Group would help propel both firms to new heights. However, the merger never went through. Nevertheless, by 2014, Omnicom had still achieved a position as the second biggest agency holding company.

Publicis Groupe

The Publicis Groupe is the third-largest of the digital marketing agencies on our list. It is a Paris-based agency that employs just over 75,000 people. The firm has an average annual revenue of $11.39 billion USD and is said to be one of the oldest firms engaged with digital marketing today. 

Indeed, while WPP plc’s origins seem like a far cry from the digital marketing field, the Publicis Groupe is an old hand in the industry with almost a century of experience. The Publicis Groupe was founded by Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet in Paris in 1926 and served as an important catalyst in the economic boom of France following the Second World War. Notably, the Publicis Groupe has close links to the French government, which helped to ensure the success of the firm during the post-war period.

As already mentioned, a deal between the Publicis Groupe and the Omnicom Group was set to be arranged, which would result in an Omnicom-Publicis merger. However, the merger fell through, leaving the Publicis Groupe behind in the third position on the list of the top advertising companies. Despite this, the Publicis Groupe is still a parent company to numerous other names, such as Leo Burnett Worldwide and Saatchi & Saatchi.

The Interpublic Group of Companies (IPG)

Employing a total of 54,000 employees and with annual revenue of 9.71 billion USD is the Interpublic Group of Companies (commonly abbreviated to IPG), a digital marketing agency based once again in New York City. 

The Interpublic Group of Companies is only a few years younger than the Publicis Groupe before it. The group was founded in October 1930 with the merger of H.K. McCann Co. and Erickson Co. This would make it the largest advertising agency in the world and would lead to the firm restructuring thirty years later into four operating units because of the size of the firm. These operating units were: McCann-Erickson Advertising, which was based in the United States; Mc-Cann-Erickson Corp, which served as an international company; McCann-Marschalk; and Communications Affiliates.

The Interpublic Group of Companies considers itself a leader in the field of global marketing solutions and provides marketing services for public relations, media, communications planning, digital marketing, and advertising. They operate with a focus on “Inspired Inclusivity,” which they consider is a pivotal part of their success as one of the world’s largest digital marketing agencies.

The major networks within the IPG include McCann Worldgroup, the MullenLowe Group, IPG Mediabrands FCB, and more.

Dentsu International (Dentsu Aegis Network)

Coming in at fifth on our list of the biggest digital marketing agencies is Dentsu, a Tokyo-based agency that employs a total of over 62,000 people. The brand focuses on providing services that are idea-led and based on the latest technology to ensure that all clients have the best marketing support possible.

Their unique selling point that has helped to make them one of the largest marketing firms is their passion for providing simplistic, clear, and engaging services that translate well into noticeable and easy-to-monitor results. By involving their customers in the marketing process, Dentsu International is able to engage with customers and provide effective media planning and marketing services for their clients.

Dentsu International was previously known as the Dentsu Aegis Network until September 2020, when they removed “Aegis” from their brand name due to the transformational simplification of the brand’s business model that had been carried out just prior. Some of their network subsidiaries include Fetch, 360i, Mcgarrybowen, DentsuX, Grip Limited, Gravity, and more.

Other Notable Digital Marketing Agencies

So far, we have listed five of the biggest digital marketing agencies in the world – however, there are many other multinational marketing brands that are still worthy of mention. These include the following brands:

Havas – Havas is based in Paris, France, and has an average turnover of $1.71 billion USD. It employs a total of 17,500 employees.

Hakuhodo – a Tokyo-based digital marketing agency, Hakuhodo employs an impressively low 3000 employees compared to other multinational marketing agencies. Despite the relatively low numbers of staff members, the SEO content and global marketing firm is still able to achieve an impressive turnover of $3 billion USD.

MDC Partners – As a New-York based digital marketing firm, MDC Partners have an impressive average turnover of $1.33 billion USD based on a team of just over 5,6000 people.

Publicis Sapient – As a digital consultancy company, Sapient was an increasingly popular marketing firm that was taken over by the Paris firm, Publicis; the deal behind the merger was valued at $3.7 billion USD. They are based in Boston, Massachusetts, and employ approximately 20,000 people.

What’s Different Between These Advertising Companies?

It can be hard to define the most significant differences between these advertising companies. Indeed, aside from the location of the firm’s headquarters and the number of employees that they have, there doesn’t seem to be a large number of differences between the firms.

However, one thing that this list does bring light upon is the importance of making the most of your advertising team. Indeed, some of the most powerful multinational digital marketing agencies that we’ve listed on this list have a relatively small number of people working for them. 

The most notable example is Hakuhodo, the sixth-largest digital marketing agency. This employs just over 3000 people but still manages to achieve an income of over $3 billion in revenue. This is in comparison to Dentsu in fourth position, which achieves approximately three times the revenue of Hakuhodo, but with a team that’s about twenty times bigger! 

Advertising Industry

Evidently, then, there is a significant amount of potential for digital marketing agencies – both large and small – to improve their profitability by focusing on increasing individual worker efficiency and productivity. 

The value of ad spending is growing year on year. Hence, it’s fair to say that we are very much living in the ad age, and the demand for high-quality, full-service digital marketing services will only continue to grow.

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