3 Trends Fueling Marketing Agency Growth

The marketing agency and advertising fields have seen some significant changes over the past few years. Due, in part, to unprecedented changes in the hiring and retention landscapes, rapid twists impacting market happenings, and economic swings leading to waves in consumer spending, Marketers nationwide are facing unique challenges, career decisions, and expectations in the workplace. 

With new trends coming to light by the day, ad agencies nationwide have been making headlines for their reliability and stability, boasting growth during a time of uncertainty in the job market. Moving the industry to the center of the spotlight, ad agencies are offering optimism, growth, and flexibility to the job market. 

To make sense of the buzz, we’re taking a closer look at the bigger picture and outlining the what, why, and how behind the growth, the projected outlook of the industry, and the roles with the greatest demand.

Marketing Agency Growth in Recent Years

Over the past five years, the marketing agency industry has been resilient, overcoming the impacts of shifting market demands, consumer preferences, and spending in the wake of COVID-19. Bringing steady, stable growth to the Marketing and Creative fields, ad agencies nationwide have capitalized on consumer spending through digitalization, personalization, artificial intelligence, and sustainability – just to name a few. 

These factors, combined with economic trends and advertisement expenditure, have led the marketing agency industry to see sizable growth within the recent U.S. market. Piggy-backing from this growth, the industry-wide revenue of ad agencies nationwide has been steadily growing at the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.7% since 2019, leading to an expected total of $70.1 billion in 2024. This will effectively increase revenue by an estimated 1.9%, inching profit toward 6.6%.

Adding fuel to the fire, with nearly 94% of marketing teams outsourcing some or all of their marketing activities, the flexibility and reliability of ad agencies provide additional time, resources, and bandwidth for teams navigating job market swings. At its core, demand for the specialized, steady assistance of ad agencies is leading to an increased need for supply within the midst of unknowns, contributing to the relatively balanced outlook of the industry in recent years. 

Ultimately, while individual organizations, teams, and professionals will have different experiences with the ebbs and flows of the market, ad agencies have (for the most part!) provided a pocket of hope in the Marketing landscape due to their steady and stable growth.

The Marketing Agency Outlook for 2024 and Beyond

If there is one takeaway from recent years that we can use to predict the future of ad agencies, it’s their unwavering resiliency. While paving the way for success in today’s digital environment, ad agencies effectively sit at a unique crossroads within the job market – pinpointing a place of simultaneous growth, cautious optimism, and opportunity. 

The good news? Research predicts this growth to continue into the remainder of 2024, nearly doubling from years previous: “Ad spending is expected to jump significantly this year, according to a new forecast from PQ Media, which predicts a 7.7% increase in global advertising and marketing spending. That would nearly double last year’s 4% growth to $1.631 trillion.”

With the halfway point of 2024 sitting on the horizon, it’s becoming clear that ad agencies are rising to these predictions, already showing signs of greater strength than the “relatively resilient ad market” of 2023. Propelled by advancements in the economic environment, shifts in the online landscape brought on by Gen-Z and artificial intelligence, and significant events, like the U.S. Election and Summer Olympics – forecasts are on the incline for ad agencies as we look to 2024 and beyond.

The growth doesn’t stop there – by 2028, the advertising agency market size is likely to grow to $492.07 billion at a CAGR of 4.6%. Attributed to the ranging factors above, the ad agency industry’s driving forces are poised for a steady future.

What This Means for Marketing Professionals

In light of recent developments, marketing agencies nationwide are reportedly focusing on “harnessing new opportunities, diversifying services, and strategically navigating economic trends to offer sustainable growth.” For marketing professionals, this points to many new ways of doing things, skills to polish, trends, and expectations in the workplace. 

The market is set to reward this growth with additional full-time roles, specialized opportunities, and flexible freelance gigs. Already showing signs to prove it, despite the job market’s overall contraction in full-time roles, employment in advertising, PR, and related fields was recorded at 519,200 in February – down only 400 roles from January’s all-time high. For team leaders and organizations, the growth of ad agencies means additional opportunities for flexibility in the workplace and exposure to specialized talent through outsourced projects. 

Thus, Marketing professionals across the industry are keeping a close eye on ad agencies, meeting demands for entry- and mid-level roles, media and digital projects, and on-demand needs. Anecdotally, the balance within the industry indicates that despite broader market challenges, there’s a sustained demand for professionals skilled in communication, branding, digital marketing, and media relations.

If you’re looking for assistance navigating marketing agency jobs, skills, or trends, our team is here to help!

The Three Marketing Agency Roles With the Greatest Demand

The big picture is clear: Marketing agencies use resiliency to meet growing consumer and digital trends, sparking demand for new roles and opportunities. For those looking to join in on the growth, there are three core areas that our Client Experience team, Connor Duffy and Abby Acker, are seeing the most growth from the front lines.

Media Planning

In its simplest form, media planning is the marketing arm responsible for managing, organizing, and executing media strategies across various channels. It spans many roles, from entry-level Media Planners to Media Buyers and Brand Strategists

At a marketing agency, those involved in media planning may work with clients to strategize and optimize cutting-edge content to stand out to consumers and target audiences. They often drive campaigns and provide ongoing actionable insights to exceed business goals.

Paid Media

Continuing the focus on media, roles within Paid Media concentrate on creating and optimizing paid channels to support digital growth. They manage day-to-day paid marketing campaigns, ranging from paid search to digital and social media platforms.  

Paid Media Specialists can have a variety of roles in the marketing agency world, focusing primarily on driving and growing digital channels. Their role is essential to developing and managing effective digital strategies, audience outreach, and competitor analysis.

Freelance Specialists

The resiliency of the ad agency industry, at times, requires quick movement – which is where the specialized help of freelance professionals is essential. While the specific use cases of freelance talent depend entirely on agency leaders’ projects and goals, the uptick of needed Marketing, Creative, and Digital support is a driving force we’re experiencing within the ad agency industry.

Regarding their daily responsibilities, marketing agency Freelancers commonly serve as the experts in any given area, providing strategies, overviews, and detailed information on specific topics, ranging from SEO to social media and website development.

The Bottom Line

The growth of the ad agency industry offers many opportunities and benefits for professionals in the marketing and creative world. While we recognize that the field may not be a landing spot for all professionals (which is perfectly okay – and we can help you find your dream role, too!), ad agencies are a great step for professionals looking for some mix of the following. 

  • Learning Opportunities (and lots of them!): The fast-paced ad agency industry is an excellent foundation for entry-level and mid-level marketers to learn and absorb information. This hands-on experience is invaluable to perfecting skills and growing professionally!
  • Connections Galore: Ad agencies are uniquely positioned between many professionals and organizations, meaning optimal chances to connect with people. Joining an ad agency will have you well on your way to accomplishing an age-old saying: network, network, network!
  • High Energy: Energy is everything at agencies – so if creatively collaborating with coworkers and clients is your jam, an ad agency may be your place to thrive! 
  • Career Growth: Ad agency professionals’ exposure to various clients and industries helps create many opportunities – both inside and outside the agency realm.

Celarity Can Help

Whether you’re a job seeker or a hiring manager, Celarity can help you navigate your marketing agency experience and marketing career. For over 31 years, we’ve worked with 600+ organizations nationwide to add over 5,000 talented professionals to their teams, and we’d love the chance to help you, too! Please don’t hesitate to contact us today!

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