Independent media agencies forecast ad spend bounce back

By AdNews | 11 June 2024
Credit: BenMoses M via Unplash

Half of the nation’s independent media agencies expect ad spend to increase in the coming financial year, according to the IMAA Indie Census for June.

Almost half expect ad spend to grow by at least 10% to 20%.

Agencies are expecting the biggest growth to come from digital video and BVOD/CTV, with almost 70% of respondents predicting these channels would grow by at least 25%.

Another 60% of agencies anticipate similar growth across programmatic out-of-home.

Performance, including paid social and SEM, will be the biggest area of investment for indie agencies in the coming financial year, followed closely by TV (linear and BVOD) and digital.

Investment in media channels will be heavily driven by return on investment – more than half of indie agencies said they were more likely to spend on a new platform if it could drive better ROI, along with offering improved performance and cost-effectiveness.

IMAA CEO Sam Buchanan said the Indie Census shows agencies are heading into the new financial year with a renewed confidence in the market.

"While cost of living pressures and faltering consumer confidence are still looming, our members are confident that clients will continue to invest in their brands," Buchanan said.

"Digital will be the main recipient of spend, along with performance channels that offer greater return on investment in the current economic climate."

The IMAA Indie Census June 2024 also asked members about specific media channels:


Almost all indie agencies believe AI will have some effect on their business in the future, with 40% expecting it to have a significant impact.

Agencies are also starting to prepare for a cookieless future – more than 50% have already tested or are planning to test alternative contextual strategies, while more than 30% are looking at one-party targeting.

TV/BVOD/CTV and Video

The vast majority (90%) of agencies said a fully managed service model was important to them when planning, buying and transacting BVOD.

Nearly 40% of agencies said building creative was their biggest challenge when it comes to scaling their video content, followed by measurement options.


Most agencies (nearly 60%) said they were planning audio investment across radio, podcasts and streaming in the coming 12 months, with more than half revealing that their clients were interested in the targeting and measurement capabilities of podcasting.

Most indies said if more podcasts/shows were available programmatically, it would help increase adoption with their clients.


Four in 10 agencies said they were set to invest more in out-of-home advertising (OOH) in the next 12 months, especially given the introduction of MOVE 2.0 – the latest enhancement in OOH measurement.

Out-of-home’s ability to offer 100% ownership and share-of-time was seen as a key drawcard.

Regional OOH still proved to be an area of untapped potential for indie agencies, with at least half saying they needed a better understanding of the market and its opportunities, along with relevancy and ROI.

Regional Agencies named cost-effectiveness, relevancy, and ROI as just some of the factors impacting their investment in regional media, with many looking for clear pricing and audience profiling, and a better understanding of the regional landscape.

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