New figures compiled by Ad Age show that US ad agencies earned $8.5bn from digital services in 2010, 28 per cent of their total income of $30.4bn. This is an increase of 16.9 per cent on 2009 when digital accounted for 25.9 per cent of income.
In 2010 60 per cent of digital income went to specialist digital agencies headed by Publicis Groupe’s Digitas with $2bn going to direct marketing or customer relationship management specialists.
But some supposedly ‘traditional’ ad agencies are generating substantial income from digital with Dentsu’s mcgarrybowen claiming digital now accounts for 24 per cent of its income.
On a group level WPP has claimed recently that digital now accounts for 29 per cent of its worldwide revenues with Publicis Groupe (which owns Razorfish as well as Digitas) on 28 per cent.
Apart from the seemingly inexorable growth of digital the figures seem to show that trad agencies have adapted rapidly to the rise of the digital specialists by strengthening their own digital offer (Leo Burnett claims to employ 325 digital specialists) and that, these days, it’s hard to see where digital ends and traditional advertising starts (or vice versa).