Search Data Shows How Agency-Brand Relationships Are Changing

All types and sizes of agencies and design firms are finding new business with brands, but the relationships are definitely changing, per a report released Wednesday. 

Typical projects now range between $50,000 and $250,000, with the typical annual deals up to $20 million, according to the report from Agency Spotter, a digital platform facilitating the search and the selection of creative agencies. 

Some 30% of decision makers at brands say they typically hire a partner within two to three months, and 31% of decision makers at brands say they hire an agency within a month, and 39% say it takes them four or more months.

Break down the percentages and they look like this: 63% of B2C companies vs 37% of B2b companies. Some 30% of directors say three months is about right, compared with 20% of managers and 18% of VPs and supervisors.

The percentages are part of Agency Spotter's Agency Search Trends Report for the first half of 2016. While most of the report is self-touting, it does include some insightful numbers and facts on how brands are looking for agencies and the types of services they want.

For example, the searches are based on about 60,000 for the first half of 2016, compared with about 100,000 for all of 2015.

"While we have data about searches and refinement, to me it is more interesting to think about the fact that users want clarity," says Brian Regienczuk, CEO at Agency Spotter. "People want to be able to drill down through the complexity and nuances to discover agencies for what they are great at, for what is most relevant to their needs, and that is exactly what we built Agency Spotter to do."

For example, 2.6% of our users were interested in small digital agencies in New York City during the first half of 2016, and 3% were interested across all of 2015. 

The report estimates there are more than 500,000 agencies in the world, and 81% of decision makers start their agency search online. Most do not reach out to agencies until they are 57% of the way through the decision-making process.

The average agency of record relationship lasts less than three years. More of the budget is shifting to project-based work.

Apparently, retainer fees at the top 200 agencies have been in decline, although the project-based fees have been on the rise since 1984, surpassing the percentage of retailer fees in 2015, according to the report.

In the first half of 2016, the top marketing services included advertising, Web, digital strategy, branding, marketing, mobile, direct marketing, design strategy, user experience, social media, graphic design, media planning, ecommerce, innovation, SEO and paid search, content marketing, public relations, among others.

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