Omnicom’s OMD repeated as the top-ranked media agency globally by billings in 2021 according to analysis by agency research firm COMvergence. The agency posted billings of $23.8 billion, up nearly 12% compared to COVID-impacted 2020. OMD also retained the billings crown for the U.S. region, which COMvergence reported earlier this month.
GroupM’s Mindshare placed 2nd with $22.6 billion (+12.6%), while Dentsu’s Carat and GroupM’s MediaCom shared the 3rd spot, each with total billings of $17.2 billion. Publicis Media’s Starcom rounded out the top-5 ($15.2 billion, +21%) and GroupM’s Wavemaker was sixth-ranked ($14.8 billion, +13%).
At the group level, WPP’s GroupM retained the top spot with total billings of $61.6 billion, +15% versus 2020. Publicis Media was second-ranked ($43 billion, +17.9%) followed by Omnicom Media Group ($38.1B, +13.8) in third place.
The Big 6 media agency networks (owned by WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, Interpublic Group, Dentsu and Havas) as well as major independent agencies reached $241 billion across 48 markets representing 96% of the global media investments covered by COMvergence.
The research firm estimates that those billings account for 52% of the total global (net) media spend of about $393 billion in 2021 (vs. $343 billion in 2020; +14.5%).
The remaining 48% of global billings are handled by smaller independent media agencies, digital specialized agencies, Japanese and Chinese local advertising agencies, or in-house units operated by advertisers.
By region COMvergence estimates that total global billings break down by region as follows: North America (37%), APAC (34%), EMEA (27%) and Latin America (2%).
According to the research, all of the Big 6 global media agency networks posted some year over year growth in 2021 with an average growth rate of 16%. Those networks generated $116.7 billion in offline spending (+9% vs 2020) and $88.2 billion in digital (+29%).
Per the research, digital media billings grew twice as much last year as traditional media expenditures, which COMvergence credits largely to the pandemic which drove advertisers to shift their media investments from traditional to digital media channels, particularly in the retail and financial categories.
On the independent agency side of the business, COMvergence assessed 46 local media agencies or networks which together represented total billings of $23.6 billion, or 10% of the total billings controlled by all agencies assessed globally. Horizon Media (US) is by far the largest independent agency worldwide with total 2021 billings of $8.9 billion. That represents more than a third of the independent total billings.