COMvergence: WPP's Wavemaker Is 2023 Media Agency Pitch King


COMvergence is out with its final 2023 global media agency new business study, finding that WPP’s Wavemaker is the top-ranked global media agency network with a total billings value of $2.4 billion. That includes retentions, which accounted for $1.7 billion of the total, and included successful defenses of clients Perfetti and Church & Dwight global, Huawei in China, and Adobe in the US.  

Omnicom’s OMD ranks second, scoring the largest amount of new client wins ($1.7 billion) including several big global wins (Beiersdorf, Tchibo, Under Armour and Vans among them).  



Publicis’ Spark Foundry takes the 3rd position, following strong results in the US.  

However, in terms of net new business (excluding retentions), Spark Foundry shows the best score among the top 20 media agency networks, with incremental total billings of $1.3 billion, followed by OMD ($970 million) and Hearts & Science ($870 million). 

At the group level, Publicis Media leads both rankings (including and excluding retentions) with total net new billings of $5 billion and Omnicom Media Group ranks 2nd in both rankings with total net new billings of +$2.85 billion.  

Mediabrands takes 3rd place in terms of net new billings with a total of +$2 billion (including wins for Geico, Constellation Brands, and Bristol Myers Squibb). And when including retentions, GroupM ranks 3rd after successfully defending $2.9B of existing client billings in 2023. 

In 2023, COMvergence assessed 4,380 media account moves and retentions (2,790 advertisers in total) across 48 countries totaling $35 billion (+9% vs. 2022). The US accounts for 37% of the total spend reviewed globally.  

Local pitches represent 55% of the total reviewed spend amounting to $19 billion. The average retention rate is 25% (vs. 34% in 2022). It is the lowest rate since 2016. Wavemaker, Mediaplus, Zenith and OMD have been the most successful agency networks to retain their client relationships, while Publicis Media scored the best retention rate among the Big 6 groups (61%). The largest global and multi-country reviews resulted in $16 billion.  

Of the total media spend reviewed in 2023, $5.2 billion (15%) went to independent agencies or in-house. Horizon Media, the largest independent agency worldwide, contributed 30% of the total. 

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