Global new-business revenue slips 5.8 per cent in 2020 as value of creative wins declines

MediaCom and Havas Worldwide came top of media and creative leagues.

Global media new-business revenue managed growth in 2020 despite the pandemic, increasing by 6.9 per cent, although on the creative side new-business revenue fell by 12.6 per cent, leading to a total decline of 5.8 per cent in new-business revenue last year.

In the latest data released by global marketing consultancy R3, 2020 total new-business revenue was estimated to be $2.56bn (£1.87bn), compared with $2.72bn in 2019.

Although overall media new-business revenue saw an increase in 2020, at the top five media agencies it fell by 27 per cent year on year, R3 found. MediaCom maintained its top spot last year, winning accounts including Warner Bros in Australia, but it was the only shop to have kept its place in the top five from 2019. MediaCom was followed by Initiative, Wavemaker, Starcom and OMD.

“Like its revamped agency proposition which focuses on systems thinking and business performance, MediaCom is using language that resonates with clients,” Greg Paull, co-founder and principal at R3, said.

“Marketers expect data expertise and capability from all their partners. Media agencies need to continue to adjust their offering to really understand their clients’ business.”

Havas Worldwide came top in the creative ranking in January-December 2020, winning accounts including Grupo Petropolis in Brazil. The remaining top five were: Droga5, VMLY&R, Isobar and Ogilvy. Droga5 climbed 10 places from the 2019 league, with wins including Airbnb and Huggies, while VMLY&R went from 12th to third.

“The numbers tells us something deeper than a desire for greater efficiency,” Paull added. “Technology has made media a key driver of marketing. Being at the right place, at the right time, at the right price makes a significant impact when it comes to conversion.

“Creative is reliant on media for form, visibility and engagement. Marketers recognise the shift and are looking for partners who can lead.”

In terms of holding companies, WPP put in the strongest performance, posting double the revenue and account wins of second-placed Publicis Groupe. In fact, WPP managed to surpass 2019’s creative revenue by 134 per cent and media revenue by 161 per cent. Dentsu, meanwhile, came second when ranked by the number of wins.

R3 compiles its global new-business league using data supplied by multinational agencies on a monthly basis. The data supplied is then balanced against client estimates, Nielsen Adex, discounted to appropriate levels and then converted to a revenue estimate.