In-housing is about control, not costs
Corporate in-housing will continue to demonstrate rapid growth say industry experts, as brands are increasingly looking to assume control over their own data in the supply chain.
In August the IAB reported that nearly a fifth of marketers had taken programmatic buying in-house; later, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) revealed that nearly 80% of its members have some form of in-house agency, a number which has rapidly grown over the year.
Speaking at the 2018 Automated Trading Debate last week, Medialink's SVP Nick Manning said the lead motivation behind the acceleration of corporate in-housing is "clients no longer feeling that they can allow other people to control their data and the technology that manages it."
"The in-housing debate in my mind is much more led by the need to manage data than it is by the economies you can get. We hear a lot about the efficiencies and economies of in-housing, but I'm not sure they're accurate. By the time you implement a lot of the elements, you might not necessarily save any money," he said.
"In-housing is about having the motive to manage the supply chain: knowing exactly what technologies you're using and why, how much they cost, how much data sits within that, and knowing that the data is secure."
Additionally, the technology and platforms available to advertisers have improved hugely over recent years, giving them the means with which to "knit together" their own advertising - not just in media, but creative too.
Though whether advertisers manage to do a better job themselves or not is another matter, Manning added. "But those platforms do exist."
However, despite its sudden rise in popularity, Manning said he does not think that in-housing will be a short-lived fad.
"I think it's structural, and the need to control data is here to stay. While that remains, an element of in-housing has to happen - such as ownership of technologies. That doesn't mean to say there won't be a settling down into more hybrid solutions, which has already started to happen."
One brand that has already settled into a hybrid in-housing solution is Sony, according to the brand's head of digital for Europe. Having fallen foul of multiple high-profile data hacks in recent years, Sony took "drastic" action to ensure that all martech and suppliers go through "a very tough information protection process."
Seb Bardin agreed that in-housing has to start with data, confirming that this is a process Sony is currently undergoing. "It's about owning the data and then bringing more adtech inhouse," he said.
"Planning and buying is still with the agency, but we have to use our own adtech stack."