Congratulations to all our friends who made this year’s Econsultancy’s Top 100 Digital Agencies Report– the definitive listing of the UK’s largest digital agencies.

In addition to very noisy agency celebration, the guide is a treasure trove of in-depth analysis and commentary on the state of the industry – with a raft of useful information to help client-side professionals choose the right partner to help them achieve their business goals.

The report explores challenges and opportunities topping business agenda.

2017 challenges

1. Brexit and the US presidential election

The political and economic ramifications of the past year’s events have resulted in companies focusing on healthy growth in each quarter. There are concerns among agencies and brand marketers about the impact of Brexit on retaining a very European workforce as well as its impact on general trade conditions.

Some agencies fear that the reduced appetite for commercial risk, investment and marketing experimentation might pose a threat and that reduced budgets and a drop in the pound will continue to bite in 2018.

2. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Understanding the impact of GDPR and upcoming data privacy law changes due to come into effect in May 2018 are a cause for concern. While some agencies consider these as potentially hampering the targeting and reach of customers, others believe they are an opportunity to improve customer interaction and engagement, enabling their clients to succeed.

3. Transparency and viewability

Agencies referred to the growing scepticism in programmatic and display advertising, noting clients’ viewability, click fraud and ad blocker intervention concerns. Brand safety and ad viewability are top concerns in the industry.

But it’s not all doom and gloom…

Opportunities highlighted by agencies include:

1. Acting as sense maker

As the marketing technology onslaught continues, adding further layers of complexity to the marketing ecosystem, agencies should act as trusted partners in advising on the applications of new waves of tech. Tech utilisation and data analytics are highly valued areas of counsel by brand marketers.

2. The shift to guiding transformations 

Many agencies entering the Top 100 this year noted their adoption of a consulting mindset and the changing skillset required of agencies. Agencies are now shifting from being vertical specialists to being high level, broader T-shaped people. Agencies are no longer simply responding to client briefs but are instead focusing on helping clients find problems to solve, offering diagnostic capabilities and solutions.

3. Capabilities development and training

The trend of skills being developed and improved in-house on the client side as well as the continuous supply of new technologies means that agency engagement with clients is shifting to capabilities development and knowledge transfer as well as training in-house teams.

The changing agency model to suit modern marketers

Agencies are becoming smaller, less siloed and more specialised. In the coming years, we may see a rise in revenue-based compensation models to meet demand for more accountability, and, tracking agency work to sales.

Heading into the future, it’s likely that agencies will be more distributed, working with talent all over the world via virtual collaboration, utilising remote working practices and rented office spaces as well as taking full advantage of what the gig economy must offer.

Do please read the Report in full – simply click here