Advertisers’ hunt for media talent has switched away from agencies and is now focused far more in-house, a new study has found.

ID Comms’ 2018 Global Media Talent Report found boosting in-house talent was the number one priority for marketers last year, which reflects the prevailing view that large-scale advertisers need greater capability of handling digital media in-house.

The study also found there is a general sense that marketers need a better all-round understanding of all media.

The results of interviews with 129 advertisers, responsible for media budgets totalling $10 billion and from across sectors in the US and Europe, were used to compile the report. Respondents were from a range of roles across marketing, media and procurement.

The key priority in talent for internal marketing/media organisations was to ensure the right structures and models were in place, the study found.

Advertisers have also invested more in planning, where internal capabilities have risen by 6% in the two years since 2016.

“One reason for the greater emphasis on in-house talent is not just the industry debate around transparency, but the realisation that as media gets higher on the corporate agenda, marketers’ in-house teams often don’t have a complete grip on many of the issues thrown up by the shift to digital and biddable media buying,” said Susy Pyzer-Knapp, Consultant at ID Comms.

The result has been declining confidence that internal talent can meet advertisers’ evolving marketing needs, with only 14% of all respondents having high or very high confidence, compared to 22% in 2016. And when agency respondents were asked if their internal advertiser media talent met their current media needs, the vast majority (74%) said it did not.

Pyzer-Knapp added: “For advertisers, it is critical to understand the key responsibilities of internal teams, to ensure that the right structures and models are in place to be able to extract the most value from internal talent.”

“The shift away from a focus on agency talent reflects their desire to manage more of their media efforts in-house, or more effectively oversee their agency partners’ efforts in this area.”

Other findings include:

  • Advertisers’ talent focus in 2018 was on areas such as e-commerce (54%), data (33%), and insight (28%), roughly the same as in 2016 when the respective figures were 53%, 35% and 32%.
  • Advertisers want their agencies to invest in two key areas: mobile and media planning, which came joint top in 2018, scoring 35% and 40%, respectively.

Sourced from ID Comms; additional content by WARC staff