Accenture launches programmatic services arm in swipe at agency space
- Accenture announced in a news release that it is launching Accenture Interactive Programmatic Services, a new division that focuses on programmatic in-housing and media planning and buying. Accenture Interactive is Accenture's marketing services unit.
- The solution aims to help marketers produce better business outcomes, enable cost transparency, regain control and ownership of data and design audience-driven campaigns. The service looks to help marketers build their own in-house programmatic systems and provide full-service campaigns for brands.
- Accenture Programmatic focuses on three core areas: programmatic consulting and in-housing; media strategy, planning and activation and ad tech implementation and support. Accenture Interactive is collaborating with Accenture Operations and working with major brands, including HP, Radisson Hotel Group and Melia Hotels, on the initiative.
Global management consultancies are seen as one of the key competitive threats against traditional ad agencies, and Accenture's rollout of a unit focused on programmatic services shows the company targeting a particular weak point for legacy industry players, namely wrangling control of data and implementing complex technologies like those that power programmatic advertising. Marketers continue to be interested in programmatic for its ability to scale large digital campaigns with automation and efficiency, but appear to have grown frustrated working with third-parties on their efforts.
The Accenture release cited recent research from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) that showed 65% of surveyed marketers either already handle their programmatic ad buying in-house or plan to continue moving those functions in-house. While the transition to doing that work internally is becoming more popular, the IAB cautioned it's not a decision to be made lightly and requires time and expertise — pain points Accenture is clearly trying to ease while also promising better business outcomes and greater transparency.
Companies like HP, Radisson Hotel Group and Melia Hotels helping pilot the project signals that it's an offering brands are interested in. Marketers have expressed growing concern over the accuracy of digital media reporting and the need for better access to customer data and performance-based fees. The news also comes as investments in the programmatic space are expected to ramp up considerably over the next several years, with Publicis Groupe Zenith forecasting that 67% of all digital display ads will be programmatic by 2019, accounting for nearly $85 billion.