Irish advertising agencies strike more cautious note on turnover increasing

‘Adland’ still an optimistic and ‘startingly young’ industry, IAPI census finds

Ireland’s “adland” has turned more cautious than before, but remains optimistic overall, the latest industry census by the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI) suggests.

Some 58 per cent of ad agencies expect turnover in the market as a whole to “increase or strongly increase”, down from 74 per cent in 2016, the study conducted for IAPI by Amárach Research has found.

Agency owners or managers, some 46 of whom were surveyed, reported that a bigger chunk of income was coming from international business, which accounted for an average of 27 per cent of income in 2016 compared to just 11 per cent in 2015.

"While optimism remains and staff numbers are predicted to rise, agency directors and owners are adopting a more cautious outlook as we approach 2018," said IAPI chief executive Tania Banotti.


The combined media billings for the 12 media agencies that have participated in the research each year show that these agencies saw their billings for the purchase of advertising rise 11 per cent to €497 million in 2016. However, the average gross creative agency income for a sample of 13 creative agencies fell 3 per cent to €40.8 million.

‘Startlingly young’

Employment in IAPI member companies stands at 1,830, the highest since the research began in 2013. There is a high staff turnover, with 463 people hired and 278 moving job last year.

The industry remains “startingly young”, with almost half – 45 per cent – of all agency employees under 30, while only 6 per cent are over 51. A similarly youthful profile was found in IAPI’s census last year.

Although the agencies’ gender breakdown is 52 per cent female and 48 per cent male, women hold just 20 per cent of chief executive, managing director or managing partner positions.

This proportion was just 13 per cent in 2013, so it is improving, but it still compares unfavourably to gender balance in the UK advertising industry, where the equivalent figure is 27 per cent.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics