Digital is As Ubiquitous as Print and Broadcast Media So Why Are There Still Digital Agencies Instead of Digital Teams?

The roles of agencies tend to be separated into functions such as public relations, creative, and media placement, rather than the medium. The fact that digital is being treated differently seems like an anomaly that might be corrected over time.

Ever since independent digital agencies began to appear around 2008, there have always been debates whether digital is necessarily a medium to be treated separately from print, broadcast, and outdoors. The existence of digital agencies may have started off as a curiosity but today, it’s ubiquitous.

Brands are generally expected to go digital especially the ones aiming for the prime demographics. The audience today carry a smartphone or two wherever they go and the consensus is that their attentions are no longer paid towards the typical advertising placements.

With the expectation that smartphone users in Indonesia will grow to reach 100 million by 2018, digital media, whether it’s through mobile applications, social network, streaming services, or news websites, is becoming increasingly important.

Google’s Consumer Barometer in March revealed that 30% of purchase decisions are affected by online sources, even if the majority of resulting purchases were made offline. The strong influence that online media has on consumers only reinforce the notion that digital is a crucial aspect of consumer decision making.

But what does all this have to do with digital agencies? In a traditional advertising agency, print, broadcast, and outdoor or ambient media do not enjoy the specialization and focus that digital does. Agencies that specifically handle one of those three outlets are far and few in between, so why does digital deserve to be treated differently especially when it’s becoming a daily staple of consumer interaction and attention?

Typically digital agencies don’t just deal with content creation or strategy. Thanks to the nature of the medium, many offer detailed and sophisticated measurements, tracking, media monitoring, and some even create their own tools to perform those activities, whereas traditional media tend to be reliant on numbers from survey or research companies like Nielsen.

Any agency’s aim with regards to brand communications is the same regardless of platforms and therefore it seems counter productive to have duplicate strategic and creative teams aimed at specific outlets unless they’re the executing teams. In many respects, this may lead to overlapping tasks and authorities leading to unproductive series of meetings which could delay or jeopardize the campaign.

At the same time, digital agencies have mastered their specializations so well that it has become less economically and strategically viable for some agencies to create digital teams because the resources or talents may not be available.

It is absolutely necessary for many brands to be present and engage with consumers in the digital space, but whether that interaction is being facilitated by a typical communications agency, a creative agency, or by a digital agency, it makes little difference to the brand.

In the end it’s about being able to deliver the brand’s goals and intentions effectively and efficiently.

[header image by AdDiction]