Accenture Interactive launches programmatic digital ad-buying service in Australia

05 June 2018 Authored by Consultancy.com.au

Accenture will launch its new digital ad-buying services in Australia, further diminishing the gap between traditional agencies and consultancies. While there are no specific details about the Australian launch, Michael Buckley, ANZ Managing Director of Accenture Interactive, said that globally the unit would have hundreds of employees – indicating a strong presence in Australia.

Accenture Interactive is the world’s largest digital agency and has experienced strong growth in the Australian market recently. The move to add an ad-buying service to the firm’s already strong digital offerings confirms the Accenture Interactive’s position as a global leader in digital experiences. Last year alone, Accenture Interactive’s revenue grew by 35% globally to $6.5 billion.

The firm currently offers a number of services in its digital portfolio, including design, marketing, content production and e-commerce. Accenture Interactive’s aim is to provide truly customised and personalised customer experiences for their clients across the entire customer journey.

The move signals a new age in the clash between traditional media and creative outlets with international consulting firms such as Accenture. Seen as the logical step by consulting firms which are in the business of helping companies through transitions in markets, consultancies are expanding their territory into the digital marketing, design and creative space. 

Accenture’s natural habitat is digital disruption and the firm is set on expanding in the sector through organic growth as well as acquisitions. In 2018 alone, Accenture has acquired multiple creative, marketing and advertising agencies, including MXM in North America, Karmarama in the UK, and The Monkeys and Maud in Australia. 

Besides Accenture, consultancies worldwide are ramping up their digital offerings and buying up media and advertising agencies to improve their C-suite capabilities. It’s a trend in line with businesses globally which are shifting towards digital maturity, including the restructuring of their marketing and online services. The consulting world has honed in on this market opportunity and as a result the space between strategy consulting and media & advertising has diminished significantly.

Accenture Interactive to launch Programmatic Services digital ad-buying services in Australia

Programme services 

The new programme service will allow the firm to grow in its digital end-to-end customer experience customisation. Programmatic advertising, a realm which is predominantly reserved for and thus dominated by media agencies, is the process of allocating advertisements online to those who are most likely to engage with them. Fuelled by algorithms and data-crunching AI, companies can target a specific audience with a individualised experience. 

Accenture Interactive is no foreigner to this space and has been active in programmatic advertising for some time. However, the firm hasn’t actually been conducting the practice itself, but rather helping their clients – who are unhappy with the offerings of traditional agencies and lack of competition – to perform these processes in-house. 

“The industry is after more transparency. Clients are asking us to deliver that for them and by giving them the power to take back their media capabilities, hopefully the industry becomes more transparent and that’s the outcome of Accenture being involved in this space,” said Accenture Interactive’s Australian managing director Michael Buckley.

The firm will now offer its own programmatic advertising services which include management strategy, planning and IT support, and will be able to integrate the provision into a larger suite of digital strategy services. The transition aims to add a new level of transparency to the practice as Accenture Interactive will not charge commission and will take no margins on volume, but instead will charge an hourly rate for providing their services regardless of volume. 

The rationale for the consulting firm is to shake up the ailed industry. “If we did have a model that was based on commission, you can incentivise by volume. If you incentivise you can go to a publisher that is willing to make a deal, but there isn’t always value on volume,” Buckley says. “The model we are bringing is something that clients are after and if we are trying to deliver true personalisation and deliver that with transparency, the trust of clients in this space is only going to grow and that will be a good thing for the industry.”

“The future is all about creating the ultimate customer experience,” said Brian Whipple, global head of Accenture Interactive in late 2017 after the firm was named the largest digital network worldwide. “Brands today are built by a series of interconnected experiences consumers have with a company across multiple, increasingly digital, channels. Our model is purpose-built on assembling the right mix of digital and business transformation skills to deliver the best customer experiences on the planet.”

“Today’s clients face challenges of speed and agility and are looking for agencies built from the ground up for the digital world, providing the right brains and skills,” said Amy Fuller, Accenture’s chief marketing & communications officer. “CMOs are looking for equal parts strategic and creative partner, with a mix of multi-disciplinary skills – such as design, deep technology and marketing analytics – to help solve their toughest business and brand challenges.”

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