IAPI Members optimistic despite the impact of the pandemic
IAPI Members optimistic despite the impact of the pandemic

The results from both the Leaders Survey and the IAPI Sentiment Survey have been compiled into the Winter Sentiment Survey. It demonstrates an active and resilient industry, with a continued focus on the future and our role in society.

Leaders Survey

Two pulse surveys were completed by 75% of agency leaders in June and again in October this year. Their purpose was to understand agency leader’s views of their own business performance and that of the industry as a whole. The findings show an optimistic, yet realistic, view within the industry with positivity shifting upwards over the past few months.

IAPI Sentiment Survey

350 IAPI members from 42 agencies took part in an extensive Sentiment Survey between 12th – 22nd October this year. The profile of respondents proportionately reflected the different agency services that now form the IAPI membership.

This comprehensive survey aimed to determine how the overall agency personnel currently feel about the industry, the challenges of working remotely, the impact of the pandemic on their working life and their wellbeing.

IAPI Leaders Survey
IAPI Leaders Survey

In October, 76% of leaders stated they were optimistic about the future of the industry with nearly all (98%) stating that their agency would fully recover from the crisis.

There appears to be little doubt amongst leaders that their own agency will recover, however the perceived timeline for that recovery has shifted in line with the prolonged impact of the pandemic.

In June, 44% of leaders felt they would be back to 2019 revenue figures by at least the middle of 2021 compared to only 27% in October. The 12% who believed that recovery would take until the end of 2022, has now increased to 33% of leaders seeing this as their recovery timeline.

Revenue Predictions
Revenue Predictions

It is promising to note that predictions in terms of revenue decline for this year have moved in the right direction over the past few months.

  • The current predictions place the average agency revenue decline at 15-18% compared to 25-30% in June.
  • Media agencies, having been the hardest hit in Q2, look set to recover well, with over half predicting a less than 10% decline in October’s survey compared to two-thirds predicting 10-20% decline in June.
  • Creative agencies have also picked up since June when 83% predicted a decline in revenue of 20%+ for the year compared to October’s survey when this prediction dropped to only 50% of creative agency respondents.
  • Understandably, the least optimistic agencies are those who provide Experiential and Event services who are predicting a fall in revenue of up to 60% this year.
  • Interestingly, the predications for the overall industry spend are less optimistic than the individual agency revenue predications which, particularly for media, reflects the move towards retainer fees, rather than the traditional commission structure.
  • While 80% of media agencies predict an industry spend decline of 20-30% this year, all media respondents state that their own agency revenues will decline by less than 20%. And nearly all (93%) of creative agencies predict an industry spend decline of 20-40%, but only half predict the same decline in their own agency.
The personal and business impact of working remotely
The personal and business impact of working remotely
  • With the vast majority (92%) working from home, one third of total respondents feel their experience of working has got worse; another one third feel the experience is the same; and the remaining third feel it is the same as before.
  • Looking at the different levels though, nearly half of juniors feel it has got worse which is accounted for in the personal challenges of working remotely stated by juniors where 4 in 10, are concerned about their home environment not being suitable for work purposes.
  • In general, the personal challenges of working remotely are similar at all levels. Leaders (81%) are most concerned about being able to motivate teams remotely, whereas juniors (75%) are the most concerned about maintaining relationships with their work colleagues.
  • Again, the business challenges of working remotely are similar across levels although creating new business opportunities is of most concern for leaders.
  • Maintaining agency culture is the most serious concern for everyone. Most positive is the low level of respondents (18%) who see maintaining the highest standards in creative output as a business challenge. Meaning 82% of respondents believe we can be just as creative working from home. This is borne out by the quality of creative work produced by the industry over the past few months to the extent that Irish creative campaigns produced during the pandemic have been receiving global acknowledgment and acclaim.

“The findings from this survey demonstrate an active and resilient industry, with a continued focus on the future and our role in society. IAPI are busy forming plans for 2021 which we predict may continue to provide challenges to agencies and their clients.

The focus will be on continuing to provide advice, support and inspiration for members during an inevitably tough year. However, we will also introduce new initiatives that continue our work on diversity and inclusion and help to provide professional, accredited education for members.

Our ambition to create a centre of excellence for advertising and commercial creativity here in Ireland is now more important than ever and we will continue to update and promote our national portfolio through www.creativeisnative.com, launched on 5th November this year."

Charley Stoney, CEO, IAPI

IAPI Sentiment Survey 2020 in the Media: