One of the pandemic’s overarching effects was accelerated digital transformation across the economy and society. A steep increase in the amount of retail sales transacted digitally buoyed digital ad spending last year and boosted digital advertising’s long-term prospects.

The shift in advertising dollars towards digital—including email marketing, social media, and programmatic ads—is giving rise to high growth digital marketing agencies; however there are still many traditional advertising  and creative agencies adapting to the digitally focused landscape. 

We looked at the top advertising agencies and marketing companies worldwide by revenue.

WPP – London, $16.9 billion

WPP is a leading advertising company

According to December 2020 data, WPP raked nearly $17 billion in revenue in 2019—solidifying its position as the top advertising competitor. Self described as a creative transformation company, WPP offers its clients communications, technology, and commerce services.

In 2020 the advertising giant merged its storied creative agency Grey Global Group with its digital advertising shop AKQA to form AKQA Group—its third digitally-focused merger since CEO Mark Read took the helm in 2018.

Learn more about WPP.

Omnicom Group – New York, $15 billion

Omnicom Group earned $15 billion in revenue in 2019, taking the second place spot for top ad agency. This global leader in digital marketing serves over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries. 

In 2020 Omnicom struck a $20 million deal with Spotify as more and more advertisers look to the podcast media market. Through the deal, Spotify presents an available slate of monetizable podcasts to Omnicon Group before making them available to other advertisers. Omnicom credited its investment to improved ad targeting and measurements, and making podcasts more measurable and targetable could attract more advertising dollars.

Read more about Omnicom Group.

Publicis Groupe –  Paris, $12.3 billion

Publicis Groupe is a top advertising company

Publicis Groupe saw $12.3 billion in revenue in 2019, and reports that its continued US growth is being fueled by increased digital media spending and the surprising success of its Epsilon data business. Amid the pandemic, Epsilon’s ability to help Publicis clients activate their first-party data proved to be invaluable. 

And in 2021 Epsilon and The Trade Desk partnered to make their user identifier products interoperable. The partnership signals that Publicis has not given up on user-level cross domain tracking and sees value for its clients in engaging in such targeted advertising.

Learn more about Publicis Groupe.

Accenture Interactive – Dublin, $10.3 billion

This digital agency has been growing its marketing and advertising business, and reached $10.3 billion in revenue in 2019. It’s widely known for its ability to deliver experiences and realities by connecting business insight with potential technologies. 

Interestingly, in 2019 Accenture Interactive tapped the Google Voice Assistant for a new initiative to tackle loneliness among seniors. Dubbed Memory Lane, the program allows seniors to verbally recount memories to the voice assistant, which uses AI to respond and converse with them.  

Learn more about Accenture Interactive

Interpublic Group of Cos. – New York, $10.2 billion

Earning just over $10 billion in revenue in 2019, this US-based advertising company consists of five major networks: FCB, IPG Mediabrands, McCann Worldgroup, MullenLowe Group, and Marketing Specialists. These companies specialize in advertising, digital marketing, communications planning, media, public relations and specialty marketing.

In 2021 TikTok announced a three-year partnership with IPG Mediabrands to launch a “Creator Collective.” The program matches TikTok creators with IPG Mediabrands’ clients to provide feedback and guidance on campaign strategies—highlighting the importance of short-video marketing and mobile advertising. 

Learn more about Interpublic Group of Companies. 

Dentsu Inc. – Minato City, Tokyo, $9.6 billion

Dentsu Inc. is a top advertising company

Dentsu Inc. is a Japanese international advertising and public relations company, which brought in $9.6 billion in revenue in 2019. Dentsu’a Network’s M1 solution, engineered by its Merkle division, contains a module for estimating reach across linear and CTV platforms. 

The M1 system process starts with defining the consumer target, often sourced from advertiser-supplied first-party data, then modeled to identify other consumers who closely resemble the original customer list. Once alignment of target and data sets is achieved across platforms, various modules within the M1 system are used to estimate cross-platform reach. 

Learn more about Dentsu.

Deloitte Digital – New York, $7.9 billion

Securing the 7th place spot on our list of top advertising companies, Deloitte Digital brought in nearly $8 billion in revenue in 2019. Deloitte Digital was launched in 2012 as Deloitte’s creative consulting unit. 

Deloitte Digital has offices in more than 30 countries and works to help clients develop growth agendas by using human insight to deliver dynamic experiences. Deloitte Digital works to assist brands in finding customers and audiences, guiding them through to acquisition, retention, and loyalty.

Read more about Deloitte Digital.

PwC Digital Services – Hallandale Beach, $6.7 billion

PwC Digital Services is a top advertising company

PwC’s digital arm brought in $6.7 billion in revenue in 2019. The foundation of PwC Digital’s approach is its BXT (business, experience, technology) framework. 

PwC Digital Services focuses on digital design and employee and user experience—empowering them to work better and smarter. From its digital marketing services, helping professionals modernize their marketing plans and cloud suites, and optimize processes for memorable CX.

Read more about PwC Digital Services.

IBM iX – Armonk, $5.6 million

IBM iX is a fierce competitor in the advertising space, bringing in $5.6 billion in revenue in 2019. It’s one of the largest digital and design consultancies in the world, with almost 60 studios and a global network of strategists, designers, developers and data architects.

IBM iX solutions include customer experience consulting, consulting across the customer lifecycle, ecommerce consulting, mobile app development, and customer service consulting. It can help identify new opportunities for clients and create a top-notch branding vision via the latest advertising and marketing technologies.

Read more about IBM iX

BlueFocus Communication Group – Beijing, $4.1 billion

Closing out our list of top 10 advertising companies is BlueFocus Communication Group—which brought in $4.1 billion in revenue in 2019. This China-based ad agency focused on brand management became the first publicly listed Chinese company in the field. 

Its more than 100 offices strategize on advertising, media, social, PR, design, branding, CRM, eCommerce, and mobile solutions for companies around the world.   

Read more about BlueFocus.

Advertising industry sees growth for next few years
Worldwide digital ad spending will reach $645.80 billion by 2024.

While the pandemic caused traditional ad spending to decline in 2020, economic rebound and return to live events will spur intense ad growth this year. Total digital ad spending will reach $455.30 billion this year. Of that, 55.2% will go to display advertising, and 40.2% will go to search.

With many upstarts making their way into the market, dedicated to pushing unique digital channels, incumbents will need work quickly and efficiently to keep up with the changing landscape, evolving tech, and new trends.

Since the majority of this advertising growth is in digital, brands are ready to move forward on big projects to keep themselves competitive while readying for the “new normal.” Looking to the future, agencies are focused on becoming more productive, efficient, and profitable. They are also dedicated to attracting and retaining the right talent while evolving and maintaining a competitive offering.