Summary of our market study

Since 2020, the global advertising agency market has displayed resilience, undergoing a recovery after a downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital transformation has become central, with advertisers demanding integration of digital into campaigns, and agencies evolving to offer a broader spectrum of expertise. Digital advertising investment is on the rise, capturing 28.1% of total communication spend as of 2023. The leading global advertising groups have seen substantial sales, with WPP at $13.85 billion, Omnicom Group at $14.3 billion, and the French group Publicis Groupe marking sales of 15 billion euros in 2023. The global advertising market is expected to continue growing, with a forecasted size of $410.82 billion in 2024 and a compound annual growth rate of 4.6% between 2024 and 2028.

Advertising Agency Market Trends in France

In recent years, the French advertising and communications market has demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability, particularly in light of the digital transformation that is altering the landscape of commercial communications. Observing the trends between 2015 and 2023, it's evident that the French advertising agencies have navigated through various economic challenges, displaying an overall positive trend in sales with an approximate growth of between 10% and 15%. The digital revolution has undeniably influenced the market, with advertisers now demanding more integrative digital solutions within their campaigns. This shift in expectations has seen the agencies evolving, incorporating data analytics, and emphasizing profitability in their strategy aligning with the clients’ aspirations. Notably, the French market has also shown signs of recovery after the health crisis, experiencing higher sales than the pre-crisis period, an indication of its dynamic nature and the proactive approach of the agencies in adapting to new market realities. Advertising expenditure by French advertisers has followed a similar upward trajectory, experiencing an increase of around 15% from between 15 and 17 billion euros between 2019 and 2023. This spending pattern reflects a growing confidence amongst advertisers and a recognition of the essential role that advertising plays in achieving business goals and maintaining a competitive edge.

The market has seen a shift in demand typology, with a noticeable transition from traditional media towards digital channels. The number of advertisers across most media showed a decline in 2023 compared to 2022, with the most significant growth seen in digital audio and paid social networks, indicating a focus on more targeted and measurable digital platforms. In response to this evolving demand, the offerings of advertising agencies are also transforming, with digital technology at the helm. The landscape is witnessing heightened competition not only from traditional agencies but also from consulting firms that are gradually stepping into the scene with quantified approaches to advertising that prioritize measurable outcomes like ROI. It is crucial for agencies to restructure to cater to the new spectrum of client expectations, which now often extend beyond their traditional areas of expertise. Pricing in the French advertising agency services has seen moderate fluctuations, with a notable downward trend in 2020, likely influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. This was followed by a gradual recovery, indicating adaptability to the circumstances. Regulations encompassing the French language's protection and transparent advertising spend are an integral part of the market's structure. These laws ensure clarity and fairness in marketing communications, aligning with advertisers' focused attention on social responsibility and ethical considerations, which are becoming increasingly pertinent.

Key Market Players in the Advertising Agency Landscape

The advertising agency landscape is dominated by several prominent companies that have established powerful positions in the market, each with their own set of specialized services and global influence.

  • Publicis Groupe - A French multinational advertising and public relations company, Publicis Groupe is one of the "Big Four" agency companies, alongside WPP, Interpublic, and Omnicom. With a rich history dating back to 1926, the group has expanded to offer a wide range of advertising and communications services including digital, interactive marketing, direct marketing, media planning and buying, healthcare communications, and brand asset production.
  • Havas Group - Another French player, Havas Group stands out for its integrated approach, combining marketing, creativity, and media expertise. Havas has built a strong reputation for its collaborative process, where strategy, design, and technology converge to create engaging and effective marketing campaigns for its clients across various touchpoints.
  • WPP - Headquartered in the UK, WPP is a titan in the field, known as the world's largest advertising company by revenue. Owning a multitude of agencies in multiple fields, WPP has a wide-reaching influence over several sectors in advertising that includes data management, public relations, digital, and media services.
  • Omnicom Media Group - An American global media, marketing, and corporate communications holding company, Omnicom is another leader with a vast network of resources. Omnicom's agencies are recognized for their ability to provide a diverse array of marketing and communications services, delivering innovative and integrated brand experiences.
  • Kwanko - As a specialized player with expertise in performance-based digital marketing, Kwanko has made a mark in the market with its focus on affiliate marketing, lead generation, and mobile marketing. With its data-driven approach, Kwanko is adept at boosting online sales for advertisers through targeted and impactful marketing campaigns.

These key players, with their distinct strengths and service offerings, contribute to a dynamic and competitive advertising industry. Each brings a unique blend of creativity, strategic thinking, data analytics, and technological innovation to the table, enabling them to navigate the complex fabric of modern advertising and serve their clients with the utmost efficacy.

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  • Number of pages : ~ 40 pages
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  • Last update : 16/04/2024
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of study

An advertising agency, or communications consultancy (a broader term encompassing a wider field of action, and gradually replacing the former), is a company charged with advising its client, the advertiser, on its commercial communications strategy. This mission can encompass a wide range of activities, from the creation of an advertising campaign to the implementation of a non-media marketing plan.

The activity of advertising agencies is included in the INSEE nomenclatures undercode 73.11Z, which covers "the provision of a whole range of services, directly or by subcontracting, in particular consulting, advertising creation and the production of communication materials". This NAF code is the main one considered here; however, the code 73.12Z "régies médias" (media agencies) is not included in the study.

The global advertising market is growing, and should continue to do so between 2024 and 2028, with a compound annual growth rate of 5. 1%. Worldwide, the three main advertising groups are WPP, Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe, a French group.

The French market is recovering well from the health crisis, with sales higher than in the pre-crisis period. In addition, between 2015 and 2023, sales for advertising agencies (registered under code 73.11Z) rose by 11.75%. The market must adapt to new advertiser expectations, with demand becoming increasingly demanding and autonomous. In addition, advertisers are increasingly demanding the integration of digital into their advertising campaigns.

With the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, French advertising agencies have had to cope with an increase in demand and are likely to do so again during 2024.

1.2 A growing global advertising market

The size of the global advertising agency market has increased in recent years. It will rise from $***.** billion in **** to $***.** billion in ****, with a compound annual growth rate of *.*%.

Between **** and ****, it should continue to grow steadily at a compound annual growth rate of *.*%.

Size of the global advertising agency market World, ...

1.3 French market recovery

Growth in advertising agency sales France, ****-****, in billions of euros Source: ****

Sales growth for advertising agencies in France (***) between **** and **** shows an overall positive trend, despite some annual fluctuations. Moderate growth is observed until ****, with a steady increase in sales. However, a significant downturn is recorded in ****, probably due to ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Who are the main French advertisers?

Advertisers are companies and organizations that want to get a message across through advertising. There are * main categories of advertisers:

Large companies (***), which often have large advertising budgets. SMEs/SMIs with more limited budgets Non-profit organizations Public administrations and services The State Political figures

Top advertisers in ****:

The ranking is based ...

2.2 Demand typology

Advertiser portfolio by media France, ****-****, in number of advertisers Source: ****

Analysis of the advertiser portfolio by media in France between **** and **** reveals significant changes in the distribution of advertising spend. Overall, we see a decline in the number of advertisers in most media in **** compared to ****, with the exception of ...

2.3 Demand shifts to digital and social networks (paid social)

In France, digital media are increasingly used by advertisers. In ****, digital media will account for **. *% of advertisers' communication investments. (***)

Evolution of different communication levers France, ****-****, in € millions and as a % of sales Source : Kantar Advertiser spending on the various communication levers in France in **** reflects a significant distribution of investments, ...

2.4 An increasingly demanding and autonomous demand

The arrival of digital at the heart of advertisers' concerns and strategies has meant that demand has become both more demanding and more autonomous.

Today, advertising agencies can no longer rely on the promise of notoriety or buzz to win over major advertisers.) to win over major advertisers, who increasingly want ...

2.5 The "Olympic Games effect" on the advertising market

With a record audience of * billion viewers for the opening ceremony and ** million visitors expected, the Paris **** Olympic Games offer an unprecedented opportunity for the French advertising market. According to forecasts by advertising group Magna, advertising investment is set to rise by *.*% in France this year, reaching **.* billion euros, surpassing the ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Advertising campaign value chain

To accomplish its mission effectively, an advertising agency must first and foremost understand its client's needs. This requires careful listening, in-depth analysis and precise diagnosis of the advertiser's objectives and resources. Once these elements have been clarified, the agency can draw up a suitable communications strategy, including a strategic plan, integrating ...

3.2 Number of advertising agencies and number of employees

The number of advertising agencies in France between **** and **** shows a generally stable trend, with relatively minor fluctuations from one year to the next. Although variations can be observed, notably a slight decrease between **** and ****, followed by a slight increase thereafter, the total number of establishments remains constant overall.

Between **** and ...

3.3 Geographical location of business in France

The geographical distribution of advertising agencies in France in **** reflects a significant concentration in the Île-de-France region, with a total of *,*** establishments, representing a significant share of the overall national market. The most populous regions, such as Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes,Occitanie and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, boast a significant number of advertising agencies, ...

3.4 The different types of advertising and communications agency

Major integrated players

French groups such as Publicis and Havas, or international ones such as the UK's WPP or the US's Omnicom Group, are what we might call "complete" players: that is, they integrate a diversity of brands and agencies enabling them to meet all customer needs.

The example of Publicis' ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 Prices for advertising agency services

Price index for advertising agency services France, ****-****, base *** Q* **** Source: ****

The price index for advertising agency services in France, over the period from **** to ****, reveals a certain volatility, with rather moderate but significant fluctuations.

Initially, over the course of ****, the index shows a slight decline in the first quarter, followed ...

4.2 The transformation of the offer under the influence of digital technology

The growing importance of digital and new types of media in corporate communications and advertising strategies has had a number of consequences for the advertising agency market.


Finally, a new type of competition has emerged, driven by consulting firms, which are increasingly encroaching on the turf of communications and advertising ...

4.3 Advertising media

Advertising media, essential communication channels for advertising campaigns, enable companies to broadcast their promotional messages and entice consumers to buy. With a variety of formats available, brands can choose media according to criteria such as budget, marketing objectives and target audience.

Advertising agencies can therefore offer their customers different advertising media ...

5 Regulations

5.1 Advertising protection

Advertising is protected by copyright, trademark law and unfair competition.

Visit Book I of the French Intellectual Property Code concerns copyright.

The mere fact of creation gives rise to intellectual property rights over a work: "The author of a work of the mind enjoys an exclusive intangible property right in this ...

5.2 Advertising regulations

Protecting the French language - Loi Toubon

The Toubon Law, or law n°**-*** relating to the use of the French language, is designed to protect the use of the French language in advertising. The use of the French language is mandatory for the offer, presentation and description of goods, products ...

5.3 Self-discipline in advertising

several players are involved in self-regulation in the advertising and communications sector.

The International Chamber of Commerce

Since ****, the International Chamber of Commerce has published and regularly revised a Code of Good Practice on advertising and communications. [***]

This code establishes the following principles:

Basic principles : all communications and advertising must be ...

6 Positioning the players

6. Segmentation

  • Publicis Groupe
  • Havas Groupe (Groupe Vivendi)
  • WPP
  • Omnicom Media group France
  • Kwanko
  • Milee Media (Hopps Group)

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Sales of the world's largest advertising groups
  • Expected share of global growth
  • Size of the global advertising agency market
  • Trend in advertising agency sales
  • Value of advertising expenditure by advertisers
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Latest news

Faced with the collapse of the advertising print market, Milee (ex-Adrexo) plans to cut 3500 jobs | Milee (ex-Adrexo) plans to cut 3500 jobs as a result of the advertising print crisis - 14/03/2024
  • - The leaflet market has shrunk from 700 million euros in 2018 to less than 300 million in 2023
  • - Milee's job protection plan (PSE) concerns 3,500 of 10,600 positions.
  • - Milee management has announced the closure of a third of local branches in France.
  • - Less than 30% of the population sticks an authorization to receive advertising on their letterboxes.
  • - Addressed mail and parcel distribution generates annual sales of 2.3 billion euros.
  • - This heavy industrial sector is declining by 5% a year.
  • - Milee has set itself the target of capturing 10% of this market.
  • - Milee's target for 2024 is to distribute over 400 million items of mail.
Flyers: Milee discontinues distribution of printed advertising materials - 13/03/2024
  • Second-largest multi-media local communications operator
  • La Poste group's challenger is facing the collapse of the market for indiscriminately addressed leaflets and catalogs in letterboxes.
  • It is to cut 3,500 jobs and refocus its activities on the distribution of addressed mail.
  • In six years, the market has lost almost half its value, dropping from 450 million euros in 2022 to less than 300 million, of which 130 million will be generated by Milee.
  • Closure of 76 Milee branches (out of 250).
  • milee to focus on address-based distribution business
  • The market is worth around 2.5 billion euros in France
  • This activity currently represents sales of 30 million euros
  • Objective of over 130 million euros in sales by 2025
Publicis launches major artificial intelligence plan - 25/01/2024
  • Publicis has a market capitalization of 22.5 billion euros.
  • Publicis has around 100,000 employees.
  • Publicis has 45,000 engineers, IT consultants and data experts.
  • The group unveils CoreAI, an internal platform to be used by all employees.
  • Publicis bought Sapient for $3.7 billion in 2014.
  • Publicis also bought Epsilon for $4.4 billion in 2019.
  • Publicis has data from 2.3 billion profiles worldwide and trillions of data points analyzing the commercial performance of campaigns.
Havas leaves Vivendi's fold and jumps into the deep end - 14/12/2023
  • Havas is expected to be relisted within twelve to eighteen months.
  • The enterprise value of Havas is estimated at between 2.5 and 2.8 billion euros.
  • Last summer, Havas acquired a majority stake in the creative agency Uncommon for several tens of millions of euros.
  • Havas is a major player in France and the UK.
  • Havas is expected to generate sales of around 2.8 billion euros in 2023.
  • Havas generates 35% of its revenues in the United States, compared with nearly 60% for the Anglo-Saxon giants and Publicis.
  • Havas' operating margin is just over 11%, compared with a range of 15% to 18% for WPP, IPG, Omnicom and Publicis.
Omnicom strengthens its presence in e-commerce - 30/10/2023
  • Omnicom has acquired Flywheel Digital for $835 million, the largest acquisition in its history.
  • The e-commerce and retail media sector is expected to generate over $100 billion in revenues by 2022, a figure that GroupM (WPP) predicts will double in the next five years.
  • Flywheel Digital has over 2,000 employees and almost 4,500 customers.
  • Omnicom's e-commerce and retail media competitor, Publicis, recently acquired CitrusAd for around 100 million euros, and Profitero for 200 million euros.
  • Omnicom is the sector's second-largest market capitalization, just behind Publicis.
Havas to launch new network - 20/10/2023
  • Havas was headed by Yannick Bolloré for ten years.
  • Net income for the year ended September 30 was 654 million euros.
  • 40% of Havas business is generated in North America
  • The Havas Group has made nine acquisitions in 2022 and six from 2023.
  • Havas acquired a 51% majority stake in Uncommon, an independent UK creative agency.
  • Havas formed a partnership with Mirakl to create the largest independent retail media network for brands and retailers.
  • Havas is about to launch a new international network called Havas CX to offer clients "personalized experiences".
  • Canal+, another Vivendi entity, grew by 5.7%.
  • Revenues from Studiocanal, part of Canal+, rose by 23.6%.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Publicis Groupe
Havas Groupe (Groupe Vivendi)
Omnicom Media group France
Milee Media (Hopps Group)

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