The Art and science of Agency Selection

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Agency selection is an art and a science – an art because it demands stakeholder management and personal relationships, a science because it requires rigorous application of structured methodology.

The process of agency selection is about more than just beauty-parading agencies and appointing new partners.

Ebiquity’s Media experts share some of the critical considerations brand owners need to make in selecting the right agency partner


  • The process of agency selection
  • Ebiquity Media experts’ recommendations
  • Agency remuneration model
// What we want to investigate and why


Increasingly, major global brands are reviewing and changing agency partners, particularly media agencies of record, and they’re doing this more often. This trend began in 2015, a year that media commentators dubbed ‘Mediapalooza’, during which an estimated $30bn of global media spend was reviewed. Advertisers reviewing media accounts included P&G, Unilever, L’Oréal, VW and Johnson & Johnson.

Research published in June 2018 by the WFA found that almost three-quarters of major multinationals are currently reviewing agency arrangements, keen to understand if they have the right mix of agencies and capabilities in their external partners. Our own research shows that the leading reasons why advertisers look for new agency partners are price improvement, and strategic vision and expertise.

  • Concerns about transparency
  • Price improvement
  • Strategic vision and expertise
// What we've discovered and suggest


In this Viewpoint paper, we look at the most important factors advertisers should consider when reviewing their agency partners. We pose the questions advertisers should ask themselves about each factor. And we give our recommendations – informed by years of being the market leader in agency selection advisory – on the steps advertisers should take when addressing each factor.

There is a consensus that the agency selection process should not be entered lightly. Agency selection is about very much more than managing pitches, beauty-parading agencies, awarding contracts and starting new relationships. Choosing the right agency demands considerable involvement and engagement from across the business – from marketing, media, procurement, finance and legal. Brands should set clear objectives and embark on the process of agency review only if they are prepared to invest the time and resources to make it successful.

  • Transparency, governance and accountability
  • Data, tools and technology ownership
  • Advertiser-agency remuneration models

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