Both the number of in-house ad agencies and agency employees have grown since the pandemic, based on a just-released report from the In-House Agency Forum (IHAF) in partnership with Forrester Research.

More than three-fourths (77%) of the 265 companies surveyed – including Caterpillar, Experian, HP Inc., Nestlé and PwC – say they now have in-house agencies, a 7% increase since 2019, and close to half (47%) of those agencies have added more employees to their agency roster over that time.

“Ultimately, marketers want a better understanding of how media budgets are spent, [and] in-house media expertise provides that visibility,” Forrester Principal Analyst Jay Pattisall says, citing the study's finding that four in five of these companies say they brought more marketing assignments in-house, with half saying the increase was due to the pandemic.

Seven in ten of the in-house agencies surveyed have shifted their focus from traditional print to digital media, given the suspension of live events and experiential marketing since COVID, according to a story in AdAge. “In-house teams were prepared to handle the near-total shift to digital that happened over the course of the pandemic, and they did it without missing a beat," IHAF Director Emily Foster says.