Independence doesn’t have to mean small – here’s how larger indie agencies fared in 2021
The Drum’s Independent Agency Census, released this week, has revealed the best-performing indie agency businesses in Britain. And by scrutinizing the results in detail, we can explore how larger indie shops – those with more than 50 staff – performed in the last year, as the impacts of Covid subsided and clients came back to the table.
Indie agencies with large staffs managed to hold their own against the competition this year / The Drum
Analysis from The Drum shows that agencies with 50 or more staff took more than £539m in revenue last year, an average increase of over 15.5% on their turnovers in 2020.
That suggests that larger indie agencies have continued to grow in line with industry expectations following the explosion of digital advertising spending last year.
Average revenue per head at agencies with more than 100 employees was £122,571, while teams at agencies with between 50 and 100 staff followed closely – bringing in £107,750 per head. For agencies in our sample with teams of more than 50, average turnover in 2021 was £11.97m.
The best-performing agencies with between 50 and 100 staff in our sample were The Maverick Group, The Fresh Group and Mammoth; the latter, with 70 staff saw a revenue of £7.6m last year.
The 17 indies surveyed with more than 100 employees naturally brought in much higher revenues (over £320m in turnover collectively) but recorded lower turnover-per-head scores; Brainlabs’ 719 staff brought in about £35,000 each, while IDHL’s 226 employees pulled in £85,600 each. Excluding the former – an outlier in our sample for its size – the average number of employees for agencies with a team of over 100, was 161.
Find out the state of the UK’s indie agency nation in The Drum’s Independent Agency Census.