Essence extends US footprint with mobile agency Point Reach buyout

Digital agency Essence has acquired US mobile agency Point Reach for an undisclosed sum as it continues to extend its reach over the pond.

The 17-strong Point Reach team will remain at the Seattle-based company, which will now come under the Essence brand.

Point Reach counts brands including Disney and Walgreens among its clients, along with eBay – also an Essence client.

Mark Nancarrow, Essence’s chief financial officer and former acting managing director, said it is vital the technical expertise of the Point Reach team is retained within Essence to help meet increasing demand from brands eyeing mobile-centric and mobile-first strategies. The agency is expecting mobile to account for around 10 per cent of its total billings this year.

“Brand expectations are high this year regarding mobile developments and this deal has been made with that in mind,” he said.

The more traditional brands are still lagging behind consumers when it comes to mobile adoption, a factor which must change if they are to stay ahead of competition, according to Nancarrow.

“Mobile devices are now an intricate part of consumers’ lives now but for those who grew up in the TV ad world, the notion of digital and mobile is still a difficult transition and therefore requires a change of approach. It’s also a risk for them – brand marketers are under pressure to hit tough targets and when it comes down to it they will often opt to take the trusted route rather than experimenting with mobile,” he said.

Tracking mobile remains a challenge, especially in comparison to the search and display space, according to Nancarrow. "The number of multiple operating systems also presents challenges and gaps in the ways you can track mobile," he added.

However, mobile opens up significant tracking and location data opportunities for advertisers, he added. “Brands that don’t embrace mobile will find themselves in a difficult position in a few years where they will face more competition from challenger brands who will have moved more quickly in the mobile space,” said Nancarrow.

The move follows Essence’s acquisition of San Francisco-based media agency Black Bag Advertising last September.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.