Interpublic Group today projected that its organic revenue would grow by 5% to 6% for the full year in another sign that the agency industry is recovering from the pandemic. The company, whose holdings include McCann, FCB, Mediabrands, Deutsch and R/GA, reported net revenue growth of 1.9% for the first quarter.
Interpublic's projection is “based on the assumption that there will continue to be a reasonably steady course of public health and global economic recovery,” IPG CEO Phillippe Krakowsky said in an earnings call this morning.
WPP, which reported its results this morning, and Publicis Groupe, which shared its numbers earlier this month, both showed a return to organic growth in the first quarter. WPP projected full-year organic revenue growth in the "mid-single digits."
While Omnicom showed improvement, they still reported negative organic revenue in Q1, with optimism to return to positive revenue in the second quarter.
While IPG’s results and projections are bright, Krakowsky preached caution moving forward.
“Of course, our first quarter is seasonally our smallest, and most of the year still remains ahead of us,” Krakowsky said. “We also appreciate that a heightened degree of business uncertainty is part of the current reality facing all companies, which in a business like ours translates into more challenging visibility to the full year. As a result, we are staying close to our people and our clients, asking our teams for frequent financial updates, and continuing to carefully manage expenses.”
The holding company’s first quarter numbers are a drastic improvement from its fourth quarter of last year which saw an organic revenue decline of 5.4%. IPG received a big lift from its international markets which saw growth in every region, reporting combined 6.3% organic growth. IPG’s Chief Financial Officer Ellen Johnson described that as a “notable improvement from Q4.”
The U.S., which made up 65% of net revenue in the quarter, saw a slight dip of 20 basis points, attributed to “continued pressure on events and sports, as well as certain project work, as has been the case throughout the pandemic,” Johnson said on the earnings call.
“We are seeing cautious optimism from clients and the tone of business has firmed in the last few months,” Krakowsky said. “Re-openings, fiscal stimulus and vaccinations programs in a number of our largest markets are providing a tangible lift to economic activity and marketing demand.”