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Acquisition of Boston-based digital agency for $3.7 billion shows importance of digital design

  • Published on November 3, 2014
Acquisition of Boston-based digital agency for $3.7 billion shows importance of digital design

In yet another signal of the critical importance of digital design and digital advertising in modern media, the international advertising and design powerhouse Publicis Groupe announced today that they are acquiring digital agency Sapient, based in Boston. Publicis is the parent company behind some of the most successful traditional ad agencies such as Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, as well as digital agency Razorfish. After the acquisition, Publicis will have annual revenue of approximately $10 billion and more than 75,000 employees world-wide. Once the acquisition is completed, digital business will account for more than half the revenue at Publicis. The emphasis on digital advertising and digital design is a good indicator of the continuing importance of tools from Adobe, such as Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, and their digital marketing suite. These tools are used for creating digital video, digital effects, advertisements, as well as those use for analytical purposes, and are the types of tools widely used at firms such as Sapient, and it is these digital tools and skills that are needed by large agencies to compete in an advertising market that is increasingly digital.

The need to expand heavily into digital agencies is a result of the increasing shift of ad spending online, as companies look to advertise online. While sites such as Facebook and Google may garner much of the online digital marketing attention, there are growing opportunities for display, remarketing, and online video advertisements. Each of these goes beyond a simple text-based advertisement, and often has designers creating final pieces using tools such as Photoshop or Premiere Pro. Along with providing the design-skills that are needed, agencies also assist with efficiently buying advertising that targets the correct demographic. Agencies continue to prove their worth, and with the high price paid by Publicis Groupe for Sapient, it is clear that an increasing value is being placed upon digital design skills and capabilities.

The most successful digital agencies also provide consultative services for their clients. Successful modern agencies provide insight regarding where to advertise, which audience to reach, and how much to pay for ads in a dynamic bidding environment. American Graphics Institute’s regularly scheduled Photoshop training classes along with courses for learning After Effects and other Adobe training offer a chance to improve digital design skills in a safe, controlled environment.

About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics training along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.