UM is Ad Age’s 2024 Media Agency of the Year

Retail media has grown to become one of marketers’ most important areas of emphasis as brands shift to performance-based marketing and emphasize consumer data in their media investments. IPG Mediabrands’ global agency UM has been a leader in the retail and commerce space throughout its evolution, and is reaping the wins now that advertisers are focusing on commerce.

UM Commerce, an in-house unit devoted to retail media investment, increased billings from $1 billion to more than $2 billion in 2023, and increased participating clientele 100% to more than 40 globally. The agency has been a leader in developing new capabilities in the space, such as its Shoptimizer tool that automates planning, buying and analysis of retail media buys. Overall, UM increased revenue by 3% in 2023 to approximately $530 to $540 million.

UM’s start-to-finish integration of commerce in media buying is a differentiator for the agency, said UM Global CEO Andrea Suarez, who was appointed to the role last June. “The integration for clients needs to be seamless because it’s one budget for clients, one set of goals,” said Suarez.

The agency’s capabilities were key to major wins last year, such as leading IPG Mediabrands’ Geico media account win as well as UM’s media win with General Mills. According to Erin Quintana, UM’s U.S. CEO who led the General Mills pitch, “The way that consumers are shopping, particularly in the food category, changed so dramatically during COVID … [commerce-driven marketing] is a place where if they do not win, they’re not going to win. We really were able to identify strategies for them to grow in the commerce space in particular.”

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