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Who We Are

We’re pioneers in the use of analytics and technology to create valuable, relevant, and trustworthy advertising.

We're working to make advertising more valuable to the world by:

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    Supporting a sustainable ad economy

    Advertising works best when it works well for everyone.

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    Creating authentic, long term value

    Real performance comes from investing in learning and focusing on both long and short term goals, with measures that aren’t always convenient or obvious.

  • 03

    Treating audiences with respect

    Customers aren’t just numbers; they’re real people with individual needs.

  • 04

    Taking care of our people

    Making advertising more valuable to the world requires truly engaged, fulfilled teams.

  • 05

    Acting as ethical stewards of data and technology

    Brand value is built on trust and maintained through the responsible use of data and technology.

  • 06

    Running an environmentally responsible business

    Essence operates as a sustainable, carbon-conscious company.

  • 07

    Fostering creativity through diversity and inclusion

    We believe different perspectives aren’t optional; they’re essential.

  • 08

    Using our abilities for social good

    Advertising's increasing power creates the responsibility to make the world a better place.

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Essence by the numbers

  • 0K

    Employees

    Who believe in making marketing work better for everyone

  • 0B

    Dollars in managed media

    Essence is responsible for $US4B in annualized advertising spend

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    Markets served

    We run campaigns in over 100 markets around the world

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    Our industry ranking

    Rated as the world's leading programmatic agency by AdExchanger and I-COM, OMMA agency of the year by MediaPost, and the Breakthrough Media Agency of the Year by Adweek

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    Percent of media bought in-house

    Where we can ensure it meets our standards for quality and accuracy

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    Automatic safety checks

    We set the standard for brand safety, running 300 inventory fraud and safety checks on every campaign prior to launch

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    Minutes to get a campaign live

    Our self driving campaign technology cuts the time required to get campaigns in market from days to just minutes.

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    Campaigns currently in market

    Essence currently has 265 active media plans across 135 campaigns, delivering an estimated 17B impressions.

  • 0T

    Impressions this year

    We've served over 290,000,000,000 media impressions so far this year.

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    YOY growth for the last four years

    Essence is one of the fastest growing agencies in the industry.

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    API integrations

    Essence's software-enabled services are enhanced by more than 50 leading industry platforms

A global network

Our teams work across offices to bring brands to life in every market, every second of the day.

Our Story

We started building the agency of the future 5,279 days ago.

2005

Pioneers with a purpose

Essence Co-Founders

Essence was founded in the belief that technology could make advertising more valuable, more efficient, and more transparent by Andrew Shebbeare, Andy Bonsall, and Matt Isaacs. The trio met in London while working in a financial services startup and building full service inhouse marketing and media departments for Lloyds TSB.

In 2005, Andrew, Andy, and Matt decided to create an agency that would unite media and creative services and build the technology to power them. That summer, Essence launched and began working with UK electronics retailer The Carphone Warehouse. The agency’s proprietary media management platform was created shortly thereafter.

2006

Essence begins its first assignment for Google in the UK

Essence's first assignment for Google - digital creative for a UK campaign - came in October 2006. That same year, Essence rebuilt Carphone Warehouse's website and helped to launch Geek Squad in the UK.

2009

Launching Google Chrome

Google Chrome Launch

28 people strong, in 2009 Essence partners with Google to launch Google's Chrome browser in 12 markets and develops the YouTube channel for the documentary Home, the first ever full length film streamed on YouTube, garnering 2 million views on its opening weekend.

Econsultancy awards Essence Most Innovative Agency at the Econsultancy Innovation Awards.

2010

Crossing the Atlantic

In 2010, begins work for Google in North America and opens its first office in the US, a 4-person team in New York City.

The same year, Essence is one of only 4 agencies in the world given access to the Facebook ads API in a global alpha test and is awarded Media Agency of the Year in the NMA Awards.

2012

Investment in the US with offices in San Francisco and Seattle

With 165 people working across the UK and the US, in 2012 Essence is ranked Europe's fastest growing digital agency and helps eBay launch their first TV commercial in the UK. In the US, acquisitions of Black Bag Advertising and Point Reach help to establish Essence offices in San Francisco and Seattle.

2013

Expanding into APAC

Essence opens an office in Singapore to support work with Google across South East Asia, India, China, and Japan. The agency partners with the Financial Times as Agency of Record and establishes and independent technology practice, 2Sixty Labs.

2014

Pioneering personalized advertising

Essence launches the 'Magic Mobile ads" campaign for Google in New York, LA, SF, Seattle, Philadelphia and Dallas utilizing 23 pieces of dynamic content, drawn from 5 different APIs. A first for the industry, 95% of the campaign content was dynamic - right down to the time displayed on the device in the last frame.

For the fourth year in a row, Essence is ranked the fastest growing digital agency and is named the #1 Independent Agency in The Drum's industry census. The agency introduces the first programmatic guaranteed buy, a global first for Google, wins its first ever Lions at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity for work on Google Night Walk, and is featured by The Evening Standard for exemplifying the future of the advertising industry.

2015

Essence becomes part of WPP and GroupM

WPP announces it will acquire a majority stake in Essence, the world's largest independent buyer of digital media and Essence becomes part of GroupM, the world's largest media investment group. At the time of acquisition, Essence has offices in London, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Singapore, and Tokyo, with 500 people, and $700 million in media spend across 70 markets.

For the first time, Essence is named an Agency to Watch by Advertising Age and Digital Media Agency of the Year by The Drum. 

2017

The world's #1 programmatic agency becomes fully integrated

Essence launches the first digital out-of-home campaign to ever be traded automatically with BitPoster and the Financial Times and launches the first ever control/exposed OOH measurement product with Kinetic to bridge physical and digital media.

Advertising trade publication AdExchanger names Essence the #1 programmatic agency in the world and GroupM announces a significant investment in the agency, helping to transform Essence into a truly full service media partner. Essence begins providing integrated media services to NBCUniversal, Target, BT, and Flipkart and adds offices in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Toronto, Dusseldorf, Seoul, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Melbourne.

2018

Innovation in AI and automation powers continued growth

Essence integrates machine learning into its proprietary media management platform Olive, creating the world’s first truly AI-enabled campaign management software and pioneers Self Driving Campaigns, the first fully automated end-to-end campaign planning, management, and optimization process.

These investments reduce the time required to get a campaign into market from weeks to less than ten minutes and create efficiencies in media planning and buying that are reinvested back into the business in training and strategy. On the back of these advances and continued business growth, Essence is named MediaPost’s OMMA Agency of the Year and Adweek’s Breakthrough Agency of the Year. 

2019

Leadership for the future

Kyoko and CJ

After growing the agency to nearly 2,000 people in 10 countries, Essence Global CEO Christian Juhl is named Global CEO of GroupM, passing the baton to Chief Client Officer Kyoko Matsushita to lead Essence into its next era of growth and innovation.

We’re changing the way people think about advertising with services built for a new generation of marketers—and their audiences.

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