Publicis’ strong Q2 driven by data, DTC and digital media

The company's financial measures have returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Publicis Groupe, reaching what it called “full recovery” as revenue and organic growth surpassed pre-pandemic levels, reported 17.1% organic growth for the three months ending in June and 9.7% organic growth for the first half of the year.

Recognizing the weak baseline a year-over-year comparison against Q2 of 2020 provides, the holding company also pointed out that all of its financial KPIs have now exceeded pre-pandemic levels, with 2% organic growth in Q2 when compared to 2019.

Publicis attributed the performance, in part, to strong demand for Epsilon’s digital media and first-party data management capabilities, as well as digital division Publicis.Sapient. The company re-stated the importance of Epsilon to its strategic direction going forward, but added that Publicis.Sapient would also have a big role, helping clients create new digital ecosystems, especially ones tied to ecommerce and direct-to-consumer platforms.

The “new initiatives” Publicis is pursuing “to help clients stay ahead of new revolutions” include post-cookie ID resolutions, including its recent partnership with The Trade Desk, launching PMX Lift to pursue opportunities in connected TV and the acquisition of CitrusAd to develop its retail media offering and provide an “on-site” compliment to Epsilon’s “off-site” expertise.

The U.S., which represents 58% of Publicis’ revenue, was also a highlight for the company, with organic growth of 15.2% in Q2, but the entirety of North America, which includes Canada, wasn’t far behind, at 15.1% growth. In addition to Epsilon and Publicis.Sapient, the company reported strong performance in its media and health agencies, as well as sequential improvement in creative.

Assuming there are no new setbacks from the ongoing pandemic, Publicis now predicts its full-year organic growth to reach 7%.