After a brief hiatus, WordStream’s State of the Digital Marketing Agency report is back—and this time, it’s bigger than ever!
We surveyed over 300 agencies in the US and Canada on everything from the services they offer, how they price those services, their size and structure, their biggest business challenges, and so much more.
To give you a little peek at some of the data, we’re featuring 10 of the biggest takeaways and what they mean for your agency. Let’s dive in!
🗝️ Download the full State of the Digital Marketing Agency industry report for 25 charts and data points that will guide your 2024 planning!
Our data shows that the hybrid billing model has grown in popularity over the last few years. In our 2020 report, flat fee and hybrid billing models were about equally common, but this year, almost half of all agencies we surveyed are using a hybrid billing model.
“There are lots of options for how agencies can price their services. We’ve seen hybrid billing models grow in popularity because they provide the flexibility for agencies to price their services in a way that benefits both their clients and their own bottom line.” said Erin Rose, Sr. Director of Partner Development for LocaliQ.
Curious what services and add-ons agencies are charging additional fees for? Landing page creation was the most popular, followed by image ad creation and display creative.
This makes sense because these are time-consuming marketing activities that require expertise and creativity. Plus, effective landing pages and strong creative are crucial to the success of digital marketing campaigns.
Aside from creative services, reporting and tracking were valuable services agencies charged additional fees for.
By offering these services in-house, even for an additional fee, you can add value to your existing services while increasing revenue for your agency.
It’s interesting to see the mix of services the agencies we surveyed offer—with social ads, content, and creative services leading the pack, followed by SEO, search advertising, and email marketing.
These strategies continue to be accessible and cost-effective for all types of businesses—making them a reliable option for agencies offering digital marketing services.
This data also shows that most agencies are offering multiple services for their clients. (We dive deeper into that data in the report.)
Of those surveyed, 93% said their clients are running two or more services with them—with 34% saying their clients run an average of 4 or more services with their agency.
This is good news because if your clients are running more services with you, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to retain and potentially upsell them.
This also means your agency should consider ways to offer more services to clients. Running one or just a couple of services decreases your revenue potential—and keeps you from providing a better experience for clients who will have to work across agencies for all their digital marketing needs.
41% of agencies offering search advertising services are spending 2-4 hours per week managing PPC per client—and 16% are spending 5 or more! This time can add up quickly and hinder your agency from onboarding new clients and adding more services to help retain existing clients.
If you’re spending more than a couple hours per week managing search per client, consider outsourcing or researching automated tools that can cut down on your PPC management without sacrificing results.
53% of those surveyed have fewer than 25 employees and 23% are sole practitioners. Meaning most of these agencies’ employees are wearing multiple hats, from account management, sales, reporting, and more.
For example, over half of agencies surveyed don’t have any employees fully dedicated to sales. 18% have employees partially dedicated to sales, and 43% have at least one employee fully dedicated to sales.
🛑 Download the report to find out what percentage of agencies have employees dedicated to account management.
A good tech stack is essential for agencies—especially smaller agencies doing more with fewer people and resources. Tools for marketing automation and email marketing like HubSpot and MailChimp continue to be important for agencies.
Agencies are also commonly using tools and software for reporting and analytics, project management, content management, and ecommerce/payments.
But one new addition is the prominence of ChatGPT. This AI tool has become an important resource for agencies and marketers looking to automate tasks that were more time intensive. We’ll be curious how the use of AI tools will evolve and impact agencies in the future.
34% of those surveyed said their spend under management has stayed the same in the last year. 53% said their spend under management has grown in the last year—26% by more than 25% and 27% by less than 25%.
Between the stressors of the economy and coming out of the pandemic, it’s encouraging to see that agencies have been able to grow their managed spend, although the rate of growth is lower than we saw in our 2018-2020 reports.
As we found in previous reports, client referrals were by far the top source for acquiring new clients, followed (not closely) by content and digital marketing.
Referrals are amazing, but if your challenge is finding new clients you should switch it up. Use these tips to get new clients if your referral well is running dry.
Getting new clients has been a consistent top challenge for the agencies we’ve surveyed since 2018. The agencies we surveyed this year still anticipate getting new clients will be a big challenge, but economic conditions and uncertainty is the top challenge they’re worried about for 2024.
This answer wasn’t even an option in previous reports, and agencies were reporting higher rates of growth. For example, in 2018, nearly half of agencies surveyed saw their managed spend increase by more than 25%, compared to only 26% this year.
We included some tips for how to address this challenge in our report!
This peek inside how other digital agencies operate, use their resources, and service clients can help inform your 2024 planning—and can illuminate some areas to focus on improving or streamlining.
Here’s a quick recap of the top takeaways from our State of the Digital Marketing Agency in 2023 report:
Need support preparing for growth in 2024? WordStream by LocaliQ can help—not only by providing industry data and insights but by helping you directly grow and scale your agency. Reach out to learn more.
Stephanie is the Associate Director of Content for LocaliQ and WordStream. She has over 10 years of experience in content and social media marketing and loves writing about all things digital marketing. When she’s not researching the latest and greatest marketing news and updates, she’s probably watching reality TV with her husband, reading, or playing with her two pups.
See other posts by Stephanie Heitman
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