What is a digital advertising agency?

What is a digital advertising agency

The digital landscape has seen a migration of many businesses and agencies that were primarily based offline. This means new names and new roles for these businesses. If you’re scouting for a B2B agency to deliver services, it is important to understand what certain terms mean and what to expect from an agency.

What is a digital advertising agency?

A digital advertising agency is simply a business or an agency that helps other businesses advertise on various digital platforms. Simply, put, if you have a business or an organization and you would like to put up adverts/campaigns on the digital space, you would need to work with a digital advertising agency. The agency will analyse the target audience, plan your campaigns, create adverts/campaigns and execute the plan through media buying.

What is digital advertising?

Digital advertising refers to the act of running promotional campaigns on one or several digital platforms. It’s the same as traditional advertising, only that it takes place on a digital space. There are various types of digital campaigns which include;

Pay per Click (PPC) advertising

PPC advertising are the kind of campaigns billed according to the number of clicks your advert attracts. PPC is simply a billing system and several digital platforms practice it. The most popular PPC campaign platforms are Google, Facebook and Instagram. On Google, for instance, you can create an advert, which could be in the form of a visual medium or a link to your website. A visual campaign is also known as a display ad and it is normally placed on other people’s websites or apps. The visuals could be in the form of a banner, a video or a poster. A search campaign, on the other hand, is displayed every time someone searches specific keywords related to your business. For instance, if you’re selling, plumbing services, your website’s link will appear at the top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS) or at the bottom, depending on how much you’re paying. Every time someone clicks on your advert you’re billed per click. Each platform charges according to what other bidders advertisers/businesses) are paying. The more your competitors pay, the higher the cost of clicks.

Video ads

Just as the name suggests these are adverts presented in a video format. They’re more like TV adverts, but they’re placed on digital channels like social media and YouTube. If you’re a fan of YouTube videos, you’ve obviously had to wait for 3 or 4 seconds to “skip ad”. Such ads are a perfect example of Video Ads. Instagram and Facebook also support video advertising and it’s common to see ads which have previously appeared on TV making a comeback on such platforms.

Pop up ads

Pop-ups have become very popular campaign tools over the years. These kinds of ads are mostly Calls to Action (CTAs) which appear in the form of a pop-up poster or banner on a business’ website. Sponsored posts; these types of digital ads are popular within social media platforms. When scrolling through your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feed, you’ve probably come across a post with the words “sponsored” or “recommended for you”. These posts are usually paid for. The number of people who get to see the ad is highly dependent on the amount of money a business is willing to spend on the campaign. Sponsored posts could also be billed per click.

What does a digital advertising agency do?

A digital advertising agency falls under the B2B category, meaning it serves other businesses. Such an agency performs the following roles if contracted to execute digital campaigns for another business;

Market analysis

An agency needs to understand the kind of target customers a business is targeting, the business’ competitors and the general advertising landscape. The agency needs to account for every detail regarding these three aspects before publishing an advert on the digital space. It is important to note that digital adverts can fail terribly and result in very negative attention. Alternatively, the campaign could also fail to yield the expected results. Therefore, the agency should take time to understand the market before setting up campaigns.


A lot goes into planning for digital advertising. The agency should be able to present a well-structured plan of how adverts will be rolled out. Planning entails breaking down the campaign timelines, goals, metrics, media (social media, search engines etc.) and type of adverts.


Budgeting is an integral part of advertising. Every element of an advert is costly. Proper budgeting is not an option but a necessity. After all, you do not want to work with a thinly stretched budget or poorly spread out revenue. Digital advertising agencies project expenditure based on what each platform charges and what a business is willing to spend.

Creative production and copywriting

A digital agency may either take up the creative processes of producing campaigns (be it banners, posters or videos) or they may contract a creative agency to take care of this process. Other times, a business may work with separate agencies if the advertising agency lacks a creative department. Regardless of who takes care of the creative bit of advertising, a digital advertising agency is supposed to oversee the process or work closely with those contracted to come up with campaign content.

Media buying

Once the campaign content is ready, the next step should be publishing it on relevant digital platforms and buying digital media space. The agency is supposed to place ads on behalf of the company as per the agreed budget, timelines and target audience.

Campaign monitoring and reporting

Digital advertising, just like traditional advertising requires close monitoring of campaigns to ensure they achieve their intended purpose. A traditional advertising agency would pay attention to; when adverts are displayed and whether they’re aired as produced and as agreed. Digital agencies, on the contrary, will monitor campaigns to track how audiences are responding. They will use metrics such as views, clicks, comments and shares to determine the success of a campaign. Most importantly, they also break down the revenue accumulated as a result of the campaign. This factor is helpful in establishing whether the Return on Investment (ROI) was worth it or not. After tracking and analysing campaigns, the agency delivers a report to the business owner or management.

What kind of results to expect from a digital advertising agency?

If you hire a digital advertising agency you need to be sure of what you’re paying for to avoid nasty surprises. Different agencies have different packages depending on their resources and expertise. While some are flexible enough to handle advertising on different platforms, others specialize with particular digital platforms. Regardless of what an agency offers, you should expect the following if you hire their services;

A boost in your sales

The primary purpose of advertising is to improve the sales graph. Advertising is meant to attract sales and leads. It’s not about creating brand awareness (even though this could be achieved as well). Therefore, when establishing campaign goals and metrics, the agency should be able to project expected revenue and it should be much higher than what you’re spending on agency and campaign fees.

Professional looking ads

The essence of working with a digital agency as opposed to hiring a traditional agency or doing the work yourself is to get professional services. The agency should produce quality content and a quality campaign. For instance, if you opt to use video as an advertising tool, the videos should be of the best quality and edited with professional tools rather than free apps and software. In addition, the agency should disclose the campaign production processes and the cost involved to avoid hidden costs. This is however not a must if the agency foots the production bill.

Campaign management

The work of a digital advertising agency does not stop at planning, production and media buying. The digital space is quite vibrant and often, ads end up attracting unexpected reactions. For instance, a campaign may attract an overwhelming number of comments or inquiries from target audiences. In such a case, the agency should be able to respond to customer inquiries (with their help of an organization’s staff). Other times, a campaign may offend the target audience thus attracting negative publicity. If this happens, the agency should either manage the negative publicity or call the campaign off altogether, depending on the severity of the situation.

A comprehensive report

At the end of a campaign, the agency should present your organization with a report on how the campaign fared and the returns accrued. They should also present feedback from consumers, especially if you use social media as an advertising platform. If at all the campaigns elicited negative reactions or feedback, the agency should give details about such.


A digital advertising agency helps other businesses establish remarkable footprints on the digital space through adverts. It’s however important to differentiate such an agency from other types of digital agencies such as digital marketing and digital creative agencies to avoid confusing their roles. An advertising agency simply deals with digital advertising. Therefore, if you want to start advertising on various digital platforms you should be consulting with a digital advertising agency.