Top Ten Advertising Agencies In The UK
It really is a tough challenge these days trying to find an advertising agency to partner with. To start with, AdsRunner’s search online threw up 865,032,704 results; by the time you read this, it will have bumped higher. if you try Bizarrely, if you narrow that down to the country we are based in, a search on ‘advertising agency U.K.’ throws up 4,000,000,000 results! Now, we know that there are not that many businesses in the U.K., because there are only 67 million people, so this shows the difficulties faced by any business trying to find a reliable ad agency.
Once you have your shortlist, it is then a case of having your list of key criteria to work through against those likely candidates. Even then, subcontracting can feel risky, because your profitability and competitiveness rests on their achieving your aspirations and then some. For that reason alone, choosing from among the top ad agencies is essential to deliver the value your company deserves.
So, having been around this digital advertising world for over fifteen years now, we’d like to help you out with some of our key criteria we look for when seeking to outsource when demand for services peak beyond our in-house capacity to deliver.
Communications should be reliable, regular, clear and flexible in format. Your chosen advertising agency is effectively a business partner who treat your success as essential to their own, so your allocated Account Manager will keep in regular contact. You should expect for them to understand the changing requirements of your business, due to shifts in the landscape they work in and reassure you of their intentions to adjust strategy accordingly.
Communications will inform you in meaningful ways about what is working for you and where changes are being made to adapt to new information available from results being monitored. You should expect to have information shared in formats that enable immediate decision making by your teams, be that in verbal, written, or real-time data graphical representations.
Data and Transparency. Ideally, your advertising partner will offer a data insights system with a customisable dashboard that allows your teams to see results happening in real time, from which you can pull reports in a variety of formats. This reassures you that your advertising agency is delivering transparent results in ways that support other aspects of your operations and is fully accountable for their decisions. Deliverables should be regularly reported on.
Proven Track Record. Look for accreditations from some of the advertising platform providers, such as Google and Bing partnerships, which amount to third party endorsements from the experts. Any awards they may have achieved are a bonus, because these are recognition by peers in their industry. However, that is a nice to have and can bump fees significantly.
Ask your contractor to demonstrate case studies for your industry, to assure you of their expertise in your niche. If they have worked in your sector, this gives you an added advantage of leveraging their industry data for boosting performance of your campaigns. Relevant data can give you an edge over competitors.
Reliability – well duh! Obviously, reliability is about achieving the percentage level of return on advertising spend (ROAS) that drives reinvestment across your business, including your marketing operations. Advertising should contribute to the building of profitability and scaling, without acceptable returns, your ad agency is failing.
From the outset, your position should be bench-marked with a comprehensive audit of where you stand before your sub-contractor begins managing your advertising campaigns. This enables objective measurement of progress, based on objective data.
So with those four key criteria ticked off, let’s scan the advertising agencies on our radar right now. You may have identified others, which is fine; there are many to choose from and we could spend all day discussing this one topic, but AdsRunner have called on network partners in advertising before now, as we have continued to grow in capacity to deliver across digital advertising services.
Of course we rate ourselves on a par with our peers, if not higher in many cases! AdsRunner have been in the advertising business for many years, seeing this industry grow in scale and sophistication as innovations in the tools provided by ad platforms have arrived and as ways to harness and interpret data have grown in comprehensiveness. Meantime, businesses have been faced with some strong head-winds over the past ten years and we look to keep costs down as far as humanly possible in the future, while delivering returns beyond expectations for our clients. The competition is tough, regulation keeps shifting and supply chain challenges are enough to keep businesses owners awake at night.
We commit to making competition more enjoyable, despite their operational challenges, by demonstrating meaningful results that support our partner-clients’ current and future business objectives.
We have worked in diverse business sectors and have expertise across a good range of niches. We leverage the expertise of specialists in every aspect of digital advertising to offer a full-funnel lead generation and optimisation service. Whatever your challenge, we can meet it and some. Our passion for what we do and our commitment to putting our customers at the heart of everything we do means we are building a strong reputation in the industry and have served hundreds of clients.
Our B2C and B2B digital marketing services include everything you would expect from a reliable service provider:
- Google Search Ads (Google Partner)
- Google Shopping (Google Partner)
- Microsoft Bing Ads
- Social Media advertising:
- Facebook (Meta Partner)
- Video creative development and marketing:
- Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
- User Experience enhancement (UX)
- Web Development
- Ask us about other platforms
- Data analysis and leverage
- Bespoke training packages
- Digital advertising consultancy
If you have something particular in mind, please ask one of our consultants. Chances are we have experience of it and if not, we love a new challenge.
2. Limelight Digital
Limelight Digital are a Loughborough based, multi-channel ad service provider who have been around for 25 years, but have stayed ‘bijou’. This tells us this diverse, seven-person team prefer the personal approach to their clients, which seems to be reflected in the average spend of £9,900 each, according to their website. Nevertheless, they have worked with some notable brands, such as Jewson, Shoezone and Motorpoint. They also target start-ups.
Their services include:
- Pay per click (PPC)
- Social Media
- Content marketing
3. Jacob Tyler
45% of what Jacob Tyler do is advertising, which is a clear indication of where their expertise lies. Although based in California, don’t let that put you off partnering with them if looking to pull together your branding consistency and build this foundation of your marketing strategy.
Their average ticket price for one hour’s services is $150-199, with $25000 being their threshold minimum for service provision. This and their staffing capacity tells us they have worked with small to medium to larger-scale businesses in their twenty years in business. From 55 reviews left on Clutch’s service comparison site, they have achieved a strong 4.9/5 scoring.
In terms of services, their profile reads: “From brand strategy, through design and development, our team of experts create engagement for your brand in a novel way that drives profitability.” Branding, web design and user experience (UX) seem to be their key focuses, which means that keyword selection and SEO will also be in the mix. Their website is pretty slick, so it’s probably fair to say you can expect intelligence in their approach, as some customers have vouched for.
4. Our Own Brand
This award-winning London advertising agency have only been going since 2018, so are still building their service offering. Our Own Brand services are mainly around branding, social and digital production, so if this is where your focus is, this is their speciality. Their team includes: digital marketers, skilled in paid ads and organic content, designers, directors and copywriters, developers and content creators.
Their minimum project size and price is around £8,500 and hourly rate is around £125.00, which could be money well-spent, given their recognition by industry commentators and peers. Every investment in quality campaigns pays off, so check in with these guys in terms of returns from your ad investment you can expect for your niche and strategy.
Some household brands definitely rate them. They count some big names among their clients, including: O’Neill, asos, Sky, Red Bull and others.
5. Burst Digital
Burst Digital work out of London and New York, offering a range of services, including “positioning” (i.e. branding and associated channel selection), social media marketing, SEO, website design and more. In their short time on the digital marketing scene they are achieving some great results. As a young company, they also have green credentials, offering 100% renewable energy website hosting, reduced rates to companies and non-profits that have a positive impact on the planet. For each project they complete, they also plant a mini forest in scale to the size of that contract. Nice.
This team can boast clients such as Vivienne Westwood, Lucinda Green and others, which makes their hire rates pretty amazing in our opinion. They are top rated by Sortlist and achieved a 5/5 scoring on Clutch (albeit they clearly have not been registered there long, as only have 6 reviews in total. This comparison website quotes a minimum project cost as just over the £4,000 mark, or £40 an hour. They also offer a free digital audit within 48 hours of your request, which shows these guys care about their customers and are thorough.
Bartle Bogle Hegarty have been around for a long time and can boast some big name clients, as that famous Levi’s ad based in the laundromat included in their spectacular home page portfolio video shows. If that phenomenally creative pastiche doesn’t impress you, frankly, nothing will.
This agency have worked with huge global brands from Barclays to Barbie and everything in between. With offices around the world, (London, U.S.A., China, India, Singapore, Stockholm) these guys are global in presence and approach.
Partner Bartle summarises their approach like this: “Our objective is effectiveness. Our
strategy, creativity”. Their endorsements include glowing descriptives, such as “speed”, “incredible….special company”, “collaborative”, “excellent”, but you’d expect that from a premier marketing agency who have been around since the beginning of digital.
If you have a sizable budget and are seeking serious scale, BBH is your go-to as we see it. They are an inspirational industry leader.
7. eBusiness U.K.
eBusiness U.K. are based in Blackburn, Lancashire England. They are another award-winning digital marketing agency who have 20 years’ experience behind them. On-going SEO is the mainstay of their work, making them keyword masters, but a quarter of their time is devoted to PPC. They work closely with their clients to harness optimal results from a company’s data for paid ads.
They help SMEs, particularly in the eCommerce niche, who make up one third of their clientele at the time of writing this review. They also support business services and have expertise in leisure and hospitality. Working with SME’s they have to work collaboratively, to ensure that start-ups achieve the scale they seek. They have a 5/5 rating on the comparison service Clutch, with customers reporting the open communication necessary to optimise campaign results.
They have worked with names such as Pierre Cardin, BT, Northcote, plus a diverse array of sectors, from bed retailers to games production companies. Feedback on this company makes reference to their commitment to the long-term for their clients and a rating of 5/5 on Clutch and a Google rating of 5/5, which demonstrates they have a customer-focus and treat their client as a partner. This partnership approach is essential for advertising clients to feel confident in their outsourcing
8. Push Group
The award-winning Push Group have supported business marketing out of their London and overseas offices since 2007. These guys clearly want to protect their clientele and themselves from competitors by not releasing details of their clients, but it’s safe to say they are market-leaders in what they do. Their hourly rate is either expensive or varies according to the project, so is no published on a comparison site. However, their minimum project cost is around £4,250. A free audit of your digital assets is offered to whet your appetite and it’s often interesting to compare the content of these across different providers to see where there may be added value.
This international player cover wide-ranging services including advertising via: PPC, Social, CRO, display and native advertising, shopping channels (particularly Google), web design and provide consultancy services too. With advertising making up a third of their services, they also offer an ‘Adinvestor’ option for clients wishing to leverage additional machine learning and A.I. to power their campaign. Their proprietary tools mean that this frees up more time for other aspects of working with clients and potentially saves money in the process. For more on their technological innovation on offer go here.
Clearly, this company is an industry leader, offering webinars for potential customers to learn more about increasing the effectiveness of managing their ad campaigns and will appeal to the medium to large sized enterprises with sizable advertising budget capacity.
If you are looking to complement your online presence with offline advertising, Global, cover aspects of radio advertising and outdoor, place-based marketing. From airports, to billboards, digital screens in key locations or London Underground, they can put together some strong lead generation campaigns that amplify your advertising campaign efforts from affordable kiosk displays, or on-street local location campaigns, to mass coverage around the U.K.
From local charities to the likes of Vodaphone and many more, if you think back to the ads you have seen as you travel around, their off-line marketing can boost campaigns and brand profiles.
Another innovative channel integration involves their digital ad exchange. These tools offer targeting of audiences combining media that have won awards. Vodaphone’s bus wrap campaign tied into bus route stop based campaigns that used TfL’s GPS data to trigger a total of 80 outdoor screen ads. Follow up surveys of Londoners showed 7 out of 10 people recalling seeing the ads, demonstrating memorable impact.
TV advertising is increasingly considered as an outmoded channel with the onslaught of digital, online being so efficient at monitoring and optimising results. However, Toast understand that a captive audience has value when relaxing with the TV, particularly when content is created in conjunction with digital data harnessed from testing grounds online. They use direct response methods whereby audiences are called upon to respond to an offer directly, such as calling toll-free numbers, or perhaps to visit a particular URL to claim an offer. The advertising returns are significant and offer an alternative to slugging it out for attention in social media, for instance.
Founded in 2002, well into the world of digital’s ubiquity, they use TV advertising to amplify campaigns happening elsewhere, or in branding campaigns to ensure a client is uppermost in the mind of their audience, when they are likely to be watching.
Based in London and Oxford, they cover social media videos, explainers, corporate video, promotionals as well as TV ads. They combine video production and advertising creatives that are, in their own words, “results driven”. There is definitely value to be added here, so budget permitting, a potentially powerful channel for clients seeking full-funnel advertising.
That’s All Folks!
So there you have it. Your choice of advertiser will be unique to your budget and your preferred target audiences. No single choice of media need preclude other advertising channels. The important thing is to check the expertise of your candidate advertising agencies.
Ask about an agency’s experience and check in with their previous clients for a fuller flavour of what to expect from working from them if you want that added reassurance. However, it’s also good to remember that the world of advertising is fierce and companies will be vying for your custom, more often than not, because the returns are potentially so lucrative.
Talk to two or three companies, get quotes and check their credentials. If your partner looks like the real deal, the cost is right and you find you are clicking with them, then you won’t be going far wrong.