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Find Your Match: 6 Advertising Agency Types

Daniella Alscher
Daniella Alscher  |  August 20, 2019

Volney B. Palmer may have been the first person to use the term “advertising agency” when he opened America’s first in 1841.

Palmer’s agency provided advertisers with space in newspapers, and he was one of the only choices for advertisers to make when it came to finding someone to buy space from.

It goes without saying that today’s advertising agencies operate much differently than they did almost 200 years ago; the choice is not so obvious anymore.

What is an advertising agency?

The process that once consisted of buying space in a newspaper has since become much more complex.

A business may hire an advertising agency to create a single message and design or to run an entire series of messages, called an advertising campaign, and monitor the results.

As you’re looking for an advertising agency, it’s important to note which one is right for you in terms of what the agency provides, as well as their reputation. Looking for one today?

Find the Best Advertising Agencies →

Advertising agency types

No two advertising agencies are alike, but they can fall into the categories that describe the services that they provide their clients with. Below, we’ll go over some of the most common types of advertising agencies, what services they provide, and when it’s appropriate to use each.

1. Full-service advertising agency

A full-service advertising agency is just what it sounds like: an agency that does anything and everything for their client. They offer a wide range of services for their clients that work to address both digital and traditional marketing and advertising aspects of a company. Advertising agencies that are full-service are made up of experts on each of the following services:

Full Service Advertising Agency

Is this agency right for me?

If your business needs a little bit of everything, choosing a full-service advertising agency is the best move to make. These agencies will be able to help you throughout the entire advertising process, from planning to execution to measuring advertising effectiveness. You can sit back, relax, and let your choice pay off.

2. Digital advertising agency
Not planning on running print advertisements for your product or service? Using a digital advertising agency may be the more appropriate option for you and your business. While digital ad agencies probably know a thing or two about printed media, their heart lies in the digital world. These agencies will be able to help you with anything and everything on-screen, including:

While full-service agencies do a little bit of everything, digital advertising agencies really hone in everything digital, meaning that the work doesn’t have to stop at just SEO and web design. Graphic designers, videographers, copywriters, and photographers are all mixed into this group.

Is this agency right for me?

Digital advertising agencies are great for companies that have a specific audience in mind because digital marketing platforms often allow for targeting techniques to help companies reach that exact audience. One such technique to consider is geotargeting.

3. Traditional advertising agency

Traditional advertising agencies are less focused on new, digital techniques and are instead focused on traditional advertising techniques (hence the name). Think radio, newspaper, television, magazine, and even billboard advertisements.

Is this agency right for me?

Traditional agencies are best to use if companies are looking to advertise locally. No need to hire a full-service agency if you’re only looking to advertise to increase foot traffic.

4. Social media advertising agency

It’s not hard to guess what the focus of these agencies is. Filled with content creators and ad optimizers, the focal point of social media advertising agencies is exactly that: social media. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram; these agencies do it all. From profile design to written blogs, social media advertising agencies work to make your content more interesting and engaging for your audience.

Is this agency right for me?

If you’re looking to accomplish one goal in a big way, social media advertising agencies are the teams to hire. These agencies typically have a creative team working for them, as well as a content team, videographers and photographers.

5. Creative boutique

Creative boutiques are agencies that specialize in creative design services. These agencies were developed because some companies prefer to monitor their success and place advertisements on their own, but don’t have the creative talent to produce the appropriate designs and copy for them.

Is this agency right for me?

Creative boutiques are best for companies that know exactly what they want and know how to implement those assets into their advertisements appropriately. A creative boutique is much smaller than a full-service agency, meaning the expenses will be significantly less.

6. Media buying agencies

Arguably the inverse of a creative boutique, a media buying agency works with you to place your creative advertising materials in the most optimal locations, whether they’re printed or digital. These agencies will recommend a time frame in which you should be advertising your product or service and the amount your company should be spending for the best results.

Is this agency right for me?

If you know who your target audience is and what medium(s) you’ll be advertising on, a media buying agency can work with these factors to ensure that your advertisement gets maximum exposure.

What works best for you?

In a digital age like today, going with a full-service advertising agency or digital advertising agency might make sense to you. But if everyone takes that route, choosing to go traditional might make your company stand out more against your competitors. It all depends on your advertising strategy, goals, and how you make yourself stand out.

Learn more about the advertising techniques that could make your campaign stand out.

Daniella Alscher
Author

Daniella Alscher

Daniella Alscher is a Content Marketing Associate for G2. When she's not reading or writing, she's listening to murder podcasts or sitting on the couch. Or both. (she/her/hers)