If you’ve ever tried googling the term ‘advertising agency’, chances are you’ve come across various companies promoting themselves under different categories. Some may claim to be digital media experts. Others may be known for targeting more traditional and mainstream sections of the media whereas even more offer services in niche areas of marketing.

Therefore, understanding what different types of advertising agencies can do for your brand becomes very important.

If you’re the owner of a start-up or a manager at a company, one of the first questions to solve this problem is:

What are the different types of advertising agencies?

Despite the variety, most advertising agencies can be classified into 5 main types:

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  • Full-service agencies:

Full-service agencies are organisations that handle all the marketing and advertising logistics of your brand. These agencies take care of all the stages of your creative campaign.

A full-service agency consists of separate teams dedicated to some part of the creative process. Along with providing creative services, these agencies also have the capability of analysing data and providing their clientele with information about relevant marketing trends for the product. Examples of these types of agencies would include Ogilvy and Mather, McCann and J Walter Thompson.

When should you choose a full-service agency?

A full-service agency is a good option when you wish to have every aspect of your marketing campaign handled under one roof. They’re a one-stop shop for all services and you don’t have to interact with multiple agencies to execute your strategies. Their larger size also means more resources; a factor that is crucial in executing many quick and varied creatives over a short period of time. They’re perfect for clientele who have the need and the budget for creative strategies to be executed consistently across various platforms and mediums.

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  • Creative Boutiques:

Creative boutiques are agencies that are much smaller than full-service agencies and often only provide creative design services. These specialized companies were developed in response to some clients’ desires to use only the creative talent of an outside provider while maintaining other functions internally. However, it is not uncommon to find creative boutiques partner with external agencies to provide fully-formed creative strategies for your brand’s requirements.

When should you choose a creative boutique?

The size of a creative boutique offers certain benefits that most other advertising agencies can’t provide. For starters, creative boutiques aren’t as expensive as most big agencies. The creative boutique’s size also makes them more flexible towards the client’s needs because the paperwork before starting a project is minimal. All these factors make a creative boutique perfect for your project if a well-thought creative campaign is required across a period of time.

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  • Media Buying Agency:

Once your creative has been made, it’s important to know how to promote your advertisement for maximum impact. This is where the media buying agency comes into the picture. Media buying agencies specialise in the procurement of different spaces to showcase your ad. Depending on your requirements, these agencies promote your ads in an effective time and space, ensuring that it gets maximum exposure.

When do you need a media buying agency?

If you’re exclusively looking for a media buying agency there are a couple of things you must consider. These include factors such as your target audience and medium as the media buying agency takes these into account while creating a strategy to best advertise the creative campaign.

Therefore, it’s imperative that you know whether the services you require are targeted to a general or specific audience. You can then base your choice of agency depending on the buying power of the agency or the specialisations they offer such as channel partnerships, digital strategists, search strategists etc.

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  • Digital Agencies:

Digital agencies are agencies that offer solutions in the digital spectrum. They generally offer services such as web design and development, digital advertising and social media marketing.

Unlike traditional advertising, digital agencies have the advantage of using data to drive results. They consist of a group of strategists, consultants and creatives and developers that work together to create digital assets.

When should you choose a digital agency?

A good digital agency can take of your digital requirements from top to bottom. If you’re looking to create your brand’s online presence, then having a digital agency can go a long way in effectiveness. A digital agency’s expertise will allow them to evaluate your brand’s need and develop the correct strategy. Alternatively, if you already have a digital presence, working with a digital agency can help improve your productivity and efficiency.

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  • In-house Agencies:

An in-house agency is one that generally caters to one client. Instead of the client outsourcing the advertising to an external agency, the organisation has a division that provides creative solutions for its products. However, these agencies do often outsource work. Some of the biggest brands in the world such as Apple and Google have in-house agencies to promote their products.