Getting quality creative content is hard. New businesses don’t always have the resources to hire a permanent staff member for content like explainer videos and graphic design. So, they often turn to an ad agency to help them create content they can’t get in-house. It’s a low effort option – the agency comes up with the ideas, and creates the content. However, this isn’t always the most cost-effective option in terms of performance – you often end up paying through the nose for a service that won’t always deliver the results you really need. Plus, with the number of different agencies available, it can be hard to know who to choose. In this article, we’ll talk you through the different types of agency and how they perform.
Types of agencies
Not all ad agencies are alike. The service you get will depend on who you hire, with some agencies specialising in the production of content, and others in sourcing it. Here are some of the types of ad agency:
A full-service agency does what it says on the tin. They can handle all parts of the advertising process, from planning to the production of creative content, and everything in between. They won’t necessarily have all the specialists in house but will hire freelancers to fill any gaps. You also don’t have to hire them for everything – you can pick and choose from the services they provide. For instance, you could just hire them for some design work, or copywriting, depending on your needs.
Fully integrated agency
A fully integrated agency is similar to a full service one, with a diverse range of services all available in house. Only the odd skill needs to be outsourced. However, unlike full service agencies, they manage campaigns from start to finish, from strategic planning and content production all the way to performance monitoring. They’re the jack of all trades of the agency world.
Design & creative
These agencies focus on generating ideas and producing creative content. They’ll often have a speciality – for example, there are creative agencies that solely work on animation, whilst others might work on creating logos. Their focus on ideation means that these agencies often end up producing many, many iterations before you actually see an end result…
Branding and PR
Branding and PR agencies focus on increasing volume, awareness, and engagement for a particular business. They can provide brand design, as well as outreach and PR. Their focus isn’t on driving conversions, although that might be part of the end result.
How well do agencies perform?
Whilst all these agencies provide a valuable service, the big issue for small businesses is that you pay a massive premium when all you really want is content. This could probably be created by a single freelancer for a lower price. Plus, although you might know what you need, agencies will do their best to upsell you on their services, depending on what they want to provide, what they can do, and what they feel will be successful. Ultimately, the end goal is increasing the agency’s profit, by providing as many different services as possible. For instance, what started off as a simple logo design project can quickly transform into a full-blown branding overhaul (at a much higher cost).
On top of this, many new business owners don’t realise that ad agencies and performance marketing agencies aren’t one and the same. Paying an agency for creative content does not guarantee success, or delivery of a campaign. This is something that comes as an extra, with specialised industry workers who focus on performance marketing. Performance marketing includes:
- CPM – Cost Per Many – display, affiliate, brand awareness and reach. You pay these marketers to distribute your content and get as many impressions as possible. If you’re working with affiliate content, they’ll also help to set up and optimize your commission rates.
- CPC – Cost Per Click – search engine marketing, site placement and affiliate listings.
- CPL – Cost Per Lead – you pay per defined lead – e.g email sign-ups.
- CPA – Cost Per Acquisition – you pay for a specific target, e.g per sale or conversion.
These services aren’t automatically included when you buy content from an agency. You either have to pay more at a full service agency, or hire a new agency altogether! And so the cost just keeps going up and up and up…
Even if your campaign is massively successful, you’ll struggle to get a positive ROI, due to the high upfront costs.
How can you get quality content that performs well?
A really easy way to reduce your content costs is to hire a freelancer to create it. Agencies will often outsource content anyway, so you’ll be footing the bill for a freelancer either way. By hiring a freelancer directly, you can cut out the middleman. You’re also only paying for one person, rather than an entire agency’s work, so the cost is immediately lowered. Plus, there are far fewer fees – if you work with an agency, you can expect to pay a whole menagerie of fees before you get your content. But if you hire a freelancer through Twine, there’s just one simple fee of 20%.
You’ll also have more creative control with a freelancer, so you’re more likely to get a result that matches your original brief. You can get the right content, at a cost that suits you.
In terms of performance, the big benefit is that it frees up your budget to spend on performance marketing. Although you might only need specific content once, you’re always going to need marketing one way or another. You can use all that money you’ve saved by not working with an agency on any number of things – you could go on courses to teach you or your staff marketing, or hire a full-time marketer. With both these options, you’ve got those skills available forever, not just for the length of the agency contract. Or, if you prefer, you could now just hire a performance marketing agency to promote your content. This will be a more cost-effective option than hiring two agencies, or paying a fortune for a fully integrated agency.