2017 RANKING & REVIEWS
TOP RANKING BEST DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCIES
What Does a Digital Marketing Agency Do?
Businesses may wonder why they should hire a digital marketing agency. Many businesses still aren’t even exactly sure what a digital advertising agency does, despite the pervasiveness of the online, consumer-driven marketplace.
Unfortunately, by not taking the time to understand a digital advertising agency, many businesses are doing themselves a disservice, because having strong online marketing strategies and tactics is essential.
Every digital marketing agency is going to be somewhat unique in terms of its services, but in general terms, most of the top digital media companies provide services designed to help businesses and clients grow their online presence.
They also tend to perform a lot of research and gather data that can be turned into actionable plans. Many of the top digital agencies also work with clients to develop cross-channel marketing that integrates online, mobile, and in-person strategies.
Award Emblem: Best Digital Marketing Agencies
The following is not only a ranking of the best digital marketing companies, but it’s also an in-depth review, which can help businesses determine not just what the top digital agencies are, but also what services they provide and what makes them unique.
This ranking of the best digital marketing companies aims not just to rank leading names in the industry, but to give an overview of how these particular companies and digital media companies in general can bring value to their clients.
AdvisoryHQ's List of the Best Digital Marketing Agencies
This list is sorted alphabetically (click any of the below names to go directly to the detailed review for that digital marketing agency).
Top Digital Marketing Agencies | Ranking & Reviews
Blue Fountain Media
Table: The above list of top ranking best digital marketing companies is sorted alphabetically
Should You Hire a Digital Marketing Agency or Do It In-House?
Before going into the specifics of the top digital agencies and what makes them leaders in their industry, one of the most common questions businesses have is whether or not they should try to do their digital marketing in-house.
Hiring one of the top digital marketing companies can be expensive, and it is worthwhile to explore whether or not your business capabilities would allow you to do some or all of the work in-house.
Image Source: Top Digital Agencies
Below are some factors to consider before either hiring one of the top digital agencies, or deciding to go it on your own.
- Do your employees have the necessary skills? The world of digital marketing is one that’s fast-paced and constantly evolving, and it does require some training and technical know-how. If you have employees with competencies in these areas, you might think about doing some of the work in-house and then outsourcing the rest. On the other hand, if your employees either don’t have the skills or time to dedicate to digital marketing, your options would be hiring dedicated professionals or working with a digital advertising agency. Often, the cost of hiring even the best digital marketing agencies is cheaper than hiring a full-time employee.
- Think about the complexity of your objectives. If you require some pretty basic, introductory digital marketing, you may not necessarily need to hire one of the top digital media agencies. It may be simple enough that the tasks can easily be done in-house. On the other hand, if you really want to set pre-defined metrics, measure your progress, and take on more extensive and sophisticated digital marketing, this will almost certainly require you hire a digital marketing agency.
- Finally, another significant consideration when you’re deciding between digital media companies and working in-house is the full range of expertise and resources you gain access to with an agency. Digital marketing is a very multi-faceted part of the business world that requires the right software and technology tools, as well as the input of many professionals, including content writers, SEO experts, social media pros, and web designers. When you hire a digital advertising agency, they’re going to already have these people on staff, so they’ll all be able to add their input to your project, streamlining everything for you.
What Are the Specific Services Offered by Top Digital Agencies?
If you’re a business owner, and you’ve already made the decision to hire one of the top digital marketing companies, you may be wondering what their specific role is, or what their particular services are. Every digital marketing agency is a bit unique, but most offer the following services:
- Inbound Marketing: This includes content and email marketing, marketing automation, social media marketing, blog creation, and blog maintenance.
- Web Design: Essential to the services offered by most of the best digital marketing companies is web design. This includes responsive design, extensive testing for the overall usability of a site, e-commerce guidance, working with WordPress and Drupal, and website content creation.
- Mobile: Mobile marketing is becoming an ever-growing part of what the top digital marketing agencies can offer to their clients. Along with working to create responsive websites, digital marketers will also help companies develop mobile apps and do things like local marketing to targeted mobile users.
- Paid Traffic: Digital marketers can work to help companies rank well in search engines including Google, and they can manage paid social media advertising and traffic.
- Analytics: One of the more complex but most valuable areas of service offered by the top digital advertising agencies is analytics. The top digital media companies will often have the software and resources needed to capture pertinent data, and use it to make decisions and create strategies. They’ll also provide reports on their own campaign results, so it’s simple to determine effectiveness and ROI.
What to Consider When Selecting a Digital Advertising Agency
Digital media companies aren’t necessarily difficult to come by. A quick online search will likely show you dozens of options in your area, and hundreds or thousands of national or international digital advertising companies. What’s important when choosing the best digital marketing companies is to think about a few key things.
The first is how well they listen to you. The top digital marketing companies and the best digital advertising agencies tend to have a strong reputation for listening to the needs, wants, and goals of the client first and foremost. If you’re in the process of interviewing a digital marketing agency, and you don’t feel like they’re listening to you, this should be a red flag.
It’s also important that you hire not just one of the top digital agencies, but also an agency that’s going to be able to work within your industry. Perhaps you’ll choose from digital advertising companies that specialize in your industry, or maybe they’re one of the largest digital media companies and they have such breadth of experience and expertise that they’ve worked in your industry before.
Finally, before choosing which of the digital media companies you’ll work with, make sure you check with their previous and current clients, to determine if they’re results-oriented and delivered on their promises.
Methodology for Selecting Top Digital Marketing Agencies
What methodology does AdvisoryHQ use in selecting and finalizing the companies, services, and products that are ranked on its various top rated lists?
Please click here to see “AdvisoryHQ’s Ranking Methodologies,” a detailed review of AdvisoryHQ’s selection methodologies for ranking top rated companies, products, and services.
Detailed Review—The Best Digital Marketing Companies
After carefully considering the top digital media agencies and the largest digital media companies, we compiled the following list of the top six companies. As you continue reading, you’ll find detailed reviews of each of our picks, as well as an outline of the factors used in the decision-making process.
What has grown into one of the world’s top digital media companies was founded in 1998. It was acquired by Innovation Interactive in 2005, and since that time, 360i has continued to grow and expand as one of the best digital marketing companies. 360i is such an innovative digital advertising agency they even trademarked the term “Digital Word of Mouth.”
In 2010, this leader among the top digital media agencies moved into Chicago and also became part of Dentsu, which is the world’s largest agency network. In 2015, 360i was named to Ad Age’s Agency A-List for the fourth year in a row, cementing their position as one of the top digital marketing agencies.
Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as One of the Top Digital Advertising Agencies
The list below highlights some of the reasons 360i is one of the top digital advertising agencies and largest digital media companies.
The philosophy of 360i, as one of the premier digital advertising companies, is built on a sense of curiosity. According to this philosophy, they understand the importance of inquiry, and that’s what their services are built on.
This top digital advertising agency excels at creating campaigns built on curiosity that appeal to consumers. Their philosophy also highlights the value of social influence, and significant challenges inspire them.
360i shares the belief that greatness in an era of disruption requires ambition, boldness, talent, and a collaborative, holistic approach. All of the elements of the 360i philosophy come together to create a philosophy they’ve dubbed “Alchemy.”
The digital marketing industry is one that’s highly interconnected, based on the very nature of the business. That makes industry recognition among peers incredibly important to the best digital marketing companies. 360i is not just one of the top digital marketing companies in terms of their ability to create an amazing work for clients and be innovators; they’re also frequently recognized and awarded within the industry. Some of these awards and recognitions include:
- 18 Cannes Lions Awards
- Four-time Effie Winer
- Forrester named this digital marketing agency as a leader in search
- Ad Age has included 360i on their ranking of A-List Agencies consecutively for four years
- Digiday calls 360i the number one Agent of Search
- 360i got a Mashie award as the Best Digital Agency
- Fast Company named this digital advertising agency as one of the most Innovative Companies
While 360i is one of the top digital marketing companies with full-service offerings, one of their particular areas of specialization on which the business is built is search. 360i is a pioneering provider of the services required to help companies lead regarding discovery and performance marketing.
As one of the leading edge and best digital advertising agencies focusing on search, 360i has excelled at being far ahead of the trends and changes in this fast evolving area of the business. They look past keyword lists or bids and instead bring to the table cross-channel experience, advanced analytics, and exclusive technologies to provide the very best in search services.
Within this category, some of the specific services offered by this pick for one of the top digital advertising agencies include proprietary technologies, paid search, SEO, and holistic search management.
Image Source: 360i
Another unique and specialized area of service available from 360i, one of the best digital marketing agencies, is called “Influencer.” These services are built on the idea that in order to stand out online, it’s important to develop a strategy that integrates social influencers.
360i is one of the top digital media agencies because they recognize the importance of influencers, and they can also deliver influencer strategies that meet business objectives of clients. Since it was this digital advertising agency that first coined the phrase DWOM (digital word of mouth), they’ve clearly been long ahead of this trend.
When clients work with this contender for one of the world’s top digital marketing companies, they can choose services that will have powerful advocates and influencers creating buzz for their business.
Blue Fountain Media Review
One of the country’s top digital marketing agencies, Blue Fountain Media is an award-winning agency that delivers customized solutions to clients across most any industry. This digital marketing agency is comprised of some of the industry’s most talented professionals, including digital strategies, developers, communication specialists, project managers, and more.
The BFM approach is based on results-driven collaboration, and this method is in large part responsible for their ranking as one of the world’s top digital marketing companies. BFM was founded by Gabriel Shaoolian in 2003.
Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as One of 2017’s Best Digital Marketing Companies
Essential factors that were part of the ranking of Blue Fountain Media as one of the top digital agencies and digital advertising companies are highlighted below.
It isn’t just the success and happiness of clients that has led Blue Fountain Media to be universally named as one of the top digital marketing agencies in the world. In a highly competitive industry, BFM has managed to remain at the top of what they do, and that shows in their many awards and recognitions from some of the top outlets and organizations.
For example, Blue Fountain Media has received awards as one of the best digital marketing companies from the Interactive Media Awards, GD USA, Horizon Interactive Awards, the AVA Awards, and the Davey Awards.
This leader among digital advertising companies has also been recognized by media outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Smart Money, Inc., Fox Business, and Bloomberg Businessweek.
BFM is a digital marketing agency that focuses on producing great work, but at the end of the day, that work has to lead to results. Their approach is entirely results-driven, which is a key reason they’re often named as one of the top digital media companies.
BFM provides case studies for potential clients so they can see those results. For example, John Jay College hired BFM to change the design of their website to deliver a more innovative user experience. As a result, there was a 25.47% increase in page views, a 12.35% increase in average session duration, and a 53.21% decrease in bounce rate.
This is just one of the many examples of how BFM is a digital advertising agency that bases its success on real, measurable results.
Image Source: Blue Fountain Media
Another important factor that makes Blue Fountain Media not just another digital marketing agency, but one of the top digital marketing agencies, is their full-service approach to helping clients grow their online brands.
What they call “360 Solutions” includes:
- Strategy and consulting, which includes business analysis, business consulting, brand identity, developing campaign strategies, content strategy and copywriting, and information architecture and user experience
- Creative design to bring ideas to life, including website and e-commerce design, mobile design, branding, logo design, print design, and video creation and production
- Web and mobile development such as responsive site design, content management system implementation, Magento development, and Joomla development
- Online marketing including SEO, PPC, email marketing, and display advertising
- Mobile apps including strategy and design, development, and mobile app marketing
BFM is a nationally-recognized digital advertising agency located on iconic Madison Avenue in Manhattan. Despite their prestigious reputation and location, this digital marketing agency strives to make their offerings accessible to anyone.
Interested businesses can visit the BFM website to submit a quote request, and with no commitment, they’ll then receive an email and phone call from an online business consultant from the company and a cost estimate.
After submitting a quote, the potential client will also receive an in-person meeting to see exactly what this leader among the world’s top digital marketing companies has to offer.
Headquartered in Brooklyn, Huge is one of the best digital marketing agencies with a global presence and a simple-yet-effective approach to client projects. Led by CEO Aaron Shapiro, Huge has offices in major worldwide cities including Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Detroit, London, and Rio.
Some of the most notable clients Huge boasts in their portfolio include HBO Go, Google, Gucci, Nike, TED, Lowe’s, American Express, Comcast, Toyota, Hulu, Pfizer, and Samsung, giving them a list of clients that reflects some of the most visible and influential brands in the world.
Image Source: Huge
Key Factors That Led Us to Rank This as One of 2017’s Top Digital Marketing Companies
As part of the process to review digital media companies, below are some of the notable reasons Huge was included on this list of the top digital agencies.
While every digital marketing agency might be similar in their overall services and offerings, one of the primary ways the top digital agencies differentiate themselves from others is in their approach. The best digital marketing companies will develop and hone an approach to client engagements that is all their own, as a specific and exclusive part of what they offer that none of the other digital advertising companies can.
What’s unique about Huge, though their name and their list of clients may signify something else, is that their approach is based on small teams. When a client enters into an engagement with Huge, they work with small, focused, and expert interdisciplinary teams from the start of their project. This allows for the most effective collaboration and communication and leads to significant results.
Another unique aspect of the Huge approach that puts it in a league all its own in terms of the top digital media companies is the idea of partnerships. Rather than working solely on their own ideas and with their own direction, Huge strives to develop a partnership with each client.
Clients become part of the Huge team, and the benefit here is that they’re able to give their digital marketing team a complete picture of what it is they do and their business. This approach is designed to put the clients first.
The steps in the process undertaken by Huge are similarly effective but simple. These steps are just to learn, iterate, and launch, and it’s a model that works as Huge is universally recognized as one of the world’s best digital marketing agencies.
Huge doesn’t just enter into an engagement with a client offering common solutions and ideas. Every working relationship is based on unique insights, industry factors, and a thorough understanding of the individual business.
Huge is also unique because they are considered by many not just one of the top digital agencies, but also as thought-leaders in the world of digital marketing.
The Huge team has authored books including “How to Make Your Business User-First,” and they frequently publish articles and blogs on their site under the category “Perspectives.”
Huge also publishes regular reports such as the recent “How Smart Brands Give Customers What They Want,” and “What Users Really Want From Online Forms.”
Huge has something unique to offer, even as compared to some of the other best digital marketing companies, and that is an extensive international presence. They have expanded into many emerging markets including Brazil, China, Singapore, and Japan.
The benefit of this global presence can be valuable for companies that similarly have a global brand or worldwide interests and want to work with a digital marketing agency that understands the nuances of appealing to international clients.
Huge offers an extensive and diverse network of employees, offices, and resources not always available from many other digital media companies and even the best digital advertising agencies.
Popular Article: Best Consulting Firms (Review: Best Management Consulting Firms)
McCann Worldgroup Review
One of the largest digital media companies and also one of the top digital media agencies, McCann Worldgroup has a significant presence in the industry. This global marketing firm provides both strategic and creative services to help companies build their brand across channels.
McCann employees more than 23,000 people in more than 120 countries, which is one of the reasons it’s ranked as one of the largest digital media companies. McCann Worldgroup seeks to bring together components of advertising, relationship management, event marketing, design, PR, and more, to deliver the highest level of digital marketing.
Key Factors That Allowed This to Rank as One of the Top Digital Advertising Agencies
Critical reasons McCann is not just one of the largest digital media companies but is also one of the overall top digital marketing agencies on this ranking are cited below.
Research and Intelligence
In today’s data-driven environment, the best digital advertising agencies have to be able to deliver strategies and insights that are based on data and finely-honed intelligence. This is a key area where McCann excels, allowing it to be ranked as one of the top digital agencies.
Clients of McCann will benefit from engagement that is based on understanding the what, why, when, and where of customer behavior, as well as the how.
The entire approach of McCann, one of the best digital marketing agencies, is based on data-driven insight including primary and secondary research and social listening.
Once the research and intelligence are available to build a foundation for their work, McCann moves on to the creative aspects of a client engagement. Along with excelling in terms of research and data collection and the ability to derive actionable insights, McCann is also one of the best digital marketing agencies because of their creative abilities.
Under the umbrella of “Creative” at McCann are the following specific service areas:
- Brand development
- Product innovation
- Campaign development
- Digital advertising mobile design
- Experience design
- E-Commerce design
- Social media
- Relationship marketing
To be considered one of the best digital marketing companies, technology should play a major role in everything offered. McCann is a digital marketing agency that excels in leveraging the most powerful and valuable technology to bring their research, strategies, and creative plans to life.
For example, McCann is one of the top digital media companies in terms of utilizing CMS platforms for the publishing, editing, and managing of content. McCann has partnerships with CMS platforms including Adobe and Sitecore.
This is just one of the many areas of technology where McCann has the network and connections required to create award-winning solutions for clients, driven by innovative technical products and platforms.
While having diverse, high-profile, and global clients isn’t the only thing that defines the best digital advertising agencies and the top digital marketing companies, it can be a good indicator of the quality of work and the availability of resources that set digital media companies apart.
McCann has a roster of some of the largest and most well-known brands in the world as clients.
These names include General Mills, GM, Exxon Mobile, MasterCard, Microsoft, Siemens, Nikon, Verizon, and Wendy’s, among many others. Their impressive client portfolio is one of the many factors that led to their inclusion on this ranking of the best digital advertising agencies and the top digital marketing companies.
One of the leading digital advertising companies headquartered in New York, R/GA also has offices in cities like Austin, Los Angeles, London, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Stockholm, and more. R/GA was founded in 1977 by Richard and Robert Greenberg. Today, this international leader among the top digital media companies has more than 400 feature films and 4,000 commercials that are part of its portfolio.
The current focus of this pick for one of the top digital agencies is the delivery of solutions that are both useful and innovative.
Key Factors That Enabled Us to Rank This as One of 2017’s Top Digital Marketing Agencies
Among the most visible digital media companies, below are some reasons R/GA is included in this ranking of the top digital advertising agencies.
One of the unique areas of service offered by R/GA that makes it one of the top digital marketing agencies is called “Experiential.” This means R/GA has an entire segment of its business dedicated to understanding the live experience and how to most effectively connect with the desired audience.
R/GA strives to think outside the box with its experiential solutions and combine a sense of creativity, new models of execution, and technology to communicate the message of a brand in a way that’s simple but effective.
Another area of distinction that sets R/GA apart as one of the top digital media agencies is their focus on e-Commerce and retail. These evolving landscapes are providing consumers with more ways to buy, so it’s more critical than ever to deliver connected experiences.
The approach R/GA takes to commerce is one that first considers a brand’s position, particularly regarding their competition, and combines this with a view of consumer insights.
The commerce approach also relies on looking at new trends and always working to identify new methods of inspiration for customers. Commerce solutions can be tailored to brick-and-mortar store locations, online sites, or even social media.
Data Science and Visualization
Core to the philosophy behind R/GA’s services is that data is the “building block of the connected age.” This is just one of many ways they’ve established themselves as one of the top digital marketing companies.
As one of the top digital marketing agencies, R/GA is able to look at massive amounts of information and datasets, many of which are not otherwise connected, and uncover patterns.
Those patterns then become pivotal to the creation of crafting the right messages, which then help clients build relationships with their own customers. Among the top digital agencies, R/GA is unique because they can bring together a lot of scientific-style exploration and cutting-edge technology and software, and then turn that into creative campaigns with a human element.
Regardless of the level of creativity of a campaign or the great ideas a digital marketing agency may offer, what sets the best digital marketing companies and top digital agencies apart from their competition is in many cases how they embrace and utilize technology.
Not only is R/GA one of the top digital agencies that uses technology in their own work, but they also offer a unique area of service to their clients: technology consulting.
As one of the top digital agencies, R/GA can work with clients to help them choose the right technological solutions at every level. This can include architecture consulting, technical due diligence, and stack audits, among other methodologies.
A well-recognized leader among even the very best digital marketing companies, Wunderman is a digital marketing agency utilizing cutting edge tools to uncover data and insights that then serve as the basis for creative campaigns. The entire goal of these campaigns is to inspire people to take action.
Wunderman bases its work on the idea that in order to engage the modern consumer, it’s necessary that a brand delivers cross-channel content and experiences, at just the right moment. Sectors of service offered by Wunderman, one of the best digital advertising agencies, are divided into three key areas: data, communications, and technology-enabled marketing.
Key Factors That Enabled Us to Rank This as One of 2017’s Top Digital Agencies
Among digital media companies, the following list highlights some of the important reasons Wunderman is part of this ranking of the top digital media companies.
While many of the largest digital media companies in this ranking of the top digital agencies will focus on all industries, Wunderman is unique because they do have some areas of expertise and specialization, including health care.
Wunderman works with healthcare brands and builds innovative campaigns based on the idea that nothing is more personal to an audience than their health.
Wunderman creates strategies designed to empower people, to make the customer journey one with a human touch, and to create digital content and practices that lead to better health outcomes.
Within the healthcare industry, some of the particular areas of expertise offered by this digital advertising agency include consumer health brands, pharmaceutical brands, health services, and health insurers.
Wunderman Production is a unique facet of this global digital marketing agency designed to help marketers reduce production costs while improving the productivity of their campaigns. Wunderman Production has more than 1,300 digital and marketing automation professionals located in 10 production hubs and five engagement locations around the world.
This delivery team is put in place to make sure processes are streamlined, the time to market is minimized, there is consistency, and relevance is locally driven.
All of the Wunderman Hubs offer complete digital production services across platforms.
Wunderman Data Management
Also unique and exclusive to this digital marketing agency, and one of the many reasons it’s a selection for one of the top digital marketing companies, are their data management services.
Wunderman is one of the few digital advertising companies offering dedicated data management services at the level they provide, all aimed at uncovering key customer insights.
With Data Management from Wunderman, this digital advertising agency and digital marketing agency can create highly personalized, relevant, and engaging customer experiences that drive action. As a result, Forrester named Wunderman a leader for Marketing Database Operations in the Forester Wave in Q4 of 2015.
Image Source: Wunderman
As mentioned, key to the philosophy and services provided by Wunderman is the concept of the importance of cross-channel delivery, which is a critical component of why they’re one of the best digital marketing companies.
As a result, Wunderman is completely full-service and offers the following to clients:
- Business and data strategy
- Target audience assessment
- Omnichannel management
- Model development
- Investment optimization
- Test and learn
- Insight development
- Customer journey management
- Direct and digital communications
- Website building
- Product and service design
- Live events
- eCommerce and retail
- Perform/stack assessment
- Requirement definition
- Database build
- Marketing partnerships and implementation
- Data management platforms
Conclusion—Top 6 Best Digital Marketing Companies and Top Digital Media Agencies
What is it that the top digital marketing agencies can provide to their clients? The names of the top digital agencies on this ranking can provide everything from customized online advertising solutions to the technology needed for pioneering web and mobile development.
Each of the names on this ranking of the best digital marketing agencies not only excels at the delivery of valuable services to their clients, but they’re also innovators, they’ve been leading the way in their industry for many years, and they’re award winners in the industry as well.
Working with one of the best digital advertising agencies is no longer optional for most businesses, and it’s essential they embrace these digital media companies to stay ahead of what it takes to build critical customer relationships that allow them to thrive and grow.
AdvisoryHQ (AHQ) Disclaimer:
Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info.
Note: Firms and products, including the one(s) reviewed above, may be AdvisoryHQ's affiliates. Click to view AdvisoryHQ's advertiser disclosures.