• August 23, 2016

Buyers Guide: How to Choose a Digital Advertising Agency

Buyers Guide: How to Choose a Digital Advertising Agency

Welcome to our weekly Buyers Guide series where we share everything you need to know about specific business purchases, including the questions to expect and the questions to ask. Here’s how to choose a digital advertising agency for your business. 

Buyers Guide: How to Choose a Digital Advertising Agency

Many business leaders want to be masters in everything for their business but digital advertising is difficult and requires an expert to experiment, measure, and perfect paid advertising strategies, day-in and day-out. The return on a perfectly executed digital advertising campaign can be incredible, but a poorly executed paid advertising campaign can annoy your users and prospects and be a fast waste of money.

If you don’t have any paid marketing professionals on staff, finding an expert digital advertising agency to partner with is the smartest option. But, you must also be certain that the agency is reputable, trusted, and result-driven, which can prove to be more difficult.

Did you know VentureApp can find you the best PR firm at no extra cost to you? We handle all the legwork so you can focus on running your business. Sign up today. 


If you are ready to explore any aspect of digital paid advertising, such as pay-per-click (PPC), search advertising (SEM), mobile advertising, display advertising, retargeting advertising, and paid social advertising, you should consider outsourcing efforts to an expert agency.

A successful paid advertising strategy will build upon your branding foundation to drive leads at scale and ultimately increase sales for your business. The best digital advertising agencies will be focused on ensuring quality leads and will have success driving high-performing paid marketing campaigns for businesses of similar industry, size and stage.


If done correctly, paid advertising will drive immediate results and help drive towards near-term goals. Paid marketing activities can be part of a larger strategy but don’t necessarily replace long-term efforts like content marketing and SEO strategies for organic growth.

An agency will make sure that your short-term goals don’t overshadow your need to create an overall paid marketing strategy. They will mature your paid marketing efforts to-date by immediately providing you with a dedicated team assigned to address your user acquisition and lead generation needs. Based on your KPIs, objectives, audience, budget, prior channel success, etc., you can hit the ground running and build a foundation of paid advertising results to learn from and improve on.


Some businesses are skeptical of digital advertising agencies if they’ve been burned in the past and costs don’t match up expectations for results. We can help you find the best digital advertising agency based on relevant experience, channel expertise, budget, contract preferences and more.

Here are top considerations throughout the digital advertising agency purchasing decision process:


  • Do you have relevant experience with other businesses in my industry?
  • Do you work with businesses of my size and stage?
  • How do you onboard to learn about our audience, our audience’s preferred channels, messages that resonate, etc.
  • Do you work on a monthly retainer, hourly fees, or project basis and what do your rates start at?
  • What are typical contract terms and what advertising services/channels are included?
  • What sort of results can I expect within a certain amount of time?
  • Can I expect to be charged any extra fees?
  • Who will be writing my ads?
  • Can I review case studies and speak with references?
  • How do you handle measurement/reporting?
  • How hands-on is our team allowed to be?
  • How responsive are you?


  • How have you handled paid advertising to date?
  • What are your advertising goals for the next 3, 6, to 12 months?
  • What digital ad types have performed well for you to date or do you expect to perform well? What channels do you want to focus on – social, PPC, etc.?
  • Is this a short-term project or long term commitment from your business?
  • Is your site designed to convert traffic from ads and can you share any existing marketing funnel details or learnings?
  • What metrics can the firm access and monitor to gauge digital advertising success?
  • What is your budget?
  • Who is the stakeholder and point of contact the agency will be working with daily?


This depends on the agency and their focus. Some agencies might focus only on PPC and charge less, while others might focus on social and mobile digital advertising, and charge more. Most agencies typically fall into a few different categories – a flat rate based on time or a flat rate based on team member expert level, usually as part of a monthly retainer, or the agency might charge per result or KPI.


As mentioned above, this varies and depends on your paid marketing goals. Many firms have minimum contract agreements but are flexible on services terms. Can you adjust the goals on an ad-hoc basis if needed?


Are they available should you have ideas, questions, or concerns? When speaking with references, inquire about their level of customer support and the strategic advice they provide alongside results.

References: Make sure you speak with provided references, and search out those they don’t provide to learn the good and bad of their work. Case studies will always show their best work, but what are the client situations that limit good results? Make sure you also understand your account team structure, what they will need from you on an ongoing basis, and who will be your day-to-day contact, etc.

Want more content like this delivered to your inbox? Join 10,000 people from companies like HubSpot, Drizly, and DraftKings that receive our newsletter once a week.