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What Should Be My Digital Marketing Costs?

What should be my Digital Marketing Costs?

Digital marketing costs vary based on many factors such as a company’s size, budget, and their digital marketing strategy. For example a company that has a paid advertising strategy on Google Ads or Social Media could be spending thousands in pay per click campaigns each month, whilst a company that is focusing on search engine optimisation could be spending less.

In most cases, a strong website will be deploying multiple digital marketing strategies including paid advertising, search engine optimisation, email marketing, affiliate marketing, social media marketing and more. Therefore, the more strategies you deploy, the more you digital marketing costs you will have.

Startup companies be spending less than £1,000 in marketing costs, whilst an established SME could be anywhere from £1,000 to £10,000 per month. A large sized company could easily be spending over £50,000 per month in digital marketing. Ultimately, it depends on how effective your marketing campaigns are and the return on investment being generated.

According to Statista, in 2021, digital advertising spending in the United Kingdom (UK) amounted to 23.47 billion British pounds.

Digital Marketing Spend UK
How much do Digital Marketing Agencies charge?

Ask 20 digital marketing agencies their costs and you will get 20 completely different answers. This is because agencies have different levels of experience, expertise and specialities. Generally speaking, the greater the return on investment they have generated for their clients, the more they cost.

This is because ultimately, marketing agencies are assessed on the return on investment they generate for their clients. If they’re successful, they are easily recognised and discoverable rapidly attracting new business who want the same success.

This then results in a hiring spree increasing significantly the overheads of the agency for hiring the most skilled and experienced digital marketers who could be on salaries between £26,000 to £60,000 per year.

Therefore the increased overheads naturally result in digital marketing agencies charging more for their services. This is why multiple agencies that offer the exact same service massively vary in their costs based on the level of their experience and size.

A startup agency could be taking on clients for only £250.00 per month to provide managed social media services for example, whereas a bigger marketing agency may formulate a winning marketing strategy for social media due to their experience and as a result charge £2,000 per month.

Finally, as mentioned earlier, depending on the different marketing activities you require, your costs will vary. The more marketing services you want, the more you can be expected to spend with the marketing agency.

Digital marketing agency price factors

Several factors will determine your investment cost:

  • Business size
  • Marketing objectives
  • Marketing budget
  • Strategy complexity
  • Competition
  • Timeline
  • Services required

The more complex your strategy, and the more resources required to execute it, the more you’ll pay for your digital marketing investment.

There are also several agency-based factors that come into play:

  • Agency experience
  • Agency location
  • Agency structure
  • Agency reputation

You typically pay more for award-winning and experienced agencies and you pay more for digital marketing agencies based in the UK than in developing countries (this is because they have higher overheads, not necessarily because they are better).

Some digital agencies keep everything in-house (more expensive) versus outsourcing (cheaper) and this is often reflected in prices. Agencies that outsource have cheaper prices because their overheads are significantly less.

Digital agency pricing models

Digital marketing agencies adopt different pricing models to make the structure of their business profitable and appeal to different customers.

For example, a customer looking for a flat fee on a website build will be worth more than a customer looking for an hourly rate.

Here’s a rundown of the most common payment models:

Hourly rates

Hourly rates are simple to understand and allow you to budget for your marketing with guaranteed agency uptime. You will need to make sure that the hours you pay cover your strategy. The downsides to hourly rates are there’s no incentive for the agency to work fast and prices can escalate if projects are underestimated.

Flat fee

A flat fee is a project-based pricing model that gives you a single quote for your project, often split into monthly payments. For example, if your strategy is going to cost £6,000 to execute and requires a 6-month commitment, you will pay £1,000 per month. Flat fees are a great option because they include everything with no surprises.


Retainers are payments made in lieu of work. They are prepaid sums that cover a large volume of work each month. They can cover fixed amounts of time or set quantities of deliveries each month, such as articles. Money is paid upfront so in the case of deliveries it streamlines the invoicing and payment process.

Recurring payments

Recurring payments are offered for specific digital marketing services, like social media management, blog post writing and link building. Any services that can be packaged can be offered on a recurring contract. It’s common for agencies to offer monthly rolling contracts and discounted annual contracts for a lump sum.


A results-based or performance-based payment model has become something of an industry standard for easily measurable services like SEO. With this payment model, you only pay after achieving desired results, or you pay upfront with a guaranteed refund if your results aren’t realised within a specified timeframe.

Customised pricing

Sometimes, digital marketing agencies will put together customised pricing, such as a flat fee for a website build and a recurring fee to cover complimentary services, like web hosting and SEO. These pricing models can get complicated because they are not pre-packaged, but they give you more flexibility than strict payment models.

Digital marketing agency costs

Here’s what you can expect to pay for different services:


SEO (search engine optimisation) is about getting your website to the top of Google for lucrative keywords. Average prices are as follows:

  • £350 per day
  • £1,500 per project
  • £900 monthly retainer

Social Media

Social media includes managing social media profiles, keeping them updated and responding to comments and industry trends. Average prices are as follows:

  • £650 per day
  • £500 per project
  • £1,000 monthly retainer

Learn more about our social media marketing services here which start from £200.00.

Content Marketing

Content marketing involves the creation, publication, distribution and promotion of content to drive profitable action. Average prices are as follows:

  • £700 per day
  • £800 monthly retainer
  • £100 per article

Learn more about our content marketing services here which start from £200.00.


PPC (pay-per-click) has two separate costs: management costs and ad spend. The average prices for PPC management (minus ad spend) are as follows:

  • £700 per day
  • £1,000 monthly retainer
  • £1,000 per campaign

Website Build

Websites come in all shapes and sizes, requiring anything from a template to custom design with complex coding and graphics. Average prices are as follows:

  • £2,500 for a small 5-page website
  • £5,000 for a 10-page website
  • £80,000-£13,000 for an e-commerce store

We can build you a professional, bespoke, website from as little as £150 per month and beat the industry average. Learn more here.

Marketing Strategy

Marketing strategy includes consulting, strategy creation, project management and assisting with marketing campaign rollout. Average prices are as follows:

  • £600 per day
  • £700 monthly retainer
  • £2,500 per project

Summing up

A small business can expect to pay between £400 and £1,000 per month for a digital marketing agency to provide web design, SEO, content marketing and social media services, while a big business can expect to pay x10 this amount.

It all depends on the types of service you require, strategy size and the resources required to execute the strategy. You tend to pay for what you get with digital marketing. Think of it as an investment rather than a business cost.

Learn more about Digital Marketing here;

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