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Top 20 Digital Marketing Agencies in the UK (2024)

There appears to be a multitude of stellar options when it comes to choosing a Digital Marketing Agency to grow your business. To help you out, we have created a list of 20 digital marketing agencies you should consider before spending thousands of pounds with your next marketing company who can be critical to either the success of your business or another arduous year of wasted time and money. But before we get into the list, let’s establish a criteria of some extent. We have developed our own 7 Key Criteria which we believe will help you choose the best digital marketing agency.

How To Choose The Best Digital Marketing Agency in the UK

For sure, there will be many other factors when choosing a marketing agency to work with. But here are 7 key points to look out for;

  1. Proven Track Record
  2. Experience
  3. Services
  4. Costs
  5. Consultation Time
  6. Collaboration Method
  7. Reporting Process

1. Proven Track Record in Digital Marketing

Coming from a digital marketing agency, we can assure you that there is no silver bullet when it comes to marketing agencies. No agency has a 100% success record and every agency loses clients for various reasons, sometimes their own, most of the time other reasons.

A top digital marketing agency should definitely be able to quote at least 3 companies or case studies that they have absolutely smashed and still use them. At the end of the day, marketing agencies, rightly so, should be measured on how much return they have generated from your investment. That’s the bottom line.

But don’t be surprised if a marketing agency doesn’t have their latest case studies on their website. To be honest, agencies like ours are so busy that we have less resources to focus on our own websites. This is quite normal. It’s not an indication of how good an agency is necessarily and you can still ask the company by email or phone to understand how they have helped other companies, ideally in your sector, but if not, then at least any sector they have worked in.

2. Experienced Digital Marketing Agency

A famous American coach called Vince Lombardi once said “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”

The reality is that the more cross-sector experience an agency has, the more likely it is that they have practiced their very best techniques, failed, tried differently, failed again and have continuously improved. By understanding how long an agency has been around or at least their current growth rate or their number of clients, it will help to build a level of confidence before using them.

From the very onset of interaction with an agency, their experience will often show. For example, when you made your initial enquiry, how fast did they respond? After you spoke with them, did they follow up on what they said over the phone? When they sent you a quote, did it look professional or was it simply an email? These small things all come with experience and it is not hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.

One of the best ways to gauge a digital marketing agencies experience is by checking out their reviews. For example, our marketing agency based in Rochdale, Manchester has a 5* rating, 100% satisfaction rate and dozens of verified reviews on Google Reviews, Trust Pilot and Yell Business Reviews.

3. Core Digital Marketing Services

Now this is a debatable one. Some people argue that it is better to work with boutique marketing agencies who specialise in one specific marketing area such as Google Ads Management or Social Media Marketing. In my opinion, it is better to work with a marketing agency that offers a wide range of services.

The reason is because majority of the work we is interdependent and goes hand-in-hand. For example, let’s say you wanted a stella PPC marketing campaign on Google Adwords, well now Google have recently made a huge change to their campaign recommendations and have launched a new campaign called “Performance Max.”

A performance max campaign is the latest evolution of the previously upgraded “Smart shopping campaign”. But the performance max campaign is not just for shopping campaigns. It is much more than that. Essentially a performance max campaign combines the power of search, display and shopping ads to maximise your conversion value.

The idea is that the way people now search has evolved and the touch points before making a conversion are mixed and varied. As such the performance max campaign is not just about having a strong ad copy, but also requires quality display assets too. Now, a digital marketing agency that has not only PPC experts, but also professional designers employed and professional video editors, can use the combination of their talent to produce some really strong creatives that can help your performance max campaign. Do you get it now?

Above is just one minor example, but I can give you hundreds of reasons why an agency that has all the key components in-house including designers, video editors, ppc experts, seo experts, professional writers and web developers would ultimately have more resources at hand to deploy which would create better campaigns then just specialists. Of course, specialists have their place, especially when it comes to specific things like “I need an animated explainer video” which requires an extremely niche skill or “I specifically want to master TikTok” in which case it does make sense to use TikTok experienced agency. But generally speaking, the more diverse resources an agency has, the better it will be for your business.

Choose an agency that has a wide range of services. You can check out our big menu on our website to see the range of digital marketing services.

4. Costs by Digital Marketing Agencies

Where do we start with costs? Call three random companies and get a quote for the exact same service. You will be shocked. Why do I say this? Because I did it and almost fell of my chair. I called three digital marketing companies in Manchester to get a quote for a PPC campaign on Google Ads for one of my businesses – Workwear Global Ltd. Below were the results;

Company A – The first company quoted me £2,000 per month. My actual budget for paid ad spend for this particular website was £3,000 per month. I explained this to them, but they insisted, their fees remain the same. So to put in perspective 66% of my marketing spend with them would be on management fees rather than the actual advertising. I politely said thank you and goodbye.

Company B – I then called another company and asked them the same. They quoted me £1,000 per month + 10% of the paid ad spend. So based on my budget, this would be £1,300 which is 43% of my marketing budget. Still too high! Remember, that means from £100 per day ad spend, I have to the agency an additional £43 per day! Surely that budget can be better spent on the actual advertising then management?

Company C – When I called the third agency, I explained my interactions with the previous two agencies. This time, I wasn’t actually quoted on the phone. First the company offered me a free audit of my Google Ads. They then asked me more about my business model and the profit margins. Then they quoted me a reasonable £500 per month excluding VAT to manage my campaigns.

As you can see it is worth shopping around. You might think that the agency that is charging four times more may be better, but this is certainly not the case from my experience. What’s happening there is, the company has very large overheads which means they have to work on a certain level of retainers.

As such as it is not a difference in service level, it’s simply a reflection of their business hiring. Ok, but does this not mean they have more experts? Nope. The “experts” most likely are going to setup your campaigns in a similar way as a slightly less experienced agency.

This is because all the ppc advertising agencies that provide Google Ads services will know that ultimately, conforming to Google’s best practices is what matters. Google wants the accounts to be ran in a particular way using the very latest conversion based machine learning strategies. So as long as the agency is taking regular stock of the latest Google announcements, training material and advice, most likely your campaigns will be setup in a similar way, but just for a third of the price.

5. Consultation Time Allowed By Marketing Agency

It is worth asking the agency how often you will be able to phone them. Sounds like a strange question, but due to the nature of digital marketing agency business models which are built ultimately in commercialising skilled time, the issue is if you’re marketing spend is small, then you will not be worth their time. Calls can easily eat up 30-45 minutes and in a marketing agency every minute of skilled time matters.

Thus, to avoid being ignored or neglected, it’s better to ask straight up from the beginning. “How many times can I call you?”. Ideally, you should be speaking on the phone with your marketing agency every two weeks for around 30-45 minutes. Any more frequently is no point as marketing actions take time to cascade and produce effect. But any longer than once every two weeks, you’re basically at risk of wasting time as conversations can help to refine marketing campaigns and point them in the right direction.

At the end of the day, it’s your business, you know your sector the best. So keeping your agency up-to-date with the latest news in your business such as new products, price changes, special offers etc are very, very valuable to the marketer. It is also worth visiting the agencies headquarters especially if you’re selecting a digital marketing agency in Manchester and happen to live around the corner.

6. Collaboration Tools used by Marketing Agency

When engaging with a digital marketing agency, there is a lot of onboarding involved such as collecting your brand assets, obtaining access to your website, google and social accounts as well as any other files relevant to the campaign.

Sending all this over email is a little messy. For example, let’s say you provided your logins for Instagram, the first obstacle the agency will face is getting passed the 2FA security. So they need you to verify or provide a security code to access. Doing this over email is painful as the code will expire by the time you get a chance to check your email and the agency is now internally delayed with your project.

So top marketing agencies use collaboration tools like SLACK or task management systems like ASANA. These tools allow you to have a level of instant communication with your collaborator and can help speed up the process. Now I know what you will say. Surely a top marketing agency wouldn’t be asking for my passwords?

Well, ideally no. They will be either using social calender tools or request you to delegate access. But some things just require your logins. Passwords can be changed, but time can’t be recovered. You don’t want to lose a week in marketing because the agency couldn’t even complete their onboarding process

7. Reporting Process by the Digital Marketing Agency

Data analytics is a big thing. No modern digital marketing agency whether based in Manchester or otherwise, should be thinking about launching a campaign without proper conversion tracking in place and an accurate reporting model. Reports should be sent at minimum on a weekly basis updating you with every action that has been taken for your project as well as any useful data related to your campaign such as providing click data, advertising spend, conversions or even if non-paid campaigns, updates with the progress of designing your website or content.

Here at Creative Marketing (NW) Ltd, we use Google Data Studio as our primary business intelligence tool. We create a lovely dashboard which contains absolutely everything we’re going to be monitoring for your campaign including data from Google Analytics, your WordPress or Shopify store for example, your social media profiles and everything under the sun. This master interactive analytics report will then be made available to our clients to access at anytime with an automated weekly report also sent containing a summary of spend, sales, clicks etc.

For non-paid ad campaigns, such as design projects, we use Asana to publish all our tasks and integrate into ASANA into SLACK. Our clients can then receive notifications each time we complete and schedule a task. This way, there is absolute full transparency and communication without actually having to speak or meet.

The Best Digital Marketing Agency

1. Creative Marketing (NW) Ltd

Obviously, we are going to put ourselves as number one in this list. The first reason is because we fully conform to the 7 key criteria we talked about in-depth above which demonstrates we understand the pain points and important matters concerning marketing services.

Secondly, because our reviews speak for themselves. It is not easy maintaining a 100% satisfaction rate and 5 star reviews across three different review platforms. We also have plenty of case studies demonstrating the success we have had for our clients across various sectors.

Thirdly, because we are extremely affordable and always happy to work with businesses irrespective of size. We have never rejected a client because of their advertising budgets, but always are open and honest with the level of budget required to make your business successful. Only after providing all the options based on data and experience, we then send you a proposal and let you decide how much you want to spend.

Fourthly, because we adopt the philosophy of “Full-service” as explained above. We have all the key ingredients working in-house at our headquarters based in Rochdale, Greater Manchester including PPC experts, social media experts, seo experts, designers, video editors and software developers. We even have a handy IT company operating from our office to help with all your IT and telecom issues if required. Check out our beautiful office below.

Moss Bridge House Creative Marketing (NW) Ltd headquartersFinally, all profess