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What Does an Advertising Agency Do?

An advertising agency employs different marketing and promotional channels to create effective strategies that are intended to increase their clients’ market share, increase revenue or build brand awareness.

What is an advertising agency?

An advertising agency employs different marketing and promotional channels to create effective strategies that are intended to increase their clients’ market share, increase revenue or build brand awareness.

Advertising agencies use a medium such as television, radio or podcast, digital media and out of home advertising to build the most effective campaign to target their client’s audience.

The creative department ensures all the marketing materials are appealing to their target audience to maximise results and customer engagement. The buying team are responsible for analysing what channels to deliver ads and promotional materials.

Many agencies have a customer relations department to guarantee clients relations and communications run smoothly and in positive terms.

Advertising agencies can range in size, from small teams to home-based business and corporate agencies with offices in most big cities around the globe. Many of the largest agencies might have franchises over the world which work under the same principles but being admin independently.

1. What are the duties and tasks at an advertising agency

1.1. Creating

Graphics, videos, banner. Concepts, copywriting and any other literature. Among their team, it should be to display high levels of creativity and produce multiple creations and alternatives for the new campaign. Creativity along with strategy and consumers insights play a crucial role in the success of a campaign and in the long run of the entire agency.

1.2. Planning

Research what media outlets are like: during this process buyers require data from the media channel to understand what their audience characteristics (gender, age, income, location…) and what the volume is. All this information is crucial to determine whether a particular channel would work for a campaign or not. During this process, media planners work together with accounts and creatives to ensure strategies and objectives could be achieved.

1.3. Buying

Part of the media category, it basically refers to the process of acquiring media space and time for displaying advertisements. It is the actual process of purchasing advertising space. It usually involves negotiation and it could be through an automated platform such as Google Ads or Facebook business platform. The main purpose of buying is to secure the right place and time to then serve ad the target audience.

2. How do advertising agencies work

They usually work together with clients to create a campaign that satisfies their client´s needs and its customers too. The creative department composed mainly by copywriters, designers and creative managers works together with the buying and media team to build a concept whose message is effective and delivered to the right audience.

In the early stages, agencies present their proposals to clients that often visit more than one agency to choose the one who fits their needs and ideas best.

Once the selection process is finished, the agency tries to gather as much information as possible from its clients, their audience, market and products.

That is followed by the creative process which might take months until both agency and client are satisfied with the concept and the campaign.

The final stage in the creation process would be to make and distribute the final product to the right channels and monitor.

3. Different aspects of an advertising agency

In an advertising agency, there different departments that work closely to ensure they deliver the campaign creations and concepts, the buying, the media strategic plan. Below I have listed all the main departments in an agency:

4. Departments of an advertising agency

4.1. Media

Media can have to subdivisions: one for planning and another one for buying. Media planning refers to the process of choosing the ideal combination of media outlets or channels for an advertising campaign.

It requires extensive research and understanding of the market and consumers behaviour. It involves analysing channels, comparing those to make the most of the clients budget.

4.2. Buying

The media department might comprise another division: buying. It is the process by which the agency decides to acquire or negotiate advertising slots on media channels, thanks to the advancement of technology, some companies have automated this process although it can be done manually.

The buying process requires a lot of research and an expert understanding of the media audiences and clients market.

4.3. Creative

The creative department is in charge of the designs content and building concepts for the advertising campaign.

This is usually formed by graphic and motion designers, filmmakers, and creative executives whose mission is to come up with ideas and concepts that will be appropriate for the campaign and create an impact on consumers minds.

4.4. Admin and Human Resources

Most companies depending on their size have a great department who handles most of the employee´s paperwork and many times run some ad hoc tasks too.

In advertising agencies, the secretarial aspect of the business tends to be very big due to the very nature of the advertising business where client communications, reports and executives meeting are usually very frequent and time-consuming.

4.5. Client administration

Client administration departments are small and only seen in large agencies where one executive usually handles all communications with clients, arranging meetings, events or business dinners as well as travel commitments that might be required.

5. Main roles at an advertising agency and what they do

5.1. Creative director

A creative director is responsible for determining the creative concept of a campaign that will. The role involves keeping a constant impression of the brand across different platforms and media.

It is in charge of ensuring all the visuals, concepts and branding are in alignment with the campaign goals and brand´s values. The most important role within the creative department, it also establishes budget, deadline and manages client relationships.

5.2. Creative executive

It supports creative directors by bringing ideas and search for inspiration. It might also manage some of the production processes and supervise marketing materials.

The creative executive must also manage projects from the beginning to the deadlines and some other duties that might come up during the campaign development, forecasting costs and building a positive communication with clients.

5.3. Graphic designer

Designers usually follow instructions from the creative director and executives to create content and assets for the advertising campaigns. They are among the most important role within the agency and it requires a lot of talent.

5.4. Media buyers

Initially they develop a buying plan which is followed by research and eventually it turns into a whole buying strategy. They are usually actively involved in the negotiation process and mainly are responsible for identifying which channel is optimal for target audiences.

5.5. Market analyst

Market research analysts perform research and gather data to help a company market its products or services.

5.6. Client relations manager

This is a crucial role for large agencies where customer relations are really important and communication is maintained almost on a daily basis. Relations manager is responsible for building relationships with clients and ensure they are satisfied with their services.

6. How much does an advertising agency charge?

Advertising agencies might have different ways to bill their clients: commission, service fees or combined structures. Service fees as its own name suggest. Below I have listed all the possible fee or pricing structure an agency could charge a client:

7. The advertising industry in figures

The advertising industry really handles millions of pounds a year. In 2017, together with marketing, it was worth almost 1 trillion pounds (0.99) thanks a massive growth both of them experienced in previous years.

Advertising and marketing have been growing up recently because they work, they bring results and markets are more and more crowded every year so to stand out brands have to invest in advertising to build brand recognition.

Spending on TV ads slipped 0.5 per cent in 2018 to $69.8 billion. (Forbes, 2018)

U.K. ad spends hit a record last year with 21 billion pounds. Digital advertising continues to dominate the market with a spent of 10 billion pounds from it is followed by tv advertising which grossed over 5 billion.

In 2018 total media ad spent went up to $630 billion (Marketing Week)

Media ad spent has been increasing over the last few years, and just in 2018, it went up to 7.8% in just one year. Digital platforms such as Google and Facebook were the one who saw the highest growth, the TV stayed stable and so did OOH advertising.

The digitalization process of advertising is happening faster than expected. Automated and bidding style platforms such as Google are increasingly becoming more popular.

Streaming services and smart TVs will actually accelerate the incorporation of automated processes to TV advertising as well as OOH advertising which is undergoing a fast digitalization process which will make it all the buying process automated and PC controlled.

Sky, proctor and gamble, Unilever. McDonald’s are the top five biggest spenders on advertising in the U.K. when it comes to companies. Regarding industries, the top spenders are retail, automotive and financial services.

8. Advertising Standards Society

Advertising is currently very regulated and watched by governmental authorities and self-regulatory agencies such the ASA. Creating a commercial is just not a matter of creativity but also it requires to following government guidelines and respect the ASA rules in order to avoid issues and get your ad taken down.

At Top Media Advertising, we are an advertising company that crafts effective and creative campaigns that are oriented to deliver a positive return on investment. We are committed to our clients and always dedicate our best efforts to every single thing we do.

Leave a comment

  1. Nice article! Very insightful for someone starting out their own agency. Thanks, Felix!

  2. Like!! I blog quite often and I genuinely thank you for your information. The article has truly peaked my interest.

  3. How do I get my newspapers on to agency space buying/advert-placing lists?

  4. That was very informative! I have learnt several new things about advertising agency here. Thanks for sharing these information. Btw, could you provide more insights on the media buying process?