Gone are the days when putting up a single billboard on a busy intersection would get your office phone ringing off the hook. Even phones on hooks are no longer a thing, but that’s beside the point.
The point is that advertising today entails so many more options. Although large, traditional sign boards still exist, there are now digital billboards, too. While you can still advertise in magazines, in newspapers, on television, and on the radio, you can now also place ads on websites, search engines, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram.
So, yes. You need to call that digital advertising agency Dubai firm you consulted last month about your company’s digital marketing. The digital marketing landscape is wild and ever-changing, and it’s in your best interest to navigate it with an expert.
If you’re unsure how to choose the digital advertising company to work with, you can consider the following factors.
If you were exploring the Rub al Khali, who would you rather go with: a seasoned desert explorer who has made thousands of trips into the Empty Quarter or a novice who is visiting the Abu Dhabi desert for the first time?
The answer should be obvious. Just in case it isn’t, though, you want the seasoned desert explorer.
Similarly, if you’re venturing into digital advertising, you want someone who knows the digital marketing landscape and has made multiple forays into the territory. The digital agency can be new, but the people running it (and the people who will be handling your account) must have years of digital marketing experience.
There are many reasons why you want an experienced digital advertising consultant.
For one, experience will save you lots of time and money. Seasoned digital advertising specialists will know the digital marketing pitfalls and how to avoid them, which means they won’t make mistakes on your dime and time.
More importantly, they will save your brand from potentially embarrassing (at best) or damaging (at worst) mistakes.
You should also consider the results of their campaigns.
You don’t want a company that has been in the digital advertising space for five years but has nothing to show for it. That probably means: one, it couldn’t get clients (which is ironic considering the business it is in), or two, it has clients, but it couldn’t produce results for them. Either way, the company is not very good at its job, so it’s not a firm you’ll want to work with.
What you are looking for is an advertising company that can tell you about that client whose market share rose from 25% to 50%, that campaign that sold out the client five times, or that ad that booked a hotel solid for three months.
In other words, you want a digital agency that can pull out case study after case study of excellent results to show you and give you a ready list of satisfied digital advertising clients you can confirm with and talk to.
3. Platform Expertise
Where and how are you planning to advertise? This can influence your agency hiring decision.
It’s like driving a manual and an automatic. A manual car calls for a driver who’s good at driving a stick shift.
While someone who has always operated an automatic-transmission vehicle can conceivably figure out your manual car and get you through your trip, they’ll still give you a bumpy (and at times dangerous) ride — and you don’t want that.
There are many digital advertising platforms, and each works differently. Therefore, consider your candidates’ platform expertise when deciding on a digital marketing agency.
If you’re planning to market heavily on TikTok, you need a digital agency that knows TikTok inside out. The agency must be an expert in TikTok’s interest-based algorithm. It must have an experienced TikTok content creation team and a track record of successful TikTok campaigns.
Likewise, even if an advertising agency has had great success in traditional advertising, it may not be your best option if it doesn’t have an equally impressive record in digital advertising.
If you need digital ads, get an agency with digital advertising expertise. Taking that one further, if your strategy involves Instagram ad placements, you need an agency that eats, breathes, and lives Instagram.
4. Industry Specialization or Domain Experience
So, you have a shortlist of experienced agencies with demonstrable digital marketing experience, expertise in your target platforms, and a track record of impressive results. What other variables should you consider when choosing your digital marketing provider?
It’s domain expertise, or at the very least, domain experience.
All things being equal, you want an agency with expertise in your industry or domain. Are you a recreation and leisure hub? You need a digital marketing company that specializes in marketing hotels, resorts, theme parks, travel agencies, and tourist attractions. Ideally, the agency should already have a stable of clients in the hospitality and related industries.
If you can’t have that, you should at least go for a digital agency with industry-relevant experience. Suppose you are a downstream oil and gas company working to increase your digital footprint and share of voice, and you can’t find an agency specializing in your niche. In this case, your next best choice is an agency with experience in this vertical.
Digital marketing consultants are professionals, and you are, too. There shouldn’t be a clash of personalities severe enough to stop you and your agency from collaborating.
However, if it does happen, don’t ignore it. If you can’t work well with your agency, you will not be able to achieve your hoped-for results.
Drive Growth with the Right Digital Advertising Agency
There are many digital marketing companies. You cannot just choose the agency you first find on Google, and you can’t choose an agency because your friend’s aunt knows someone who works there.
When choosing a digital advertising agency to put in charge of your digital marketing, consider the firm’s experience, track record, expertise in your target digital platforms, domain expertise or experience, and fit.
Stuart Harris is the Creative Director at Yellow, a Dubai branding agency, digital partner and advertising company working with progressive businesses to build bold, meaningful brands.