First, What Is A Digital Agency?
“A digital agency is a business that delivers services for the creative and technical development of internet based products. These services range from the more generalist such as web design, e-mail marketing and microsites etc. to the more specialist such as viral campaigns, banner advertising, search engine optimisation, podcasting or widget development etc.” -Wikipedia
We think they left a few major things out, such as video production services, social media marketing, and mobile app development. But it’s a good start.
[This article has been updated and expanded here]
Not An Advertising Agency
A digital agency isn’t an advertising agency. Advertising agencies primarily deal with traditional mass media. Digital agencies mostly deal with Internet and digital campaigns. Also, advertising agencies often make their money off ad placement. Digital agencies generally make their money through their creative services you’ve hired them to complete.
That said, there’s been a move lately by Sapient, a large digital agency, to buy ad agencies. And a lot of advertising agencies are buying digital agencies. Time will tell if organizations with such different cultures will be good for their business or a bust.
Not Just A Web Design Company
The main differentiator between a web design company and a digital agency is a digital agency has broad and deep expertise in areas a web designer just doesn’t. A truly great digital agency understands the big picture for a client’s needs, and has all the tools and expertise to fill a client’s needs and turn out successful multi-platform online campaigns. If it involves pixels or bits, your digital agency should be able to help guide you through.
For instance, web video and digital video in general needs to be something your digital agency understands inside and out, ever since YouTube came around and changed how video is shared online. Same thing with the social networking boom darlings Facebook and Twitter.
Solving Problems, Thinking Creatively
It’s not enough to know the tools and technologies, either. A good digital agency also consists of excellent and creative storytellers and problem solvers. A great digital agency rises above the noise by insisting on a creative partnership with its clients, and is constantly thinking up ways that its clients can take advantage of online technology to better reach their customers.
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