Advertising Companies: 8 Types, Operations And Roles

Updated 18 September 2023

The advertising field seeks creative professionals that are also detailed and dedicated to creating quality work for clients. If this sounds interesting to you, consider obtaining a position in this industry. Learning about the various company types and roles you can create a career in the advertising and marketing industry may help you find the right position for you. In this article, we discuss advertising companies, including defining eight types of agencies, describing how the firms operate, sharing five steps on how to pursue a career in the field and listing typical agency roles.

The 8 Types Of Advertising Companies

Here is a list of various advertising companies to help you pursue your career in the advertisement industry:

1. Full-service advertising agencies

A full-service agency is an advertising firm offering traditional and digital services to its clients. This type of agency may be suitable for clients who want a variety of advertising options for their brand. Advertising specialists may be interested in working at this agency if they are skilled in a variety of advertising skills and enjoy switching from a campaign to work on a traditional advertisement for one campaign and digital deliverables for another campaign.

Related: Guide To An Internship In An Advertising Agency (Duties)

2. Interactive advertising agencies

An interactive advertising agency focuses on the ability of an ad to be hands-on for the user. A hands-on advertisement experience means the consumer elects to consume the media. For example, consumers may offer their mobile phone number or email address to receive personalised advertisement messaging from a company. Often, these messages come with a link for the consumer to click on, which is interacting and directing traffic to the company's website.

3. Digital advertising agencies

Digital advertising agencies offer online advertising. Those who prefer digital advertising over tangible advertising goods may choose this agency. An individual who has a passion for digital advertising and strengths in this area may choose to work at this agency. A copywriter, videographer and photographer can also work at this agency, besides advertisers.

Related: How To Learn Digital Marketing In 9 Steps (With Tips)

4. Traditional advertising agencies

Clients can choose classic advertising styles from traditional advertising agencies. This agency may be a viable choice for clients advertising locally. Those passionate about implementing traditional advertising strategies into campaigns for clients may choose to work at this agency.

5. Social media advertising agencies

Clients from social media advertising agencies can take advantage of social media-focused advertising. This agency offers content creators and social media specialists the opportunity to optimise accounts for clients. These agencies can assist clients with their advertising if they want an increase in social media engagement or more traffic from social media to their website. To align advertising strategies with business strategies, professionals work closely with clients.

Related: What Is Internet Marketing? (Definition And Types)

6. Creative boutiques

Creative boutiques allow the advertising professionals to develop content and track analytics to determine how it is performing on behalf of the client. This advertising company also allows clients the opportunity to measure the analytics themselves rather than depending on the boutique to do it for them. The opportunity to track their own analytics can provide the client with increased accuracy in reviewing the content's performance.

Clients of creative boutiques also have the option to choose where they place their advertisements, such as a sponsored in-feed social media ad or website banners. Advertisers may work in this environment to use their creative and analytical skills. A client may choose a creative boutique if they lack a creative team and wish to outsource the work.

7. Media buying advertising agencies

A media buying advertising company collaborates with their clients to help them find the optimal location to place the advertisement. The optimal area for an advertisement is where relevant consumers frequent. For example, if the client is a fitness centre, the agency and client may determine a sporting goods store and an activewear site are optimal locations to place the client's banner advertisement for the centre. Using a media buying company helps a company experience increased traffic to their site and may experience an increase in profits.

Related: Importance Of Advertising (With Types And Objectives)

8. In-house advertising agencies

An in-house advertising agency refers to a company its department dedicated to planning, developing, implementing and monitoring the business' advertisements. The advertisers working in-house are employees of the company of the advertisements. Companies may choose this option to eliminate the third-party agency, produce advertisements without outsourcing the work and maintain increased communication with the advertising professionals.

How Do Advertising Agencies Work?

Advertising agencies work with businesses to design, implement and assess the campaign's success. They might also oversee sales promotions and branding and marketing strategies. They can also have an industry-wide perspective for designing advertising and marketing strategies. Some advertising agencies use third-party organisations for implementing campaigns, including production companies and freelance writers.

Typically, agencies work on commission, where the services it provides and the campaign it designs determines the rate, but some offer long-term contracts to their clients. There are four primary departments in advertising agencies:

  • Creative services: Creative services include the copywriting and visual art teams. They design campaigns based on the client's requirements, goals and target markets, and then implement the projects.

  • Account planning: This team gathers clients' needs, markets, goals and prior strategies to help the creative services department develop advertising campaigns.

  • Media planning and buying: This group researches and determines which media platforms may be right for each advertising campaign.

  • Client servicing: Client servicing is the primary liaison between clients and the creative services department. They work closely with clients to understand their goals and messaging preferences.

Related: 12 Advertisement Types (With Their Uses And Benefits)

How To Get A Job At An Advertising Agency In 5 Steps?

Here are some steps to pursue a career at an advertising company:

1. Determine your strengths

In advertising agencies, there are many creative, research, production and client-oriented jobs. You can use your skills, interests and experience to decide which type of position is the right fit for you. While the primary duties in the agencies require creativity, problem-solving and teamwork, each role has its unique requirements.

Related: Important Digital Marketing Skills And How To Improve Them

2. Further your education

Once you decide which role you are interested in, build your skills and knowledge base. You may further your education by earning a bachelor's degree in marketing or communication or attending marketing and advertising classes at your local university. Some ways to expand your knowledge include:

  • Taking part in courses and workshops

  • Pursuing industry certifications

  • Joining mentorship programmes

3. Start a portfolio

Advertising agencies, like many creative organisations, seek to examine the work you have already completed. Your portfolio shows the advertising agency your range of skills and personal styles. Build a portfolio by gathering high-quality coursework or independent projects. Many professionals develop a website or blog to create and display their collection of work. Developing portfolios can also include completing freelance work through direct commissions or online platforms.

Related: How To Make A Portfolio: A Step-By-Step Guide

4. Secure an internship or entry-level position

Start your career in an advertising agency by taking an entry-level position or an internship. These jobs can help you develop your network in an advertising company while giving you valuable experience. Internships and entry-level positions may help you find mentors in the specific role you are interested in and may provide advancement opportunities.

Related: How To Get An Internship At An Advertising Agency (And Tips)

5. Network with other advertising professionals

Networking with advertising professionals may help you begin your career in an advertising company. Schedule informational interviews with professionals of interest to learn about working in advertising and ask for advice on entering the field. After the interviews, take part in conversations and workshops because it may help build relationships and the professionals remember you while increasing your knowledge. For professionals you connect with personally, send follow-up emails thanking them for their time and insight.

Some ways to build connections include:

  • Going to local professional meet-ups

  • Attending advertising conferences

  • Taking part in roundtable discussions

Related: Top 7 Networking Skills (How To Develop And Highlight Them)

Typical Roles Within An Advertising Agency

Here are some typical roles you may find at an advertising agency:

  • Copywriter: Copywriters build brand awareness and support advertising campaigns by providing the text. They might write blogs, social media posts, articles, advertising scripts and copy accompanying advertising images.

  • Photographer: Photographers may use film and digital cameras to capture images for online and print media.

  • Graphic designer: Graphic designers can use software and hand sketches to design visuals for print and online platforms.

  • Creative director: Often, creative directors oversee the creative services department and ensure projects meet client requirements and visions while staying on budget and schedule.

  • Copyeditor: A copyeditor ensures sales and marketing materials are grammatically correct, conveys the correct tone and adheres to the client style guide.

  • Digital media specialist: Digital media specialists are experts in building online audiences to develop client leads. They are knowledgeable in using search engine optimisation (SEO), designing social media campaigns and working with web designers on user experience (UX).

  • Web analytics specialist: Web analytics specialists are researchers and data analysts who use social media interactions, the website traffic and other indicators to determine how effective online campaigns are in generating leads and sales.

  • Account coordinator: Account coordinators work directly with clients to determine their marketing goals, budget limits and timeline schedules. Often, they serve as a liaison between the clients and creative teams to pitch campaign ideas, solve problems and develop strategies.

Related: 11 Campaign Management Tools For Marketing Professionals

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