The 2017 Digital Marketing Industry Pricing Survey
Welcome to the 2017 digital marketing industry pricing survey. The goal of these survey results is twofold:
- If you are looking to hire a marketing agency or consultant, to help you make a better decision around pricing and set your own expectations for what you can get for your money.
- If you are an agency or consultant, to help you better price your services alongside the market.
Pricing and budgeting are two of the hardest parts of the consulting world, on both sides of the market. Most businesses looking to hire someone have no idea what a reasonable or unreasonable budget is. Most consultants/agencies have very little insight into how much their friends/competitors are charging or making.
After you finish working through these survey results, you’ll be a few steps closer to clarity on those two challenges.
A few notes before we get started:
- Sometimes the graphs are a bit small to see clearly. Simply click it to enlarge and view in higher resolution.
- This survey was conducted across 184 respondents in 19 countries. Many countries only had 1 or 2 respondents, so these results primarily focus on three groups:
Let’s get started.
- Worldwide, solo consultants cost less per hour ($153.75) than agencies ($161.58-$185.49 depending on size) with smaller agencies of 2-5 people with the highest hourly rates ($185.49 per hour on average)
- US solo consultants charge less per hour ($165.02) on average than agencies ($164.41-$222.86). US solo consultants are slightly more expensive on average per hour than the worldwide average ($165.02 for US consultants, $153.75 worldwide)
- Solo consultants price themselves consistently based on their years of experience, with all of the three major areas we looked at (hourly, minimum monthly, and minimum project) going up as the years of experience went up.
- UK marketers (both solo consultants and agencies of all sizes) on the other hand bill at a lower hourly rate than world averages. UK solo consultants bill on average at $121.75 per hour while worldwide solo consultants bill at $153.75.
- US hourly rates range from 35.54% to 222% more expensive than UK hourly rates, depending on the size of the agency.
- Agencies who do only strategy charge a 66% higher hourly rate than agencies who do only services ($194.55 vs $120 per hour).
- Agencies do not price themselves consistently based on the amount of time they have been around (see page 6). Agencies would be smart to take a step back and see how they are pricing themselves relative to the value they add, and thus likely raising their prices.
- More experienced solo consultants on average charge less per hour than less experienced consultants, but their minimum projects are bigger. This leads me to question if they should raise their hourly rates so that they are not working too many hours, or if they have found a cap in project size (seems unlikely) and thus this is the hourly rate they must charge to do the right work
- US individual consultants on average are more expensive than the UK.
- UK agencies and consultants are almost always cheaper to hire than US agencies, though if you are US-based there is the tradeoff of not knowing the other culture as well.
- With a few exceptions, monthly minimums and project minimums increase as agencies grow.
- SEO consultants and agencies tend to price themselves similarly, especially in the US.
- Strategy consultants and agencies command higher hourly rates, minimum projects, and one-time project fees. It pays to work on strategy as well as services, or just strategy at the expense of services.
Methodology and Sample Size
The survey was conducted in December 2016 and had 184 respondents across 19 countries. The country participation breaks down thus:
For you data nerds, here is the respondent country breakdown:
|Country||Count||% of Total|
|Canada and Kenya||1||0.55%|
A note on countries in this report
As you can see, there are many countries where we only had one respondent. Thus, there are many graphs that have a “worldwide” rollup that includes these but we have not done country-specific analysis for countries other than the US or UK.
This is not because there are not plenty of fantastic agencies and consultants in those countries, but rather because there were not enough respondents from them to draw good data-driven conclusions.
Throughout this study, I will seek to pull out insights that help both sides of the problem. These will be called out with an INSIGHT: annotation.