Digital marketing providers and their prospective clients

9 chapters / 9,500 words


Dear reader,

Welcome to Credo’s digital marketing pricing survey results. We released the first version of this survey in 2017 (link here) and updated it for 2019. These survey results comprise answers from 271 marketing agencies and consultants across the United States, United Kingdom, and various other countries.

We asked questions like:

  1. How big is your company?
  2. How many years of experience do you have?
  3. What services do you offer?
  4. How do you bill your clients?
  5. What is your average hourly rate?
  6. Do you charge an onboarding fee?

For these results, we have broken them down into chapters according to themes and done our best to dig up the most interesting and unexpected insights while focusing primarily on the most common questions like:

  • “How much do agencies charge as compared to solo consultants?”,
  • “Are US agencies more or less expensive than overseas, and how much?” and
  • “How much should I expect to pay for [channel]?”

Of course, there are other insights we could have analyzed and pulled out from the data.

To that end, we’ve made the full data available here so that you can analyze it, pull out insights, and even correct us if we did something wrong!

There are a few differences in this survey from 2017, namely:

  • We increased the ranges of company sizes and added in a 50+ person option. In 2017 this group was included in the 20+ people range;
  • We asked more in-depth questions about types of services offered, marketing channels offered, and things like whether they charge an onboarding fee.
  • This year we made an effort to provide an agency rate sheet and to get down to a specific average hourly rate for the various company sizes.

Enjoy.

John Doherty and the Credo team

Demographics

The demographics of the firms who responded to the survey are important to cover so that one can understand how pricing differs based on location and size of company.

The 2019 survey had 271 qualified respondents. The synopsis of the findings in this section, and how you should mentally filter the data presented throughout the rest of this study, is:

  • 62% of respondents were agencies and 38% were solo practitioners (“consultants”).
  • 55.72% are US-based, and the top 6 locations comprise 84.5% of all respondents. This study is very US-focused with a secondary on UK and Europe.
  • 79.7% of all respondents have 5+ years of digital marketing experience.
  • 43.7% of agency respondents have 10+ years of experience, and 76.05% of agency respondents have 5+.
  • 52.88% of consultant responses have 10+ years of experience, and 85.58% have 5+ years of experience.
It is important to note that other pricing surveys are more focused on freelancers (solo practitioners with fewer years of experience than consultants who focus on “services” for client) across the world. While this is great for a global view, it is unfair to senior consultants and expert firms in the United States and other countries with a higher cost of living. Thus, our survey is more focused on these countries.

Size of company breakdown

Of these 271, this is the breakdown by size of company:

And the raw data:

Company Size Count % of total
1 104 38.38%
2-5 70 25.83%
5-10 24 8.86%
11-20 20 7.38%
21-50 28 10.33%
51+ 25 9.23%

As one can see, 38.38% of total respondents are solo practitioners, which at Credo we call “consultants”.

This means that 61.62% of the respondents are 2+ people, which at Credo we call “agencies”.

Company location breakdown

Credo is (purposefully) very United States centric, so the location of respondents was also very US-centric. Here is the breakdown visually:

Here is the raw data:

Country Count Percentage of total
United States 151 55.72%
United Kingdom 44 16.24%
Canada 14 5.17%
India 11 4.06%
Spain 5 1.85%
Europe 4 1.48%
United States, United Kingdom 4 1.48%
Australia 3 1.11%
Netherlands 3 1.11%
Argentina 2 0.74%
France 2 0.74%
Germany 2 0.74%
Kosovo 2 0.74%
Romania 2 0.74%
Brazil 1 0.37%
Canada, United Kingdom 1 0.37%
Denmark 1 0.37%
Denmark, Europe 1 0.37%
Digital Nomad 1 0.37%
EU 1 0.37%
Ireland 1 0.37%
Israel 1 0.37%
Italy 1 0.37%
Mexico 1 0.37%
New Zealand 1 0.37%
Norway 1 0.37%
Panama 1 0.37%
Peru 1 0.37%
Philippines 1 0.37%
Portugal 1 0.37%
South Africa 1 0.37%
Sweden 1 0.37%
United Kingdom, Ireland 1 0.37%
United States, Canada 1 0.37%
United States, Canada, United Kingdom 1 0.37%
United States, United Kingdom, Bulgaria 1 0.37%

As one can see, 55.27% of respondents are US-only based.

When we expand the locations to the top 6 locations, we see that 84.5% of respondents are in just those 6 locations (including the generic “Europe” entry).

Thus, the data in this survey should be viewed as “rates for US and European countries” primarily with a heavy emphasis on the United States.

Years doing digital marketing

Another important area to discover is how many years the agencies or consultants who responded have worked in digital marketing. The answers to this question we asked are a bit nebulous as some have told me that they put “the number of years they’ve been in business” while others answered it as “the cumulative numbers of years of experience between everyone at the company”.

That said, these numbers still are important to see and the vast majority answered it as either “number of years in business” when at an agency and “number of years working in digital marketing” as a consultant. Thus, we have divided up the data by both the aggregate data and then also by size of company (agency or consultant).

Here are the years of experience of all respondents, by percentage of the total:

And the raw data:

All
Years of experience Count % of respondents
Less than 1 3 1.11%
1-3 20 7.38%
3-5 32 11.81%
5-10 88 32.47%
10+ 128 47.23%

Agency years of experience

Here are the years of experience for agencies, as a percentage of all agencies who responded:

And the raw data:

Agency
Number of years (agency) Count % of respondents
Less than 1 2 1.20%
1-3 16 9.58%
3-5 22 13.17%
5-10 54 32.34%
10+ 73 43.71%

Consultant years of experience

Here are the years of experience for the solo consultant respondents, as a percentage of all consultants who responded:

And the raw data:

Consultant
Number of years (consultant) Count % of respondents
Less than 1 1 0.96%
1-3 4 3.85%
3-5 10 9.62%
5-10 34 32.69%
10+ 55 52.88%

Average SEO agency and consultant rates

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Credo is very SEO-focused for the clients we bring in who are looking to hire. In fact, over 70% are looking for a project that has an SEO component (technical, content, outreach) involved.

There are many studies out there that show “SEO consultant rates” or “SEO agency rates”, and while those may have more respondents than ours they are also more global-focused and less focused on the specific countries that Credo serves.

So, this section is mostly about US and UK based SEO agencies and consultants, though we also give you a view into our view on the global SEO market and its rates.

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The important takeaways from this section are:

  • Worldwide, SEO firms charge an average of ~$149 per hour;
  • 71% of US SEO agencies charge between $101-$200 per hour;
  • Only 41% of UK SEO agencies charge between $101-$200. UK agencies are more likely to charge between $51-$150 per hour.
  • The average SEO consultant hourly rate worldwide as of January 2019 is $148 per hour.
  • 55.32% of US SEO consultants charge $101-$200 per hour, and 25.53% charge less than $100 per hour!

Let’s get into the numbers.

Average SEO firm rates worldwide

First, let’s look at the SEO firm average rates worldwide.

Average SEO firm hourly rates

Worldwide, SEO firms charge on average $149 per hour.

Here is how it breaks down:

As you can see, on average:

  • 30.98% of SEO firms charge $101-$150 per hour;
  • ~$17% charge over $200 per hour, which means
  • ~83% charge under $200 per hour;
  • 8.68% of our respondents charge under $50 per hour and ~29% charge under $100 per hour.

Now let’s look at some deeper cuts to see how the numbers change.

Link building is a common activity in SEO and is absolutely important for ranking sites. We were interested in whether firms that build links charge more or less than firms that do not.

Here are the findings:

Takeaways:

  • A higher percentage of link building firms charge $101-$200 per hour than non link building firms.
  • A slightly higher percentage of non-links firms charge more than $201 per hour;
  • A higher percentage of non-links firms charge $51-$100 per hour than firms offering link building;
  • 4x more non-links firms charge $501+ per hour than links firms.

Overall, this data surprises me a little bit, though then I remember that this is worldwide and the data skews lower than I usually think it will.

The figures I expected are that a higher percentage of links-offering firms bill between $101-$200 than non-links firms and that non-links firms charge more as a percentage in the higher hourly rates.

The other way we wanted to look at the data was by company size. Here are the results:

And here’s the data:

Hourly Rate Solo 2 to 5 5 to 10 10 to 20 20 to 50 51+
Under $50 8.05% 12.90% 9.52% 10.53% 3.57% 4.00%
$51-$100 28.74% 19.35% 9.52% 0.00% 14.29% 24.00%
$101-$150 24.14% 41.94% 23.81% 47.37% 35.71% 16.00%
$151-$200 21.84% 12.90% 33.33% 31.58% 28.57% 28.00%
$201-$300 10.34% 11.29% 9.52% 10.53% 14.29% 20.00%
$301-$500 2.30% 0.00% 9.52% 0.00% 3.57% 4.00%
$501+ 3.45% 1.61% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 4.00%
N/A 1.15% 4.76%

Average SEO firm minimum monthly Projects

Here are the SEO firm minimum monthly one-time projects as reported by our 242 respondents:

The raw data:

Project minimum Count of Single project minimum Worldwide SEO firm single project minimum
Under $1,000 55 22.73%
$1,000-$1,999 65 26.86%
$2,000-$2,999 45 18.60%
$3,000-$3,999 15 6.20%
$4,000-$4,999 7 2.89%
$5,000+ 40 16.53%
Do not accept one-time projects 7 2.89%
No minimum 8 3.31%

The important takeaways:

  • We are extremely heartened to see that 16.53% of the SEO firm respondents do not take minimum projects for less than $5,000!
  • 49.59% (almost half) of the respondents report doing single projects for less than $2,000.

Average SEO firm minimum monthly retainers

Here are the SEO firm minimum monthly retainers worldwide as reported by our 242 respondents:

The raw data:

Worldwide SEO firm minimum monthly retainer
Monthly retainer Count of Monthly minimum budget Worldwide SEO firm minimum monthly retainer
Under $1,000 62 25.62%
$1000-1,999 66 27.27%
$2000-2,999 42 17.36%
$3000-3,999 25 10.33%
$4000-4,999 5 2.07%
$5,000+ 23 9.50%
I do not accept ongoing engagements 4 1.65%
No minimum 15 6.20%

Average SEO firm rates (US)

Now that we’ve established the worldwide SEO agency/firm rates, let’s look at the US numbers.

Average SEO firm hourly rates (US)

Here’s the raw data:

Hourly Rate SEO agencies
Under $50 2.22%
$51-$100 5.56%
$101-$150 40.00%
$151-$200 31.11%
$201-$300 15.56%
$301-$500 3.33%
$501+ 1.11%

The interesting callouts are:

  • 40% of US SEO agencies charge between $101-$150 per hour;
  • A full 71% charge between $101-$200 per hour;
  • ~20% charge $200+ per hour with ~4.4% charging over $300 per hour;
  • ~8% charge less than $100 per hour.

Average SEO firm minimum projects (US)

Here are the US SEO firm minimum projects according to our 137 respondents:

The raw data:

Project minimum Count of Single project minimum US SEO firm single project minimum
Under $1,000 22 16.06%
$1,000-$1,999 37 27.01%
$2,000-$2,999 32 23.36%
$3,000-$3,999 9 6.57%
$4,000-$4,999 3 2.19%
$5,000+ 27 19.71%
Do not accept one-time projects 3 2.19%
No minimum 4 2.92%

Average SEO firm minimum monthly retainer (US)

Here are the US SEO firm minimum monthly retainers according to our 137 respondents:

The raw data:

US SEO firm minimum monthly retainer
Monthly retainer Count of Monthly minimum budget US SEO firm minimum monthly retainer
Under $1,000 25 18.25%
$1000-1,999 41 29.93%
$2000-2,999 28 20.44%
$3000-3,999 17 12.41%
$4000-4,999 4 2.92%
$5,000+ 14 10.22%
I do not accept ongoing engagements 1 0.73%
No minimum 7 5.11%

Average SEO firm rates (UK)

Now let’s look at UK SEO agency hourly rates numbers. We had significantly fewer UK agencies who do SEO respond than US (90 for US, 24 for UK) so these numbers are not as strong as US, but they’re still directionally helpful.

Average SEO firm hourly rates (UK)

Here’s the raw data:

Hourly Rate UK SEO agencies
Under $50 8.33%
$51-$100 37.50%
$101-$150 29.17%
$151-$200 12.50%
$201-$300 12.50%
$301-$500 0.00%
$501+ 0.00%

Here are the main callouts:

  • A significantly higher percentage of UK agencies (45%) charge under $100 per hour than US agencies. In fact, more UK SEO agencies from our set report that than US even though we had 4x the number of US respondents than UK;
  • 41% still charge $101-$200 per hour though, the same as the US. I suspect this is skewed by fewer respondents in the UK, but is interesting nonetheless.
  • Zero UK SEO agencies in our dataset charge $301 or more per hour.

Average SEO agency rates

Now let’s look at the average SEO agency (2+ people) rates both worldwide and for the United States.

Average SEO agency hourly rates (worldwide)

Here are the SEO agency hourly rates worldwide for our 155 respondents:

The raw data:

SEO agency hourly rates worldwide
Hourly rate Count of Average hourly rate SEO agency hourly rates worldwide
Under $50 14 9.03%
$51-$100 24 15.48%
$101-$150 54 34.84%
$151-$200 36 23.23%
$201-$300 20 12.90%
$301-$500 4 2.58%
$501+ 2 1.29%
N/A 1 0.65%

Average SEO agency project minimums (worldwide)

Here are the worldwide SEO agency projects minimums as reported by our 155 respondents:

The raw data:

Worldwide SEO agency minimum project
Project minimum Count of Single project minimum Worldwide SEO agency minimum project
Under $1,000 33 21.29%
$1,000-$1,999 39 25.16%
$2,000-$2,999 28 18.06%
$3,000-$3,999 10 6.45%
$4,000-$4,999 5 3.23%
$5,000+ 31 20.00%
Do not accept one-time projects 5 3.23%
No minimum 4 2.58%

Average SEO agency monthly retainer minimums (worldwide)

Here are the worldwide SEO agency minimum monthly retainers as reported by our 155 respondents:

The raw data:

Worldwide SEO agency minimum monthly retainer
Row Labels Count of Monthly minimum budget Worldwide SEO agency minimum monthly retainer
Under $1,000 40 25.81%
$1000-1,999 38 24.52%
$2000-2,999 27 17.42%
$3000-3,999 19 12.26%
$4000-4,999 5 3.23%
$5,000+ 17 10.97%
I do not accept ongoing engagements 3 1.94%
No minimum 6 3.87%

Average SEO consultant rates (worldwide)

Before digging into the average SEO consultant rates in US and UK, let’s look at them worldwide.

Average SEO consultant hourly rates

The average SEO consultant hourly rate worldwide as of January 2019 is $148 per hour.

Here is the data:

And the data:

Hourly Rate Solo
Under $50 8.05%
$51-$100 28.74%
$101-$150 24.14%
$151-$200 21.84%
$201-$300 10.34%
$301-$500 2.30%
$501+ 3.45%
N/A 1.15%

As you can see, the average is $148 per hour but the takeaways are:

  • ~36% of SEO consultants worldwide charge less than $100 per hour;
  • ~60% of SEO consultants worldwide charge less than $150 per hour;
  • Only 5.75% of SEO consultants who responded to our survey charge over $300 per hour.

Average worldwide SEO consultant project minimums

Here are the worldwide SEO consultant project minimums from our 87 respondents:

The raw data:

Worldwide SEO consultant single project minimum
Row Labels Count of Single project minimum Worldwide SEO consultant single project minimum
Under $1,000 22 25.29%
$1,000-$1,999 26 29.89%
$2,000-$2,999 17 19.54%
$3,000-$3,999 5 5.75%
$4,000-$4,999 2 2.30%
$5,000+ 9 10.34%
Do not accept one-time projects 2 2.30%
No minimum 4 4.60%

Average worldwide SEO consultant monthly retainers

Here are the worldwide SEO consultant monthly retainer minimums from our 87 respondents:

The raw data:

Worldwide SEO consultant minimum monthly retainer
Row Labels Count of Monthly minimum budget Worldwide SEO consultant minimum monthly retainer
Under $1,000 22 25.29%
$1000-1,999 28 32.18%
$2000-2,999 15 17.24%
$3000-3,999 6 6.90%
$5,000+ 6 6.90%
I do not accept ongoing engagements 1 1.15%
No minimum 9 10.34%

Average SEO consultant rates (US)

Now let’s look at US SEO consultant (only 1 person in the company) rates. We had 47 such respondents.

SEO consultant hourly rates (US)

Here’s the raw data:

Hourly Rate US SEO consultants
Under $50 2.13%
$51-$100 23.40%
$101-$150 27.66%
$151-$200 27.66%
$201-$300 8.51%
$301-$500 2.13%
$501+ 6.38%

The interesting callouts are:

  • 55.32% of US SEO consultants charge $101-$200 per hour;
  • 25.53% charge less than $100 per hour!
  • 78.72% of US SEO consultants charge between $51-$200 per hour;
  • 16.92% of US SEO consultants who responded charge over $100 per hour;
  • 6.38% of our US SEO consultant respondents charge $500+. This is 3 of the 47 who replied.

SEO consultant Project Minimums (US)

Here are the single project minimums for the 47 US SEO consultants in our dataset:

The raw data:

US SEO consultant minimum single project
Row Labels Count of Single project minimum US SEO consultant minimum single project
Under $1,000 7 14.89%
$1,000-$1,999 15 31.91%
$2,000-$2,999 12 25.53%
$3,000-$3,999 4 8.51%
$4,000-$4,999 1 2.13%
$5,000+ 6 12.77%
No minimum 2 4.26%

SEO consultant Monthly Retainer Minimums (US)

Here are the monthly retainer minimums for the 47 US SEO consultants in our dataset:

The raw data:

US SEO consultant minimum monthly retainer
Monthly retainer Count of Monthly minimum budget US SEO consultant minimum monthly retainer
Under $1,000 7 14.89%
$1000-1,999 17 36.17%
$2000-2,999 9 19.15%
$3000-3,999 6 12.77%
$5,000+ 2 4.26%
I do not accept ongoing engagements 1 2.13%
No minimum 5 10.64%

Average SEO consultant hourly rates (UK)

Similarly to the SEO agencies, we had dramatically fewer UK respondents than US respondents. We had 47 respondents in the US versus just 16 in the UK.

SEO consultant hourly rates (UK)

As such it’s barely worthwhile to give averages as they are so skewed, so here is the raw data:

Hourly Rate for UK SEO consultants Count
Under $50 1
$51-$100 11
$101-$150 2
$151-$200 0
$201-$300 2
$301-$500 0
$501+ 0

If you really want the averages, here they are:

Because we do not have enough data here, we will not call out interesting pullouts.

PPC agency and consultant rates

Every always asks us “how much does a PPC agency cost?”, to which we explain that it depends on many factors such as but not limited to their location, their size, the type of work they’re offering (services, strategy, or both), and how senior they are.

We crunched the numbers that came back from our survey to find the answer for you to begin with though. The way to interpret this data is to remember that these are averages and a starting point for a conversation, but depending on how you pull the levers a firm will be more or less expensive. We have tried to slice and dice the data for you so that you can see how this happens on average.

But once again, it will depend on the factors listed above. An agency based in New York City will usually cost more than an agency in Kalamazoo, Michigan simply because of the average price of talent.

So let’s look at the data.

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Interesting takeaways from this section:

  • PPC agencies on average have higher monthly minimums and retainers than consultants;
  • US PPC firms are more expensive than worldwide averages (which is consistent across our dataset);
  • 32.89% of our worldwide PPC firm respondents report charging under $100 per hour for their PPC work;
  • Only 1.88% of our respondents report charging more than $300 an hour for their PPC work.

A quick caveat that we only noticed after putting together this section is that we did not specify in the survey whether this was client spend or the firm’s take from the project for project minimums and monthly retainers. So, the data for those sections should be viewed directionally.

Average PPC firm rates worldwide

First let’s look at the average rates of PPC firms worldwide.

PPC firm worldwide hourly rates

Here are the PPC firm worldwide hourly rates, for all company sizes:

The raw data:

Hourly Rate Count of Average hourly rate All firms offering PPC
Under $50 14 9.21%
$51-$100 36 23.68%
$101-$150 44 28.95%
$151-$200 37 24.34%
$201-$300 17 11.18%
$301-$500 2 1.32%
$501+ 1 0.66%
N/A 1 0.66%

PPC firm worldwide project minimums

Here are the project minimums that the PPC firms across the world reported that they take:

The raw data:

Project minimum Count of Single project minimum Percentage of total
Under $1,000 39 25.66%
$1,000-$1,999 43 28.29%
$2,000-$2,999 24 15.79%
$3,000-$3,999 8 5.26%
$4,000-$4,999 4 2.63%
$5,000+ 24 15.79%
Do not accept one-time projects 3 1.97%
No minimum 7 4.61%

Here are the single project minimums for PPC firms worldwide, based on company size:

That chart is a bit busy, so here is the raw data:

Project minimum 1 (solo practice) 2-5 5-10 11-20 21-50 51+
Under $1,000 35.00% 43.24% 23.08% 7.14% 11.54% 9.09%
$1,000-$1,999 30.00% 32.43% 46.15% 28.57% 26.92% 9.09%
$2,000-$2,999 15.00% 5.41% 15.38% 28.57% 26.92% 13.64%
$3,000-$3,999 2.50% 0.00% 0.00% 14.29% 7.69% 13.64%
$4,000-$4,999 2.50% 2.70% 0.00% 0.00% 3.85% 4.55%
$5,000+ 7.50% 5.41% 15.38% 14.29% 15.38% 50.00%
Do not accept one-time projects 0.00% 5.41% 0.00% 7.14% 0.00% 0.00%
No minimum 7.50% 5.41% 0.00% 0.00% 7.69% 0.00%

The interesting takeaways in this section are:

  • As the company gets bigger, their single project minimums go up. In fact, once a PPC firm gets above 5 their minimums are much more likely to be over $5,000.
  • A full 53.95% of PPC firms worldwide take single projects under $2,000 in value.
  • Only 1.97% of firms do not take one-time projects (eg audits).
  • No PPC  firms in our dataset with 20+ employees only do retainers. This is different from SEO.

PPC firm worldwide retainer minimums

Here are the PPC firm worldwide monthly retainer rates as reported by our 152 respondents:

The raw data:

PPC firm worldwide monthly retainer minimum
Row Labels Count of Monthly minimum budget PPC firm worldwide monthly retainer minimum
Under $1,000 45 29.61%
$1000-1,999 38 25.00%
$2000-2,999 26 17.11%
$3000-3,999 16 10.53%
$4000-4,999 4 2.63%
$5,000+ 12 7.89%
No minimum 11 7.24%

Interesting takeaways include:

  • 54.61% of PPC firms worldwide take monthly retainers of less than $2,000;
  • Only 10.52% of PPC firms worldwide have a monthly minimum above $4,000.
  • 7.24% of firms say they have no minimum.

Average PPC rates in US and UK

Here are the average rates for US and UK PPC firms.

US PPC firm hourly rates

The raw data:

Hourly Rate Count PPC firm US
Under $50 2 2.25%
$51-$100 12 13.48%
$101-$150 31 34.83%
$151-$200 29 32.58%
$201-$300 12 13.48%
$301-$500 2 2.25%
$501+ 0 0.00%

UK PPC firm hourly rates

Here are the average hourly rates for UK PPC firms:

The raw data:

Hourly Rate Count PPC firm UK
Under $50 2 7.69%
$51-$100 15 57.69%
$101-$150 5 19.23%
$151-$200 3 11.54%
$201-$300 1 3.85%
$301-$500 0 0.00%
$501+ 0 0.00%

UK PPC firms need to charge more!

Average PPC agency rates

Now let’s look at average PPC agency rates.

PPC agency worldwide hourly rates

Here are the worldwide PPC agency average hourly rates:

Raw data:

Hourly Rate Count PPC agency hourly
Under $50 11 9.82%
$51-$100 19 16.96%
$101-$150 38 33.93%
$151-$200 29 25.89%
$201-$300 12 10.71%
$301-$500 1 0.89%
$501+ 1 0.89%

PPC agency worldwide project minimums

Here are the reported project minimums for the PPC agencies in our dataset, of which there are 112:

The raw data:

Row Labels Count of Single project minimum PPC agency worldwide project minimum
Under $1,000 25 22.32%
$1,000-$1,999 31 27.68%
$2,000-$2,999 18 16.07%
$3,000-$3,999 7 6.25%
$4,000-$4,999 3 2.68%
$5,000+ 21 18.75%
Do not accept one-time projects 3 2.68%
No minimum 4 3.57%

PPC agency project minimums (US)

Here are the US PPC agency project minimums from our dataset:

The raw data:

Row Labels Count of Single project minimum PPC agency project minimum
Under $1,000 12 17.39%
$1,000-$1,999 18 26.09%
$2,000-$2,999 14 20.29%
$3,000-$3,999 4 5.80%
$4,000-$4,999 1 1.45%
$5,000+ 15 21.74%
Do not accept one-time projects 3 4.35%
No minimum 2 2.90%

Interesting takeaways from this section are:

  • US PPC agencies are only nominally more picky in the project sizes they take.
  • Still a very large number (43.48%) take projects under $2,000 and 17.38% take them under $1,000.

PPC agency worldwide retainer minimums

Here are the worldwide PPC agency retainer minimums from our 112 respondents:

The raw data:

PPC agency worldwide monthly retainer minimum
Row Labels Count of Monthly minimum budget PPC agency worldwide monthly retainer minimum
Under $1,000 32 28.57%
$1000-1,999 28 25.00%
$2000-2,999 19 16.96%
$3000-3,999 13 11.61%
$4000-4,999 4 3.57%
$5,000+ 11 9.82%
No minimum 5 4.46%

PPC agency monthly retainer minimum (US)

Here are the US PPC agency monthly retainer minimums as reported by our 69 respondents:

The raw data:

Retainer minimum Count of Monthly minimum budget US PPC agency monthly retainer minimum
Under $1,000 15 21.74%
$1000-1,999 18 26.09%
$2000-2,999 13 18.84%
$3000-3,999 9 13.04%
$4000-4,999 3 4.35%
$5,000+ 9 13.04%
No minimum 2 2.90%

Interesting takeaways include:

  • A higher percentage of US PPC agencies (compared to worldwide) have a minimum between $1,000-$2,000 per month;
  • A full 13% of US PPC agencies have a monthly minimum over $5,000. This is higher than the worldwide average.

US PPC agencies are, from our data, more expensive than the worldwide averages.

Average PPC consultant rates

Now let’s look at PPC consultant rates worldwide and US specific.

PPC consultant worldwide hourly rates

Here are the PPC consultant worldwide hourly rates from our dataset containing 40 PPC consultants:

The raw data:

Hourly Rate Count PPC consultant hourly rates
Under $50 3 7.50%
$51-$100 17 42.50%
$101-$150 6 15.00%
$151-$200 8 20.00%
$201-$300 5 12.50%
$301-$500 1 2.50%
$501+ 0 0.00%

PPC consultant worldwide project minimums

Here are the PPC consultant worldwide project minimums, of which there were 40 respondents:

The raw data:

PPC consultant worldwide single project minimum
Row Labels Count of Single project minimum PPC consultant worldwide
Under $1,000 14 35.00%
$1,000-$1,999 12 30.00%
$2,000-$2,999 6 15.00%
$3,000-$3,999 1 2.50%
$4,000-$4,999 1 2.50%
$5,000+ 3 7.50%
No minimum 3 7.50%

US PPC consultant project minimums

Here are the US PPC consultant projects minimums from our dataset, in which there were 20 respondents. Thus, we are showing the raw numbers here instead of percentages:

The raw data:

US PPC consultant project minimums
Single project minimum Count
Under $1,000 4
$1,000-$1,999 7
$2,000-$2,999 4
$3,000-$3,999 1
$4,000-$4,999 1
$5,000+ 1
No minimum 2

PPC consultant worldwide retainer minimums

Here are the PPC consultant worldwide monthly retainer minimums from the 40 respondents in our dataset:

The raw data:

PPC consultant worldwide monthly minimum
Monthly retainer minimum Count of Monthly minimum budget PPC consultant worldwide monthly minimum
Under $1,000 13 32.50%
$1000-1,999 10 25.00%
$2000-2,999 7 17.50%
$3000-3,999 3 7.50%
$5,000+ 1 2.50%
No minimum 6 15.00%

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Facebook advertising agency and consultant rates

Hiring a Facebook ads firm? Click here to get started.

Facebook ads are still the newest addition to the go-to marketing channels for most companies. We still will frequently be told “Oh, our audience isn’t on Facebook” when speaking with prospective clients looking to hire an agency here at Credo.

The reality is that EVERYONE (and their mother, literally) is on Facebook and it is an incredibly powerful channel for advertising and business. When they began slashing organic reach in 2014, advertising became even more important to reaching your audience on Facebook.

The important takeaways from this section are:

  • Facebook advertising firms on average charge $137.50 per hour for their work;
  • 53.54% of reporting firms charge between $101-$200 per hour;
  • Only 1 reporting firm (out of 127) charges $300 or more per hour, and none charge over $500 per hour.
  • Only 8.66% of worldwide FB ads firms in our dataset charge less than $50 per hour. Only 3 of these are US-based and all of those have less than 5 years of digital experience.
  • Facebook ads agencies seem to charge more than Facebook ads solo consultants currently.

Let’s get into the numbers.

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Facebook ads firms worldwide rates

For this 2019 survey, we had 127 firms respond that they do Facebook advertising for clients.

Facebook ads firms hourly rates

We found that on average, firms reporting that they run Facebook ads for clients charge $137.50 per hour for their work.

Here is their breakdown of reported hourly rate ranges:

And the raw data:

Hourly Rate Count FB ads firms worldwide
Under $50 11 8.66%
$51-$100 29 22.83%
$101-$150 39 30.71%
$151-$200 29 22.83%
$201-$300 17 13.39%
$301-$500 1 0.79%
$501+ 0 0.00%

The important callouts here are:

  • 53.54% of all reporting firms charge between $51-$150 per hour;
  • 53.54% also charge between $101-$200 per hour;
  • Only 8.66% of worldwide FB ads firms in our dataset charge less than $50 per hour. Only 3 of these are US-based and all of those have less than 5 years of digital experience.
  • Only 1 reporting firm charges $300 or more per hour, and none charge over $500 per hour.

Facebook ads firms US-only hourly rates

Here are the average hourly rates for US-based Facebook ads firms (all company sizes including solo consultants):

Here is the raw data:

Hourly Rate Count FB ads US all sizes
Under $50 3 3.90%
$51-$100 8 10.39%
$101-$150 29 37.66%
$151-$200 22 28.57%
$201-$300 13 16.88%
$301-$500 1 1.30%
$501+ 0 0.00%

Here you can see that the percentage charging between $100-$200 per hour is even more than worldwide at 66.23% of all our respondents!

From this, we can see that most of the lower-charging firms in our dataset are not US-based.

Facebook ads firms project minimums (worldwide)

Here are the project minimums as reported by the 127 Facebook ads respondents in our dataset:

The raw data:

FB ads firms worldwide single project minimum
Row Labels Count of Single project minimum FB ads firms worldwide single project minimum
Under $1,000 28 22.05%
$1,000-$1,999 31 24.41%
$2,000-$2,999 23 18.11%
$3,000-$3,999 10 7.87%
$4,000-$4,999 4 3.15%
$5,000+ 25 19.69%
Do not accept one-time projects 2 1.57%
No minimum 4 3.15%

Facebook ads firms monthly retainer minimums (worldwide)

Here are the monthly retainer minimums worldwide as reported by the 127 Facebook ads respondents in our dataset:

The raw data:

FB ads firms worldwide monthly retainer minimum
Row Labels Count of Monthly minimum budget FB ads firms worldwide monthly retainer minimum
Under $1,000 36 28.35%
$1000-1,999 26 20.47%
$2000-2,999 25 19.69%
$3000-3,999 15 11.81%
$4000-4,999 4 3.15%
$5,000+ 14 11.02%
No minimum 7 5.51%

Facebook ads agencies rates

Here the rates for the Facebook ads agencies (2+ full time employees) within our dataset.

Facebook ads agencies hourly rates (worldwide)

Here are the worldwide Facebook ads agency average hourly rates for our dataset. There were 96 respondents in this bucket:

Here is the raw data:

Hourly Rate Count FB ads agencies worldwide
Under $50 7 7.29%
$51-$100 17 17.71%
$101-$150 32 33.33%
$151-$200 25 26.04%
$201-$300 13 13.54%
$301-$500 1 1.04%
$501+ 0 0.00%

The interesting numbers for us are:

  • 25% of worldwide Facebook ads agencies charge under $100/hr;
  • 59.37% of worldwide Facebook ads agencies report $101-$200/hr as their hourly average;
  • 72.91% report charging between $101-$300 per hour, which is about to be expected;
  • Only 14.58% of our respondents report charging more than $200/hr for Facebook advertising services.

Facebook ads agencies single project minimums (worldwide)

Here are the worldwide Facebook ads agencies single project minimums according to the 96 respondents in our dataset:

The raw data:

Worldwide FB ads agencies minimum project
Row Labels Count of Single project minimum Worldwide FB ads agencies minimum project
Under $1,000 18 18.75%
$1,000-$1,999 21 21.88%
$2,000-$2,999 18 18.75%
$3,000-$3,999 8 8.33%
$4,000-$4,999 3 3.13%
$5,000+ 22 22.92%
Do not accept one-time projects 2 2.08%
No minimum 4 4.17%

Facebook ads agencies monthly retainer minimums (worldwide)

Here are the worldwide Facebook ads agencies monthly retainer minimums according to the 96 respondents in our dataset:

The raw data:

Worldwide FB ads agencies monthly minimum retainer
Row Labels Count of Monthly minimum budget Worldwide FB ads agencies monthly minimum retainer
Under $1,000 24 25.00%
$1000-1,999 18 18.75%
$2000-2,999 20 20.83%
$3000-3,999 13 13.54%
$4000-4,999 4 4.17%
$5,000+ 12 12.50%
No minimum 5 5.21%

Facebook ads agencies hourly rates (US)

Here are the hourly rate numbers for the 58 US-based Facebook ads agencies in our dataset:

And the raw data:

Hourly Rate Count FB ads US and agencies
Under $50 2 3.28%
$51-$100 3 4.92%
$101-$150 24 39.34%
$151-$200 19 31.15%
$201-$300 11 18.03%
$301-$500 1 1.64%
$501+ 0 0.00%

The interesting callouts are:

  • 70.49% of Facebook ads agencies in the US charge $100-$200 per hour. This is higher than the worldwide 59.37%;
  • 19.67% of US-based Facebook ads agencies charge over $200 per hour;
  • Only 8.2% of our agency respondents in the US charge less than $100 per hour, which is heartening to see for the value they provide.

Facebook ads consultant rates

Here the rates for the Facebook ads consultants (only 1 full time employee, may work with outside freelancers) within our dataset.

Facebook ads consultants hourly rates (worldwide)

Here are the numbers for the Facebook ads consultant from within our dataset, of which there were 31. The raw data is important to pay attention to below the chart:

The raw data:

Hourly Rate Count FB ads consultants worldwide
Under $50 4 12.90%
$51-$100 12 38.71%
$101-$150 7 22.58%
$151-$200 4 12.90%
$201-$300 4 12.90%
$301-$500 0 0.00%
$501+ 0 0.00%

Facebook ads consultants single project minimums (worldwide)

Here are the single project minimums for the 31 Facebook ads consultants from within our dataset:

The raw data:

Worldwide FB ads consultants minimum project
Row Labels Count of Single project minimum Worldwide FB ads consultants minimum project
Under $1,000 10 32.26%
$1,000-$1,999 10 32.26%
$2,000-$2,999 5 16.13%
$3,000-$3,999 2 6.45%
$4,000-$4,999 1 3.23%
$5,000+ 3 9.68%

Facebook ads consultants monthly retainer minimums (worldwide)

Here are the monthly retainer minimums for the 31 Facebook ads consultants from within our dataset:

The raw data:

Worldwide FB ads consultants monthly minimum retainer
Row Labels Count of Monthly minimum budget Worldwide FB ads consultants monthly minimum retainer
Under $1,000 12 38.71%
$1000-1,999 8 25.81%
$2000-2,999 5 16.13%
$3000-3,999 2 6.45%
$5,000+ 2 6.45%
No minimum 2 6.45%

Facebook ads consultants hourly rates (US)

Here are the average hourly rates as reported by the US-based Facebook ads solo consultants from our dataset, of which there were 16:

The raw data:

Hourly Rate Count FB ads US and solo consultants
Under $50 1 6.25%
$51-$100 5 31.25%
$101-$150 5 31.25%
$151-$200 3 18.75%
$201-$300 2 12.50%
$301-$500 0 0.00%
$501+ 0 0.00%

From this data it looks like US based solo Facebook ads consultants charge less per hour for their work than Facebook ads agencies. We don’t quite have enough consultants to say that for sure though.

That would not surprise us a lot though as it would be similar to how the SEO world evolved – agencies got more expensive then consultants specialized and raised their rates as they had the years of experience.

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Digital agency rate card and price list

Something we often get asked for is an agency rate card, otherwise known as a price list.

The reality is that such a thing does not exist across the industry because every agency or consultant charges different prices for different services. Strategy tends to be more expensive than services, but both can be lumped under the same term such as “SEO”, though these should more often be broken out as “SEO consulting” and “SEO services” depending on what is being done.

Buying digital marketing services on the high end is like shopping for a new car. You (probably!) don’t walk into a dealership, see a car for $45,000, and say “I’ll take it”. Instead you look at its miles, its ratings, its reviews, and ultimately you haggle on the price a bit. Ultimately, there is some salesmanship involved.

On the low end, you might be willing to just pay $2,500 for a car unseen if you want a clunker or don’t care how long it lasts. But you’re getting what you’ve paid for.

That said, we can absolutely get a high-level view of how much agencies and consultants charge for digital marketing. This encompasses both strategy and services.

Throughout the rest of this guide I have also broken down the different areas of digital marketing and how pricing changes for those specific channels, so be sure to check out the other chapters as well.

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Digital agency rate card and price list

Without further ado, here is the digital agency rate card and price list as gathered from our 271 survey respondents.

Rates by skillset

SEO rates

SEO agency hourly rates worldwide
Hourly rate Count of Average hourly rate SEO agency hourly rates worldwide
Under $50 14 9.03%
$51-$100 24 15.48%
$101-$150 54 34.84%
$151-$200 36 23.23%
$201-$300 20 12.90%
$301-$500 4 2.58%
$501+ 2 1.29%
N/A 1 0.65%
SEO agency rates US only
Hourly Rate SEO agencies
Under $50 2.22%
$51-$100 5.56%
$101-$150 40.00%
$151-$200 31.11%
$201-$300 15.56%
$301-$500 3.33%
$501+ 1.11%
Worldwide SEO firm single project minimum
Project minimum Count of Single project minimum Worldwide SEO firm single project minimum
Under $1,000 55 22.73%
$1,000-$1,999 65 26.86%
$2,000-$2,999 45 18.60%
$3,000-$3,999 15 6.20%
$4,000-$4,999 7 2.89%
$5,000+ 40 16.53%
Do not accept one-time projects 7 2.89%
No minimum 8 3.31%
Worldwide SEO firm minimum monthly retainer
Monthly retainer Count of Monthly minimum budget Worldwide SEO firm minimum monthly retainer
Under $1,000 62 25.62%
$1000-1,999 66 27.27%
$2000-2,999 42 17.36%
$3000-3,999 25 10.33%
$4000-4,999 5 2.07%
$5,000+ 23 9.50%
I do not accept ongoing engagements 4 1.65%
No minimum 15 6.20%

PPC rates

Worldwide PPC agency hourly rates
Hourly rate Count PPC agency hourly
Under $50 11 9.82%
$51-$100 19 16.96%
$101-$150 38 33.93%
$151-$200 29 25.89%
$201-$300 12 10.71%
$301-$500 1 0.89%
$501+ 1 0.89%
Worldwide PPC agency single project minimums
Row Labels Count of Single project minimum PPC agency worldwide project minimum
Under $1,000 25 22.32%
$1,000-$1,999 31 27.68%
$2,000-$2,999 18 16.07%
$3,000-$3,999 7 6.25%
$4,000-$4,999 3 2.68%
$5,000+ 21 18.75%
Do not accept one-time projects 3 2.68%
No minimum 4 3.57%
PPC agency worldwide monthly retainer minimum
Row Labels Count of Monthly minimum budget PPC agency worldwide monthly retainer minimum
Under $1,000 32 28.57%
$1000-1,999 28 25.00%
$2000-2,999 19 16.96%
$3000-3,999 13 11.61%
$4000-4,999 4 3.57%
$5,000+ 11 9.82%
No minimum 5 4.46%

Facebook ads rates

Worldwide Facebook ads agencies hourly rate
Hourly Rate Count FB ads agencies worldwide
Under $50 7 7.29%
$51-$100 17 17.71%
$101-$150 32 33.33%
$151-$200 25 26.04%
$201-$300 13 13.54%
$301-$500 1 1.04%
$501+ 0 0.00%
Worldwide FB ads agencies minimum project
Row Labels Count of Single project minimum Worldwide FB ads agencies minimum project
Under $1,000 18 18.75%
$1,000-$1,999 21 21.88%
$2,000-$2,999 18 18.75%
$3,000-$3,999 8 8.33%
$4,000-$4,999 3 3.13%
$5,000+ 22 22.92%
Do not accept one-time projects 2 2.08%
No minimum 4 4.17%
Worldwide FB ads agencies monthly minimum retainer
Row Labels Count of Monthly minimum budget Worldwide FB ads agencies monthly minimum retainer
Under $1,000 24 25.00%
$1000-1,999 18 18.75%
$2000-2,999 20 20.83%
$3000-3,999 13 13.54%
$4000-4,999 4 4.17%
$5,000+ 12 12.50%
No minimum 5 5.21%

Company size rates

Average Hourly rate by company size

Size of Company Under $50 $51-$100 $101-$150 $151-$200 $201-$300 $301-$500 $501+ Don’t bill hourly don’t do hourly
1 (solo practice) 9.62% 31.73% 23.08% 20.19% 9.62% 1.92% 2.88% 0.96% 0.00%
11-20 10.00% 0.00% 45.00% 30.00% 15.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2-5 11.43% 20.00% 38.57% 12.86% 12.86% 1.43% 1.43% 1.43% 1.43%
21-50 3.57% 14.29% 35.71% 28.57% 14.29% 3.57% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
5-10 8.33% 8.33% 29.17% 29.17% 12.50% 8.33% 0.00% 4.17% 4.17%
51+ 4.00% 24.00% 16.00% 28.00% 20.00% 4.00% 4.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Grand Total 8.86% 21.77% 29.89% 21.40% 12.55% 2.58% 1.85% 1.48% 0.74%

Average Single project minimum by size of company

Size of Company Under $1,000 $1,000-$1,999 $2,000-$2,999 $3,000-$3,999 $4,000-$4,999 $5,000+ Do not accept one-time projects No minimum
1 (solo practice) 30.77% 28.85% 16.35% 5.77% 1.92% 10.58% 1.92% 3.85%
11-20 10.00% 25.00% 30.00% 15.00% 0.00% 10.00% 10.00% 0.00%
2-5 32.86% 27.14% 14.29% 1.43% 2.86% 11.43% 5.71% 4.29%
21-50 10.71% 25.00% 25.00% 10.71% 3.57% 17.86% 0.00% 7.14%
5-10 25.00% 29.17% 8.33% 4.17% 0.00% 29.17% 4.17% 0.00%
51+ 12.00% 8.00% 12.00% 12.00% 8.00% 48.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Grand Total 25.46% 25.83% 16.61% 6.27% 2.58% 16.61% 3.32% 3.32%

Average Monthly retainer minimum by company size

Size of Company Under $1,000 $1,000-$1,999 $2,000-$2,999 $3,000-$3,999 $4,000-$4,999 $5,000+ Do not accept one-time projects No minimum
1 (solo practice) 29.81% 29.81% 16.35% 6.73% 0.00% 7.69% 0.96% 8.65%
11-20 20.00% 20.00% 35.00% 25.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2-5 34.29% 32.86% 14.29% 4.29% 5.71% 4.29% 1.43% 2.86%
21-50 14.29% 21.43% 21.43% 25.00% 0.00% 7.14% 0.00% 10.71%
5-10 37.50% 16.67% 16.67% 8.33% 0.00% 12.50% 8.33% 0.00%
51+ 12.00% 8.00% 12.00% 12.00% 12.00% 40.00% 0.00% 4.00%
Grand Total 27.68% 25.83% 17.34% 9.96% 2.58% 9.59% 1.48% 5.54%

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Digital marketing agency and consultant hourly rates

We are frequently asked how much marketing agencies and consultants charge. This entire survey was geared towards answering that question, but this question specifically deals with the overall hourly rate pricing of digital marketing agencies and consultants who responded to our survey.

While it is impossible to nail down a specific average hourly rate based on our data, if we try by averaging the hourly rate ranges into the middle number for each, then the average hourly rate for digital marketers and digital marketing firms worldwide is $148.13 per hour.

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Using the same data, the average hourly rate for US digital marketers/firm is $167.28 and the average hourly rate for UK digital marketers/firms is $111.36.

Here is the data:

Hourly rate Country
 $148.13 All
 $167.28 US only
 $111.36 UK
 $130.30 All other countries

The synopsis of this section is:

  • 1 in 5 of respondents with 50+ employees are in the $200-$300 range;
  • Almost half (45%) of agencies with 11-20 employees charge $100-$150/hr.
  • Agencies seem to be, on average, charging more in 2019 than they did in our 2017 survey.
  • That said, only 16.98% of all respondents say that they charge more than $200 per hour on average and a full 29.89% of respondents charge $101-$150 per hour for their work on average.

Digital marketer hourly rates

Here is the overview of hourly rate ranges regardless of company size:

And the raw data:

Under $50 $51-$100 $101-$150 $151-$200 $201-$300 $301-$500 $501+ Don’t bill hourly
8.86% 21.77% 29.89% 21.40% 12.55% 2.58% 1.85% 0.74%

If we break it down further, you can see the average hourly rate ranges by size of company:

Here is the raw data:

Company Size % Under $50 % $51-$100 % $101-$150 % $151-$200 % $201-$300 % $301-$500 % $501+ % Don’t bill hourly
1 (solo practice) 9.62% 31.73% 23.08% 20.19% 9.62% 1.92% 2.88% 0.96%
2-5 11.43% 20.00% 38.57% 12.86% 12.86% 1.43% 1.43% 1.43%
5-10 8.33% 8.33% 29.17% 29.17% 12.50% 8.33% 0.00% 0.00%
11-20 10.00% 0.00% 45.00% 30.00% 15.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
21-50 3.57% 14.29% 35.71% 28.57% 14.29% 3.57% 0.00% 0.00%
51+ 4.00% 24.00% 16.00% 28.00% 20.00% 4.00% 4.00% 0.00%

Digital marketing agency average hourly rates

Here is the breakdown of agency hourly rates (as a percentage of the total number of respondents in that range):

And the raw data:

Company Size % Under $50 % $51-$100 % $101-$150 % $151-$200 % $201-$300 % $301-$500 % $501+ % Don’t bill hourly
2-5 11.43% 20.00% 38.57% 12.86% 12.86% 1.43% 1.43% 1.43%
5-10 8.33% 8.33% 29.17% 29.17% 12.50% 8.33% 0.00% 4.17%
11-20 10.00% 0.00% 45.00% 30.00% 15.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
21-50 3.57% 14.29% 35.71% 28.57% 14.29% 3.57% 0.00% 0.00%
51+ 4.00% 24.00% 16.00% 28.00% 20.00% 4.00% 4.00% 0.00%

As you can see from the graph, most agencies cluster in the $100-$200 per hour range. Some interesting observations:

  • 1 in 5 of respondents with 50+ employees are in the $200-$300 range;
  • Almost half (45%) of agencies with 11-20 employees charge $100-$150/hr. Only 16% of agencies with 50+ employees charge in this range.
  • A full 75% of these 11-20 employee agencies charge $100-$200/hr;
  • Interesting 8% of agencies in the 5-10 employee range charge $300-$500/hr;
  • A small percentage don’t charge hourly or don’t calculate their expense on an hourly rate.

The observation from 2017 that smaller agencies are more likely to charge more as are larger agencies still seems to mostly hold true, though this year we see the larger companies charging more than in that survey.

If this is true, it means that agencies are on the whole charging more now than two years ago. This is a good thing if it enables them to do better work!

While this is useful to see, it also made us wonder how this varies by country. So here is average hourly rate by country for agencies:

And here’s the data:

Under $50 $51-$100 $101-$150 $151-$200 $201-$300 $301-$500 $501+ don’t do hourly
All countries 21.95% 24.39% 21.95% 14.63% 7.32% 4.88% 2.44% 2.44%
UK 8.00% 40.00% 28.00% 12.00% 12.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
US 2.08% 5.21% 40.63% 29.17% 17.71% 3.13% 1.04% 1.04%

The interesting callouts are:

  • 40% of UK respondent agencies charge $51-$100 per hour;
  • 40.63% of US respondent agencies charge $101-$150 per hour
  • 29.17% of US agencies charge $151-$200 per hour while only 14.63% of UK agencies charge this much;
  • “Other countries” on average charge much less than US or UK agencies, with ~46% under $100 per hour. There were 9 in  the “other countries” respondents under $50 per hour and 3 are in India. While this is not statistically significant, directionally it feels very correct.

Digital marketing consultant average hourly rates

Here are the solo consultant average hourly rates, as a percentage of the whole of consultant responses:

Here’s the raw data:

Company Size % Under $50 % $51-$100 % $101-$150 % $151-$200 % $201-$300 % $301-$500 % $501+ % Don’t bill hourly
1 (solo practice) 9.62% 31.73% 23.08% 20.19% 9.62% 1.92% 2.88% 0.96%

It is very interesting to see that worldwide:

  • Almost 1/3 (31.73%) of solo consultants worldwide charge $51-$100 per hour for their work;
  • 64.43% of solo consultant respondents charge less than $150/hr for their work;
  • 84.62% charge less than $200/hr for their work.

While this is useful to see, it also made us wonder how this varies by country. So here is average hourly rate by country for consultants:

And here is the raw data:

Under $50 $51-$100 $101-$150 $151-$200 $201-$300 $301-$500 $501+ Don’t bill hourly
All countries 3.70% 25.93% 22.22% 11.11% 11.11% 3.70% 0.00% 0.00%
UK 5.26% 68.42% 15.79% 0.00% 10.53% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
United States 3.64% 23.64% 27.27% 27.27% 9.09% 1.82% 5.45% 1.82%

A few specific callouts:

  • 68.42% of UK solo consultants say they charge $51-$100 per hour! Compare this with only 23.64% of US solo consultants.
  • US solo consultant hourly rates are spread pretty evenly from $51 to $200 per hour. It drop off precipitously from there, but there are 5.45% of the respondents who say they bill more than $500 per hour! The raw number here is 3 of the 55 who responded.

On average, US solo consultants charge a LOT more than UK consultants.

Our take on hourly rates

After reviewing the above data, let’s recognize that hourly rates are not a great way to gauge if you should work with someone or not. Here’s why.

If one person tells you that they charge $100 an hour and a project will take 30 hours, the project comes out to $3,000 total.

If another person tells you they charge $300 an hour and the project will take 10 hours based on their experience, then the cost is still $3,000.

Of course, you have to determine if you think the $300/hr person can actually get it done in 10 hours. You should also ask why they said 10 hours and why the other said 30 hours. This is usually because of better processes or more experience doing exactly the work you need, but the questions are still good to ask.

In this case, I would also ask for a flat fee project as opposed to an hourly project. If the project ends up taking the $300/hr person more than 10 hours, then they’ve effectively worked for a lower hourly rate. If you hire the $100/hr person and they take more than 30 hours, the same principle applies.

If you were paying them hourly, then your project could easily go from $3,000 to dramatically more. Not paying by the hour in this case will benefit you, as what you really care about is the value you are getting from the project.

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Digital marketing consultant rates

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The common question we get is whether it is cheaper to hire an agency or a consultant, and for a long time the answer has been “it depends”.

This is still true, as it depends on the service you need, the firm’s years of experience and specialty, how full they are with work, and so on.

But in the interest of answering the question “how much do digital marketing consultants charge?”, we took a stab at it with our data from the 2019 digital marketing pricing survey.

The survey had 104 solo consultant respondents worldwide, with 55 in the US and the rest spread around the world.

When we normalize the data using the middle number of each range, we can find the average hourly rates for digital marketing consultants.

The average hourly rate for digital marketing consultants worldwide is $140.29 per hour.

The average hourly rate for US-only digital marketing consultants is $161.57.

As you will see below, the takeaways for this section are:

  • 41.25% of worldwide consultants charge less than $100 per hour;
  • 27.28% of US consultants charge less than $100 per hour;
  • 54.54% of US consultants charge between $101-$200 per hour;
  • 18.18% of US consultants in our dataset charge over $200 per hour and 2.88% charge more than $500 per hour.

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Digital marketing consultant hourly rates

Let’s look at the digital marketing consultant hourly rates, shall we?

Digital marketing consultant hourly rates worldwide

Here is the breakdown of reported hourly rates worldwide for digital marketing consultants:

The raw data:

Hourly Rate Count All consultants
Under $50 10 9.62%
$51-$100 33 31.73%
$101-$150 24 23.08%
$151-$200 21 20.19%
$201-$300 10 9.62%
$301-$500 2 1.92%
$501+ 3 2.88%
Don’t bill hourly 1 0.96%

Digital marketing consultant hourly rates (US)

Here is the breakdown of reported hourly rates for US-based digital marketing consultants:

The raw data:

Hourly Rate Count US consultants
Under $50 2 3.64%
$51-$100 13 23.64%
$101-$150 15 27.27%
$151-$200 15 27.27%
$201-$300 5 9.09%
$301-$500 1 1.82%
$501+ 3 5.45%
Don’t bill hourly 1 1.82%

Consultant rates by years doing marketing

Here are the consultant rates (worldwide) by years doing marketing:

Pricing Count of Average hourly rate
Under $50 10
1-3 1
3-5 5
5-10 2
10+ 2
$51-$100 33
Less than 1 1
1-3 2
3-5 2
5-10 16
10+ 12
$101-$150 24
1-3 1
5-10 10
10+ 13
$151-$200 21
3-5 2
5-10 4
10+ 15
$201-$300 10
3-5 1
5-10 2
10+ 7
$301-$500 2
10+ 2
$501+ 3
10+ 3
Don’t bill hourly 1
10+ 1

Not surprisingly, the more senior someone gets the more they tend to charge.

Takeaways:

  • There are no consultants in our dataset with less than 3 years of experience charging more than $200 per hour;
  • Most consultants with 10+ years of experience are charging more than $100, though there are a set charging $51-100 per hour. Interestingly, 4 of the 12 are US-based!

We wanted to have a look at how this visualizes and pricing according to years of experience. Here’s what we came up with:

Here is the raw data:

Hourly rate Less than 1 1-3 3-5 5-10 10+
Under $50 0.00% 25.00% 50.00% 5.88% 3.64%
$51-$100 100.00% 50.00% 20.00% 47.06% 21.82%
$101-$150 0.00% 25.00% 0.00% 29.41% 23.64%
$151-$200 0.00% 0.00% 20.00% 11.76% 27.27%
$201-$300 0.00% 0.00% 10.00% 5.88% 12.73%
$301-$500 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 3.64%
$501+ 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 5.45%
Don’t bill hourly 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1.82%

Basically, the spread widens as consultants get more experience.

  • There are not any consultants with less than 3 years of experience from our dataset charging more than $150/hr.
  • There is a subset of consultants with 5-10 years of experience charging $200-$300 per hour.
  • Only consultants with more than 10 years of experience dare to charge more than $300/hr, and 9.09% of them dare to do so.

Digital marketing consultant project minimums

Now let’s look at digital marketing consultant project minimums.

Overall, here are the percentage of consultants per bucket of project minimums:

Here is the raw data:

All consultants single project minimum
Project minimum Count of Single project minimum Percentage
Under $1,000 32 30.77%
$1,000-$1,999 30 28.85%
$2,000-$2,999 17 16.35%
$3,000-$3,999 6 5.77%
$4,000-$4,999 2 1.92%
$5,000+ 11 10.58%
Do not accept one-time projects 2 1.92%
No minimum 4 3.85%

The interesting callouts are:

  • 59.62% of solo consultants worldwide will take one-time projects that are less than $2000 in size;
  • 10.58% don’t take one-time projects that are less than $5,000.

Let’s look quickly at how the above numbers break down as we get more granular on years of experience, keeping in mind that as the data gets more granular then the numbers break down a bit and are to be taken with grains of salt.

The raw data:

Project minimum Less than 1 1-3 3-5 5-10 10+
Under $1,000 100.00% 50.00% 40.00% 50.00% 14.55%
$1,000-$1,999 0.00% 0.00% 50.00% 17.65% 34.55%
$2,000-$2,999 0.00% 25.00% 0.00% 5.88% 25.45%
$3,000-$3,999 0.00% 25.00% 0.00% 5.88% 5.45%
$4,000-$4,999 0.00% 0.00% 10.00% 0.00% 1.82%
$5,000+ 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 5.88% 16.36%
Do not accept one-time projects 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 2.94% 1.82%
No minimum 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 11.76% 0.00%

Here are the counts, which may be more helpful than percentages at this point:

Row Labels Less than 1 1-3 3-5 5-10 10+ Grand Total
Under $1,000 1 2 4 17 8 32
$1,000-$1,999 5 6 19 30
$2,000-$2,999 1 2 14 17
$3,000-$3,999 1 2 3 6
$4,000-$4,999 1 1 2
$5,000+ 2 9 11
Do not accept one-time projects 1 1 2
No minimum 4 4
Grand Total 1 4 10 34 55 104

The interesting points:

  • Most consultants in our dataset cluster around the Under $1,000 minimum project size.
  • The next biggest bucket is $1,000-2,000 and then the number get very spotty.

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SEO Pricing

We are asked quite often about SEO pricing, what SEO firms and consultants charge, and how pricing is most often structured.

This page covers the takeaways from our survey as well as how pricing is most often structured.

The SEO pricing overview includes:

  • Worldwide, SEO firms charge an average of ~$149 per hour;
  • 71% of US SEO agencies charge between $101-$200 per hour;
  • Only 41% of UK SEO agencies charge between $101-$200. UK agencies are more likely to charge between $51-$150 per hour.
  • The average SEO consultant hourly rate worldwide as of January 2019 is $148 per hour.
  • 55.32% of US SEO consultants charge $101-$200 per hour, and 25.53% charge less than $100 per hour!

Let’s get into the numbers.

Average SEO firm hourly rates

Worldwide, SEO firms charge on average $149 per hour.

Here is how it breaks down:

As you can see, on average:

  • 30.98% of SEO firms charge $101-$150 per hour;
  • ~$17% charge over $200 per hour, which means
  • ~83% charge under $200 per hour;
  • 8.68% of our respondents charge under $50 per hour and ~29% charge under $100 per hour.

Now let’s look at some deeper cuts to see how the numbers change.

Link building is a common activity in SEO and is absolutely important for ranking sites. We were interested in whether firms that build links charge more or less than firms that do not.

Here are the findings:

Takeaways:

  • A higher percentage of link building firms charge $101-$200 per hour than non link building firms.
  • A slightly higher percentage of non-links firms charge more than $201 per hour;
  • A higher percentage of non-links firms charge $51-$100 per hour than firms offering link building;
  • 4x more non-links firms charge $501+ per hour than links firms.

Overall, this data surprises me a little bit, though then I remember that this is worldwide and the data skews lower than I usually think it will.

The figures I expected are that a higher percentage of links-offering firms bill between $101-$200 than non-links firms and that non-links firms charge more as a percentage in the higher hourly rates.

The other way we wanted to look at the data was by company size. Here are the results:

And here’s the data:

Hourly Rate Solo 2 to 5 5 to 10 10 to 20 20 to 50 51+
Under $50 8.05% 12.90% 9.52% 10.53% 3.57% 4.00%
$51-$100 28.74% 19.35% 9.52% 0.00% 14.29% 24.00%
$101-$150 24.14% 41.94% 23.81% 47.37% 35.71% 16.00%
$151-$200 21.84% 12.90% 33.33% 31.58% 28.57% 28.00%
$201-$300 10.34% 11.29% 9.52% 10.53% 14.29% 20.00%
$301-$500 2.30% 0.00% 9.52% 0.00% 3.57% 4.00%
$501+ 3.45% 1.61% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 4.00%
N/A 1.15% 4.76%

Average SEO firm minimum monthly Projects

Here are the SEO firm minimum monthly one-time projects as reported by our 242 respondents:

The raw data:

Project minimum Count of Single project minimum Worldwide SEO firm single project minimum
Under $1,000 55 22.73%
$1,000-$1,999 65 26.86%
$2,000-$2,999 45 18.60%
$3,000-$3,999 15 6.20%
$4,000-$4,999 7 2.89%
$5,000+ 40 16.53%
Do not accept one-time projects 7 2.89%
No minimum 8 3.31%

The important takeaways:

  • We are extremely heartened to see that 16.53% of the SEO firm respondents do not take minimum projects for less than $5,000!
  • 49.59% (almost half) of the respondents report doing single projects for less than $2,000.

Average SEO firm minimum monthly retainers

Here are the SEO firm minimum monthly retainers worldwide as reported by our 242 respondents:

The raw data:

Worldwide SEO firm minimum monthly retainer
Monthly retainer Count of Monthly minimum budget Worldwide SEO firm minimum monthly retainer
Under $1,000 62 25.62%
$1000-1,999 66 27.27%
$2000-2,999 42 17.36%
$3000-3,999 25 10.33%
$4000-4,999 5 2.07%
$5,000+ 23 9.50%
I do not accept ongoing engagements 4 1.65%
No minimum 15 6.20%

Average SEO firm rates (US)

Now that we’ve established the worldwide SEO agency/firm rates, let’s look at the US numbers.

Average SEO firm hourly rates (US)

Here’s the raw data:

Hourly Rate SEO agencies
Under $50 2.22%
$51-$100 5.56%
$101-$150 40.00%
$151-$200 31.11%
$201-$300 15.56%
$301-$500 3.33%
$501+ 1.11%

The interesting callouts are:

  • 40% of US SEO agencies charge between $101-$150 per hour;
  • A full 71% charge between $101-$200 per hour;
  • ~20% charge $200+ per hour with ~4.4% charging over $300 per hour;
  • ~8% charge less than $100 per hour.

Average SEO firm minimum projects (US)

Here are the US SEO firm minimum projects according to our 137 respondents:

The raw data:

Project minimum Count of Single project minimum US SEO firm single project minimum
Under $1,000 22 16.06%
$1,000-$1,999 37 27.01%
$2,000-$2,999 32 23.36%
$3,000-$3,999 9 6.57%
$4,000-$4,999 3 2.19%
$5,000+ 27 19.71%
Do not accept one-time projects 3 2.19%
No minimum 4 2.92%

Average SEO firm minimum monthly retainer (US)

Here are the US SEO firm minimum monthly retainers according to our 137 respondents:

The raw data:

US SEO firm minimum monthly retainer
Monthly retainer Count of Monthly minimum budget US SEO firm minimum monthly retainer
Under $1,000 25 18.25%
$1000-1,999 41 29.93%
$2000-2,999 28 20.44%
$3000-3,999 17 12.41%
$4000-4,999 4 2.92%
$5,000+ 14 10.22%
I do not accept ongoing engagements 1 0.73%
No minimum 7 5.11%

How SEO projects are priced

Now that we’ve covered pricing numbers, let’s talk briefly about how SEO firms and consultants structure their projects.

According to our survey, across 445 respondents, here is how they are willing to bill:

Below are the statistics for how an SEO firm/consultant will bill. Note that each respondent could select multiple, and NBED have multiple ways they might structure a project’s billing:

  • 31% bill on a project basis
  • 5.8% bill on a daily basis
  • 20.45% bill on an hourly basis
  • 41.57% bill on a monthly basis
  • 1.12% bill on a weekly basis

According to our data:

  • 79% of firms surveyed do not charge an onboarding fee;
  • 77.5% of US firms do not charge an onboarding fee;
  • 79% of SEO firms do not charge an onboarding fee;
  • 75% of agencies (2+ people) do not charge an onboarding fee;
  • 86.5% of solo consultants do not charge an onboarding fee.

PPC Pricing

How do PPC agencies price their work? In our day to day, we speak with a lot of companies looking to hire a firm to help with their PPC campaigns and we get this question:

“Well, how much do PPC firms charge?”

There is a quick answer and a longer answer. You will receive both on this page.

The short answer is this:

Most PPC firms and consultants price their work as a base management fee up to a certain spend, then a percentage of spend. For most, their minimum management fee is $1,500 per month and then 15% of spend above $10,000 in spend. This also varies based on number of channels (and pricing can occur per channel managed).

The longer answer is much more complicated. To help with that, we will lean on the data from the survey.

Average PPC pricing worldwide

First let’s look at the average rates of PPC firms worldwide.

PPC firm worldwide hourly rates

Here are the PPC firm worldwide hourly rates, for all company sizes:

The raw data:

Hourly Rate Count of Average hourly rate All firms offering PPC
Under $50 14 9.21%
$51-$100 36 23.68%
$101-$150 44 28.95%
$151-$200 37 24.34%
$201-$300 17 11.18%
$301-$500 2 1.32%
$501+ 1 0.66%
N/A 1 0.66%

PPC firm worldwide project minimums

Here are the project minimums that the PPC firms across the world reported that they take:

The raw data:

Project minimum Count of Single project minimum Percentage of total
Under $1,000 39 25.66%
$1,000-$1,999 43 28.29%
$2,000-$2,999 24 15.79%
$3,000-$3,999 8 5.26%
$4,000-$4,999 4 2.63%
$5,000+ 24 15.79%
Do not accept one-time projects 3 1.97%
No minimum 7 4.61%

Here are the single project minimums for PPC firms worldwide, based on company size:

That chart is a bit busy, so here is the raw data:

Project minimum 1 (solo practice) 2-5 5-10 11-20 21-50 51+
Under $1,000 35.00% 43.24% 23.08% 7.14% 11.54% 9.09%
$1,000-$1,999 30.00% 32.43% 46.15% 28.57% 26.92% 9.09%
$2,000-$2,999 15.00% 5.41% 15.38% 28.57% 26.92% 13.64%
$3,000-$3,999 2.50% 0.00% 0.00% 14.29% 7.69% 13.64%
$4,000-$4,999 2.50% 2.70% 0.00% 0.00% 3.85% 4.55%
$5,000+ 7.50% 5.41% 15.38% 14.29% 15.38% 50.00%
Do not accept one-time projects 0.00% 5.41% 0.00% 7.14% 0.00% 0.00%
No minimum 7.50% 5.41% 0.00% 0.00% 7.69% 0.00%

The interesting takeaways in this section are:

  • As the company gets bigger, their single project minimums go up. In fact, once a PPC firm gets above 5 their minimums are much more likely to be over $5,000.
  • A full 53.95% of PPC firms worldwide take single projects under $2,000 in value.
  • Only 1.97% of firms do not take one-time projects (eg audits).
  • No PPC  firms in our dataset with 20+ employees only do retainers. This is different from SEO.

PPC firm worldwide retainer minimums

Here are the PPC firm worldwide monthly retainer rates as reported by our 152 respondents:

The raw data:

PPC firm worldwide monthly retainer minimum
Row Labels Count of Monthly minimum budget PPC firm worldwide monthly retainer minimum
Under $1,000 45 29.61%
$1000-1,999 38 25.00%
$2000-2,999 26 17.11%
$3000-3,999 16 10.53%
$4000-4,999 4 2.63%
$5,000+ 12 7.89%
No minimum 11 7.24%

Interesting takeaways include:

  • 54.61% of PPC firms worldwide take monthly retainers of less than $2,000;
  • Only 10.52% of PPC firms worldwide have a monthly minimum above $4,000.
  • 7.24% of firms say they have no minimum.

Average PPC rates in US and UK

Here are the average rates for US and UK PPC firms.

US PPC firm hourly rates

The raw data:

Hourly Rate Count PPC firm US
Under $50 2 2.25%
$51-$100 12 13.48%
$101-$150 31 34.83%
$151-$200 29 32.58%
$201-$300 12 13.48%
$301-$500 2 2.25%
$501+ 0 0.00%

UK PPC firm hourly rates

Here are the average hourly rates for UK PPC firms:

The raw data:

Hourly Rate Count PPC firm UK
Under $50 2 7.69%
$51-$100 15 57.69%
$101-$150 5 19.23%
$151-$200 3 11.54%
$201-$300 1 3.85%
$301-$500 0 0.00%
$501+ 0 0.00%

UK PPC firms need to charge more!

Average PPC agency rates

Now let’s look at average PPC agency rates.

PPC agency worldwide hourly rates

Here are the worldwide PPC agency average hourly rates:

Raw data:

Hourly Rate Count PPC agency hourly
Under $50 11 9.82%
$51-$100 19 16.96%
$101-$150 38 33.93%
$151-$200 29 25.89%
$201-$300 12 10.71%
$301-$500 1 0.89%
$501+ 1 0.89%

PPC agency worldwide project minimums

Here are the reported project minimums for the PPC agencies in our dataset, of which there are 112:

The raw data:

Row Labels Count of Single project minimum PPC agency worldwide project minimum
Under $1,000 25 22.32%
$1,000-$1,999 31 27.68%
$2,000-$2,999 18 16.07%
$3,000-$3,999 7 6.25%
$4,000-$4,999 3 2.68%
$5,000+ 21 18.75%
Do not accept one-time projects 3 2.68%
No minimum 4 3.57%

PPC agency project minimums (US)

Here are the US PPC agency project minimums from our dataset:

The raw data:

Row Labels Count of Single project minimum PPC agency project minimum
Under $1,000 12 17.39%
$1,000-$1,999 18 26.09%
$2,000-$2,999 14 20.29%
$3,000-$3,999 4 5.80%
$4,000-$4,999 1 1.45%
$5,000+ 15 21.74%
Do not accept one-time projects 3 4.35%
No minimum 2 2.90%

Interesting takeaways from this section are:

  • US PPC agencies are only nominally more picky in the project sizes they take.
  • Still a very large number (43.48%) take projects under $2,000 and 17.38% take them under $1,000.

PPC agency worldwide retainer minimums

Here are the worldwide PPC agency retainer minimums from our 112 respondents:

The raw data:

PPC agency worldwide monthly retainer minimum
Row Labels Count of Monthly minimum budget PPC agency worldwide monthly retainer minimum
Under $1,000 32 28.57%
$1000-1,999 28 25.00%
$2000-2,999 19 16.96%
$3000-3,999 13 11.61%
$4000-4,999 4 3.57%
$5,000+ 11 9.82%
No minimum 5 4.46%

PPC agency monthly retainer minimum (US)

Here are the US PPC agency monthly retainer minimums as reported by our 69 respondents:

The raw data:

Retainer minimum Count of Monthly minimum budget US PPC agency monthly retainer minimum
Under $1,000 15 21.74%
$1000-1,999 18 26.09%
$2000-2,999 13 18.84%
$3000-3,999 9 13.04%
$4000-4,999 3 4.35%
$5,000+ 9 13.04%
No minimum 2 2.90%

Interesting takeaways include:

  • A higher percentage of US PPC agencies (compared to worldwide) have a minimum between $1,000-$2,000 per month;
  • A full 13% of US PPC agencies have a monthly minimum over $5,000. This is higher than the worldwide average.

US PPC agencies are, from our data, more expensive than the worldwide averages.

Average PPC consultant rates

Now let’s look at PPC consultant rates worldwide and US specific.

PPC consultant worldwide hourly rates

Here are the PPC consultant worldwide hourly rates from our dataset containing 40 PPC consultants:

The raw data:

Hourly Rate Count PPC consultant hourly rates
Under $50 3 7.50%
$51-$100 17 42.50%
$101-$150 6 15.00%
$151-$200 8 20.00%
$201-$300 5 12.50%
$301-$500 1 2.50%
$501+ 0 0.00%

PPC consultant worldwide project minimums

Here are the PPC consultant worldwide project minimums, of which there were 40 respondents:

The raw data:

PPC consultant worldwide single project minimum
Row Labels Count of Single project minimum PPC consultant worldwide
Under $1,000 14 35.00%
$1,000-$1,999 12 30.00%
$2,000-$2,999 6 15.00%
$3,000-$3,999 1 2.50%
$4,000-$4,999 1 2.50%
$5,000+ 3 7.50%
No minimum 3 7.50%

US PPC consultant project minimums

Here are the US PPC consultant projects minimums from our dataset, in which there were 20 respondents. Thus, we are showing the raw numbers here instead of percentages:

The raw data:

US PPC consultant project minimums
Single project minimum Count
Under $1,000 4
$1,000-$1,999 7
$2,000-$2,999 4
$3,000-$3,999 1
$4,000-$4,999 1
$5,000+ 1
No minimum 2

PPC consultant worldwide retainer minimums

Here are the PPC consultant worldwide monthly retainer minimums from the 40 respondents in our dataset:

The raw data:

PPC consultant worldwide monthly minimum
Monthly retainer minimum Count of Monthly minimum budget PPC consultant worldwide monthly minimum
Under $1,000 13 32.50%
$1000-1,999 10 25.00%
$2000-2,999 7 17.50%
$3000-3,999 3 7.50%
$5,000+ 1 2.50%
No minimum 6 15.00%

How PPC firms charge

We also ran the numbers on how PPC firms charge for their work.

Here is a visualization:

Here are the raw data numbers:

  • 1.65% bill hourly
  • 0.55% bill on an hourly plus performance basis
  • 42.31% bill a flat fee only
  • 19.78% bill a flat fee plus a percentage of spend
  • 21.43% bill a flat fee OR a percentage of spend
  • 12.09% bill just on a percentage of spend

Main Takeaways

The 2019 version of the digital marketing industry pricing survey was doozy. With 271 respondents across the world, both agencies and consultants, working across a multitude of services there was a LOT of data to analyze and synthesize.

We highly recommend reading through all of the individual chapters of this guide, but if you are looking for the tl;DR version with just the insights then you have come to the right place with this page.

This page is broken into insights for each of the major sections of the guide.

Digital marketing agency insights

Here are the main takeaways from the digital marketing agency section:

  1. The average hourly rate for digital marketers and digital marketing firms worldwide is $148.13 per hour.
  2. The average hourly rate for US digital marketers/firm is $167.28.
  3. The average hourly rate for UK digital marketers/firms is $111.36.
  4. 1 in 5 of respondents with 50+ employees are in the $200-$300 range;
  5. Almost half (45%) of agencies with 11-20 employees charge $100-$150/hr.
  6. Agencies seem to be, on average, charging more in 2019 than they did in our 2017 survey.
  7. That said, only 16.98% of all respondents say that they charge more than $200 per hour on average and a full 29.89% of respondents charge $101-$150 per hour for their work on average.

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Digital marketing consultant insights

Here are the main takeaways from the digital marketing agency section:

  • Almost 1/3 (31.73%) of solo consultants worldwide charge $51-$100 per hour for their work;
  • 64.43% of solo consultant respondents charge less than $150/hr for their work;
  • 84.62% charge less than $200/hr for their work.
  • On average, US solo consultants charge a LOT more than UK consultants.
  • The average hourly rate for US-only digital marketing consultants is $161.57.
  • The average hourly rate for digital marketing consultants worldwide is $140.29 per hour.
  • 41.25% of worldwide consultants charge less than $100 per hour;
  • 27.28% of US consultants charge less than $100 per hour;
  • 54.54% of US consultants charge between $101-$200 per hour;
  • 18.18% of US consultants in our dataset charge over $200 per hour and 2.88% charge more than $500 per hour.

SEO provider insights

Here are the main takeaways from the SEO providers section:

  • Worldwide, SEO firms charge an average of ~$149 per hour;
  • 71% of US SEO agencies charge between $101-$200 per hour;
  • Only 41% of UK SEO agencies charge between $101-$200. UK agencies are more likely to charge between $51-$150 per hour.
  • The average SEO consultant hourly rate worldwide as of January 2019 is $148 per hour.
  • 55.32% of US SEO consultants charge $101-$200 per hour, and 25.53% charge less than $100 per hour!

PPC provider insights

Here are the main takeaways from the PPC providers section:

  • PPC agencies on average have higher monthly minimums and retainers than consultants;
  • US PPC firms are more expensive than worldwide averages (which is consistent across our dataset);
  • 32.89% of our worldwide PPC firm respondents report charging under $100 per hour for their PPC work;
  • Only 1.88% of our respondents report charging more than $300 an hour for their PPC work.

Facebook ads insights

Here are the main takeaways from the Facebook advertising providers section:

  • Facebook advertising firms on average charge $137.50 per hour for their work;
  • 53.54% of reporting firms charge between $101-$200 per hour;
  • Only 1 reporting firm (out of 127) charges $300 or more per hour, and none charge over $500 per hour.
  • Only 8.66% of worldwide FB ads firms in our dataset charge less than $50 per hour. Only 3 of these are US-based and all of those have less than 5 years of digital experience.
  • Facebook ads agencies seem to charge more than Facebook ads solo consultants currently.

Other takeaways

  • 79% of firms surveyed do not charge an onboarding fee;
  • 77.5% of US firms do not charge an onboarding fee;
  • 79% of SEO firms do not charge an onboarding fee;
  • 75% of agencies (2+ people) do not charge an onboarding fee;
  • 86.5% of solo consultants do not charge an onboarding fee.

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John Doherty
John Doherty

I am the founder of Credo. With 14 years of SEO and digital experience across agencies and in-house, I've worked with some of the largest websites on the internet to drive growth and helped over 6,000 companies and 250 agencies grow via better hiring and marketing practices. I live in Denver Colorado with my wife, daughter, and dog. I am an entrepreneur, speaker, writer, skier, and traveler having visited 47 US states and planning to visit every continent on Earth. You can find me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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