2007 Digital Agency Report Cards

The goal of the Digital Agency Report cards is to present a balanced picture of the field. We chose 10 agencies for report cards, based on their size and market presence. And, while some of the agencies differ in their focus, we aimed to include U.S.-based shops in the same competitive set.

The market for interactive services has changed greatly in the seven years since we began evaluating what were first called Web shops. They often were tasked with “matching luggage”: building a microsite to complement a TV and print campaign. Today, the interactive specialists have branched out into new areas, including online media, analytics and, now, social media and emerging technologies like mobile.

The Numbers: In many cases, we are restating revenue (global where applicable) to reflect more accurate figures or to account for acquisitions. With the help of Adweek financial columnist Alan Gottesman, we evaluate this group primarily on revenue percentage gain (taking into account the size of the shop) and less so on revenue-to-staff ratio. This year’s average revenue growth average wasm  about 23 percent. (Last year’s average was 25 percent).

Creative: We evaluate the agencies on creativity, originality and strategy, not just a cool Flash animation. While we pay attention to user experience and design, we give extra points for powerful marketing ideas. Pretty Web sites are no longer enough.

Emerging Media: This category added last year includes technologies like mobile and new venues like social networks. In particular, we wanted to see agencies that are evolving in their ways to reach consumers, rather than only relying on the tried-and-true of Web sites and banners.

Management: We rate how well executives run their agencies, whether it’s by poaching high-profile executives and accounts, starting new practice areas or expanding into new geographies. The grade’s base level is the shop’s financial performance.

The final grade: We use a numeric formula to average the other four marks.


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