Advertising Agency Websites, Part 1
A high-level overview of best practices for designing effective work and landing pages for advertising agencies has been provided below. This overview includes insight into important items that that should be included, the amount of sample work to include and how to organize it, and what types of media are best to include, along with an analysis of some live examples of websites belonging to award-winning agencies. A deep dive of these findings has been provided below.
Important Items to Put On The Landing Page of a Website
- According to Hubspot's Ultimate Guide to Landing Pages, best practices for website landing pages are that they should be benefit-focused, include images that "illustrate the offer", copy should guide the visitor to action, place lead above the fold, incorporate a clear call to action, give away an offer, "only ask for what you need", do not include any navigation, make the landing page responsive, optimize the landing page for search, and include a 'thank you' page. Additional details about each of these best practices can be found here.
- A 2018 article written by Ted Vrountas of Instapage notes the following best practices in an analysis of examples of post-click landing pages for advertising agencies: including a click-to-call phone number, focus on the benefits, include bulleted copy that is quick and easy to read, use a call to attention that is brightly colored, include a client testimonial, showcase company awards below the fold, keep the footer minimal, include a guarantee, and showcase the logos of prominent clients. Additional information about these best practices, as well as best practices for what not to do can be found here.
- According to an article written by Tim Brown, owner of Hook Agency (a company that specializes in SEO and web design) the following practices were noted as some of the best in his analysis of advertising websites: design feels clean, mobile optimization is smooth, feels comfortable and refreshing, includes video and imagery, using icons/flowcharts to demonstrate processes in an aesthetically pleasing way, using bold colors to create drama, use high-quality photography, and including dynamic elements. Additional best practices can be found here.
How Much Past Work Should Be Represented on a Work Page
- A survey by TCG found that eight samples is the ideal number for a digital portfolio, but that 7-10 overall is a solid number to fully demonstrate skill level.
- In an analysis of the portfolio pages of 10 well-known ad agencies, the average number of samples included was 26. Overall, sample numbers analyzed ranged from 6 to 70. However, it was not clear whether the work pages featured current clients, past clients or both, as there is no way to verify which clients are currently active. Additional details about this triangulation can be found in the Research Strategy section below.
- B2B marketer Elise Dopson states that organizing portfolio pages by category is beneficial if there is a range of different services being offered. This will make it easy for prospective clients to find samples relevant to their needs. Filters can be used to organize these categories.
- Insights from Robert Half suggest organizing digital portfolio content by industry or chronologically.
Key Information That Should Be Included on a Work Page
- Elise Dopson notes that the following information should be included with each work sample on an advertising portfolio page: the name of the client (their industry can be used in lieu of this if an NDA was signed), a breakdown of the services that were provided, an analysis of the results, examples of assets that were created (videos, social posts, etc), and a client testimonial that highlights the value that was created for their company.
- Dopson also recommends going into detail about the services provided and how the process was tailored to the client.
- Insights from Robert Half also suggests including client names, a description of goals and challenges, and any positive results.
Most Compelling Media for Work Pages
- The Robert Half firm recommends the following best practices for creating a digital portfolio: use the strongest work samples available, ensure that the navigation is intuitive and responsive to mobile, use high-quality photography, and include detailed and compelling descriptions of work.
- Dopson highlights the following design elements as best practices for advertising work pages: the page should be easy to locate and easy to navigate, links to page should be on the home page, service pages, and about pages, a call to action should be included, and the overall design should be on brand.
- Furthermore, making portfolio content interactive can serve to impress clients more and show them that the agency is capable of delivering quality work that stands apart from competitors. In fact, 88% of marketers surveyed said that interactive content differentiates them competitively.
Examples of Effective Work and Landing Pages at Advertising Agencies
Example 1: Division of Labor's Work Page
- A link to the example can be found here.
- Description: Division of Labor was founded in 2010 and has a small team of 11. Despite this, they have a five-star rating on Clutch and has even won major awards including an Emmy Award, and Ad Age's Small Agency of the Year Award.
- What Sets It Apart: While the case studies don't go into much detail about the results of the efforts, they are highly visual and include a significant amount of creative and copy examples that sees to allow the work to speak for itself. They even include clips of the video content.
- Why It's Effective: This work page satisfies many of the best practices identified above. The work page is easy to access from any page of the website because its in the main menu, the design of the work page allows the navigational experience to remain the same across devices, the page is very visual and uses high-quality images but isn't slow or choppy, the page is responsive by casting a shadow over the image of each case study when the cursor hovers over it, some case study images are static while others are slightly dynamic. When the user clicks on the case study, they can see more details about it. Overall, the samples are easy to browse through at a glance and compelling to click on.
Example 2: Social Link's Landing Page
- A link to the example can be found here.
- Description: SocialLink is a virtual marketing firm, was founded in 2008 and has a team of 10. Marriott and Hilton are among their former clients and they have a five-star rating on Clutch. They have won several awards including top agency awards in 2018 and 2019.
- What Sets It Apart: One thing that stood out about this landing page is that it asks for visitor contact information immediately. It is the first thing the visitor sees after a few very brief benefit-focused statements that focus simply on what the agency does and how they can help the client. "We deliver smart inbound marketing strategies. Generate more revenue. Request a custom plan today."
- Why It's Effective: This landing page satisfies many of the best practices identified above. It has a benefit-focused header, a clear and colorful call-to-action above the fold, a list of awards won and logos of prominent clients, benefit-focused verbiage throughout, links to case studies, and a smooth scrolling design. It also includes testimonials and begins and ends with a call-to-action. It's also colorful and aesthetically pleasing while saying on-brand throughout.
Research into the topic of effective "work" and landing pages for advertising agencies revealed that the majority of information available on this topic comes from industry experts who breakdown, analyze and critique agency website examples. Therefore, our team cross-referenced these expert insights to create a high level overview of best practices for creating effective work and landing pages. In some cases, we were able to find information that directly pertained to advertising agencies, while also locating some general best practices about landing pages and digital portfolios that helped to corroborate and support the advertising specific insights. Overall, we noted that many of these best practices were overlapping and therefore we included any general insights that could logically be applied to an ad agency as well. In analyzing examples for this research, we looked at the work pages of award-winning ad agencies sourced from this list to dissect how their designs compared to our best practice analysis.
One area where we struggled to find advertising specific insights was regarding the work sample numbers. While we found some data about digital portfolios in general, we also wanted to zero in on work pages for ad agencies specifically so we applied a primary research tactic to achieve this. To triangulate an estimate of how many work samples to include on a portfolio page, we analyzed the work pages of 10 award-winning ad agencies sourced from this list and calculated an average of number of work samples provided. The agencies were chosen in order of the list and based on which ones had a work page available. This triangulation resulted in an average of about 26 work samples, with numbers ranging from 6 examples to 70 examples.