How Much Do Marketing Agencies Charge? – Save $

A business needs to market its services but how much will it cost to hire a marketing agency/company? This is an important question for all companies that want to grow. 

Marketing agencies commonly charge a $1,000 retainer monthly fee. This fee is to cover marketing campaign management for a specific marketing platform. The hourly rate is growing in popularity and the average hourly rate is $150. source

For small business owners, money may be tight and a marketing budget may not be in the plans. Investing in marketing for any business should not be ignored. Marketing campaigns have a return on investment associated with them. That is why all big companies have huge marketing budgets, marketing brings in money.  

We first must take a look at the different methods that marketing agencies/companies charge for their services. 

Marketing Agency Retainer Method

The retainer method is just like it is when you pay a lawyer a retainer for their services. You pay a retainer for the services that you want to be done. Once the money paid into the retainer is gone you will have to pay more into the retainer if you want to continue the service. With digital marketing agencies, you usually will know how long it will take for the retainer to run out of money. 

It is typical to pay $1,000 retainer to a digital marketing company for them to manage an ad campaign for one month. This is the starting point and they will run the ads for you and use a portion of the retainer for their fee to manage the ad. Every marketing agency’s percent fees will be different so be sure to ask. What we have seen around the industry is anywhere from 40% to 60% fees for the agency fees are taken from the retainer.

How Does The Marketing Agency Retainer Method Exactly Work?

For any type of ad campaign, you will have ad fees. Some platforms are known to have better rates for every CPM. CPM stands for cost per impression and lets us take a look at the two big platforms. 

(Impressions = People who see your ad)

Facebook has an average CPM of $7.19 as per 

As for Google, they have a CPM of about $10.00 as per

Google is 30% more for every 1000 impressions.

If you had a monthly budget of $1000 for each ad platform you should get about the following results:

Facebook with a $1,000 ad cost: 139,082 impressions

Google with a $1,000 ad cost: 100,000 impressions

Now if you hire a digital marketing agency your impressions will be reduced because they will use a percent of the retainer paid for their service fee. As mentioned before it is about 50%, meaning that your impressions will be 50% less. They will take about half for their fee and take the rest and pay for the ads. 

real estate money

Keep in mind that you will be saving the time spent to create the ad. Also if you do not have any marketing experience you will have to learn at least the marketing basics. You will also have to learn ad copy that will increase your ads click-through rate. If you do not put together an ad that will trigger a person to click on the ad, it will not matter how many impressions you get because you will get zero sales. 

With Facebook, you also need to have ads that break the scrollers’ viewing pattern. If not they will continue to scroll and you will not get the click.

Marketing Agency Hourly Rate Model

This is becoming popular in recent years among digital marketing agencies. Clients do not like retainers because many clients feel that they do not know exactly how much they are paying for in fees. As mentioned above, the retainer model is transparent, the client just has to ask their marketing agency how much of the retainer is going to actual ads and how much is going to fees.

Most clients are accustomed to paying their employees an hourly rate for a specific task and guess what, the same goes for business owners, many prefer to pay hourly for marketing services rendered.

Because the typical client prefers this method of fee structure it is becoming common to see marketing agencies charge by the hour. 

As per 

The average hourly rate for digital marketing agencies is $161

How does the hourly payment method work exactly?

If you want to hire a marketing agency to run a Google ad and you decide that you want to target 10 keywords for your ad. The digital marketing agency that charges by the hour will tell you that it will be X amount of hours to create and manage your Google ad for one month.

A Google ad with 10 keywords targeted will be about:

.5 an hour for each keyword

2 hour to create the ad with ad copy included

Total billed hours will be 7 hours for the month

At a rate of $161 per hour, the total to manage this ad for one month will be $1,127

The hourly rate typically is better for the marketing agency but the client is happier to pay more if they feel comfortable knowing the breakdown. I feel the hourly rate is a win for the agency’s pocketbook and is a win for the client mentally.

The Freelance Model And Hiring An Employee To Do Your Marketing

You can hire a marketing freelancer to do any portion of your marketing. You will pay about $75 an hour to hire a freelancer for your marketing needs. 

Marketing freelancer hourly rate taken from

Hiring a freelancer to handle certain aspects of your marketing needs is tricky. It is great if you are handling your marketing in house and you have an in house marketer call out sick for a long period.

A freelancer is just like having an employee except you do not have to pay for benefits and you do not have to fire them. You hire them for a certain task and when it is over you go your way and they go theirs.

This can be more expensive than hiring someone in house to do the same job so we recommend seriously considering the pros and cons of hiring someone in house versus hiring a freelancer.

Someone who you see face to face will get a better feel for your business and will produce better results. Keep that in mind when you are deciding between the two options.

An employee will expect benefits and that can be a deterrent but remember having someone come into the office will be able to take a quick video of a product and put it in an ad. Every day they can take pictures of the office or better yet take a video of it and post it on social media as part of their daily tasks. 

Ads with normal pictures convert better than stock pictures and having someone in house can do this without the business owner having to stop for a second. A freelancer will need someone to take the pictures and send them the content.

Hands down hiring someone with some marketing experience will be more cost-effective and will result in better results than a freelancer. But in a pinch, it is better than nothing! There are always exceptions so weigh your options.

Customer Acquisition concept with young woman on blue background

Hire For Project Model For Your Marketing

This is very similar to the freelance model but a little different. You can offer this option to a Digital marketing agency and freelancers and to someone off the street that you are considering hiring as a full-time in-house marketer. This can also be used to supplement your current marketing strategy. 

If you currently have a digital marketing agency handling your Google ads and your YouTube ads and they are too busy or too expensive to handle SEO work. You can hire someone to write 30 posts on your site at a specific price for this project.

It can be for a special ad campaign that you want to run. Possibly you have a product that can take advantage of an upcoming holiday. Your in house marketer is too busy handling other things and in this case, hiring someone just for a project can help your business set up an ad for the holiday. 

What Is Best For Your Business?

Get a feel for what you want to accomplish with your marketing. If it is to build a well-known brand around your community then a social media platform will be best. Hiring a full-time person to handle all your daily posts and YouTube videos will probably be the way to go.

If you want to drive traffic from people searching for your services then Google ads are your platform. Finding someone who has the necessary skillset and experience to handle this in house will be near impossible. Someone who knows this much about marketing will usually be running a marketing agency. Hiring a digital marketing agency to handle ads to drive traffic to your website so you can convert them into a client is the way to go here.


The bottom line is knowing what you need for your business and knowing what the proper way to achieve this is key. I hope this information has been helpful. Good luck and happy marketing!

Marketing help for your business

If you need marketing help for your business contact LGM Marketing Group for a personalized strategy and change your profits today!

How much do marketing agencies/companies charge?
Article Name
How much do marketing agencies/companies charge?
1. Retainer $1,000 - $5,000 monthly 2. Hourly $161 an hour 3. Freelancer $75 an hour
Publisher Name
LGM Marketing Group
Publisher Logo

Jose Claudio

I have a passion for writing and for marketing. From an early age I also displayed an entrepreneurial spirit. I began by selling garbage pail kid cards and many years later I was able to open a business in the customer service industry. The business needed to grow and I began my consumption of all things related to marketing. I now only dedicate my time and efforts to my marketing business because I find it more satisfying.

Recent Posts