How Much Does Digital Marketing Cost?

How much does digital marketing cost?

How Much Should Digital Marketing Cost?

How much does digital marketing cost?How much does digital marketing cost is probably one of the most asked questions by clients and most avoided by agencies.

At some point, most businesses engage external digital marketing expertise to provide inbound marketing, SEO, PPC and social media services. Part of your digital marketing strategy may even be to hire and agency or outsource the work you can’t do in-house. In Dubai, that expertise comes in the form of either an agency or freelance talent. In a tough B2C and B2B environment, budgets are tight, and largess limited so how can prospective clients come to grips with the cost of digital marketing in Dubai?

Up until now, establishing what the reasonable costs are for hiring a digital marketing agency in Dubai, have been murky and anything but transparent. Relying on gut instinct won’t get you very far and public data on rates and fee for services remains elusive. If you are considering tapping into external digital marketing expertise, gaining a clear line of sight on the average costs being asked for monthly retainers and hourly rates for digital marketing in Dubai can be challenging and time consuming to compile.

inbound marketing agency in dubai

To begin with, we are not crazy about the concept of the “billable hour.” It is archaic, and the tally to the client can be unpredictable. Clients shouldn’t have to pay for service inefficiencies, and agencies should not need to be restricted by maximum hours to get the task finished. Still, both parties need a reference point to determine value.

What Does Digital Marketing Cost?

The cost of digital marketingWell, that depends upon the competitive nature of your industry and the expanse of your target industry. Pending a host of factors and the aggressiveness of your lead generation program, digital marketing service retainers for complete service applications (including site development) can range from $1,500 to $5,000 per month. Of course, in the higher end, it would comprise more innovative strategies like email advertising and direct nurturing.

Information out of a 2015 Entrepreneur poll of 1,000 agencies and consultants throughout 16 countries has not been edited or updated for a while, but we can assure you it is still accurate. The industry is still plagued with the ever trying question; how much does digital marketing cost? Here’s a breakdown:

  • Project-specific prices: $251–$5,000
  • Monthly retainers have a wider distribution and range than hourly rates/projects
  • Most monthly marketing retainer price ranges: $1,000-$3,000/month

Is There A Link Between How Much I Spend On Digital Marketing And How Effective It Is?

Link between digital marketing cost and result?According to the Content Marketing Institutes 2018 Trends file, the average organisation is spending 28 percent of the overall marketing budget on content advertising. There was a correlation between the very best programmes and the percentage of spend. Basically it comes down to this. You can’t expect to achieve big results if you aren’t prepared to invest big. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean invest financially, although this is a large part of it. It refers also to staff resources and senior management buy in. All too often we have seen businesses be tight with marketing budgets, low ball agencies for service fees, then wonder why their campaigns don’t run the way they hope.


Implications For Clients

With so much variation in rate schedules and competition from freelance consultants, the cost of hiring a digital marketing agency in Dubai may be cheaper than you may expect. Assess precisely what digital marketing services you are after, overlay that with a monthly service fee from a pool of prospective agencies and use that as the starting point in your negotiations.

Most agencies are very clear about their cost base, what utilisation rates they are targeting and so consequently understand just how far they can comfortably negotiate.

Agency Versus Freelancer

As you would expect, there are some key differences in pricing between freelancers and agencies:

  • Freelancers are mostly servicing clients through a blend of hourly rates and project based fees
  • Agency preference for monthly-retainer contracts is not surprising, after all they usually have more overhead to cover
  • The average digital marketing industry monthly retainer contract starts at $1,000 and ranges up to $5,000

The larger the agency, generally the more services they offer under one umbrella. If you are looking for a blend of digital marketing services, hiring an agency will reduce the amount of coordination you need to do as a client. The larger the agency, the more customised solutions it usually provides, and hence, the higher the average price point per customer required to cover that specialised expertise and talent.

The Best Clients

The best clients for your agencyOften, small and medium-sized businesses feel they are at a disadvantage in negotiating with an agency due to their lack of scale compared to larger clients. However, frequently small and medium-sized businesses are the best clients from an agency perspective.

The reality is digital marketing as an industry in Dubai is still a comparatively immature market, and the majority of agencies lack the corporate expertise and infrastructure to service enterprise scaled customers. Hence small to medium businesses provide an agency with reliable, bread and butter revenue streams without the complexity and high servicing costs that come with large multi-national clients.

So, if you are a small or medium-sized business, don’t be embarrassed to negotiate with an agency. They need clients like you, another reason why the cost of hiring a digital marketing agency in Dubai may be lower than you may expect!

High Demand Agency Services

Despite the profusion of digital marketing services, SEO and PPC services remain most agencies primary sources of revenue. The top five services sought by clients are:

  1. SEO
  2. PPC management
  3. Social media
  4. Content marketing
  5. Analytics and UX

High demand servicesAnalytics and user experience design (UX) are surging in popularity as their importance to attracting prospects and retaining customers becomes clear. This recognition is reflected in their growing footprint within the portfolio of digital marketing services clients are seeking from their agencies. While this is good news for the industry as a whole, as it indicates a more disciplined and structured approach to digital marketing in the Middle East, it also points to a continued lack of recognition by business owners and marketers of the need to put in place adequate analytic capability in-house.

Similarly, ensuring an engaging user experience from the launch of a digital marketing initiative would go a long way towards supporting the consumer acceptance of digital marketing particularly as regional Internet users have become more experienced and have higher expectations of the online UX.


There are several specific red flags that give away low-cost bureaus, like promising results and price.

Depending upon what is required, there might be a single pricing model that is a better match for you. But whatever model you choose, make sure not to cut corners. In the service world, you tend to get exactly what you pay for. While most businesses are running on tight budgets and are cautious with their marketing spend, the yield on investment from hiring an expert versus someone who provides a fantastic deal is significant.

If you are in the process of hiring a marketing agency, the news is good. The cost of hiring a digital marketing agency in Dubai may be lower than you anticipate and there are different pricing structures and models available. Many agencies use a combination of pricing models such as monthly retainer for standard services, milestone pricing for projects they do frequently or hourly pricing for new or more complex work. Discuss which pricing model works best for you with your prospective agency you may be in for a delightful surprise!

You can have your digital marketing needs taken care of, all while paying for transparent and effective marketing services with INCYCLE. Book your FREE marketing consultation to know more.


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