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At some point, most businesses engage external digital marketing expertise to provide inbound marketing, SEO, PPC, and social media services. 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?


Why Hiring A Digital Marketing Agency In Dubai Is Cheaper Than You Think!


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.



Digital Marketing Pricing Survey Insights


A recent survey by Credo, a company that matches prospective clients with marketing agencies or consultants released the results of its latest survey of digital marketing pricing.  The survey was distributed to 184 respondents across 19 countries and produced some interesting insights on the present trends for the cost of digital marketing.

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Freelance consultants consistently price based on hourly or monthly base rates and project fees.

Worldwide digital consultant rates continue to be based on years of experience. Consultants with 1-3 years of experience, charge around $88, while those with 10+ years of experience charge an average of $189.


Agency pricing appears all over the map.

Agencies with 2 to 5 employees and 6 to 10 employees actually charged more on average than agencies with 11 to 20 employees according to the survey


SEO agencies appear unsure about pricing their services with pricing being all over the shop.

The survey showed an hourly range of $145 to about $181


Agencies and consultants with a strong strategy focus charge higher rates compared to those with a broader portfolio of services


Monthly retainers, project fees, and hourly rates are all higher for strategy related services



Implications For Clients


Elements of digital marketing services.jpgWith 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 and what utilization 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.
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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 customized solutions it usually provides, and hence, the higher the average price point per customer required to cover that specialized expertise and talent.



The Best Clients


Often, 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.

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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:







User experience design.jpg


Analytics 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.



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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 and you may be in for a delightful surprise! 


Topics: Hiring a digital marketing agency in Dubai, Cost of Digital Marketing in Dubai

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