Ask your grandparents (or even your parents if they are the wrong side of forty), to tell you what a travel agency is. Or an advertising agency. It is likely they will be able to give you a near-perfect definition of what those companies do. It is easy. It is something that almost everybody knows. But more recently the term digital agency has sprung to the fore, it is a term that is bandied about with alacrity, but if you asked those same people, your grandparents or parents, what a digital agency does, they will almost certainly not be able to tell you. In fact, many of the younger generations won’t be able to tell you either. And the reason for this is that the phrase is something of a catch-all for any business that operates in eth digital space. With this in mind here are a few examples of companies that could call themselves digital agencies.

The development-house

The original digital agencies were companies who did development work. In other words, they had coders and analysts and project managers and designers, and they specialised in putting together digital platforms – either websites, backends or applications. So, if you had a mate who did iPhone app development Sydney had plenty of people in this category or a friend who coded in PHP or Java, or you knew somebody who did digital design, then the chances are high that they were working at a traditional digital agency.

Moving with the times

The digital space has changed rapidly in a short space of time and data and analytics is one of the fastest emerging specialities in the arena. Big data companies and outfits who know how to manage large amounts of digital information are now coming to the fore. These data companies, who can help publishers and brands derive real value for money and return on investment are springing up frequently and setting themselves up as niche agencies, focussing on delivering a quality service in a highly specialised and valuable area of the digital world.

Going full service

Where once digital agencies were about development they have increasingly looked to branch out and diversify their offering to encompass all areas of the digital realm. The term for these agencies is full service and what they do tends to overlap with many other traditional types of business. They dovetail with advertising agencies and media buyers, there are overlaps with public relations and copywriting; quite simply the touchpoints with other areas are many. The full-service digital agency adopts the philosophy that if there is a job to do that is in the digital space, then they are there to execute it. Given that almost nothing in our modern era happens without touching on digital, it means that these full-service agencies are carving out more and more work for themselves. 

Social specialists

Social media is an area of specialisation all by itself and there are several digital agencies that focus on operating in this area. These are agencies that can handle reporting and content strategy, who know the intricacies and differences between Facebook and LinkedIn or Twitter and Instagram. While full-service agencies like to keep the social media stuff in-house, there are a number of corporates who are either bringing their social media voice back in-house or outsourcing it to specialists.