This will help you quickly compare and evaluate the best advertising agency software and other media planning software.
I’ll recommend some top creative agency project management software to consider for your company’s needs. I will also explain how different advertising project management software can help you automate some administrative tasks in order to increase productivity. You’ll find evaluation criteria for the best agency management system; along with easy-to-digest summaries to help you with your comparison.
Quickly Compare & Evaluate The 15 Best Marketing Agency Software
Advertising firms have a lot on their plate. From art directing to accounting, they are responsible for all aspects of the advertising and marketing plan. No wonder many digital ad agency companies are looking for media planning software to help ease the weight on their shoulders.
Often times, agencies get caught up in familiar problems, like too much reporting with not enough optimising. Or rebuilding credibility and fighting for space in a hyper-competitive market. Marketing agency software can help get your ducks in a row.
Without further delay, here is some of the best ad agency software on the market right now.
The 15 Top Advertising Agency Software Overviews
Digital marketing agency software comes in all shapes and sizes. That’s because no two ad agencies are exactly alike. If you have ever tried to start an ad agency you’ll know this to be true. Each agency will have different strengths, a different style, and different organization. That’s why it is important to consider all your options and look at problems from different angles.
You can use the simple overviews of each tool below to understand how each tool stands out from other advertising agency software.
monday.com is a great advertising agency software because of the way the tool has done away with a lot of the trimmings of typical management tools and focused on simple, visually intuitive layouts that help clarify the sequence of work.
monday.com features for managing advertising projects include resource and project management modules with some great collaboration tools. For example, users can upload and attach files to cards, make comments, mention teammates, and more. It also offers a great project reporting dashboard that can collect data from multiple boards, allowing better tracking abilities of progress. And while monday.com doesn’t offer a complete set of tools for project accounting and invoicing solution as other tools, you can use monday.com to track hours, timelines, and invoices.
Overall, it’s a highly customizable tool that lets you work in whatever methodology—kanban or otherwise—that fits your project and team. You’ll also find some useful workflow tools for automating parts of your process.
monday.com’s integrations include project management apps like Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform and many more, accessible via Zapier.
monday.com costs from $17/month for two users. The company’s customer support is available 24/7 by phone or email.
Smartsheet’s online project management tool checks off a lot of the boxes I’ve laid out in the criteria for an advertising agency project management software. There’s a useful way to collect info from clients with the “Forms” feature which offers the ability to create and customize forms to collect essentially any data from anyone in a structured format—you could use it for collecting information, including images and files, from clients in order to make briefs, for example.
Team collaboration features are great—members get notified of critical changes in real-time, and the tool provides shared views, detail history, activity logs, automated alerts, reminders, and status reports to keep everyone aligned and informed. There are content collaboration features like pinned feedback, approvals, and annotations that make it easier to collaborate on creative work.
There are lots of project management and resource management tools, which I consider to be fairly standard—it’s a good set of tools for scheduling, assigning resources, tracking work, tracking budget, etc.
Finally, reporting is a strong feature of this tool, with editable summary reports that you can easily export to Excel.
The one thing this tool is missing for an advertising agency setting is client management features, such as prospect management, billing and invoice features. While there are ways to manage clients and share your portal with clients through various permission levels and dashboards, there isn’t a way to manage the full client management process, so you’ll want to integrate with another tool like Salesforce (see below) for that.
Smartsheet integrations include Microsoft and Google apps, as well as development essentials like Jira, and useful business apps like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Slack, Box, and Tableau. The platform is extensible through a REST API and webhooks.
Smartsheet costs from $7/user/month, with a minimum of 3 users and a maximum of 25 users. They also offer a 30-day free trial.
Screendragon is an advertising agency management software designed to manage projects, processes, people, and profitability in one place. The world’s top agency groups like Omnicom, WPP, and IPG rely on Screendragon to power their agency operations.
Screendragon’s user interface is easy-to-use and allows users to custom brand the interface. The tool provides functionality for project management, workflow management, resource management and forecasting, time-tracking, budget management, and asset management.
Users can leverage Screendragon’s integrated budget module to build SOW’s and estimates, as well as forecast future revenues and resourcing needs. Screendragon is also highly configurable, giving users the ability to customize forms, dashboards, templates, workflow rules, permissions, notifications, reports, and even the terminology used on the platform.
Screendragon also includes intuitive task management features that enable users to switch between different interfaces like visual Kanban boards, interactive Gantt charts, and list views. Reviews and approvals are made simple with features for visual proofing, real-time collaboration, version control, and granular permissions. Automated approvals facilitate the secure and efficient approval of assets. Screendragon’s robust offering in the area of advertising agency software tends to make it more suited to mid to large-sized agencies.
Screendragon offers native integrations with ERP systems such as SAP and PeopleSoft and can integrate with thousands of apps through Zapier like Slack, Trello, Google Drive, Office 365, and Microsoft Dynamics. It also has an open API, allowing custom integrations with any solution.
Screendragon starts from $20/user/month and a free demo is available.
Productive can handle all your business processes, including sales, invoicing and billing, resource planning, and project management.
The Sales Pipeline functionality lets you keep track of sales and your deal flow with sales reports and tracking for lost contracts. This is also great for keeping your sales process organized.
Productive has a built-in time tracker as well, which makes it easy for your team to track their time, and communication and task management functionalities make collaboration on tasks simple. Also included are resource planning features, as well as profitability tracking features for keeping track of project costs, key metrics, budgets, and invoicing.
Productive starts from $15/user/month with a free 14-day trial, no credit card required.
Mavenlink has tools for resource management, project management, team collaboration, project accounting, and business intelligence. As far as advertising agency software goes, this tool is one of the most robust.
Mavenlink also features file sharing, email integration, custom branding, time and expense tracking, project/job costing, invoicing and online payments, personnel planning, and more. Product plans include access to 24/7 customer support and a resource library.
A single, easy dashboard lets you monitor all of your Mavenlink integrations, which can include Netsuite, Quickbooks, Salesforce, G Suite, Jira, Expensify, Xero, Concur, Sage Intacct, Slack, Hubspot, Microsoft and more.
The visual appeal of the interface is a bit convoluted and the aesthetics leave a bit to be desired, which may be a turn off for some users, particularly those tech-adverse. Locating passed posts and projects can be a bit of a drag and search functions could be improved for better archiving.
Mavenlink costs from $19/month for up to 5 users and offers a freemium version of the software as well.
Hubstaff is a full-featured, free time tracking software tool for agencies (with freemium upgrades) that’s best for remote or distributed teams. It’s a lightweight, native time tracking tool that includes screenshots, time tracking, and project management. Its simple interface and design make it really easy for your team to enter their time and for you to track their progress.
Budget management is straightforward—using Hubstaff you can easily set time limits and budgets for your team to bill against with a maximum number of hours you want a member to be able to work in a week and the app will automatically prevent them from exceeding the limit.
When you’re working with a distributed team it can be hard to verify exactly what people are doing and how they’re spending their time. Hubstaff has some pretty handy tools to give you insight into what your team is doing in the time they’re logging to your project with screenshots and activity levels. You can also see which applications your team members are using and what URLs they are browsing while they’re tracking time.
Integrations are well supported across stacks of different tools including project management tools Asana, Jira, and Basecamp, payments, accounting, and invoicing integrations including QuickBooks, Paypal, Wise as well as Salesforce and Zendesk among others.
Hubstaff is free to use for 1 employee. Paid plans cost from $7/user/month and come with a 14-day free trial.
Forecast is a platform for advertising agencies to manage resources and projects used in 40+ countries worldwide. The tool includes capabilities for managing the project life cycle from quote to invoice, as well as intelligent automation for predicting project delivery dates and forecasting capacity needs.
Users can create project plans with Forecast’s auto-schedule. The powerful AI automatically estimates tasks, assigns and optimizes workload across resources, and sets a project delivery date. The tool also provides dashboards with overviews of the organization to allow for informed adjustments to time and resource allocation.
Forecast also introduced a unique feature for managing projects in a retainer setup. A dashboard with retainer periods and totals lets you track the financials of ongoing projects in addition to staff workloads and time spent on delivery.
Forecast integrates natively with Slack, Google Drive, QuickBooks Online, Salesforce, and Xero. Other integrations are available through Zapier.
Forecast has Lite, Pro, and Enterprise options that cost from $29/user/month (14-day free trial).
Streamtime is a powerful tool that allows you to create, plan, and manage projects while keeping your team happy. Streamtime’s interactive to-do screen can replace timesheets, making chasing timesheet completion a thing of the past. Although Streamtime has been around since 2002, the new product at Streamtime.net is relatively new. Their updated approach has been recognized with a 2020 Webby award, along with D&AD, AGDA Pinnacle, and Best Design Awards.
With effortless project planning, one click estimating and invoicing, innovative time tracking, slick scheduling, and intelligent reporting, Streamtime serves up all the functionality you need within a beautiful, intuitive interface. Design and advertising agencies across the globe have used Streamtime to improve visibility of business and client performance, as well as capitalize on robust scheduling views to improve capacity planning and resourcing.
Streamtime wants to help build healthier creative businesses. They help by making software intended for creatives, as well as by supporting communities that improve outcomes for creatives. The best example? Their support for Never Not Creative, a global community addressing mental health, internships, and improving the value that creatives receive from their work.
Streamtime costs from $40/user/month and comes with a 30-day free trial.
Wrike is an advertising agency software that is best for teams of five up to an unlimited number of team members. Wrike enables managers and teams to visualize projects on Kanban boards and drag-and-drop Gantt charts, as well as customize workflows, dashboards, reports, and request forms.
Wrike allows teams and individuals to arrange their dashboard and task list in a view that suits their working style, as well as offers automations for admin tasks. Wrike also features employee capacity monitoring, resource management, and onboarding templates.
Wrike also offers a dedicated help center with interactive training, videos, a ‘Getting Started’ guide, and a thriving community. The tool includes a variety of specific solutions for every type of team or organization, including marketing teams and professional service teams. Users also have access to a variety of templates for common organizational processes.
Wrike includes over 400 pre-built integrations with the most popular file management software from Microsoft, Slack, Google, and Dropbox, along with sales and marketing software like Salesforce and Marketo.
Pricing starts at $9.80/user/month. There are four different price points, including a free version and plans which offer the ability to invite free external collaborators to a paid account.
Sesimi is a digital asset management platform for advertising agencies with smart features like brand guidelines documentation, various format outputs (social, video, print), LAM campaign creation, inbuilt approval functionality/workflows, in-cloud collaborative template editing, and advance search functions across your media storage database.
All of this lets you put all your marketing in one safe, easy to find location for everyone in the team. Instant search and predictive search finding images, campaign assets and brand elements can be quickly accessed and launched across any platform. Add to that auto-tagging of images with smart data sets, organizing and sharing your digital assets has never been easier.
Sesimi makes it fast and easy to create professional, on-brand campaigns and content—from concept creation to going to market. Creative automation allows users to build perfectly on-brand content without leaving the paltform. With one template you can output marketing content at any size and any format. Sesimi can store huge amounts of data and assets, using space on Amazon S3 servers to house your whole brand.
Sesimi is easy to live with. It can integrate into your marketing ecosystem with thousands of seamless integrations including SSO and SAML plus a wide range through Zapier.
Sesimi offers customized pricing upon request. Their plans all have infinite seats for unlimited numbers of users.
- 14 days free trial
- Premier plan starts at $50/month for the first user, plus $10 USD/month for each additional user
FunctionFox offers three different plans with features that range from basic time tracking and estimating, to project scheduling and gantt charts, to customized project intake forms. FunctionFox can support teams with five or five hundred members.
FunctionFox is entirely web-based and compatible with all up to date browsers, so users on both Mac and PC can work together seamlessly. FunctionFox allows for team collaboration through project scheduling, allows allocation of specific tasks through action assignments and to-do lists, and facilitates communication through the project blog. Another great feature is the availability tool, which project managers can use to monitor team capacity and utilize everyone’s time effectively.
FunctionFox is easy to use and made even easier with the tutorials and support provided. They offer dedicated onboarding and all customer support is unlimited, ongoing, and included in the subscription cost. Their website also includes a help center, and there are detailed help files included within the software itself.
Pricing for the FunctionFox Premier plan starts at $50 per month.
VOGSY automates and streamlines business operations, and integrates natively with Google Workspace to provide advertising agencies with real-time data and collaboration. The tool includes project management, resource planning, a CRM, time and expense tracking, reporting, finance management, and billing, and it’s built on Google Cloud.
Users can track the status and progress of opportunities and projects in attractive dashboards. Everything is organized in one spot: files in an automated Drive structure, tasks, estimated vs. actual budgets and margins, emails, automated invoices in Docs, communications, and notes. Planning and forecasting are easy with automated resource suggestions, resource availability heat maps, and placeholder resources.
Tasks can be assigned to anyone at any point in the service cycle, even from Gmail. Users can complete workflows directly from Gmail, perform approvals, and quickly follow up with prospects and customers with the Gmail Add-on, which pulls relevant information into emails.
VOGSY’s visual charts show real-time metrics like employee billability, sales pipeline, revenue forecast, and customer profitability. For more in-depth data, VOGSY provides out-of-the-box Google Sheets reports that are highly configurable and exportable.
VOGSY has a clear and easy Google Material Design interface. In addition to Google Workspace, VOGSY integrates with business tools like QuickBooks, Copper, Salesforce, Xero, Zapier, HubSpot, and Jira.
VOGSY starts at $9/user/month and offers a 30-day free trial. It also offers a free version limited to one user.
Advertising agency teams and specialists can use ProWorkflow to manage their wide variety of projects by allowing their designers, developers, project managers, and freelancers to collaborate in a central hub where progress can be easily monitored and reported on.
In the Features & Functionality evaluation review, I pointed to both project management and resource management being key; ProWorkflow is uniquely positioned to excel in these areas, particularly because of the sheer amount of projects teams can add as well as easy logging of all current and past jobs.
Integrations include Xero, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop, KashFlow, FreshBooks, MYOB AccountRight, File Storage Integrations, Box Storage, Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and over a thousand more using Zapier.
One small con is that the storage space associated with a ProWorkflow subscription is quite minimal; this wouldn’t be a huge drawback, except their integration with Dropbox is slightly clumsy. I’d say this is only a minor drawback, as it’s a small glitch that’s likely to improve over time, and there are plenty of other integrations to expand the storage space.
ProWorkflow starts at $10/user/month and has a free trial.
Intervals is a great tool for agencies that need to manage work, track its value, and quickly prepare invoices for clients to get paid for their time. It’s used by advertising agencies as well as digital strategy agencies, web design and development shops, QA teams in larger IT companies, and other use cases.
Agencies using Intervals will find a trove of useful features including project management (detailed task management, scheduling, file sharing, time tracking), as well as resource allocation, client management tools like invoicing and client reports. Overall, while it doesn’t have live chat and its document sharing features are on the basic side, Intervals is a well-rounded tool for making agencies run more smoothly.
Perhaps the best part of this tool is the reporting features. Because the tool includes time and expense management tools, you can also generate a variety of meaningful internal reports to find out exactly where your team’s time and efforts are going. You can also get a higher-level view of your agency, providing answers to questions like, “Which client have we done the most work for this year?” or “Who is our most billable employee?” The idea behind intervals is that you can keep track of every detail on every job so you’ll never again lose money on a project.
Interval’s integrations include QuickBooks online for invoicing, QuickBooks desktop for time data, Xero, FreshBooks, Slack, and Google Drive.
Intervals is priced per project and costs from $2.50/active project/month ($59/month for 25 projects, 25 GB, and unlimited users). They offer a free 30-day trial (no credit card required).
Paymo helps advertising agencies streamline the process of managing projects from start to finish, reduce the administrative work as much as possible while offering a frictionless experience along the way. This means that both project managers and team members will know exactly what they need to do, when, and also collaborate better and transparently.
The dedicated account manager will make sure the onboarding process is smooth for everyone and the learning curve is significantly reduced.
The features cover all of the processes, from creating the initial project estimate to adding and assigning tasks, setting up budgets, tracking work time, generating reports, adding expenses and invoicing the clients.
To keep everyone up-to-date and on the same page, Paymo allows commenting at the task and project level, along with real-time in-app and email notifications. The interface is modern, a bit crowded with features and options, but easy to navigate through. You can hide the modules you don’t plan to use.
Paymo integrates natively with popular apps such as Slack, Adobe Creative Cloud, Google Drive, QuickBooks Online, Xero, JotForm, Shift, to name a few. Other integrations are available through Zapier or by syncing with their fully-documented API.
Paymo starts at $9.56/user/month and offers a 14-day free trial. It also comes with a Free plan that is limited to 1 user. The Gantt Chart module is only available in the Business plan.
Best Advertising Agency Software Summary
Other Advertising Agency Software
The world of ad agency software is bustling with healthy competition and plenty of options for the savvy buyer. I like to think beyond “top 15s” and give a shout out to other worthwhile products that are doing good work in the marketing agency software space. That being said, here’s my honorable mentions for this category:
Advertising Agency Management Software Comparison Criteria
What do we look for in marketing agency management software? The guidelines below will help you understand parts of our process.
User Interface (UI)
How well-designed is it? Does it offer clear displays and intuitive navigation? Multi-user interface: Enable numerous users on the same system.
Is this easy to learn and master? Are there tutorials and training? Does the company offer good tech and user support? Provide different logins for each user. Personalize the permissions and available functionality for different groups of users.
Features & Functionality
How many of the key media planning software features and functions does it provide, and how powerful are they? Specifically, I looked for:
- Project management: This includes task management both for your team and for client-facing tasks, project dashboards for quickly tracking progress, and easy file sharing and collaboration. It can also include time tracking (although some tools achieve this through a third-party integration).
- Resource management: Should enable you to easily search for resources and skills in order to assign them to allocate them to tasks and projects. Includes scheduling features that let you set milestones, deadlines, and dependencies between tasks.
- Client & prospect management: Includes communication, outreach, and reporting tools that let you manage your agency’s prospecting and clients. This may include a client portal as well as the ability to easily take snapshots of project data like time and expenses in order to deliver client reports.
- Finance management: Advertising agency billing software should capitalize on all your project and resource data to offer accurate forecasting and estimation. Can also include invoice and billing features to streamline your flow from first pitch to final invoice. In some cases, a module for managing media and procurement is useful, helping to manage things like purchase and insertion orders.
- Reporting: Do the media planning softwares have adequate reporting systems regarding time logging, finances, resource management and other options? Is data collection and organization easy and helpful?
Is it easy to connect with other tools? Any pre-built integrations?
Value for $
How appropriate is the price for its features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent and flexible?
Any Other Marketing Agency Management Software Options?
Marketing and creative teams need ad agency software that fits their specific niche and use cases. Turning inspiration into a productive end result requires resources and tools like those listed above.
Do you consider yourself experienced in marketing agency management software? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you’d add to the list.