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.
This article 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.
Without further delay, here is some of the best ad agency software on the market right now.
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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 $6/user/month and comes with a free 14-day trial. They offer a free plan for up to 2 users.
Teamwork is a flexible advertising agency management software that helps agencies become more productive and profitable. It enables agencies to manage high volumes of client projects from start to finish. Teamwork allows you to build flexible, custom workflows and gives you one central place to visualize your team and client projects.
Teamwork offers a number of tools and features to help agencies manage their work. With the Workload feature, you can get a complete picture of your team’s capacity and manage resources and keep your team on track. There's built-in time-tracking on Teamwork to log hours spent working on tasks and track billable hours. Profitability reports allow you to track financial performance by project or team member and compare it against the budget for that client.
Something especially useful about this agency software is that you can add clients as collaborators for free so they can communicate with your team, leave comments in context, review assets and get visibility on project progress.
Teamwork integrates easily with other tools including Gmail, Harvest, Hubspot, QuickBooks, Slack, Dropbox and more.
Teamwork costs from $10/user/month. They also offer 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.
Kantata 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.
Kantata 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 Kantata 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.
Kantata offers plans to meet your needs. Choose from resource management to complete PSA with advanced BI. To receive accurate pricing information, contact Kantata directly.
ClickUp is a powerful tool that will keep your agency projects running smoothly. It is customizable in almost every way and can help with project and resource management. I want to highlight its proofing and tracking features.
Proofing is a space for your team to collaborate on a digital asset and add comments, tag members, and attach screen-sharing videos to show people exactly what you want to convey. Now, let's talk about tracking. Tracking can happen directly in your list, as seen in the screenshot above. All of these tasks have a table created within them and feed the information you see. This way, you can see your conversion rate, clicks, etcetera in one quick glance.
ClickUp offers native integrations with Slack, G Suite, Dropbox, and many more tools, as well as over 1,000+ integrations through Zapier.
ClickUp is free with limited storage for an unlimited number of users. Paid plans start at $5/user/month and offer a free trial.
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.
Mosaic is a modern resource management software built for advertising and creative agencies. They offer resource planning, project management, workload forecasting, hiring insights via role demand, capacity planning, profit and loss analysis, budget and time tracking, and performance dashboards.
Mosaic integrates with several ERP and financial management software, pulling in key project accounting, budget, and time entry data to provide a complete picture of your people and projects. Teams can then accurately plan and staff projects, strategically hire, and efficiently manage workload.
Mosaic integrates with Quickbooks, Unanet, Deltek, Asana, Salesforce, Jira, Workday, SAP, Oracle, and many other software applications.
Mosaic’s pricing is simple, transparent, and affordable with a risk-free 14-day trial. It offers three different annual subscription plans.
- Team Plan: $9.99 per user per month, billed annually
- Business Plan: $14.99 per user per month, billed annually
- Enterprise: Customized pricing for 100+ team members
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).
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.
Copper is an easy-to-use CRM for small businesses that assist users in managing sales leads and growing customer relationships.
Copper integrates with Gmail and other Google Apps and automatically logs all emails and contact interactions to reduce data entry and repetitive admin tasks. Users can also see sales and relationship essentials from email threads, past interactions, and tasks in one place.
The tool also includes project management features such as Kanban boards, workflow management capabilities, revenue tracking, and more. Copper also has strong reporting features for sales data and processes. Users can view metrics for measuring quality of lead sources, top-performing sales team members, sales forecasts, and more.
Along with the G Suite integration, Copper also integrates with QuickBooks, HubSpot, Slack, and more.
Pricing for Copper starts at $29/user/month. They also offer a 14-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.
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.
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.
Basecamp includes the tools advertising teams need to work together: message boards, to-dos, schedules, docs, file storage, real-time group chat, and automatic check-in questions. You can rename prompts, turn off the ones you don’t need, or integrate with third-party tools.
Ad agency teams will find that Basecamp’s communication features, both internal and client-centric, are top-notch. Agency teams can use the “campfire” chat feature to keep up-to-date and the commenting features for external clients are extremely simple to use, making onboarding easier.
Integration options include Unito.io, Automate.io, Zapier, TaskClone, Project Buddy, Pleexy, Field Trip, CData Software, RSSBus, Retool, To-Do Helpers, TImeshift Messenger, Zoho Flow, Mr.ToDo, Clockify, Toggl, Ganttify, and more.
Basecamp costs from $99/month and has a freemium version of the software for up to 3 projects as well as a free 30 day trial for paid plans.
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.
Need expert help selecting the right Advertising & Affiliate Software?
We’ve joined up with the software comparison platform Crozdesk.com to assist you in finding the right software. Crozdesk’s Advertising & Affiliate Software advisors can create a personalized shortlist of software solutions with unbiased recommendations to help you identify the solutions that best suit your business's needs. Through our partnership you get free access to their bespoke software selection advice, removing both time and hassle from the research process.
It only takes a minute to submit your requirements and they will give you a quick call at no cost or commitment. Based on your needs you’ll receive customized software shortlists listing the best-fitting solutions from their team of software advisors (via phone or email). They can even connect you with your selected vendor choices along with community negotiated discounts. To get started, please complete the form below:
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Best agency software for real-time client portals
Best for creatives & design teams
- Workamajig Platinum
Best advertising agency software for mobile usability
Project management and workflow management software designed specifically for marketing teams and ad agencies
Best for posting and reviewing HTML banner ads for client review
Best for customer journey analysis
Best for planning and delivering advertising campaigns
Best for agency business process management
Best for multiple project views
- Function Point
Best for identifying task dependencies in agency projects
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 marketing or project management 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?
Depending on the type and brand of software, advertising agency software can do many things: project management, resource allocation, customer relationship management (CRM), accounting and billing software, digital marketing tools, reporting software, and more.
Ad agencies have a lot of moving parts, a lot of clients and customers and a lot of internal needs. Therefore, using software will decrease the administrative burden on employees while increasing levels of organization, productivity and efficiency.
Ad agencies may need software for project management, resource allocation, CRM for advertising agencies, accounting and billing software, digital marketing software, and more. You will find that many ad agencies use software that covers two or more of these needs, like Oracle Netsuite, Wrike and Clarizen.
Looking for a different sort of software for your advertising agency? Check out our other resources for top software to manage teams, resources, and projects:
- What does every ad agency depend on? Communication, communication, communication! If you need some communication tool recommendations, we’ve got you.
- Some teams forgo a robust planning stage because of hubris. But everything good project can benefit from come collaborative mind mapping to sync up the team.
- Doing agency agile? Check out these agile project management tools.
Any Other Marketing Agency Management Software Options?
Marketing and creative teams need ad agency software that fits their specific niche and content marketing 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 especially if you're a small business that found success with the help of a tool that isn't on this list!
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