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.
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.
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.
Teamwork is a flexible work and project management software that helps 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 ad keep your team on track. There’s built-in time-tracking on Teamwork to log hours spent working on tasks and track billable hours. You can also collaborate with comments and messages.
Something especially useful about this agency software is that you can add clients as collaborators so they can communicate with your team, leave comments in context, review assets and get visibility on project progress.
In terms of learning curve, with its robust features, it does have a learning curve to get up to speed. However with ongoing webinars and access to help docs, an online resource center and dedicated customer support team; this is greatly reduced.
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
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).
Olavana is an advertising agency niche tool for streamlining the process of posting, reviewing, discussing and approving animated HTML banner ads with your clients. It focuses on banner ad project workflow for ad agencies, and does it very well.
No more random links sent by your banner animators to review ads on their websites! Olavana lets everyone see all projects in one place. Your banner animators will also thank you everytime they need to post a new round of revisions because they can drag-and-drop to upload their banners.
Also important, internal discussion threads for your agency team are kept separate from the client discussion thread for easy communication. This will reduce confusion about client feedback on many different banner ad concepts and sizes.
The task manager feature allows users to create individual tasks and assign each one to the appropriate assignee. Each task has its own assignee, comment thread, and status to keep things clear and organized.
Olavana pricing starts at $20/month for unlimited users and they offer a 30-day free trial with no credit card required. Plans are based on the number of banners.
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.
Ravetree is an award-winning work management software platform that empowers agency teams to deliver work faster, be more informed, and spend less time searching for information. This is a full-featured advertising agency software platform—it’s a great fit for medium or large agencies looking for project management, resource planning, time and expense tracking, digital asset management, and CRM.
Ravetree users can manage their projects, resources, and creative workflows all in one place. For the price, this software packs a ton of features that help eliminate a spread of one-trick tools and combine your operations into a single platform. This includes project dashboards and financials, file version control and management, task dependencies, project milestones, and budget and resource forecasting.
A full array of advanced features are offered, including granular permissions roles, customizable notifications, automated alerts, project budgeting, Gantt charts, custom fields, custom tables, powerful filtering, and much more. Advertising teams can easily communicate and collaborate, share files, view burndown charts, and more. The thing I like most about this tool is the real-time client portal which includes tools for getting approvals and assigning tasks to clients so it’s clear what you’ll need from them to move forward.
Ravetree costs $29/user/month and has a 7 day free trial.
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.
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.
Used by over 9000 companies worldwide, Function Point operates with greater predictability through real-time visibility with comprehensive job dashboards. This solution for advertising agencies can effortlessly assign jobs and identify dependencies with task management tools.
This software checks all the boxes in what I look for in the Features & Functions evaluation review and then some. In particular, job descriptions, task descriptions and comments, and the ability to upload files make them ideal for client and prospect management.
Function Point’s Zapier integration allows firms to transfer data to and from other web applications, like Quickbooks.
One minor critique is that the financial pages could be better laid out, as it can be confusing sifting through estimates, financials, and invoices. At the same time, you do get visibility with a lot of complex data which is great if you’d like a more granular view of financials.
Function Point starts at $37/user/month and has a free demo and a 14 day free trial.
Admation offers project management solutions, resource management, online proofing and approval workflow, marketing asset management, and more. A real-time overview on workflow with customizable notifications and alerts ensures a robust overview of any project. Admation works as a hub for project management, resource management, approval workflow, and asset management all at once.
Features include briefing templates, project resource templates, project timelines, scheduling and assigning tasks, document approval, capacity planning, department dashboard & calendar, resource allocation, timesheets and time tracking, a complete brand archive, permissions & access levels, tags & keywords, a secure digital storage system for your finalized ads, and more.
Integrations include email systems and Mediaocean, formally BCC, which is ad agency finance software.
Email integration isn’t optimized for the platform and much of the UX here and beyond isn’t as user-friendly as it could be. The comment and revision system on documents is clunky to navigate with frequent load times.
Admation costs from $30/user/month and offers a free demo and free trial upon request.
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:
14 days free trial
|From $6/user/month||Check out monday.com|
|From $19 /month for up to 5 users||Check out Kantata|
|From $20/user/month||Check out Screendragon|
14 days free trial
|From $15/user/month||Check out Productive|
30 days free trial. No credit card required
|From $10/user/month (starting from 5 users)||Check out Teamwork|
14 days free trial
|From $29/user/month||Check out Forecast.app|
Free 30-day trial
|Olavana starts at $20/month for unlimited users.||Check out Olavana|
30 days free trial
|From $9/user/month||Check out VOGSY|
7 days free trial
|From $29/user/month||Check out Ravetree|
14 days free trial
|From $10/user/month||Check out ProWorkflow|
30 days free trial
|From $2.50/project/month||Check out Intervals|
14 days free trial
|From $9.56/user/month||Check out Paymo|
30 days free trial
|From $99/month and has a freemium version of the software for up to 3 projects||Check out Basecamp|
14 days free trial
|From $37/user/month||Check out Function Point|
|From $30/user/month||Check out Admation|
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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