In our effort to bring you the best, most useful, and interesting insight into advertising, ad agencies, and getting the most for your marketing dollar- we stumbled upon this post by “Gerry McGovern” in a non-web 2.0 site- but was right on:

Web design: never let an ad agency near your website: January 19, 2004 issue of New Thinking by Gerry McGovern
The average advertising agency fundamentally doesn’t get the Web. Saatchi & Saatchi, BBDO Worldwide, J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy are great advertising agencies. When it comes to managing their own websites, however, they are rank amateurs. They bring their print and TV thinking to the Web with embarrassing results.

Well worth a click over - where he rants about the stupidity of the Flash intro, and the innane copy which makes every agency sound- well- alike. He doesn’t actually give your real stats on why big ad agency sites suck (we do that quite aptly here: ad agencies seek diversity) but he does describe some sites- that when you visit today- will realize haven’t changed or updated content in 3 years (we just went to the other day- only to leave totally frustrated with the most worthless web navigation ever- and no search function).

We’re not saying that all big advertising agency sites are boring, or ugly- just that most of them aren’t actually useful.

Here are some key ways to evaluate an ad agencies web competence:

  • Is the text selectable- and copyable- so you could easily put together their brilliant ideas for marketing into a memo for your boss on why to hire them?  (This also means you can read the content with a text-to-speech reader for blind people- and that the site will be indexable by google).
  • Are there separate pages for each piece of content- in other words- can you send a link to the exact spot that you think is relevant to your boss- “Hey, look at this brilliant marketing strategy” - I think it applies to our company.
  • Is the content  current- and changing? Google rewards fresh new ideas and content. If thy don’t update their content, how can they suggest you do it? Practicing what you preach is important on the web.
  • Can you view the site without having to turn off noise, or have video start without you telling it to? Good for not disturbing the boss- or letting him know that you are secretly looking for a new ad agency because your current one isn’t very web-savvy.
  • When you go to Google and type in: site:bigagency.tld you actually get more than one page. Try it for this site- and look at how many pages are indexed!
  • Another key to finding out if your prospective agency is web 2.0 compliant- look for links out, and links in. Although not perfect- going to Google and type in will show you a smattering of what links to us. We know many more link to us, because we watch our web stats- a very informative tool to gather information about who is saying what about you.

There are a whole bunch of other questions to ask before hiring an ad agency- but we try to cover that in our topic “how to pick an ad agency”- as opposed to here- where we’re just talking about web 2.0 web skills.

If you have questions on how to analyze your ad agencies web competence, feel free to give us a call.