What Is a Full Service Advertising Agency?

A full-service advertising agency is a business that provides design, development and delivery services for advertising campaigns on behalf of clients. A full-service agency is distinct from a specialty or boutique agency, which focuses on one or a few elements of the process. Common services provided by a full-service agency include account planning, creative development and design, media buying, and results tracking.

Businesses that use full-service ad agencies prefer to work with one company that manages the entire advertising process. Main benefits of an external agency include a fresh perspective on the brand image and advertising expertise.

The first step in the full-service process is a consultation meeting. The advertiser communicates brand values, current business and marketing conditions, and advertising objectives. The agency then creates a proposal to meet the advertiser's budget and objectives. After winning the business, the agency then focuses on the creative development process. Account planners work with art directors and copywriters to build a creative strategy and advertisements to suit it.

After the full-service agency creates a campaign, the agency's media department buys space or spots in print publications, digital platforms or broadcast media to present the ads to the targeted audience. As the campaign is delivered, results are tracked so the agency can demonstrate the campaign's return on investment in the hopes of retaining the client's business.