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Digital agencies struggling to find the right skills

67% of agencies have hired during the pandemic – but 51% have struggled to find employees with the skills they need,  52% said that they have struggled to find contractors with the skills they need and 39% are concerned about a skills gap in the industry.

That’s according to Verblio’s annual digital agency survey, provides insight into the industry during the past year, including content creation during Covid-19, the secrets of content success and hiring, skills and the most popular tools.

Other key findings include:

  • SEO is the most desirable skill in the industry

  • Demand for content increased by 71%

  • Asana is the top tool for content success in the industry

  • 18% of marketers admit to buying links

  • Agencies gained an average of 9 clients and lost fewer than 4 over the past year

  • 75% expect continued growth into 2021 and beyond

  • Blog posts (61%), landing pages (42%) and social media posts (35%) are the most profitable content types

  • Social media posts (79%), email newsletters (65%) and outreach (27%) are the most popular promotion tactics

  • Blog posts (61%), landing pages (47%) and video (43%) are the best content to invest in

The most desirable marketing skills

The survey revealed that the most desirable marketing skill is SEO and SEM, with creative thinking and ideation, and copywriting coming in second and third.

Rank

Marketing Skills

Percentage Vote

1

SEO and SEM

71%

2

Creative thinking and ideation

65%

3

Copywriting

58%

4

Data analysis

42%

5

Social media

27%

5

Paid social media advertising

27%

6

Sales

26%

7

Developer

24%

8

Design

23%

9

Email marketing

22%

10

CRM

10%

11

Mobile marketing

8%

11

Digital PR

8%

Despite the pandemic, the vast majority of those surveyed said their agency had actually seen an increase in business over the last 12 months, with 71% agreeing that demand for content specifically had grown.

During the last year, on average, agencies have gained over nine new clients and lost less than four.

A whopping 75% of those surveyed expect revenue generated from content to increase over the next year, with just 3% believing it would decrease.

Verblio found that on average, agencies charge over $2,000 for an interactive campaign and more than a quarter charge $5000+. Unsurprisingly, social media posts are the cheapest content type with an average price of $130.

Despite interactive campaigns commanding the highest price, blogs take the top spot for generating profit, with 62% selecting blogs as one of their most profitable content offerings. Landing pages come second, with 42% saying they are a leading profit maker for their business.

Nearly all the experts Verblio spoke to agree that some form of promotion is needed to get results. Promoting via the client’s social media is the most popular method at 79%, but 18% of agencies still admit to buying links and coverage.

The survey asked experts what content offerings they plan to invest in the most over the next five years and blogs take the crown. Over 61% of content creators are looking to expand and develop their blog offering, with landing pages and video not far behind.

Top 10 tools for success

29% of agencies don’t rely on any particular tools. The other 71%, however, have plenty they can’t live without. Here are the top 10 tools for digital marketing success.

  1. asana

  2. Monday.com

  3. Hotjar

  4. SEMRush

  5. crazyegg

  6. Trello

  7. 99designs

  8. ahrefs

  9. Lucky orange

  10. accelo

Touching on the survey insights, Verblio CEO Steve Pockross, said “The results from the 2021 digital agency survey show that despite a crazy year like 2020, agencies continue to see the value in content marketing,with demand for the service increasing by 71%. It’s encouraging to learn that 67% hired during the pandemic, with SEO coming in as the most desirable skill. But with 51% struggling to find the right people for the job and 39% concerned about a skills gap, it’s clear more needs to be done to upskill teams and attract more talented individuals to the industry.”