The Prolific North Top 50 Digital Agencies 2017

David Prior's picture
by David Prior

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Today we unveil the 2017 edition of the Prolific North Top 50 Digital Agencies, the definitive listing of the North’s largest digital agencies spanning SEO and PPC, web, content, mobile and e-commerce.

The Top 50 Digital Agencies initiative complements other ground-breaking Prolific North research features including the Top 50 PR Agencies, the Top 50 Integrated Agencies and the Top In-house Communicators.

The ranking is now firmly established across the North’s marketing services community as the yardstick for the digital sector.

Prolific North would like to thank our headline partners for this initiative, search marketing agency Click Consult and the hosting company iomart.

And as with our other research-led rankings, Mustard Research has managed the research underpinning the compilation and has ensured that the process has been rigorous and the results entirely independent – unlike some rankings which are predicated on financial subscriptions and payments to be included.

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Research methodology

Working together with Mustard Research, one of the UK’s leading independent research companies, and the financial reporting company fame BVD, we looked at the accounts of over 150 digital agencies which are either based in or have offices in the North, and we also asked the agencies themselves for supplementary financial and related data.

The initial long list was ultimately whittled down to the final 50 in this ranking.

Agencies were not offered the option to be included or not.

Prolific North and Mustard would like to thank all the agencies concerned, whether ultimately included or not, for their time and effort in helping us to compile this unique compilation and we look forward to new agency names joining the ranking next year.

In order to secure the full and transparent co-operation of all the participants – not just those where we were able to secure full financial data – we agreed with those agencies filing abbreviated accounts that we would not disclose the financials of any company in the compilation. This allowed these agencies to submit to us accurate information about sales and profits but also enabled them to retain a degree of privacy about their financial affairs.

Stickyeyes's HQ in Leeds. The agency retained its No 1 ranking

 

The algorithm employed by Mustard is weighted on turnover, balance sheet and/or shareholder funds, ptp, growth over the past two years and headcount. Our information is not assessed over a given calendar year or period but simply reflects each company’s latest filed information. This does mean of course that an agency’s size and financial performance effectively take precedence over other factors such as expertise or specialisation.

Summary

Yorkshire agencies are once again on top, taking up four of the top five places on the list.

Leeds-based Stickyeyes retains its number one ranking, with Amaze the leading Manchester agency at number two. WMG, twentysix and Epiphany complete the top five.

Yorkshire agencies CDS Digital, Summit Media and Branded3 also land top 10 places, while Visualsoft at number six has bases across the North. Code Computerlove, which was acquired by MediaCom in December, is the only other Manchester-based agency in the top 10, at number nine.

Across the 50 as a whole, virtually every corner of the North is represented, including Newcastle's Orange Bus (17), York's Isotoma (39), Sheffield's Joi Polloi (49), Lancaster's Fat Media (22) and Liverpool's Mando (23).

 

The Prolific North Top 50 Digital Agencies 2017

in association with Click Consult and iomart

 

Ranking Last year Company Northern offices Ownership Staff Clients 2017
1 1 Stickyeyes Leeds IPG Mediabrands  98 Hertz, Staples, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Ladbrokes, Leeds Building Society
2 2 Amaze Manchester, Liverpool St Ives Group 200 Emirates, Lexus, Unilever, Toyota, The Cooperative Group
3 7 IDHL Harrogate Independent 118 Intercontinental Hotels, HMV, IG Index, AON, Peugeot Citroen, Retail UK
4 4 twentysix Leeds Part of MSQ Partners 145 P&G, LSEG, NHSBT, Talk Talk, The Co-operative Group
5 3 Epiphany Leeds Jaywing Plc 190 ScS, Pandora, QHotels, Euro Car Parts, Carphone Warehouse
6 5 Visualsoft Stockton-on-Tees, Newcastle and Manchester Independent 244 Canterbury, John Greed, Big Dug, Charles Clinkard, TJ Hughes
7 6 CDS Digital Leeds The Baird Group 87 Royal Mail Group, Metropolitan Police, Cabinet Office, Aberdeen Asset Management, National Rail Enquires
8 8 Summit Media Brough TCC Global 97 Argos, Carpetright, Peugeot, Reckitt Benckiser, Homebase
9 12 Code Computerlove Manchester MediaCom North group 83 Hillarys, BBC, Asda, Centre Parcs and Amnesty International
10 18 Branded3 Leeds St Ives Group plc 76 Ladbrokes, Vue Entertainment, Provident Financial, First Direct, Travelex
11 11 Latitude Digital Marketing Warrington Callcredit/GTCR  89 Post Office, Bet Victor, Yours Clothing, Noddle, Cyclestore
12 15 Building Blocks Manchester affiliated with Dept  60 Triumph Motorcycles Ltd, DFDS, Imperial Brands, AstraZeneca, Yara International
13 14 Click Consult Cheshire Independent 75 Netflights, Oxfam, Flogas, ABTA, Lloyds Pharmacy
14 17 Fusion Unlimited Leeds Independent 38 Halfords, RBS Group, Lloyds Pharmacy Group, Vertu Motors, McCain
15 13 CTI Digital Manchester Paperhat Group 58 Merlin Entertainment, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Greater London Authority, College of Occupational Therapists, McGraw-Hill Education / High Street TV
16 9 Search Laboratory Leeds Independent 128 Viking (Office Depot), Superdry, O2, SkyBet, Hootsuite
17 36 Orange Bus Newcastle Capita/G2GE 75 HMRC, Joules, Pearson, Argon, NHS
18 10 Lakestar Media Limited Manchester Part of McCanns 47 Halfords, Kuoni, Navman Wireless
19 17 Rippleffect Liverpool and Manchester Idox plc 58 Aldermore, Arsenal FC, Aston Villa FC, Everyman & Playhouse, Everton FC, Liverpool FC, UK Sport, Visit Guernsey, Visit Lincolnshire
20 30 Apadmi Manchester Independent 65 BBC, Argos, NHS, Guardian, Travel Counsellors
21 19 ActiveWin Manchester Independent 104 Betfred, Tote, Betable, Moneyplus, Foxy
22 16 Fat Media Lancaster David Durnford 87 Lancaster University, Lakeland, GambleAware, Iceland, Swissport
23 28 Mando Liverpool Independent 51 TalkTalk Business, Together Money, United Utilities, GE Healthcare, Electricity North West (ENW)
24 20 Think Newcastle Independent 72 Vue, LV= (Liverpool Victoria), Arup, Shop Direct, Butlin’s
25 25 Leighton Durham Independent 80 British Airways, Home Group, Tourism Australia, Sunderland AFC
26 22 Results Through Digital Warrington Independent 54 Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Reebok, Barclays, Catalent Pharma , NHS
27 21 Axonn Media Manchester Independent 54 Bruntwood, Monarch, Tefal, Brookson, NCR
28 23 Delete Agency Leeds Independent 27 Southampton Football Club, iGuzzini, Safestore, Carter Jonas, Rackspace
29 40 Silverbean Newcastle Independent 46 Flybe, L.K.Bennett, ATG Tickets, Optegra, Berghaus
30 24 Degree 53 Manchester Independent 50 Betfred, Sofology, Co-op Bank, CardOneBanking and Intralot
31 29 Mediaworks Newcastle Independent 52 Yorkshire Water, House of Fraser, Ralph Lauren, Lookers Group, Northgate.  
32 46 Engage Interactive Leeds Independent 27 Whitbread, Jet2, Leeds Building Society, British Ceramic Tile, Giraffe Restaurants
33 43 Return Manchester Independent 39 Boo Tea, Liverpool John Moores University, Vertbaudet, Kaplan
34 44 Venn Digital Limited Wilmslow Independent 50 Bahco, Rekorderlig, Siemens, Eurostaff, JW Lees
35 37 Prodo Digital Chester Independent 53 The Aspinall Foundation, Knowsley Safari Park, Payzone, Lancashire County Cricket Club, DWF
36 27 Webtise Wirral Independent 53 iCandy, Utility, Oddbins, Shop Direct and Drench
37 50 Enjoy Digital Leeds Independent 40 Costcutter Supermarkets Group, Manheim / Cox Automotive, Bank of Ireland, Pitman Training, Marsh
38 - Hedgehog Lab Newcastle Independent 57 Fitch Learning, B&M Stores, AkzoNobel, Huntsman, Northumbrian Water
39 - Isotoma Manchester/York Independent 32 Imperial College, HarperCollins, Ten Lifestyle Group, The Key, Wilmington Group
40 39 The Neighbourhood Manchester Independent 32 JD Sports, Marketing Manchester, Urban Splash, Commercial Estates Group, Heston Blumenthal/The Fat Duck
41 26 Sigma Consulting Solutions Ltd Macclesfield Independent 34 Astra Zeneca, Sport England, BBC, NCC Group, InterContinental Hotels Group
42 45 SearchQuest Europe Ltd Lancaster Independent 40 CityBlock, European Springs, Belvoir!, Dean Group International, Smart Storage.
43 - Strawberry Hull Independent 38 Qwiddle, Hugh Rice, Beal Homes, Storetec
44 38 RO Eye Manchester Independent 16 HMV, Jessops, Coral, Best Western, Harveys
45 32 ICS-digital LLP* Leeds Independent 35 bet365, Webgears, 888, Oddschecker, Tiger Sheds
46 - e3creative Manchester Independent 31 Ascot Racecourse, Human Appeal, Living Ventures, South Bank London, Hotel Football
47 33 Enigma Interactive Newcastle Independent 35 BBC, Northern Powergrid, Traidcraft, RSPCA, Open University
48 35 Clicky Media Chester Independent 38 Darwin Escapes, Travis Perkins, Elegant Resorts, The Tabor Group, DayInsure
49 - Joi Polloi (Previously Rocket) Sheffield Independent - Channel 4, Xi'ian Jiaotong Liverpool University, The Children's Hospital Charity, Zoella
50 31 RE:Systems Bakewell, Manchester Independent - HarperCollins, Ticketmaster, Land Securities, Heathrow Express

* ICS-digital LLP has invested in two other businesses over the past year and expects to realise initial profits from those ventures in late 2017/early 2018.

See our other research tables:

The Prolific North Top 50 PR Agencies

The Prolific North Top 50 Integrated Agencies

The Prolific North Top 100 Brands

The Prolific Northerners Top 100

The Prolific North Top 50 In-house Communicators