The Prolific North Top 50 Digital Agencies 2021

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

We're pleased to reveal 2021's edition of the Top 50 Digital Agencies list - the benchmark independent ranking of the top-performing agencies in the region working across SEO, PPC, web development, mobile and more.

Sitting alongside our rankings for Integrated Agencies and PR Agencies, the Top 50 is independently researched and relied upon as the most accurate barometer of the performance of the North's digital agencies.

Conducted once again in partnership with Mustard Research, the Top 50 Digital Agencies ranks the region's agencies by a number of metrics, drawing on information sourced from the organisations themselves and confirmed with financial reporting company Fame BVD and data at Companies House.

Summary

Yorkshire continues to be a hotbed for digital agencies, with six out of the top 10 hailing from the region - though this is down on previous years, with eight from Yorkshire making the top 10 in 2020.

Stickyeyes is once again named the number one agency in the region, having held onto the top spot every year since 2016. There has however been a changeover near the top of the list, with Harrogate's IDHL Group trading places with Visualsoft to take second place, while Dept successfully remains in third.

A couple of big climbers have entered the top 10; ICS-digital jumps six places into eighth, and Delete, having been acquired by Kagool, has made a remarkable jump from spot 39 straight to ninth.

Sheffield's The SEO Works has performed impressively - in 2019, it secured the highest ever rank for a Sheffield agency at number 38, and now has broken that record again by taking 23rd. 

This year, four agencies have made it onto the list for the first time: Rise at Seven (24th), Evolved (35th), connective3 (44th) and Access (49th).

Other high climbers deserving special mention include CTI Digital (10th), Journey Further (13th), Click Consult (18th), Nexer Digital (27th) and Netsells (33th) - plus Banc, who have jumped 28 spaces to enter the list at spot 50.

If you've made it onto the Top 50 list and would like to request a badge for your email signature, please contact hello@prolificnorth.co.uk.

Join in the conversation on social media using the hashtag #PNTop50.

The Prolific North Top 50 Digital Agencies 2021

Ranking from 2020 in brackets.

Rank
Company
Location
Ownership
Services
Staff
Clients
1 (1)
Leeds
Interpublic
Both
182
Adobe, Etihad Airways, Groupon, Hertz, Lloyds Banking Group
2 (4)
Harrogate
Independent
Both
230
Casio, Barker and Stonehouse, Aviva, TTi, Cloud Nine
3 (3)
Manchester
Independent
Both
155
London Marathon Events, Nikon, Triumph Motorcycles, St. James's Place Wealth Management, Hilti
4 (2)
Visualsoft
Stockton-on-Tees, Newcastle, Manchester
Independent
Both
280
Eternal Collection, Milton Diamonds, Fusion Living, Daniel Footwear
5 (7)
Leeds
Part of MSQ
Both
155
Arla, Asda Money, Fortnum & Mason, P&G, Wilko
6 (5)
Search Laboratory
Leeds
Independent
SEO / PPC
145
Hootsuite, Viking, giffgaff, Studio, Oasis
7 (8)
Leeds

Bailie Group

Dev / Tech
88
Yorkshire Water, Bank of England, Insight Investments, Metropolitan Police Service, Cabinet Office
8 (14)
Leeds
Spotlight Sports Group 
SEO / PPC
70
bet365, 888, Betfair, IG, Badoo
9 (39)
Manchester
Independent
Both
107
Welsh Water, Barratt Homes, Parkdean Resorts, London Metal Exchange, NTT
10 (18)
Manchester & Lancaster
CTI Holdings
Both
88
McGraw Hill Education, Little Greene, London Transport Museum, Durham
11 (16)
Mediaworks
Newcastle, Leeds & Edinburgh
Independent
SEO / PPC
130
Dune London, Cath Kidston, Lil-Lets, Michelin, Scottish Power
12 (11)
AND Digital
Manchester, Leeds & Halifax
Independent
Dev / Tech
275
N Brown Group, Missguided, Co-op, Covea Insurance, Department for Education
13 (23)
Leeds & Manchester
Independent
SEO / PPC
91
Sky, TravelSupermarket, Virgin Money, Claire's, Oddbox
14 (6)
Edit*
Leeds
Kin and Carta plc
SEO / PPC
177
L&G, Tesco Bank, Confused.com, Pizza Hut
15 (13)
EPAM (previously Think)
Newcastle
EPAM
Dev / Tech
79
Bupa, ASOS, Knight Frank, Shop Direct
16 (10)
Brough
TCC Global
Both
133
Argos, boohoo, Durex, Pets at Home, Speedy
17 (12)
Manchester
Mediacom/WPP
Dev / Tech
70
Hillarys Blinds, JCT600, Abel & Cole, The Go Ahead Group, Bayer CropScience
18 (24)
Hooton
Ceuta Group
SEO / PPC
63
Tesco, Viesmann, The Post Office, AGE UK, CHUMS
19 (25)
Manchester
Independent
Dev / Tech
30
Arla Foods, Macdonald Hotels, Morphy Richards, Subway, Ted Baker
20 (15)
Manchester
Independent
Dev / Tech 
109
United Utilities, Co-op, Charles Stanley, Lexus, BBC, NHS
21 (20)
Lancaster
Independent
Dev / Tech
110
Lakeland, Four Seasons Healthcare, Yotel, Typhoo
22 (17)
Manchester
Independent
Both
137
Betfred, Wigan Warriors, GGRecon.com, Payzone, wearediscounts.com
23 (42)
Sheffield
Independent
Both
64
Rab, Decathlon, Benenden Health, OS Maps, TJ Hughes
24 (new entry)
Rise at Seven
Sheffield
Independent
SEO / PPC
50
GoCompare, Parkdean Resorts, PrettyLittleThing, Lloyds Pharmacy, Taylor & Hart
25 (26)
Hedgehog Lab
Newcastle
Independent
Dev / Tech
88
Deliveroo, Microsoft, Honcho, E-On, Newcastle City Council
26 (32)
Manchester
CTI Holdings
SEO / PPC
51
STADA Group, Vilenda, Basketball England, Zoflora, British Nutrition Foundation, Horlicks
27 (34)
Nexer Digital (previously Sigma)
Macclesfield
Sigma IT Consulting Group
Dev / Tech
40
AstraZeneca, Department for Education, Nest, Mind, UKRI
28 (27)
Mando
Liverpool
Independent
Dev / Tech
47
USS, British Red Cross, Together Money, The AA
29 (21)
Degree 53
Manchester
Independent
Dev / Tech
52
Betfred, Health Assured, Loterie Romande, FDJ, Furness Building Society
30 (28)
Leighton
Durham
Independent
Dev / Tech
57
BA, Tourism Australia
31 (31)
9xb
Harrogate & Leeds
Independent
Dev / Tech
46
Euro Car Parts, Jigsaw24, Watco, Arleigh Group, Astrak
32 (29)
Manchester
Independent
Dev / Tech
41
RCGP, Frasers Group, INTO University Partnerships, Worldpay
33 (41)
York
Independent
Dev / Tech
47
Hiscox, Warburtons, Trainline, YourParkingSpace, Costa Coffee
34 (35)
Enigma
Newcastle
Independent
Dev / Tech
38
Barbour, NHS, Superdrug, Solopress, Western Power Distribution
35 (new entry)
Evolved
Newcastle
Independent
SEO / PPC
39
Select Car Leasing, PSA Groupe, tombola, SIG Group, Ocean Finance
36 (30)
Engage Interactive
Leeds
Independent
Dev / Tech
33
Roadchef, Clarion Solicitors, Jet2 Holidays, Whitbread, Taylors
37 (37)
Chester
Independent
Both
48
Raleigh, Little Mistress, Toad Hall, Sykes Cottages, Elegant Resorts
38 (33)
Leeds
Independent
Both
52
Valspar, Ronseal, Bank of Ireland, Nisa, V&A Baths
39 (36)
Ampersand
Manchester
Independent
Dev / Tech
36
Secret Sales, Swoon Editions, Seraphine, Selco
40 (47)
Newcastle
Independent
Dev / Tech
15
SAP, IWG, UKPN, The Labour Party, Wolseley
41 (60)
Chester
Independent
Both
44
Orbit Group, Emirates Old Trafford, totalfitness, Red Bull
42 (40)
Parallax
Leeds
Independent
Dev / Tech
33
Avro Energy, Trax, Lucy Zodion, Cauldron, SmartSearch
43 (44)
Shout Digital
Newcastle
Independent
Dev / Tech
21
Parkdean Resorts, Northumbrian Water, NUFC, Newcastle Airport
44 (new entry)
Leeds
Independent
SEO / PPC
51
Wren, thortful, Comparethemarket.com, Strata Homes, Lowell, Royal London
45 (54)
Stone Junction
Stafford
Independent
Dev / Tech
28
Houghton International, EMS, CPA, Sandvik, Crosser, nextgen
46 (43)
Space48
Manchester
Independent
Dev / Tech
35
Charlotte Tilbury, Better Bathrooms, Cox and Cox, Betty's
47 (46)
Manchester
Independent
Dev / Tech
34
Medline, Invopak, Puretec, SilverCross, Korg
48 (45)
Bolser
Leeds
Independent
Both
25
Microsoft, Xbox, Discovery Channel, AIG, The Football Foundation
49 (new entry)
Manchester
Independent
Dev / Tech
36
Edrington, WaterAid, Stagecoach, National Grid, SC Johnson Professional
50 (78)
Banc
Salford
Independent
Both
36
Central and North West London Foundation Trust, Dolce Catering, Grape Tree, Art of Maintenance

Notes:

  • Delete was acquired by Kagool in 2020 and is no longer included as an independent agency.
  • Epiphany is now part of Jaywing so no longer features in the Top 50 Digital Agencies - their figures will be included in the Integrated Agencies list later in the year.
  • This Top 50 list is based on performance since April 2020. In the meantime, Edit has closed its Leeds office and no longer has a Northern location.

 

How the list is calculated

The Top 50 Digital Agencies is anchored on financials including balance sheet/shareholder funds, turnover, pre-tax profit, headcount and growth. Well done to everyone who made it onto the list.

The work of our research partner ensures that the rankings are entirely independent. No financials are published or revealed; these are confidentially discussed between the agencies and Mustard as the majority tend to publish abbreviated accounts.

This ranking will also appear in this year's Northern Agency Guide, which features profiles of some of the North's leading agencies, exclusive data, high-profile thought leaders, and more.

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