How We Chose the Best Digital Marketing Companies in San Francisco
Digital marketing has been around a lot longer than most people tend to think — at least since the first time an electronic device was used to sell a product or service. Still, digital marketing has truly come into its own since the turn of the 21st century as its own distinct marketing discipline, and there are plenty of digital marketing companies across America, including in San Francisco, competing in the space and offering a wide range of features and services. We evaluated the best companies on the most important criteria.
Multiple Service Lines
It’s important that a company offer service lines that can meet the needs of diverse businesses. Some of the service lines we looked for are:
- Advertising and Graphic Design: Creating high-impact ad campaigns and visual designs
- Branding: Tools for creating a unified and easy-to-identify brand identity
- Content Marketing and Video Production: Tools for creating relatable and valuable videos and content-driven campaigns
- Marketing Strategy and Digital Strategy: Software solutions for building effective long-term marketing plans, both in general and specific to digital outlets
- Mobile App Marketing: Tools optimized for the vast audience of mobile-friendly campaigns
- Pay Per Click (PPC): Effective ways of buying click-throughs and site traffic to supplement more organic tactics
- Public Relations: Software that provides analytics for analyzing the effectiveness of outreach and managing assets related to it
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Tools for maximizing a company’s visibility on popular search engines
- Social Media Marketing: Means for optimizing and automating effective social media campaigns
Size of Firm
Large and small firms come with their own advantages and disadvantages. More employees can mean faster service but also higher costs. Smaller firms might be more motivated to focus on the needs of small business clients but might have more limited ability to deliver on ambitious agenda. We selected varying sizes of firms to meet the needs of a wider range of small businesses.
Firms that have experience with a wide range of industries can be more able to understand and meet the needs of diverse business models. We looked for experience with a range of industries, including advertising and marketing; arts, communication, and music; financial services; healthcare and medical; manufacturing; real estate; retail; and telecommunications.
The 15 Best Digital Marketing Companies in San Francisco
655 Montgomery St. Level 7
San Francisco, CA 94111
97th Floor is a mid-sized digital marketing agency with 10 years’ experience designing and helping clients to implement comprehensive strategies and tactics. Specializing in service lines that include marketing automation, SEO and PPC services, and content marketing, the firm focuses primarily on mid-market clients but also provides services for small business and enterprise clients. Aside from providing marketing plans and tools, 97th Floor is also known for actively working with clients to improve their knowledge of marketing fundamentals, and the firm establishes long-term support and service relationships with clients. The company has designed and executed everything from blogs and websites to SEO strategies for a diverse list of prominent clients.
|$150-$199/hour||SEO, PPC, Content marketing||>Number of employees: 50-249
>Notable clients: Adobe, Citrix, Salesforce, Dell, Discover
>Industries served: E-commerce, Business services, Healthcare & medical
>More info at 97th Floor
535 Mission St. 14th Fl.
San Francisco, CA 94105
This full-service agency was founded over 15 years ago and originally based in Salt Lake City, Utah. It focuses on SEO, content marketing, and PPC services and lays claim to a team structure that brings together entrepreneurs and MBAs, attorneys, and public and private sector professionals. Avalaunch advertises this diverse base of experience as a key asset in producing results for clients from a range of industries and market sectors, and though the firm works largely with mid-market and enterprise clients, it also provides small-business services. Despite being a relatively small firm, Avalaunch Media boasts connections and resources that allow it to punch well above its weight.
|$100-$149/hour||Content marketing, SEO, PPC||>Number of employees: 50-249
>Notable clients: Intel, Groupon, Shook & Stone, GoPro, IVC Vein Center
>Industries served: Consumer products & services, Healthcare & medical, Information technology
>More info at Avalaunch Media
400 Brannan St. Ste. 207
San Francisco, CA 94107
This small B2B marketing agency advertises its services as a marketing department in a box: a single-source virtual marketing department, or an extension of clients’ marketing teams, that boasts over two decades of creative, marketing, and branding support for a wide range of clients. In addition to the major clients listed below, BayCreative also lays claim to having served hundreds of SMB and start-up clients and claims branding, advertising, and content marketing among its core service lines. The firm’s team includes writers and designers, developers for multiple platforms, illustrators and videographers, branding and SEO experts, and PPC specialists. The firm’s team is known for strong flexibility and multitasking capabilities.
|$100-$149/hour||Branding, Advertising, Content marketing||>Number of employees: 10-49
>Notable clients: Cisco, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Docker, Twitter
>Industries served: Information technology, Financial services, Healthcare & medical
>More info at BayCreative
Colibri Digital Marketing
1931 Buchanan St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
This small digital marketing agency advertises itself as meeting a growing need for companies devoted to a “triple bottom line”: people, planet, and profit. Focused on best practices in digital strategy, content marketing, and web design, Colibri’s triple bottom line approach to marketing is promoted as accounting for the specific people involved with a client business and the environmental impact of those companies, in addition to maximizing profile and profitability. The firm’s services are specifically pitched toward companies seeking to be influencers in building a better world, and its team lays claim to expertise at understanding a diverse range of industries, visions, and business models.
|$150-$199/hour||Digital strategy, Content marketing, Web design||>Number of employees: 2-9
>Notable clients: Fitch Criminal Defense P.C., San Francisco Green Film Festival, Food Sovereignty Tours, Corodata, SFhotlist Team and Compass Realty
>Industries served: Technology, Arts, communication, & music, Other industries
>More info at Colibri Digital Marketing
535 Mission St. 14th Fl.
San Francisco, CA 94105
With a specific focus on fintech and financial marketing, CSTMR’s mission is to drive the scaling, adaptation, and agility of companies in these sectors, aiming for sustained growth. It advertises a holistic marketing approach backed by experience in numerous sectors of financial services and fintech, inclusive of banking, credit, cryptocurrency, investment, and lending and payments. Known for regular communication and the deployment of advanced project management tools when working with clients, CSTMR deals in large part with small businesses and mid-market clientele. Outside its core advertising, branding, and marketing strategy service lines, CSTMR also offers website design, SEO, and even customer relations management (CRM) tools.
|$150-$199/hour||Advertising, Branding, Marketing strategy||>Number of employees: 10-49
>Notable clients: CreditKarma, LendingTree, Goji, Connect2Capital.com, SELFi.com
>Industries served: Financial services, Other
>More info at CSTMR
Cut Canvas Creative
3309 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
This small agency focuses on video production and social media marketing and works overwhelmingly with small businesses and mid-market clients. Advertising high-quality video, compelling copy, and well-constructed strategic campaigns as the core of its offerings, Cut Canvas Creative lays claim to improving marketing ROI through increases in downloads, donations, customer appointments, and overall revenue. The firm is known for delivering high-quality footage, editing, and creative writing and for strong delivery as regards customer service and smooth workflow. Cut Canvas’ videos have garnered awards and earned a reputation for being precisely calibrated to client requirements.
|$100-$149/hour||Video production, Digital strategy, Social media marketing||>Number of employees: 2-9
>Notable clients: TEDx, Rodan and Fields, Juventus, Aspen Institute, Vox
>Industries served: Healthcare & medical, Business services, Consumer products & services
>More info at Cut Canvas Creative
156 2nd St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
Focused specifically on SEO and PPC services for mid-market and enterprise-scale clients, Directive offers both B2B and B2C solutions and provides active collaborations with in-house marketing teams to make these kinds of campaigns stand out from competitor efforts. Its SEO services include content development, link earning, local search optimization, and on-site implementation whenever applicable. Its PPC services are focused mainly on Google AdWords, although Directive does some work through Bing as well. The firm’s efforts have acquired a reputation for substantially increasing engagement, garnering leads, and driving sales, and its team has shown skill at integrating smoothly with in-house marketing teams.
|$150-$199/hour||SEO, PPC||>Number of employees: 10-49
>Notable clients: SumoLogic, Cisco, Betterment, Sentinelone, Allstate Samsung SDS
>Industries served: Information technology, Telecommunications, Healthcare & medical
>More info at Directive
Division of Labor
Sausalito, CA 94965
This small firm advertises itself as an equal parts advertising, digital marketing, and creative branding agency. Division of Labor is focused on building integrated ad campaigns generated in close collaboration with the client to fulfill predetermined and agreed-upon goals. It tracks campaign results and extracts case studies on demand and advertises brand consultation for start-ups and small businesses. Branding services include brand strategy, voice, assets, and content, designed to lay a comprehensive foundation to build upon. The Division team has a reputation for clarity of analysis and the ability to distill complexity into the simple and relatable core essence of a brand.
|$150-$199/hour||Advertising, Social media marketing, Branding||>Number of employees: 2-9
>Notable clients: San Jose Sharks, SFMOMA, Kelly Services, Opendoor, Raley's Grocery Store
>Industries served: Advertising & marketing, Media
>More info at Division of Labor
99 Shotwell St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Advertising itself as a full-service agency, Gumas’ focus is on integrated advertising, branding, and digital marketing campaigns. The firm particularly lays claim to expertise in developing “challenger” brands, clients that are taking on established and entrenched competitors in a specific sector. As outcomes of its core service lines, Gumas promises effective messaging, increased lead generation, and in general to provide support for clients who are “tired of being pushed around.” The firm has developed a reputation for strong engagement in and commitment to projects and lays claim to the delivery of effective brand overhauls with comprehensive content.
|$100-$149/hour||Marketing strategy, Advertising, Graphic design||>Number of employees: 10-49
>Notable clients: Lira Clinical, Monaghan Medical, San Francisco 49ers, Varian Medical, KeyPoint Credit Union
>Industries served: Healthcare & medical, Financial services, Manufacturing
>More info at Gumas
KO Websites, Inc.
3209 Castro Valley Blvd. Ste. 4
Castro Valley, CA 94546
Based in the Bay Area just outside San Francisco, KO Websites provides organic SEO services and full-service marketing services including social media marketing and PPC advertising through AdWords and Yelp. Outside these core service lines, KO also offers customized WordPress and HTML5 web designs, video production, and overall digital strategy. It designs apps for Linux platforms and maintains active partnerships with Yext, GoDaddy, GlobalSign, and Constant Contact. The firm proclaims client care and support as key selling points of its services and has acquired a reputation for delivering results that drive increased engagement through multiple channels.
|$100-$149/hour||Social media marketing, SEO, Digital strategy||>Number of employees: 10-49
>Notable clients: CCSO, R&A Trucking, GMI Homeguard, Century Roof & Solar, Nieto Fine Art
>Industries served: Construction, Energy, Manufacturing
>More info at KO Websites, Inc.
Landis Communications Inc.
1388 Sutter St. Ste. 901 9th Fl.
San Francisco, CA 94109
Landis Communications Inc. (LCI) is a multi-award-winning small firm specializing in public relations and marketing strategy work and advertising over 25 years of experience. Beyond these core service lines, LCI also offers social media marketing, video production, and integrated marketing services and represents clients in a multitude of different industries, including national consumer, technology, and real estate brands. The firm has a trademarked Promised Results program designed to guarantee targeted results and is a member of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) program. It has a reputation for delivering projects that lead to rapid increases in profile and revenue.
|$200-$300/hour||Public relations, Digital strategy, Marketing strategy||>Number of employees: 10-49
>Notable clients: Velodyne LiDAR, Save the Redwoods League, Stanford Children's Hospital, Global Alzheimer's Platform, California Bank & Trust
>Industries served: Consumer products & services, Technology, Real estate
>More info at Landis Communications, Inc.
311 California St. 2nd Fl.
San Francisco, CA 94104
A mid-sized firm with offices in multiple centers, including San Francisco, Metric Theory advertises its service as performance digital marketing, focused on delivering improved numbers and growth for a client base dominated by mid-market companies but that also includes a proportion of enterprise and small business clients. Laying claim to the management of over half a billion dollars in total ad spend for a wide range of clients, the firm specializes in service B2B tech, e-commerce, retail, and business service brands and creates specialized teams to pair with each client in order to drill down into each business’ unique needs, challenges, and culture.
|Custom quote||Digital strategy, Social media marketing, PPC||>Number of employees: 50-249
>Notable clients: GoFundMe, Zenefits, Optimizely, Tradesy, Getaround
>Industries served: Business services, E-commerce, Retail
>More info at Metric Theory
600 California St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
This small firm is specifically focused on mobile app marketing, supplemented with advertising and branding services, and advertises itself as a full-service and global solution. Beyond its core service lines, Moburst also provides video production, UX/UI design, and strategies for media planning and purchase. Its mobile services include marketing strategy, product refinement, user acquisition, and app store optimization (ASO), and it lays claim to serving businesses ranging from start-ups to enterprise-scale global brands. The firm has won multiple marketing, brand awareness, performance marketing, and social media campaign awards and has earned a reputation for projects that provide robust frameworks for ongoing efforts.
|$150-$199/hour||Mobile & app marketing, Advertising, Branding||>Number of employees: 10-49
>Notable clients: Google, Uber, Samsung, Discovery, Dunkin'
>Industries served: Retail, Telecommunications, Other industries
>More info at Moburst
995 Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Victorious is a firm with a specific focus on SEO, using a combination of technological and human support to build marketing strategies that can achieve years’ worth of increased ROI in highly competitive search channels in a period of months. Advertising itself as a uniquely reliable SEO partner with an excellent performance history — the firm’s work has won a dozen major awards in the past three years — Victorious claims positioning in the core of Silicon Valley as part of what makes it a capable addition to a company’s marketing operation. It provides dashboard review that allows clients to confirm the efficacy of its SEO solutions.
|$150-$199/hour||SEO||>Number of employees: 10-49
>Notable clients: SoFi, Groupon, TopGolf, FanDuel, Hallmark
>Industries served: E-commerce, Travel & leisure, Real estate
>More info at Victorious
WSI Net Advantage
85 Bassett St.
San Jose, CA 95110
This small web design, SEO, and PPC service firm advertises specialized internet business strategies tailored to specific clients and lays claim to delivering measurable increases in marketing ROI. It uses a proprietary tool called Internet Business Analysis to identify long- and short-term client needs for a team of developers to execute custom solutions. Outside its central service lines, WSI also provides social media marketing support, logo design, and branding services. The firm lays claim to over 20 years of experience and claims to helm a global organization and “worldwide production centers”; while it’s not clear what this means, WSI does enjoy positive word of mouth for caring and capable service.
|Custom quote||SEO, PPC, Web design||>Number of employees: 2-9
>Notable clients: Emilia Piano Studio
>Industries served: Financial services, Business services, Consumer products & services
>More info at WSI Net Advantage
Questions to Ask Digital Marketing Companies
With so many digital marketing companies in San Francisco each offering similar features, it’s important to ask the right questions during your initial discovery call or demo. To help you make the right inquiries, we put together a downloadable list of questions to ask your prospective digital marketing company.