The Future of Web and Digital Marketing Agencies

Forward-thinking is important in any industry. It allows you to anticipate hurdles and changes and find solutions to them before they even occur. Plus, it’s a great way to turn your insight into explosive results and lead the market direction for the future.

Perhaps the most volatile industry with regards to change in recent years is web design and creative services. We at Squarebird are a full-stack digital agency with talents from all over the field of online creative services. In this article, we’ll discuss the future of our industry, based on insights from our Managing Partner, Nick Bird.

If you’re here to find out how we can help bring your site into the future, get in touch and we’ll talk you through our services and process!

 

“I think the landscape and future for digital agencies is looking very positive. There might be bumps in the road moving forward and things that we have to navigate such as AI and sustainability, but we should approach these challenges with open arms rather than pushing back.” – Nick Bird, Managing Partner

What is the Current Climate for Web Agencies?

The web is far beyond its hatchling phase, and web agencies have grown with it – creating an established offering that combines the different aspects of the field. This incorporates elements like design, development, and content, all into a single streamlined service.

People come to a web agency because their digital presence is at the core of their marketing strategy, and a web agency has the tools needed to support that.

However, as much as web design agencies have grown, there is still room to further evolve. Technologies have become refined over the years, resulting in an increase in expectations. A creative agency needs to have a lot more on offer than just web development, such as:

  • Services around building an initial site
  • Post-build marketing that brings value to the client
  • Copywriting – a feature that gets potentially overlooked in any web project
  • Photography and image sourcing

The modern climate that web design and creative agencies find themselves in is a digital environment that’s been fully saturated for the agency and their customers. To proceed, active methods must be used like PPC, socials, SEO, and more – you can’t just build a website and expect it to perform.

Another key point of consideration for modern web design agencies is their focus – now that the market has been established, it is time to find the place to excel.

What are the Digital Services that Web Agencies Cover?

There is a huge breadth to the creative and digital services that web agencies can cover – after all, digital can refer to a lot of things, and creative services come in any shape and form.

While we spread our wings in our early phases across a wide range of disciplines, we’ve since refined our services down into the core components of a web design agency. Not too specific to the offering of web design and development, but not so far that we become an overall 360 creative agency.

The key services that digital creative agencies offer are:

  • SEO
  • Design
  • Development
  • Hosting
  • Copywriting
  • PPC
  • Social media

There are other elements that contribute to the process, but these are the foundational services that a creative agency can offer. Physical media can sometimes creep into this, but over time we’ve focused in on the digital elements – cutting back on things like print and signage to really develop our expertise.

If you want to find out more about what we get up to, check out our Q&A with a web developer >

 

What is Next for Web Agencies?

While the future is bright for web agencies, practices involved have slowed somewhat in recent years. While they’ve not been grinding to a halt, major advancements in personal tech like phones, laptops, and tablets have become far less frequent than at the start of the tech boom.

This means that the way websites are best presented is unlikely to change dramatically in the future. Sure, trends will come along and mix up the playing field, but the core concepts are likely to remain the same.

There are, however, a few silhouettes on the horizon that could make a massive impact.

Remember Google Glass? Well, that didn’t really work out. But some big new contenders are starting to make their mark. A recent development in the Ray-Ban & Meta Smart Glasses could mark the start of an interesting period of change towards social media, personal cameras, and app usage, and the upcoming Apple Vision might be the start of a revolutionary new way to interact with apps, work, and the world around us – through an augmented virtual lens.

Another key consideration is AI – we’ve all heard the horror stories at this point, but what effect will AI really have on the future of web design and development?

The Impact of AI on SEO, Web Design, and Digital Media

AI cannot innovate, only replicate – at least in its current form. AI tools like the infamous ChatGPT are able to create things based on existing data that they have been shown. This inability to produce something from nothing, or to create an entirely new direction for a web service like development or design, means it is unlikely to serve a threat to the industry.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use it, however. AI is an incredibly useful tool in oiling up the creative process, making certain aspects like research and insights go much faster. However, it probably won’t replace traditional creative practices for companies that want something bespoke.

For web design, and websites in general, most organisations want to speak to humans. That’s because they’re led by humans, and the services they offer are invariably for humans. This common factor means that human-led design is the most logical thing to do, both now and in the future.

The Dangers of AI

There will be organisations that embrace AI to the extremes, even creating full AI sites. The impact of this is most likely to be seen in entry level projects for people that want a site quickly, i.e. start-ups.

There are indications that Google penalises websites that utilise full AI content. Furthermore, as AI is in its infancy, we’ve yet to see how it will evolve both legally and functionally – restrictions on things like use of content and copyright laws could come into play down the line.

For now, it’s best to think about the good that comes from AI – the speedy research, the ideas generation, and the surface-level insight into a topic – rather than assume it’ll replace jobs or the creative industry as a whole.

Explore the impact of AI in our article on using AI tools in marketing >

The Rise of Cult-Brand Ideologies

The idea of brand followings as cults has been tossed about a few times, but the ideology of individual customers will impact the longevity on how this will stick.

For example, people driven by price and convenience will always shop on something like Amazon where they can get the cheapest deals with the easiest interactions. Other ideologies, such as wanting to live greener, will lead to people shopping at different brands.

From a creative agency perspective, this is about understanding why this rise of dedicated brand followings has occurred and using that to inform the way we challenge these markets with innovative design features and streamlined user experiences in the future.

Find out more in our blog discussing cult-brand ideologies in detail >

 

What Could the Future of Web Agencies Look Like?

Now we’ll go over a few insights into what the future of creative agencies could look like in three, five, or even ten years.

In Three Years

There will likely be changes to Google’s algorithm during this time, adding extra things to consider for SEO purposes – although this is not too different from the past decade of changes and adaptations.

Further utilisation of video content, onsite animations, and other features that were previously hindered by bandwidth and ISP speeds will become commonplace – creating websites that crackle with more detail in their presentation.

A thought point is the awareness of cybersecurity – more organisations are already embracing Cyber Essentials and similar certifications as requirements for their business practices, and this is likely to continue into the immediate future.

In Five Years

The global push on sustainability will continue making its mark on web agencies through things like optimisation and design standards and hosting – however, the latter is likely to be led through data centres and won’t impact agencies directly.

In Ten Years?

While the distant future is hard to see even with a bird’s-eye view of the industry, we can be sure that technology won’t look quite the same. There will be new software and devices available that change the renders of sites, or digital experiences, leading to things that aren’t necessarily static.

Something similar to a metaverse could gain popularity, leading to a whole new way to way to interact digitally. Even the physical devices we use like phones are likely to see changes that receive some traction, so these all need to be considered in a long-term outlook.

 

Looking to the Future of Squarebird

With technology booming and creative practices being more valuable than ever, we see the future of Squarebird – and digital industries as a whole – as strikingly positive.

We ourselves have grown from 2 people in a bedroom in Bristol, to a full office surpassing 21 full-time staff. Our own growth has aligned with the evolution of web design and the creative field, and we see the future changes as opportunities to enjoy as they arise.

“Finally, if AI doesn’t go right, we can just unplug it. Right? Right???” Cheers Nick, I’m sure that’ll stop Skynet.

Take hold of your digital future today with web design and creative services from Squarebird. We utilise the latest innovations and practices to ensure you’re getting the best bespoke design to make your site soar. Get in touch to begin your digital evolution!

Get a free consultation call with our team.