We’re Turning 14!

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This week is a very special week for us. We’re turning 14 years old, making us one of the longest independent marketing agencies to operate in the UK. This one is particularly exciting, following our U.S. expansion to support businesses, big and small, across different markets. The last 12 months have been all about recovery following the pandemic, but we didn’t let it distract our focus. We continued to power through, focusing our attention where it mattered the most – our team and our clients. As a result, we’re proud to have experienced the following growth:

  • 49% increase in total agency turnover
  • 51% increase in minimum retainers
  • 57% increase in our larger retainers
  • 41 new clients onboarded
  • 45 existing clients increased their budgets
  • 98% client retention rate
  • 9 internal promotions
  • 68% increase in staff development
  • 950% increase in the amount invested into the agency

But we recognise that it’s not all about the facts and figures, but how we got there and what we’re doing to continuously innovate ourselves as a leading agency. Here’s what we’ve been up to and what’s to come.

Business Foundations

seabrook rise grays

Growing a business is never easy, particularly with £0 investment and no previous experience of owning a company. But that’s exactly the foundations CEO & Founder Ben Austin built Absolute Digital Media on. As a child, Ben lived on an estate in Grays (Essex) called Seabrook Rise. He didn’t enjoy school, so left aged 15 prior to his GCSEs. Despite not having any qualifications, Ben went on to found and grow the agency from his home. He worked out of his room for 3 years before taking on any staff, which as you can imagine was a lonely time, and sometimes hard to keep himself motivated, but he powered on knowing what he wanted to achieve. Now, 14 years later, Absolute Digital Media is now a multi-million-pound agency and has a turnover of over £3million.

The agencies growth didn’t happen overnight, and we still come up against new challenges even now, 14 years later. But what’s important to remember is, particularly if you are a student, is to not let pressure get to you whether you’re about to take your GCSEs or studying outside of school. It doesn’t mean your life is over.

We’re proud to take on apprentices without a degree because we understand that not having a certificate to say what you’ve accomplished doesn’t mean that you’re any less creative or able to produce the same work as someone who has. In fact, only 18% of our team have a degree, proving that if progressing onto further education isn’t for you, it’s not a problem. The sheer drive and determination for something will get you to where you want to be, just like Ben.

Ben commented:

“I can’t believe this week marks Absolutes 14th Birthday. I remember setting the agency up in my home and dreaming of where it could go. Back then, marketing was relatively new, so I had nothing to base the agency off, building it literally from scratch with almost no knowledge about how to grow a successful company. It’s been a journey, but one I wouldn’t change for the world. I’m incredibly proud of listening to my gut and doing what everyone told me not to. If I hadn’t, the likelihood of me sharing this story today would be very minimal. Maybe that’s what fuelled my drive. What’s important is that I knew I wanted to follow my entrepreneurial dream from a very young age. I was never the kid to enjoy school. It wasn’t an environment I enjoyed being in which is why I left before I was locked in by exam schedules. So many young people are under pressure these days and, if you’re one of them, know that grades aren’t everything. If you’re determined to put the time and effort into something you enjoy and believe can make happen, you can achieve anything you want to.”  

ben austin

More About Our U.S. Expansion

If you follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn, you may have noticed that we treated the whole team to a trip to New York back in March following the success of our city break in Amsterdam in November 2021. Whilst we wanted the team to experience a once-in-a-life-time opportunity, there was an even bigger reason for this. That same week, we officially opened business state-side and had the honour our meeting our Non-Executive Director, Nick Eubanks, in-person.

absolute new york

Shift In Focus

We previously referred to ourselves as a full-service agency but we’re now looking ahead at client demand and our in-house expertise. With that in mind, we’re no longer a full-service agency. Instead, we specialise in SEO, digital PR and PPC. Why? Because we already know that this is where our expertise lies and, through focusing on these core services, we’re able to provide a high-quality service. We also wanted to make it clear that, just because we’re no longer offering certain aspects of the marketing realm, doesn’t mean our team has suffered. Despite the shift in direction, it was business as usual for the team with internal adjustments being made to ensure those impacted were not affected in terms of job loss.

New Microsite Launch

We haven’t just shifted in terms of the services we offer, but the niches of which we excel in. We’re focusing on six industries, following a string of success. This includes the adult, finance, gambling, crypto, pharma and CBD industry. To support our expansion within these areas, we’ve created a series of microsites to support our marketing. It’s worth noting that, despite this, we’re continuing to work with all our existing clients and continue to onboard brands outside of these industries.

Client Wins & Successes

We’re proud to work with such a diverse range of clients and have onboarded some credible names including Lovehoney, Loganix, Pillar4 Media and Rigstone Capital in the last 12 months. We’ve also continued to work on those you can often hear us shouting about including QuidMarket, Vera Clinic, Stelrad, Eden’s Gate and MegaPleasure, where we’ve achieved the following results:

QuidMarket:

  • 87% increase in new users
  • 101% increase in sessions
  • 25% increase in conversion rate
  • 150% increase in completed online applications
  • 67% increase in organic keywords on pages 1 – 3 

Vera Clinic:

  • 61% increase in new users
  • 111% increase in goal conversion rate
  • 258% increase in goal completions
  • 181% increase in organic keywords on pages 1 – 3

Stelrad:

  • 324% increase in eCommerce conversion rate
  • 32% increase in transactions
  • 45% increase in revenue
  • 148% increase in organic keywords on pages 1 – 3

Eden’s Gate:

  • 148% increase in visibility
  • 153% increase in organic sessions
  • 373% increase in transactions
  • 338% increase in revenue

MegaPleasure:

  • 929% increase in organic visibility
  • 440% increase in organic traffic
  • 600% increase in page 1 positions
  • 192% increase in eCommerce conversion rate

Team Growth

We’re proud to not just have a range of clients on board, but a diverse team too. We’re extremely proud that:

  • 15% of the team grew up outside the UK
  • 40% of the team were hired before they turned 21
  • 55% of the team within the agency are women
  • 45% of the team within the agency are men
  • 50% of senior positions are held by women
  • 50% of senior positions are held by men

And we’re still going. We’re excited to onboard a new Digital PR Team Lead, Lead Designer, Head Of SEO and Senior PPC Manager in the next 3 months. We’re also continuing to hire for a further Developer to join the team. Interested? Check out are latest vacancies on our careers page.

uk agency award winners 2021

Culture

We’ve been working hard to maintain our company culture despite our shift to becoming a fully remote agency. We’ve introduced several perks and initiatives throughout the agency, some of which you’re likely to have seen, and some not-so-much. Here’s a full list of what we’re currently offering to our teams.

  • Fully remote working (anywhere within Europe*)
  • Premium Private healthcare
  • Opportunities to speak at industry events and conferences if you want to
  • A library, where you can select a book of your choice and we’ll send it to you for free
  • Opportunities to be involved in our charity fundraising events
  • A birthday gift and the afternoon off on us
  • A weekly PT session
  • Core working hours
  • Extra treats on your work-anniversary
  • Regular social events and team building activities
  • Annual festival
  • 3 additional wellness days per year
  • Early finish on the last Friday of each month

absolute festival

We care about our team and their opinion really does matter to us, which is why we also held an internal survey, alongside Best Companies, to help us better understand the impact of what we were doing. The survey was completely anonymous and gave us the chance to see where we currently stood vs where we wanted to be. It revealed that –

  • 97% of our employees believe their opinion counts at work
  • 100% of our employees believe people of all backgrounds, characteristics and beliefs are welcome
  • 96% of our employees believe they have the opportunity to succeed in the business
  • 98% of our employees believe that they would feel making a report if they saw something wrong at work
  • 98% of our employees believe they trust the business to be fair to all employees
  • 97% of our employees believe if they raised a concern about discrimination, we would do what is right
  • 98% of our employees believe the people they work with treat others with respect
  • 97% of our employees believe workforce diversity is valued

Supporting Our Community

As an Essex-based agency with a local team, you can always find us doing our bit to support the community. More recently, we’ve sponsored our local soup Kitchen, One Love, and their activities. We’re providing a night’s worth of meals for a whole year, equating to £150 per month or £1,800 across the year. Our team also regularly volunteer their time, handing out meals and toiletries to the homeless. Our Marketing Manager, Jasmine, is also preparing to run the London Marathon for a second year in a row in aid of our client The National Autistic Society.

soup kitchen

What You Can Look Forward To

Over the next month, you’re likely to hear from us about exciting new initiatives too including our first ever roundtable which will be hosted by our Head Of SEO, Sophie, our monthly Twitter Space with PPC Manager, Tiffany, and more information on our first in-person event hosted by us.

If you’ve entered the Brighton SEO ballot (or are lucky enough to already have a ticket!) you can catch our team there again in October.

sophie brannon

For more information about the initiatives, we at Absolute Digital Media are carrying out, get in touch with a member of our expert team on 0800 088 6000 today.

For more information or to discuss your own digital marketing requirements, call one of our expert team today on 0800 088 6000.

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