“She is always a novelty; for she is never the Chicago you saw when you passed through the last time.” – Mark Twain

Behind every great digital campaign is a great agency. Thanks to the growing role of internet in our lives, agencies have come a long way in the past decade, and they’ve begun to hone in on and innovate in the realm of digital marketing. Whether the agency is a dozen people or 500, or was founded as a traditional agency or a digital agency, every creative group brings its own flair and aesthetic to its work. 

And to know more about these creative hubs, what better place to start, than the vibrant city of Chicago. When it comes to areas that are full of inspiration and talent for design, advertising, and web development, Chicago is undeniably one of the leading places in the world. The best and brightest in these industries is often found in one of the many digital agencies that are widespread throughout the city of Chicago. The company culture of these digital agencies shape some of the brightest minds in the industry, and by combining the efforts of graphic design with strategy, digital marketing efforts, and website development, a client’s goals are brought to life through memorable campaigns! Let’s take a look at some of the best digital ad agencies in Chicago.

Each agency in this list was hand-selected by the ReportGarden, and they are among the most creative, top-earning agencies in Chicago. A wide range of criteria, which include social shares, user reviews, culture, certifications, employees, thought leadership and a lot more, have been considered while compiling this list. Apart from the usual big names, this diverse list also includes up-and-coming creative agencies that are working with the largest, most well-known brands and are creating today’s major advertising campaigns.
Here’s a look at what we consider the Top 25 digital ad agencies in Chicago, places full of inspiration, talent and opportunities. Each agency with its own unique philosophy on marketing and vibrant culture. Read ahead, get inspired! 🙂

 

25. Baltoro

More than just a digital marketing agency, Baltoro provides a mix of campaign management and strategic consulting that most companies desperately crave. A hybrid agency/consultancy focused on transparency, accountability and integrity. Baltoro is an agile team that provides rapid efficient growth to help companies create long term sustainable success. This agency drives efficient growth, builds brands and expands market share through data driven decisions.

 

 

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Baltoro is the perfect blend of campaign development and campaign management with a continuous layer of strategic consulting. With a unique on-boarding process and continual business knowledge transfer, Baltoro creates and executes the strategies that not only meet your company’s current needs, but also positions you to meet your company’s future goals. This approach is a direct result of their experienced team.

One size does not fit all. Baltoro combines their digital marketing expertise with their client’s business knowledge and then employs the appropriate proven strategies that drive results. Strategy, campaigns and results are all customized on a business-by-business basis. They help create a strategic road map that will allow a client to achieve both short term and long term goals.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $750

 

24. OneIMS – Integrated Marketing Solutions

“We take care of our clients, we take care of each other, and we take care of business.”

OneIMS, based in Chicago, is a specialist digital marketing agency offering services in Search Engine Marketing, Paid Search, Web Design and more! OneIMS maintains an in-house team of experts in SEO, PPC, social media, ecommerce and more, analyzing the data that their technology provides and using it to develop targeted strategies. It is this expertise which helps the agency to work with diverse clientele, across sectors from heavy industry and manufacturing to pet care, with ease.

 

 

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OneIMS is always on the top of technology and marketing in digital media, using the latest tools to effectively manage campaigns. A certified Google Partner, OneIMS has demonstrated a high level of technical expertise and proficiency in account management. All of this has brought OneIMS a lot of recognition among clients and awards for web development, web design, SEO and integrated search services.

OneIMS has everything you need to compete in the digital marketplace to get more exposure, more traffic and more leads.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $250

 

23. Straight North

Straight North is an Internet marketing company with proficiency in SEO, PPC management, display advertising, email marketing, and responsive (mobile-friendly) Web design and development. In an effort to meet the unique and traditionally underserved marketing needs of the B2B sector, this Chicago-based marketing agency has formed a B2B services division. With an in-house team of over 60 full-time marketers, this agency has the depth and breadth to manage complex, multi-front campaigns that deliver continuously improving results.

 

 

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Straight North offers a real-time system of lead validation and reporting that enables clients to rapidly prioritize and respond to high-value actionable leads. With clients throughout the United States and offices in Chicago, Charlotte, Baltimore and Washington, DC, this agency has set the standard for generating high volume, high quality sales leads.

With a three-year growth rate of 198%, Straight North earned the #1994 spot on the 2015 Inc. 5000 List of fastest-growing private companies in America.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $500

 

22. Digital Third Coast

Digital Third Coast is a reputed digital marketing agency in Chicago specializing in SEO, pay-per-click, and content marketing services. After client onboarding, this agency creates a custom plan for each client based on their industry and company needs. With a constant focus on ROI and with a goal of making a measurable difference, this agency is known for delivering great returns to their clients.

Digital Third Coast has a simple philosophy, to achieve success by combining the latest techniques with time-tested best practices. A data-centric agency, this agency heavily relies on data analysis to drive their strategic decisions and account management. DTC uses this data to uncover cold hard facts surrounding their clients’ PPC campaigns and helps them unlock the keys to increasing client visibility among target audience.

 

 

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Digital Third Coast believes in investing in its employees, encouraging them to spend up to 10% of their time on education. This agency is now a hub of talent, with several employees completing their Google Individual Qualification certification, in addition to any other necessary certifications such as Bing Ads, Optimizely, HubSpot, and more.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $1,000

 

21. Wpromote

“We are neither a vendor nor a line item; we are a true partner in your business and we celebrate your success.”

Founded in 2001, Wpromote is an award-winning online marketing firm that has helped hundreds of clients from Fortune 500 companies to small startups grow their businesses online. With unmatched experience in search marketing and an unrivaled dedication to clients’ results, Wpromote stands out from the crowd. The suite of services offered by this agency include PPC Management, Search Engine Optimization, Email Marketing and Social Media. The 90+ employees currently manage more than 200 clients spanning a wide range of industries and verticals in over 25 countries worldwide.

 

 

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Wpromote’s SCORE Method is their secret to how they create more value for their clients. It involves a cycle of strategy, testing, and optimization to continuously find new ways to improve campaigns and avoid hitting the “plateaus” commonly associated with ongoing marketing efforts.

Wpromote established themselves as leaders in the industry by offering superior proprietary technology, dedicated customer support and an honest, holistic approach. Wpromote has been honored 7 consecutive times on the Inc. 500|5000 list of the fastest growing privately owned companies making them a member of their elite Honor Roll.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $2000

 

20. Rise Interactive

Rise Interactive is a digital marketing agency specializing in digital media and advanced analytics. More than just an agency, Rise Interactive acts as a strategic partner helping marketing leaders allocate budgets most efficiently and create more relevant experiences for their customers.Rise has accomplished its growth by taking a data-driven approach to marketing, maintaining a razor-sharp focus on client performance, and reinvesting the profits back into the business. It manages enterprise-level analytics and campaigns across all channels of digital marketing, including: paid search, SEO, email, display, social, affiliate, and comparison shopping engines.

 

 

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This agency takes a unique approach to digital marketing, applying its Interactive Investment Management (IIM) philosophy to client engagements. Similar to the concept of a portfolio manager, the approach looks at an entire investment across digital marketing channels and shifts budgets based on performance and the opportunity to maximize returns.

An award-winning agency, Rise has been recognized as a leader in the digital marketing space and has received industry recognition for explosive growth, excellence in digital marketing, and company culture. Rise was named Digital Agency of the Year by the Moxie Awards and Built in Chicago in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $2,000

 

19. Perfect Search Media

Perfect Search Media was founded in early 2010 with expertise in all online traffic strategies, with core competencies in search engine marketing and search engine optimization. Much of the firms strategies are based on the background and experiences of their Founder, Ajay Pattani. Today this agency has evolved into a high growth organization that manages SEO, SEM, social media, retargeting, display advertising & design and development for various clients across US.

 

 

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Perfect Search Media has some of the best talent in the town, each one of their online advertising analysts are Google Adwords Certified and Bing Ads Accredited Professionals. PSM is also a Google Partner, which means they have a dedicated team of Google Adwords reps and exclusive access to beta programs.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $3000

 

18. The PPC Guys

As the name so clearly indicates, PPC is all they do. The PPC Guys is known for its strong AdWords management team that has years of experience setting up and optimizing Adwords and Bing Ads campaigns for ecommerce, national lead gen, local businesses and SaaS clients. With over 2,000 Google AdWords accounts set-up and managed in the past 5 years, this agency is an obvious choice for businesses in Chicago, focusing on PPC.

 

 

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The PPC Guys is a Search Engine Marketing agency with a specialized focus on conversion based pay per click management. With a track record of delivering above industry standard performance, over the past 6 years this agency has grown to over 200 active clients around the globe.

With a well versed knowledge of Google and Microsoft’s search platforms and dedicated analysts striving to improve campaign performance, The PPC Guys is a perfect combination that drives the success of their PPC services.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $5,000

 

17. Walker Sands Digital

“We’ve essentially combined a Chicago web design company, Chicago SEO consulting firm, and Chicago PR firm into one full-service agency.”

Walker Sands Digital is a full service digital firm offering web design, SEO, SEM, and CRO, among other services to clients around the world. Headquartered in Chicago, this agency is a part of the award-winning B2B tech PR agency, Walker Sands Communications. As is the case with its parent organization, Walker Sands Digital specializes in quality driving leads and delivering measurable improvement to clients across a range of industries.

 

 

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Walker Sands Digital enjoys a diverse clientele which include large Fortune 500 corporations, startups, fast-growing high-technology companies, professional service firms, business associations and nonprofit organizations. The only thing that this agency seems to care about is to systematically optimize their clients’ campaigns, regardless of the budget. They successfully manage accounts that spend $50,000 per week on PPC ads, and also help out clients with a $1,000 per month budget, with equal zeal.

Results-oriented in every aspect of their work, they’ve built a strong reputation for providing insightful, strategic communications counsel as well as meticulous execution.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $5,000

 

16. Marcel Digital

“Our main objective is to bring transparency to our client’s digital marketing solutions.”

Founded in March 2003, Marcel is one of the original and well established boutique digital marketing firms in Chicago. This agency specializes in Search Engine Marketing including Search Engine Optimization & Paid Search, Web Development, Conversion Rate Optimization, Website Analytics and more.

Marcel Digital is a Google Certified Partner in Paid Search. Along with an awesome creative talent they bring in a strong conversion focus to paid search advertising, optimizing both the traffic driving campaigns as well as the user experience. With a huge clientele across US, Marcel has been successfully helping businesses achieve their objectives, be it driving traffic, e-commerce sales or lead generation.

 

 

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Behind all their awards, certifications and credentials are a group of passionate and talented individuals with a strong customer service orientation. Over the years, Marcel has not just built a technically sound account management team but a more client friendly team of digital strategists.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $5,000

 

15. Be Found Online

“The Art & Science of Digital Marketing.”

Be Found Online is an end-to-end solution for traffic generation, lead nurturing, and conversion, driving engagement from first impression up to first contact. By consistently analyzing and optimizing, BFO provides clients with a detailed understanding of customer’s’ entire conversion path. Their Search, Content, and Marketing Automation experts work as a team to cost effectively drive more, and higher quality leads.

 

 

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BFO spends zero time building tools, instead they are investing time and money in using them. Leveraging these tools to uncover the deepest of insights to formulate a plan that puts your digital marketing in the right places and in front of the right faces.

BFO offers a full suite of digital marketing services that includes performance organic media, paid media, analytics, and local search tactics.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $5,000

 

14. Mabbly

“Trust Mabbly, then sit back and relax. Their team is the best.”

This is what Chicago Tribune wrote about Mabbly in 2013. Fast Company recently called the Mabbly staff “A hip, young team of approachable guides that demystify the murky world of PR in an internet age.” In the highly competitive online landscape, Mabbly truly stands out. Behind this success is their passion to put their extensive experience, skills, and connections to help their clients businesses rise to the top.

 

 

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Mabbly is a truly vibrant agency committed to strengthening their clients’ brand and celebrating the creative and hardworking people behind it. This uniqueness comes from their unique perspective on marketing. They believe the core of a digital brand lies in its narrative. So, after client onboarding the first thing that Mabbly does is understand the client’s story, then work tirelessly to communicate it quickly, easily, and effectively to potential customers. A good story can definitely be a real game-changer.

Mabbly’s team will not only uncover, define, and refine your story; they’ll package and deliver it in a way that’s guaranteed to resonate with your future clients and customers.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $5000

 

13. Kelly Scott Madison

Kelly Scott Madison is a leading independent media agency that delivers results through original media solutions. Over the years, this agency has successfully built a team of skilled marketers with an overt passion for all things media. From experienced professionals to fresh minds, everyone at KSM shares the distinct desire to deliver innovative solutions that go beyond the expected.

KSM has repeatedly demonstrated an impressive degree of versatility and expertise. This is most clearly exhibited by the positive results they have achieved for clients across numerous categories. Their unique approach ensures continued success for their clients.Their daily personal attention and account management is top-notch and their commitment to producing excellence is unmatched.

 

 

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KSM has a reputation of delivering exceptional results by integrating additional budget optimizing elements to increase message effectiveness while keeping costs low. This agency has the adaptability and resources necessary to handle any undertaking.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $5000

 

12. Geary LSF Group

“ We bring our obsession with performance to everything we do.There’s no such thing as good enough.”

Geary LSF is an integrated full service online marketing group that is consistently delivering great results by uniquely optimizing the digital customer engagement path. This agency provides all services under one roof: from Strategy to Development, Media Planning to Placement, SEO, SEM, Analytics, Social, Local and Mobile media services.

 

 

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Geary LSF specializes in engaging users across multiple touch points to carry them along the consumer decision-making journey. Through the use of Display, Paid Search, Video, Retargeting and more, Geary LSF will carry your brand’s voice from one touch point to the next, seamlessly working with earned and owned media initiatives to move the consumer along the path to purchase.

The 240-people strong Geary LSF Group has offices on two continents and manages campaigns for more than 450 brands worldwide.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $5,000

 

11. Envisionit Agency

As one of the first digital agencies in Chicago, Envisionit Agency is a true pioneer in several segments, working with and creating some of the biggest brands. This digital marketing agency specialising in crafting memorable stories for your brand. Stories that engage your customers and transform your brand into a systems that attract, connect & convert.!

The success of this agency can be attributed to a simple philosophy, something which they stood by from the beginning.

“Our clients deserve the best agency experience they’ve ever had, and our team should love what they do while enjoying the environment in which they do it.”

 

 

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Envisionit is a perfect team of designers, writers, marketers, strategists, and developers who work closely together to help you meet your business objectives.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $10,000

 

10. DAC Group

“A full-service digital agency specializing in location-based lead generation”

DAC Group is a full-service, best-practice performance digital agency with a simple objective: to generate measurable revenue for their clients. They combine in-house consumer insight, proprietary technology and media expertise to create innovative marketing and lead generation solutions across multiple platforms – paid and organic search engine marketing; social, local, mobile and location-based media. Starting from research and competitive intelligence, through design and deployment, all the way to execution and continuous improvement, DAC delivers everything that your business needs for growth.

 

 

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DAC attributes its consistent performance to localization, granularity and context-sensitivity. And the way DAC achieves this is through a data-driven work culture. This agency is a hub of talent and invests a lot in latest technology & tools, continually optimizing performance to turn leads into customers and big data into impressive results.

All of this provides DAC with the right mix for improving your performance, from the national right down to the hyper-local level.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): C$10,000

 

9. Resolution Media

“Global, but Built on the Best Local Talent.”

With more than 1,350 specialists in 50+ markets worldwide, Resolution Media is one of the largest performance marketing agencies in the world. Always evolving and actively discovering better marketing strategies, Resolution Media has successfully developed some of the world’s largest and most effective campaigns in a truly global fashion. With more than 20 percent of their specialists worldwide focusing on strategy, Resolution has developed sound expertise in Paid Search, SEO, Content, Display, Social and Local marketing.

 

 

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Resolution Media helps clients discover their next powerhouse customer acquisition channels while refining and optimizing the campaigns that already drive results.What you can definitely expect from Resolution is finding new opportunities, cross-channel coordination, a significant understanding of your key audiences and more.
Among the best in the marketing business, this agency is always ahead in leveraging the most effective tools and partnering with the industry’s most innovative and top-rated technology companies to manage more than $1.2B in media investments.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $5,000

 

8. iCrossing

“ We bring our obsession with performance to everything we do.There’s no such thing as good enough.”

A unit of Hearst Corporation, one of the nation’s largest diversified media companies, iCrossing offers world-class digital marketing services including paid search, search engine optimization, display, web development, social media, mobile, research & analytics. With 18 offices worldwide, iCrossing is a truly global agency. No wonder, their client base includes Coca-Cola, FedEx, LEGO, Toyota etc.

 

 

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As a unit of Hearst Magazines, iCrossing has access to the vast content and data from one of the world’s largest independent media and entertainment companies, this is a huge competitive advantage for its global client base.

iCrossing is heavily invested in data, this is one big factor for its success.They rely on data for everything they do – whether it’s searching for a breakthrough insight, making quantum leaps in technology, or creating content.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $20,000

 

7. Ethology

“We are consumerists at heart and integrationists in practice.

Ethology: The study of human behavior and social organization

As the name suggests, the first thing they do after client onboarding is a through audience research. After a thorough audit process, their Audience Research team provides valuable insights into where your brands and products need to be across the digital spectrum.

With a good mix of analytics and creative talent, Ethology is an agency which believes in creating value by fusing scientific approach with creativity & design. Whatever may be your business objective – brand awareness, sales or client retention, this agency will directly work with you to build a sound strategy and implement it.

 

 

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The services offered by Ethology span from integrated digital marketing strategy and planning to digital media planning and buying, creative services and content strategy. They combine these services with robust analytics to track your campaign performance, and provide valuable insights on where to go next.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $20,000

 

6. MARC USA

“No matter the client, category, medium or budget – we’re moving people to action.”

With an unique approach of their own, MARC USA is an agency you can rely on to create strong emotional connections to your brand. As pioneers in search engine marketing, MARC USA has created award-winning campaigns across industries. From customer acquisition, to eCommerce, drive to store, brand engagement, loyalty, advocacy, recruitment, and product launches, MARC USA has done it all. Their channel expertise includes traditional paid search, local, mobile and Product Listing Ads (PLA).

 

 

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Using their robust technology infrastructure, these guys centralize, analyze and interpret the data from clients’ marketing efforts to provide customized reports based on their needs. These reports include everything from executive team dashboards to detailed placement level analysis.

With a powerful media team that now includes more than 60+ top-notch planners and buyers with 30+ focused exclusively on digital media, MARC USA is a true pioneer of performance-driven digital marketing.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $25,000

 

5. Cramer-Krasselt

C-K is the second largest independent agency in the U.S., with more than 500 employees and $1 billion in annual billings. Headquartered in Chicago with offices in New York, Milwaukee and Phoenix,they represent major brands across virtually every industry.

The success of this group can be attributed to its unique marketing philosophy:

“Make friends, not ads. Friends are with you for years, not just a quarter. That’s why we believe: The brand with the most friends wins.

 

 

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This mindset pretty much drives all their ideas and surprisingly their work structure. Instead of clearly separated departments, C-K works with subject matter experts integrated throughout disciplines across the agency. C-K has achieved great results in this process.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $50,000

 

4. 3Q Digital

Now a part of Harte Hanks Group, this agency is one of the biggest names in Digital Marketing. 3Q Digital is a full-service digital marketing agency working with clients across industries, from Automotive to B2B, from newly funded disruptors to enterprise-level companies. 3Q specializes in ROI-focused digital marketing techniques across all the channels, including SEM, SEO, social, display, video, and mobile. Their core USP lies in advanced attribution techniques and time-tested methods of process, strategy, and execution across channels.

 

 

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3Q started as the best, most pioneering SEM agency around in 2008 and rapidly built their expertise across channels. Today 3Q owns a huge client base built on a strong foundation of scientific, intent-driven, hyper-customized campaign management.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $60,000

 

3. Rosetta

Rosetta is ranked by Ad Age among the top U.S. digital agencies and was named the #1 Agency to Watch in Ad Age’s 2011 Agency A-List. Rosetta has deep industry expertise in Healthcare, Consumer Technology & Entertainment, Consumer Products & Retail, Financial Services and Business-to-Business (B2B).

“We are an agency of data scientists,designers, storytellers, and innovators.”

 

 

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It is their differentiated capabilities and structure that have enabled them to become one of the market leaders.They are one of the few agencies which could successfully combine technological depth across platforms with world class creative, design and user experience capabilities. It is their ability to harness the power of data to create customer engagement that increases customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy, that made them an industry leader.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $75,000

 

2. Tribune Content Solutions

A division of Chicago Tribune Media Group, this agency specializes in web design, SEO, paid search, social media, and customized training sessions. As the name suggests, this agency believes in leading with content. With content as their core offering, this agency provides all the above services to their clients.

 

 

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With a huge base of 45 million consumers nationally, it is this audience base and unrivaled local market reach which gives this agency it’s advantage.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $75,000

 

1. iProspect – US

This agency needs no introduction, iProspect is a global, award-winning marketing agency that drives digital performance for many of the world’s largest brands. An industry leader which handles everything from search to influencer marketing. Born out of search, their reach and market knowledge is unrivalled in the industry. And naturally they attract great talent! With 2,500 employees in 71 offices across 50 countries, iProspect is a first truly global digital performance marketing agency,

 

 

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With an in-depth understanding of consumer behavior, iProspect specializes in delivering personal, adaptive and valuable digital experiences.

Minimum Monthly Budget (approx): USD $125,000

 

This post is a part of a blog series on Marketing Success by ReportGarden, an ad agency client reports & dashboards automation software.

Shiva Teja

Author Shiva Teja

Hi, I'm the Marketing Specialist at ReportGarden. I'm extremely fond of anything that is related to Digital Marketing, PPC and Food. I aim to reach my goals one step at a time and I believe in doing everything with a smile. You can find me on twitter at @ShivaTeja1707.

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