According to a Statista survey, three of the biggest challenges ad agencies face are communication (18%), project management (17%), and performance tracking (13%).
These shortcomings cost agencies a fortune year in and year out. Fortunately, time tracking apps like Hubstaff can bridge the communication gap and increase the chance of project success.
Still not convinced? Here are 10 ways a time tracker can help your agency:
1. Gain visibility into the hours spent on a client project
Wouldn’t your team be more likely to stay on budget if you could view the hours and money you spent for each project in real-time? Time tracking software provides that visibility.
Employees simply select the appropriate client or project name when they start working. When they’re done, they hit ‘stop’ or select a different client. The tracker records the exact number of minutes they work on each project.
No more guessing approximately how much time an employee spent on a client.
No more virtual or in-person check-ins to make sure every project is getting touched.
No more waiting until hours have been submitted to catch overspends.
You’ll have automated timesheets with accurate time down to the second, and you’ll always stay on top of whether or not each project is profitable.
2. Keep your client hours under control
Have you ever noticed that some clients demand a lot more time than they’re paying for? Fortunately, time tracking software helps you track and set limits on client hours.
Limit the amount of time your team can spend on a client project and view worked hours in real-time. When projects are in danger of going over budget, you get an alert to warn you that only a few hours are left.
From there, you can make adjustments to stay within your budget.
This system also helps keep your client balance fair. Instead of spending extra time (and losing money) on a project that has already gotten a lot of attention, your team knows to shift their attention to other clients who haven’t received all the service they paid for yet.
3. Assign supplementary staffing when needed
Sometimes, you need to meet important deadlines and you don’t have the resources to do it. When agency teams are pressed for time, they can benefit from supplementary staffing and resource allocation features.
It’s much easier to manage contractors and freelancers with a time management app. Plus, proof of work features like screenshots and URL reports give you the confidence that you’re getting the help that you paid for.
You can even use your time tracker to help you choose the right tasks and projects to outsource.
Look at the time tracking data for tasks your team has worked on in the past. Which types of tasks take the longest? Those are the things you’re spending the most money on internally, so it makes sense to outsource those tasks at a per-project rate to save money and free up your team’s workload.
4. Better reporting
Even with a real-time look at project hours and budgeting, agency teams still rely on formal reports to develop future project plans.
Whether it’s budgeting, billable hours, or website and app activity, time tracking tools can help your team gather information in a few simple clicks. From there, you can add the data to your project files or send it to your clients.
Exported reports can also serve as proof of work when you need to show your clients what they’re paying for.
5. Keeps employees accountable and identifies under-performing employees
A time tracking tool with proof of work features will also help agencies gauge employee performance. Optional screenshots, keyboard and mouse activity tracking, and web and app usage help you understand how each member of your team works.
With proof of work features, managers can provide the right tools and assign employees to the work they do best.
With optional screen capture features, ad agencies can check in on their employees’ activity without interrupting work for a status update. This visibility is especially valuable when you’re working with multiple clients who all want updates.
A time working and proof of work app can take quick snapshots at various intervals throughout the day. If a team member starts falling behind on their work, managers can check the data to find and help fix the source of the issue.
6. Better project management
A lot of time tracking software for ad agencies integrates with popular project management software like Asana and ClickUp. Tasks from popular project management apps can populate directly into your time tracking system.
This makes it easy to track time to specific projects. It also cuts down the time it would take to manually transfer over all of your projects from a separate project management tool.
When you track time by project and task, you get valuable data that helps your agency make more profit. Plus, it’s easier to estimate timelines, assign work efficiently, and hold more useful retrospectives after completing projects.
7. Integrates with accounting systems
Project management tools aren’t the only way agency teams can increase efficiency. You can spend less time on administrative tasks like payroll with smart automations in your time tracking software.
Studies from Asana have shown that timesheet corrections and other work about work employees have to do hurt their productivity considerably. That’s why time tracking software like Hubstaff integrates with payroll tools like Wise, PayPal, and Gusto.
With a few simple clicks, your teams can turn tracked time into accurate timesheets.
You can spend less time on back-office tasks and focus more on your top priorities, too.
8. Better invoicing
Time tracking tools help you bill clients faster too. You can create your own custom invoices with just a few clicks. Add your agency’s logo, branding, and any other information you need.
Once you’re finished, send them out via email to streamline the process and improve your bottom line.
Track invoice status and easily export payment information for accounting. Plus, you can track billable hours (and non-billable hours) to compare with paid invoices to make sure you’re staying profitable on every project.
9. Better project planning
Advertising agency project managers have plenty to juggle. Whether it’s managing global teams across multiple time zones or building project plans, they work around the clock to ensure projects are completed on time and on budget.
With time tracking software, you can collaborate with project managers to build project plans — and have fewer meetings to flesh them out.
When you complete a project, you’ll have access to the hours, money, and resources you consumed along the way. You can use this data to learn from your successes and failures and plan better projects.
10. Enable freelance, remote or contract workers to track time
When it comes to ad campaigns, sometimes a few extra hands go a long way. Fortunately, time tracking software isn’t just for your team. Onboard freelance, remote, and contract workers with a few simple clicks.
Once they’re on board, it’s easy to teach them how to select projects and start and stop their timer. They can switch seamlessly between the desktop, web, and mobile app, too. That means you won’t need to provide devices for them!
You’ll never need to worry about time theft either. Proof of work features like optional screenshotting and activity scores will help to ensure that your freelancers only bill for work they’ve done for you and your clients. If they’re working on projects for other people on your time, you’ll have a record of it.
How to start tracking time
Time tracking is easy to implement. Simply install the software, create an account, and get started.
Most time tracking tools offer a free trial so you can test it out before you commit to paying for anything. Hubstaff’s free trial doesn’t even require a credit card.
If you already use project management software, look for a tool that can import tasks and projects so that your team can track them accurately. You can also set up your projects within your time tracker if you prefer.
Agencies like yours don’t have money to waste. Start tracking time today to maximize your profit potential and streamline your day.