How to start a digital marketing agency in Dubai, UAE


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The digital marketing industry has seen growth unlike any other in recent years. According to Instador, last year, digital marketing spending in the US and Britain rose to USD 52bn. That put the global digital marketing spend at around USD 100bn.

Clearly this is a vast market. And it is only getting bigger. Here in the UAE, the pattern is much the same with the digital marketing industry seeing annual growth of anywhere between 25% and 40% according to estimates.

Such significant growth presents huge opportunities to those in the region with the marketing skill and much-needed determination to run a success business in this space. If that sounds like you, there are several considerations to keep in mind when you start your digital marketing agency in Dubai.


Why start a digital marketing agency in Dubai?

Of course, there are many pros to starting your own business and becoming your own boss – greater freedom, more control and potentially higher earnings, to name just a few. But why specifically start a digital marketing agency? And why in Dubai?

Perhaps the driving factor in starting your digital marketing agency should be that you know the industry inside out. Perhaps you have been working at an agency and thinking, I could do this myself. In most cases, you probably could.

If you have a good understanding of digital marketing – from SEO to analytics and digital ads – you need little else to get started in this industry, short of a laptop, the internet and a killer web presence.

The latter is incredibly important. Digital marketing is a competitive space and you’ll need to make sure you’re easily found. If you’re telling potential clients that you’ll make them stand out in the digital realm then it’s vital that your business does too.

And why Dubai? Again, the reasons to set up here could fill an article all by themselves. The 0% tax regime on personal and corporate income, advantageous free trade zones, a strategic location to trade with huge markets around the world and a straightforward company incorporation process – the list goes on and on.


How to start your digital marketing agency in Dubai

Before making your application for a Dubai trade license, there are several things you need to consider.

One of the most important is whether you wish to set up in the mainland or in a free zone.

There are advantages to each setup.

If you establish your business in the mainland, you are free to trade directly with the local market, without using the services of a local agent. You can also bid for government contracts.

If you set up in a free zone, you can take advantage of 100% exemption from customs tax. UAE free zone business owners also have full freedom to repatriate all invested capital and profits. There are also no foreign exchange controls and currency restrictions.

You’ll also need to consider your company name. Image is understandably of huge importance in the world of digital marketing so it’s vital that your company name makes an impression, sticks in the mind of potential customers and accurately conveys the essence of your brand.

On top of this your name must meet certain criteria. As a guide: Your company name should not include any offensive or blasphemous language or make reference to known organisations and corporations.

If you are going to include your personal name in your business name, it must be in full – no abbreviations or initials. You must also check that your chosen business name is available to be registered. A company formation expert can do this for you as part of the license application process.

With these important decisions made, you can now apply for your trade license. To start a digital marketing company in Dubai, you’ll require a professional services license. This license allows you to retain 100% ownership of your company as standard with no need to work with a local sponsor.

If you have decided to start your business on the Dubai mainland, you’ll need to make your license application to the Department of Economic Development. If you are setting up in a free zone, then you should make your application to the relevant managing authority.

In both cases, it is advisable to work with a company formation expert as, while straightforward, the process is not without its idiosyncrasies. Whether making your application yourself, or through a company formation agent, you are usually only required to provide a few details and some standard documentation, including:


  • Completed application form
  • Passport copy of the proposed owner or owners
  • Two colour passport size photos


A company formation agent can also manage your visa application for you, as well as those needed for your employees, family, or domestic staff.

What is the cost of starting a digital marketing agency in Dubai?

The cost of starting a digital agency in Dubai will depend on whether you have opted for a mainland or free zone setup and the size of your business.

If you’re looking for an estimate, Fujairah Creative City is a good example. A marketing services license here, with eligibility for one visa, costs just AED 22,000. Add use of the on-site coworking facility and that figure rises to AED 24,775.

If you are looking to get your company license in Dubai, Dubai free zone visa, or the cheapest free zone license or visa in the UAE, then our team can help. We also offer monthly installment plans for UAE company registration.

Ready to start your digital marketing company in Dubai?

If you’ve got the right skills and are armed with the right knowledge, setting up a digital marketing agency in Dubai doesn’t have to be overly complex.

That being said, it does require a level of prior knowledge of the process. What’s more, it is important to note that the application process is only straightforward if your license application is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.

To help you to ensure that this is the case, it’s a good idea to work with a company formation specialist such as Set Hub when establishing a new company in the UAE.

We are Set Hub, the official Dubai representative office of Fujairah Creative City Free Zone. If you are looking to register a new company in Dubai, get a Dubai trade license, free zone license, or start a small business in Dubai, then we can help. From visa applications (including UAE investor visas) to all the necessary admin tasks, we handle it all – leaving you free to get on with your business.