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How To Choose a Quality PPC Agency

May 17, 2016
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Paid Search

We’re fed up with unscrupulous agencies in the PPC management space. Whomever you choose, your due diligence is paramount. We’ve compiled a short list of fundamentals any agency should offer. This isn’t a comprehensive list of everything an agency should have to offer, but these are some of the most important components that would indicate a competent and trustworthy PPC management agency.

 

1. Transparency

Without a doubt, transparency should one of the most fundamental principles of any agency. It is the core tenet of any quality operational philosophy.

It’s important that you stay informed – completely informed – with the activities in your account and the performance of your campaigns. Every key metric that matters to the success of your marketing goals should be made available to you in the most understandable and visually simplified way.

You should always retain full administrative ownership of your accounts, and if you ever decide to leave for any reason, all the work done on your behalf should be yours to keep. The campaigns built, managed and optimized should be done via your accounts. Agencies should only have access as client managers.

2. Collaboration & Communication

An open and collaborative communication flow with your agency is absolutely crucial to the ongoing success of your campaigns. While the agency brings a deep technical expertise to the table, nobody knows your business as well as you do. Even if the agency has worked in similar verticals, each company has numerous variables that create a need for a unique strategy and approach to your online marketing. There is no exception to this rule. An agency that doesn’t take a proactive approach to collaborating with their clients can’t possibly run campaigns that will perform to their full capacity.

3. Published Community Content

You want your PPC management agency to have articles published on external sites/blogs that are related to the internet marketing field. Training and seminars would also fall into this category. Publishing content that is viewed by people outside a company website indicates that they are respected in the field.

Some of ours: 16 Hours of Education on Udemy.com4. Creativity In Text and Image AdsThere are few things that could hurt a campaign more than writing and designing bland ads. The internet is replete with ad copy that’s nothing more than an indistinguishable conformist variation of the rest of the ads showing on any given page. Ads like this essentially are no better or worse than anyone else’s. Whoever gets the lucky “mindless” click is the winner.

Advertising was not meant to work this way. Ads should appeal to the unique characteristics and personality of your target audience. Designing and writing compelling ads takes time and it takes a lot of thought.

5. Quality Score

Quality Score is without a doubt one of the most important individual metric in an AdWords account. Keyword level Quality Scores determine how much you pay for each click.

Does the agency have a very solid understanding of QS, how it works, and most importantly – how to optimize for it?

Do they understand the 4 components of QS, and how they interact with each other (ad relevance, expected CTR, historic CTR, Site-Links and Landing Page Relevance)?

Can the agency describe 2-3 scenarios when optimizing for QS is actually not important (and can in fact decrease performance)?

Bonus: Long Term Contracts / Percentage of Ad Spend Fees

In this industry, it’s largely considered a suspicious practice for a SEM/PPC management agency to ask a client to sign a long term contract without a clear option for early contract termination. While a tech firm understands that seeing success with a new software / program can take a few months – in our industry the client gets a very reliable sense of how reliable the agency is in a very short amount of time. Agencies that do a good job by their clients don’t lose clients month to month. Agencies asking for a long term contract should be reconsidered very carefully (unless they have a stellar track record as can be confirmed from references you know and trust).

Some agencies will charge you each month based on a fixed percentage of ad spend. This practice has largely fallen out of practice. Most reputable agencies will structure their fees in brackets. If your ad spend is between X and Y any given month, they charge you a fixed fee of Z. On a strict percentage structure, the client is often encouraged to spend more even though an increase in budget is the lazy man’s way to increase account performance. Increasing budget only ostensibly increases performance – the underlying ratios stay the same (more clicks and conversions does not signify greater returns). Charging in a bracket of ad spend gives clients the freedom to comfortably adjust his/her budget without a worry of an increased monthly management fees.

In the end, your intuition will be an integral part of your decision making process. Be informed and choose wisely.  You may even choose us.

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