You’re going to hire a PPC agency, or you’re evaluating your current PPC agency. Either way, you’re wondering, “What makes a great PPC agency?” Well, a great PPC agency does a lot of things.
Here are seven questions to ask of your current or future PPC agency:
Do they write great ad copy and have a strategy for testing? PPC success starts with organized campaigns backed by compelling messages in every ad. A great PPC agency writes solid ad copy at every turn, discusses their strategy for testing new ads, and focuses on improving click-through rates over time. Do you review ad copy before it goes live? Do you like what you see? Do your customers like it? If improving click-through rates (how appealing your ads are to your audience) is never a point of conversation, your campaigns are probably underperforming.
Do they talk about search intent when they talk about keywords? People go to search engines with intentions. What is their intention when they search a keyword? Are they looking for more information? Do they already know they want to buy? It’s not enough to target and write to keywords. You need to target the intent behind the keyword. If your PPC agency never talks about the search intent beyond the keywords you’re targeting, you’re probably missing an important slice of your audience. You may not be qualifying out certain customers, or putting more fuel on finding the best customers.
Do they discuss the entire search experience? When I talk about keywords and building campaigns, I talk about breaking keywords into three campaign types: TOFU (top of the funnel), MOFU (middle of the funnel), and BOFU (bottom of the funnel). I do this for two reasons: 1.) budget (to segment budget on ready-to-buy, or bottom of the funnel, terms) and 2.) messaging (to segment ad copy and ad extensions to specific search intent). If your PPC agency is not talking about the search stages consumers go through (awareness, interest, purchase) as they find their way to a product/service/business, your campaigns may be too broad and more costly than they should be.
Do they refer back to the strategy when discussing optimization? Presumably, you partnered with a PPC agency because they proposed a strategy to reach lead and conversion goals. There were steps or stages or phases in this strategy. As you talk on a week to week or month to month basis, how often does the agency reference the stages in this strategy and where you are in account growth? Everyone always needs to be aware of the original plan so that success can be measured against it. If strategy talk stops, it means someone’s lost the plot.
Do they take the time to explain the data? There are all sorts of metrics involved in Google Ads campaign management. It’s important to know what all the metrics and numbers mean. Does your PPC agency take the time to explain them? When you see monthly reports, are they accompanied by a narrative for why the numbers are what they are and what the plan is to improve them or maintain their consistency? Every great PPC manager tracks and develops an account narrative over time to gather real digital marketing intelligence about your business. Great PPC management is not only a matter of lead generation, but a matter of understanding how an audience searchers products/services/business, over time. Make sure you know where you are in your narrative.
Do they proactively ask about lead quality and suggest ways to improve it? In B2C industries (retail eCommerce, for example), a sale is (usually) a sale. But, in B2B industries, when a Google Ads conversion is just a lead, and the sales process is longer, it’s important for PPC agencies to follow up on the leads they generate to gauge and refine quality. Plus, if budget is limited, knowing that one kind of keyword is leading to more sales-ready leads than another kind of keyword is vital data for extending performance. Good PPC platform metrics mean nothing if they are not driving sales. A great agency develops and maintains the link between the marketing and sales components of your business in order to maximize your value through advertising.
Do they discuss how certain PPC intel influences SEO strategy? A good PPC manager looks into the future. They plan, predict, enact, react, and revise ad infinitum. They also make sure the data from Google Ads is useful for other areas of your business, specifically your SEO strategy. Keyword data from Google Ads can inform the keywords you’re organically ranking for and would want to rank for. PPC landing page data may influence changes to SEO landing pages. As Google continues to expand its platform capabilities to reveal more about your online audience, this data inevitably becomes useful for other digital areas of your business. Make sure you’re putting that investment in data to good use.
Broadly speaking, a great PPC agency is no better than your best employee. They understand your industry, they care about your business, and they get results. They are fully invested in your success.
Anything less than “all in” is unacceptable when everyday PPC agencies appear seemingly out of thin air.
Once, someone even told me, “PPC agencies are a dime a dozen.”
What’s yours worth?