Setting up and managing a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising strategy is a complicated, tedious and time-consuming endeavor. Creating successful campaigns requires specific knowledge and skills and, because online advertising trends and regulations are always changing, it also demands constant education. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can waste tons of time, money and energy on PPC ads that never gain traction, never reach the right audience or never drive conversions.
In other words, it’s precisely the sort of thing you should entrust to an experienced PPC agency — as many organizations do.
But choosing a PPC agency, much like finding high-quality partners and vendors for other elements of your business, isn’t something you should take lightly. The right agency can help drive heaps of highly qualified, fast-converting traffic to your site. But the wrong one? Well, then you’re just paying someone else to waste your resources on your behalf.
Choosing the right partner is critical to your PPC success. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you evaluate your options:
(And if you need a refresher, here’s what you need to know about PPC marketing.)
Digital advertising trends constantly change and evolve, and expert PPC agencies take their team’s education seriously. There are several certifications individuals and agencies can complete to hone their skills and prove their mastery. Before you choose an agency to manage your paid advertising efforts, it’s crucial you check their credentials. Here are just a few platform-specific PPC certifications you may check for when reviewing potential agencies:
In addition to earning certifications, some agencies go one step further by securing platform partnerships. For example, a Google Partner agency has passed the Google Ads certification exams and is up-to-date on all the latest Google Ads product information.
Similarly, Facebook Marketing Partner agencies have proven experience providing custom-tailored Facebook marketing strategies and know how to leverage Facebook advertising to drive positive results most effectively.
When agencies display these badges on their sites, it’s a good indicator their team has reliable expertise.
It’s essential you establish exactly how you’ll communicate with an agency before you begin working with them. Every PPC agency has different methods and frequencies of communication, and it’s important to ensure they align with yours — or that they can at least be flexible to your needs.
For example, some agencies may only hold monthly meetings, but email performance updates weekly while others may prefer to meet more regularly. Some agencies provide a dashboard or portal where you can review PPC performance yourself while others prefer to walk through results together to prevent misunderstandings.
When evaluating your options, ask agencies about their communication process, whether or not you’ll have one primary point-of-contact and how quickly they can respond to questions, concerns and strategic changes.
And although it might seem less critical, consider how well you get along with agency representatives. Do you like speaking with them? Do they make you feel comfortable? It’s not unusual for PPC agencies and their clients to work together for several years, so it’s important you’re confident in your ability to collaborate.
If you’re unfamiliar with PPC processes, you may be leery about signing a contract for six months or a year — but there’s a reason most agencies require you to lock-in, and it’s not to trap or swindle you.
Building a PPC strategy and campaigns from scratch requires a significant amount of time and money. In fact, the costs can be so substantial that many agencies don’t earn an ROI from their engagement with a new client for a few months. Additionally, it can take time before campaigns begin yielding results.
“It can take three months to even begin seeing the results of those efforts,” says Neil Patel, digital marketing thought leader and co-founder of Crazy Egg. “Until then, if anything, you may see a slight decrease as the changes take effect and you re-rank for better searches.”
But while contracts are standard, it’s crucial you take time to review the stipulations and make sure you’re comfortable with the terms — and align on goals and expectations — before you sign the dotted line.
While the process of setting up, building, launching, monitoring and optimizing PPC campaigns is relatively uniform across most verticals, there are certain nuances unique to each industry. When a PPC agency has experience in your niche, they will be more efficient and effective in creating ad copy that resonates with your audience, targeting the right demographics and/or firmographics, making informed strategic suggestions and setting realistic goals and expectations.
Before choosing an agency, be sure to look for case studies and testimonials from other businesses in your vertical. Keep in mind some agencies focus broadly on either B2B or B2C while others have a specialization in one or more niches.
A PPC agency is only as successful as the strategy they implement. But it can be challenging to identify an agency’s strategic abilities before you sign a contract. (After all, no one wants to give away their PPC secrets too early.) But there are a few ways you can identify whether or not they’ll be able to drive the success you need based on the recommendations they offer.
Of course, it’s also critical you come to the discussion with a clearly defined objective. In most cases, businesses are looking to achieve a few goals, so it’s helpful to start by ranking what’s most important to you. For example:
Sharing this information in early conversations allows potential agencies to explain how they’ll meet your expectations. And once you start working together, your objective will determine which key performance indicators (KPIs) a PPC agency uses to measure your success and guide how and when to optimize for improved results.
Additionally, choosing an agency already familiar with your entire digital marketing strategy can enhance your PPC efforts, ensuring your budget is used most efficiently to spread brand awareness and garner qualified leads. Kuno provides PPC services alongside inbound marketing, content marketing and sales enablement services for most of our clients.
Taking time to fully evaluate your options and choosing the right PPC agency can be a lengthy process. However, given how vital pay-per-click advertising is to your digital marketing success, it’s critical you select the right partner. By taking the above items into consideration, you can ensure the agency you choose is the best match for your organization.