According to Cleverclicks (Source), companies make an average of $2 in income for every $1 they spend on Adwords . In addition to reaping immediate financial rewards, paid search can turn almost anyone into an expert and authority on whatever goods and services you are providing as well. So why wouldn’t you run out and get started with PPC as soon as you are able?
Well, let’s start with the fact that many people who start a PPC campaign have little to no idea of what it takes to be successful. It’s not their fault. It’s extremely complicated. Sophistication aside, Google likes it that way. They make more money when an account is poorly structured. This means, simply put, that you can be spending 3 or 4 times more than a competitor for the same keywords and not know why. All PPC efforts are NOT equal. In a world where (literally) anyone can set up their own agency at their kitchen table, advertisers need to pay full attention to the Digital Marketers they hire to help.
How do you decide who to hire for your PPC?
It’s not easy, for sure. But breathe easy, and read on. We have some sure fire ways to help you understand what to look for. Here are some qualifiers that you can use to help determine if the fee you are about to pay an agency is worth it.
Transparency & Guidance
First off, if a PPC service provider does not let you run your own Google account, separate from their corporate account, run. Run fast, and run far. What happens if things don’t work out? You won’t be able to get access to your data, history, billing info…all of the things that a new agency is going to want to see so they can best help you. You should be able to take everything with you immediately. This includes changing an account password and locking a provider out. Period. It’s yours.
Another sure way to know you are about to be taken advantage of? Not paying Google directly. NEVER (and I mean NEVER) allow an agency to obfuscate where your money is going. A great agency will always let you see your own account data, including billing, without having to request a report. That means you should know how much your management fee is, and how much your ads cost, separately from each other.
Also, a solid provider should be able to show you past successes, including allowing you contact with existing clients. There should be a direct correlation between a monthly ad spend and a trackable return on investment. In other words, a company should be able to easily justify a monthly advertising spend.
Lastly, if your soon to be provider places a long term contract in front of you, and this specifically means anything longer than a 30 day out clause, it’s time to start interviewing other agencies. PPC simply doesn’t work for everyone, and after 90 days if your provider can’t show you success, it’s time to do a deep dive and figure out specifically why. Maybe you are just in too competitive an industry. Maybe your campaign isn’t optimized properly. And maybe you just hired someone incapable of performing the task properly. In ALL of these case, you shouldn’t be held hostage.
Along the lines of transparency, you should have access to your data whenever you want. The online world is 24x7, and at the end of the day, when you go home, the internet should still be producing results for you. You should be able to measure success at will. This includes your own Google Analytics account, your Adwords account, Tag manger data, and if your Agency is a premium provider, they should be able to provide you with a custom dashboard that synthesizes all of the important data for you.
And speaking of 24x7, does your agency have an algorithm that adjusts the spend around the clock? Can you tell what time of day your spend should increase (and does your agency actually adjust the campaign everyday accordingly)? Pay per click can be extremely complex, and unless someone is watching things all the time. You are no doubt wasting a lot of money.
The best agencies keep you informed with progress reports and updates, and help you analyze the data.
Aside of all of the provider qualifiers, the actual Ad Words account takes a tremendous amount of setup and understanding. This process should begin with setting clear targets, and unserdstanding what success looks like for you. Every company is different. Some people expect a lead a day. Some expect a lead a week. And for others, anything less than a lead per hour is considered a failure. Ensuring everyone is on the same page form the start is crucial when trying to measure success.
The next step is a full competitive analysis and resulting Keyword research. Successful accounts are built upon proven data, such as known keywords that have high search volume. Accounts should built in a highly granular structure: with keywords grouped into tight groups, based on service lines, products, or buyer personas. Additionally, geo targeting needs to be taken into consideration. Do you really want some searching in Nevada to see an ad for your HVAC services if you are only servicing in New England?
Healthy accounts contain multiple campaigns, which are further broken down into ad groups. Ad groups in turn contain the keywords for that specific service or product.
Just as important, it’s critical to run multiple ads for the same service or product. And those ads should go to landing pages. Here’s why:
The process of running multiple ads for a single group is referred to A/B testing. This allows you to see which ads produce greater results, and creates a continuous improvement loop. Better ads that produce more give you a higher quality score in Google. Higher quality scores lowers your cost per click, and a lower cost per click means you get to run more ads for the same money. I KNOW! It’s complicated, but read it again until you understand. It’s critical to the success of your PPC campaigns.
And just as a high quality score lowers your cost per click, landing pages can increase the number of times some clicking on an ad actually contacts you, also known as your conversation rate.
It’s important to understand that when someone clicks on and ad, they (in most cases) should be sent to a page that is optimized to drive conversions. In other words, if you are a moving company, and you build an ad for “best piano movers”, then the ad should link to a page that talks specifically about piano moving. Sending a prospect who clicks on a specific ad to your home page is a sure way to lower your conversion rate, and waste money. And, the A/B testing you did for your ad? The same thing should be applied to your landing pages. Make sure your provider is constantly testing different messages, images and layouts and determine which message works best to drive conversions.
Lastly, does your agency have a plan for targeting your ads to mobile devices? The mobile experience is very different from the desktop world, and with over 50% of all Web traffic coming from mobile devices, ignoring mobile devices in your PPC campaign targeting can have dire consequences.
I understand this is a lot to take in, but I guess that’s my point. It’s complex, and poorly implemented, it can be crushing to your cash flow, and a complete waste of time.