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How to Choose a PPC Agency: 6 Considerations

If you want power behind your PPC advertising, you have to choose a reputable B2B PPC agency that understands your business goals and the complexities of online search. The art of PPC advertising management is continuously evolving, and so should your methods.
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According to Search Engine Journal, 39% of advertiser’s budgets go to PPC. If you’re spending over a third of your ad budget on PPC, you want to be sure to get it right, and you want to ensure the PPC agency you work with is experienced, transparent, and easy to work with.

Our advice? Whether you’re examining your current partnership, or are exploring a new PPC agency, use some sort of litmus test. Below are 6 considerations in hiring the best possible partner for you in pay-per-click advertising.

Consideration #1: Culture Fit

Have you ever walked away from a meeting and felt like you weren’t heard and you felt uneasy about next steps? Sounds a little backwards.

Your PPC advertising management team should be a group of good listeners who are easy to work with. Before you sign on the dotted line, meet with some of the folks you’ll be working with. Ask questions to ensure you understand their process, how they communicate, what kinds of tools they use, and the way they structure their meeting content and cadence. Check their website and compare their values (on the About page or Careers page) against yours.

From the agency point of view (that’s us) when clients aren’t a good culture fit, problems can arise in communication and collaboration, and can ultimately lead to undesirable outcomes. Skip the heartache and do your homework. 

When you get a sense of how open the communication is, and how much you can trust them (as they’ll be deep in your brand’s marketing strategies) keep in mind that they are the advisors. They’re the experts in PPC. But you are the expert on your brand, industry, and audience. Any review of results should make room for your questions and explanations, so you can take responsibility for your KPIs when you bring the results to upper management.

Consideration #2: Transparency

In addition to ownership of your KPIs and how they’re functioning, you should have easy access to everything—full transparency with your B2B PPC agency. The agency should be clear about how adjustments will be made based on campaign results and how often you’ll meet.

Additionally, and I can’t stress this enough, you should maintain control of your PPC accounts.
As the marketer hiring and paying the PPC agency for their help, you must keep hold of the reins. If you’re ever looking to move to a different agency, your current agency might (wrongly) refuse to give you access or relinquish the accounts. In the past few months, I’ve heard from 3 different organizations that their current or past PPC agency owned their Google Ads account and refused to give full access or release the accounts back to the business.

Evasive answers, unsatisfactory results, or irregular reporting are all red flags. Regular meetings and discussions around results should be the minimum expectation. Someone on the agency side should take specific responsibility for every decision made for PPC. Clearly outline who has ownership of the accounts when you involve an outside agency, especially for PPC advertising management.

Consideration #3: Experience

Does the PPC agency you’re considering have industry experience? Are they B2B or have they typically dealt in B2C? It’s worth taking a closer look at previous and current clients, as well as case studies that show what kind of results they’ve managed in the past—and what kind of results your brand may be able to achieve with them.

A good B2B PPC agency will be able to identify the best KPIs with no problem. This comes with experience and listening to you. Knowing what your business goals are, along with the best way to track your progress is the difference between reports that show forward progress and reports that show meaningless numbers.

If you’re in a specific sector like healthcare or SaaS, it’s worth finding a PPC agency that has overlapping experience. They’ll be more familiar with HIPAA compliance, for example, or will be able to easily create ads around products. Additionally, consider if they have multi-channel PPC experience. Bing PPC ads and LinkedIn PPC ads make up some of the market share, and exploring your options could be helpful for your company, depending on where your audience may be.

Consideration #4: Cost

As with any vendor, do your research and get a few quotes. And be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Clarify what’s included in the PPC management cost—is it a flat fee? Are there additional charges for specific services? There can be a wide variety depending on the agency’s size. If you’re not a large (think: enterprise size) company, you’ll overpay if you hire the largest PPC agency in the country—and you won’t likely get the attention you need as the “smallest fish” in the pond.

If you have a lower budget: Consider hiring a consultant—find one that works well for you. Agencies typically require a minimum ad spend or budget, which you may not be able to reach.

If you have a higher budget: Look at a variety of B2B PPC agencies, get a couple of different quotes, and talk to each agency about their specific pricing structure. 

Consideration #5: Data Measurement

An old adage at Solid Digital “what gets measured gets done” comes to mind here. The PPC agency you choose should be willing to discuss your goals and desired outcomes and how they’re measured.

The agency must understand your KPIs, and your desired cost per acquisition. The agency reports should show the numbers you care about most and what you need to report on. 

Plus, because PPC is only one piece of the puzzle, your agency will only know it’s effective (or if it’s an MQL or SQL) if you compare Google Analytics against your qualified lead forms, or share the lead information with them. 

Consideration #6: Reporting

Clarifying the campaign set up or structure with your account manager or specialist will make a huge difference in your results, too. If it’s not set up clearly, or it’s not the kind of reports you need, ask for something different. (For example, if you need to see conversion rates by keyword rather than by campaign). 

The reports you receive are telling. Any failure can be a learning moment. The keywords that work, the landing pages that are wildly successful (or not), the way users interact with particular ads. Your team can take that info and extend it out to tailor the rest of your digital marketing strategy. Every report from your PPC advertising management agency should be open for your use to optimize all your marketing efforts.

Ensure you can bring other experts on your team into the PPC fold, too—use your in-house SEO experts’ talents to guide the PPC agency’s keyword efforts. Use A/B testing for landing pages with differing placements of the CTA or form-fill. 

Find an experienced, transparent PPC agency that will happily work with you, answer questions, create reports, and measure data in a way that works best for your team and your goals, filling in the gaps you need most. 

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