8 questions to ask your ppc agency
Outsourcing any area of your business’ activity and bringing a third-party into the mix can feel like you’re losing an element of control. We’ve collated eight important questions to ask your paid media agency, no matter how long you’ve been working with them. Not only do these questions ensure your agency know their stuff, but also ensures your brand’s best interests are held at the core. And if they can’t answer them, it might be time to look for a new one…
1) who is managing my campaign?
You shouldn’t work with your agency based on their abilities alone. It’s important to understand how your agency team is aligned with your overall commercial objectives in order to build a long-lasting working relationship. Get to know the team behind your paid activity, engaging with them and asking questions on how they support planning, everyday management and reporting. If you’ve been with your paid media agency for some time, you may have already developed effective working relationships within your team. By assigning a dedicated campaign delivery team, there is continuous consistency on who you will communicate with. Many agencies dedicate a single account manager who is available to you as and when you have questions. But there will also be a technical team working behind the scenes implementing and optimising your strategy. We find a central account management team and a technical account management team (or pod as we like to call it) works best. This pod consists of a Commercial Account Manager, Display Technical Account Manager, PPC Technical Account Manager and CRO Technical Account Manager, ensuring your account benefits from our multiple eyes on approach and diverse experience. Your campaigns also have the added benefit of senior guidance during our fortnightly reviews discussing progress, challenges, ideas, actions and KPIs. This insight is fed through your dedicated account manager and displayed on your integrated dashboard which you have constant visibility of.
2) how does my agency team manage my account?
Asking this question should give you an idea of how your account will be managed on a day to day basis. Your agency should have internal processes and tools in place to ensure continuous management, reporting and ongoing improvements. At equation, we’ve even turned our techy know-how into creating a proprietary monitoring system and honorary ‘member’ of the team, affectionately named HILDA. From budget and bid management across each channel to notifications of abnormal performance and safety alerts, HILDA supports our team in monitoring campaign vitals. If an agency takes a test and learn approach to their PPC management, they will be better equipped to identify areas for improvement, testing solutions before implementation. Rather than diving into a specific area of paid media such as display, a good agency will build upon your strategy over time, using results and insight to form the next layer. We excel at turning data into information and information into insight. Using a layered method ensures controlled account management supports you in achieving your objectives and delivering maximum benefit.
3) how many hours or days does my team spend on my account?
A good agency will be honest and transparent when it comes to the amount of time they dedicate to managing, monitoring and optimising your campaigns. If they avoid this question, this could be a serious warning sign! It’s important to understand how much time you get for your budget so don’t be afraid to ask. Your agency should be able to clearly communicate how much of their time is spent on your campaigns. Our technical account managers are contracted a set number of hours to your account while our sales account managers are not. This ensures we’re always there to provide ongoing communication whenever you may need it.
4) does my ppc team have relevant accreditations and certifications?
Industry recognised certifications such as being a certified Google Ads Manager, are a stamp of approval in the digital world, showing investment in learning and maintaining skills. For an agency to be certified they have to maintain certifications across their team, taking regular exams that ensure they remain on top of their game. All of our account managers and account executives are Google trained and take an annual exam to stay up to date on the latest best practices, tools and technologies. This is something we take very seriously, dedicating time for training and development to ensure we keep on passing those exams. Our approach means you can rest easy knowing your paid media is not only in the hands of professionals, but experts. Equally as important, an agency who is an official partner to platforms such as the Google Marketing Platform can provide peace of mind that they have the experience and knowledge to manage your campaigns. Strike up a conversation regarding their partner status with relevant search engines such as Google, Bing or Yandex. Ask them what they are looking forward to being released or the functionalities of the platforms to gauge how much they know. Whether it’s Premier Google Partner, Bing Select Partner, Facebook Marketing Partner, or all of the above, being a preferred partner ensures your agency will keep up to date with industry and platform best practices.
5) does my agency offer full reporting of their paid media services?
If you decide to invest in paid media, you need to know where your money is being spent and understand how it’s helping to achieve your objectives. A major advantage of paid media advertising is the ability to capture data on every action and improvement, no matter how small. And this is something your agency should be taking advantage of and reporting back to you on. How transparent are your agency’s reporting processes? Ask questions about how data is collected, monitored and actioned. Industry-leading technology stacks such as the Google Marketing Platform should be combined with the team’s analytical skills to measure campaign success, generating powerful insight and fuelling ongoing campaign optimisation. We believe no client should ever be left in the dark so, for us, reporting is an integral factor of each and every account we look after.
6) does my agency offer services across different channels?
Google AdWords is not the only channel available for your paid media activity. We believe that PPC is as much about optimising your campaigns as it is about expanding your market. A good agency will let you know if they feel your campaigns would benefit from other paid search platforms. Whether it’s paid social, programmatic, remarketing, YouTube ads, video, Google Shopping, or many of the other options available, an agency should have the capabilities in place to grow and manage your accounts in line with your business objectives.
7) has my agency worked with similar accounts or within the same industry?
If you’re unsure whether your agency is capable of handling your needs and requirements as your business grows, it’s worthwhile finding out what other businesses or industries they have experience working with. Although not all strategies are created equal, your agency should be able to provide high-level information on similar campaigns. To get the most value from your paid media agency, it’s important to understand how they could cater to your market, particularly if you’re in a volatile industry such as Forex.
8) how do my team keep up to date with industry changes?
If members of your agency team have been working in the company for a long time, that’s great as it shows they’re experienced. However, things change very quickly in the world of digital marketing and your agency must be equipped to keep on top of these changes. Whether it’s through dedicated training days, attending partner seminars such as the Google Digital Champions Smart Bidding event, internal knowledge shares or frequent exams, your agency should devote some of their time to keep on top of industry advancements. It’s the only way of ensuring industry-leading service.
You should be able to have open and honest communications with your agency to ensure you are happy with performance and where your budget is being spent. Ask the questions that you want answers to - this will only help to build a positive and proactive working relationship. Management, transparency and reporting are as important as the work itself. A specialist agency will have the systems and processes in place to ensure this is built into the way they work with you.
As a paid media agency, our processes and internal systems are integral to our client’s success and we’re not shy about sharing them! In other words, we want you to rest easy knowing your campaigns are in the hands of experts. If you want to find out more about how our methods help to achieve a high ROI, contact the team today.