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switching paid media agencies? here’s what you need to know

Breaking up is never easy, and the same goes for the relationship between you and your agency. Read our blog to find out what you should consider when it’s time to, or you need to, make a change. Ending any relationship can be awkward and breaking up with your agency is no different. There are many reasons why you may decide it’s time to move on from your current paid media agency - maybe it’s a budget issue and you simply can’t afford to keep investing to receive the minimal ROI. Or maybe you’re concerned about your agency’s stability and you’re exploring other options.

There’s a lot to consider when making this transition and you will probably have a lot of questions. How do I complete a handover to ensure continued campaign success? What accounts will my new agency need to access?

In this blog, we’ll discuss why you might consider changing agency and how, if you do decide to make the switch, to make the process as seamless as possible with fewer headaches.

why are you questioning your paid media agency?

When things start to feel uneasy, it’s important to get to the root of the issue. There could be a number of reasons you choose to switch, whether it's value-based or more personal. Let’s look at some of the most common issues:

  • lack of value: The deliverables aren’t being met, there are ongoing quality issues, or you’re not seeing the ROI you had hoped for.

  • poor account management: Whether it’s missed deadlines or a lack of communication, you need to have an account manager you can rely on.

  • no personalisation: Does your strategy have a ‘copy and paste’ feel to it? It’s important that your strategy is tailored to your bespoke business needs and objectives.

  • unreactive to the environment: You need an agency who is quick to react to the changing landscape. Changes to your campaigns and strategies need to be made fast to capitalise upon opportunities.

  • the relationship has gone sour: Maybe there are different priorities or a lack of transparency, but for whatever reason, you no longer get on with your agency contact.

To sum it up, you simply don’t feel like you’re getting the most from your agency. And that’s not acceptable when you’re paying for a service. If you’re on the road to finding a new agency, what is it you should be looking for?

what makes an effective paid media agency?

Your choice is individual and should be made on what best suits your business, your objectives and your budget. But there are a few tell-tale signs of an effective agency for you to look out for when researching prospect agencies that can help to guide your decision:

  • They don’t wait until they’re working with you to help. They will ask questions from the first interaction and offer relevant suggestions too.

  • They demonstrate an understanding of your industry and are familiar with the nuances and pain points.

  • They are proven and have experience working with reputable businesses.

  • They don’t try to impress or baffle you with jargon.

  • They are certified and strive to be market leaders, investing in research and development alongside the latest tools, tactics and training.

  • They should have clear processes in place to ensure a smooth onboarding process that will avoid any unnecessary risks

Once you’ve made your agency choice, the onboarding process will begin. From meeting your new team to completing project handovers and setting expectations, here’s what you can expect.

the onboarding process

It may just feel like a formality to have a clear plan in place of how you will complete the handover. But, if you want to hit the ground running and maintain your campaigns, both parties need to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Instil trust from the start. Moving agencies can be a daunting process for your team. Ensure it’s a positive experience by reassuring your internal teams that working with this new agency has been well considered and the right step for the business. Follow our guidance on what you need to consider when starting work with your new agency. get to know your team

Don’t be afraid to ask who is in your team. Your initial point of contact may not be the one who you continue to work with. You want to know who your point of contact will be and how your account will be managed day-to-day. For example, we have a pod structure in place to support our clients, ensuring there are multiple eyes on your account at all times and bringing the added benefit of diverse experience to each account.

Building a strong relationship between your team and the agency team will only help in making this experience more positive. This is also a good time to start building rapport between your team and your new agency which leads us nicely onto the set-up meeting.

the set-up meeting

The set-up meeting is an official chance to get your partnership started. One question we really love to kick-off with is, “What does success look like to you?”. You will likely already have objectives in mind, but this helps define what it is you really want to achieve.

From the agency point of view, this is also an opportunity to understand your longer-term goals and where you would like to be in 12 months’ time. There is no one size fits all approach to paid media. That’s why we take the time at the beginning to really get to grips with who you are and what you want to achieve. Considering your overarching business goals and ROI aspirations, this is the chance to establish priorities, set clear objectives and define KPIs from the outset so we can work backwards from this to deliver against your goals.

set expectations with team members

Expectations need to be set from the start, both in your business and between you and your agency. At this point, you should have a clear understanding of exactly what wasn’t working with your previous agency. Use this to inform which agency you select next, ensuring they are the best fit and set expectations from the start.

The initial set-up meeting between your team and your new agency is the best time for this. Use it as an opportunity to set detailed objectives and outline expectations on both sides. For example, do you have an in-house creative team, or will you need support with this? It’s important to be upfront and start as you mean to go on.

complete an account handover

Arguably the most important factor of all, handing over the account needs to be a detailed and clear process. The key things that should be recorded within this include:

  • account structure

  • settings

  • tracking and analytics

  • account history

  • outstanding work

Handing over your account to your new agency is also the perfect opportunity to tidy up who has access. Be sure to remove your old agency from any platforms such as Google Ads or Google Analytics and we recommend changing the password for increased security. Also ensure your new agency has access to the necessary channels and platforms required to do their job.

At this stage, all documentation should also be made available to your new agency. Before doing an official handover, this is the perfect opportunity to review your documents from a business perspective. Tie up any loose ends with your previous agency by ensuring outstanding work is done, or at least documented as being incomplete.

give the agency time to get up to speed

Once an account handover has been conducted, you need to give the agency time to get up to speed. Factor into your timescales the time it will take for your new agency to onboard your campaigns, including data reviewal. This will be different dependant on the complexity and size of your account.

An overlap between your new agency or your incumbent agency will likely occur at this stage. In order for your new agency to create an effective strategy, they first need the opportunity to familiarise themselves with historical performance data and metrics. Just like you will take this time to get to know your agency, they will also want to get to know you. No one can know your brand the way you do, but we see this as an opportunity to get everything from your head into ours.

understand the review process of your agency

With paid media, a test and learn approach is imperative. The review process is a huge part of your success, so it’s important to really understand your agency’s approach to this.

A testing and review process means insights can be collected to spot new opportunities and fuel ongoing optimisation strategies. At equation, we see this as a key part of our campaign management, running our weekly Account Development Summits (ADS), giving eyes to each account by our senior management team. Coming together to discuss the performance of every one of our clients’ accounts, you can rest assured that your account is regularly reviewed by our most experienced team members and that ideas for further account development will not be missed.

Change is never easy, especially when there is risk involved. But finding the right paid media agency fit for your business is critical to success. Remember, apprehension is normal, but it’s important to embrace the change that occurs when you make an agency move. See it as an opportunity to make improvements that your previous agency was unable to. If you have any questions or would like advice on switching paid media agencies, get in touch. We practice what we preach and want to help you spot any opportunities to improve your ROI.

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