Is it time to change PPC agencies? You’re about to find out!
The options for creating a great digital marketing strategy seem to be in constant flux these days. That’s particularly true when you’re looking at the world of paid search (pay-per-click or PPC). And if you’re a savvy marketing director or business owner? You’re likely already leveraging an agency to handle your PPC strategy.
But how long should you maintain that relationship? The PPC agency that you trusted to help you start growing may not be the one you need for the long haul. Ask yourself: are campaigns generating the results you were hoping for? Is your PPC agency keeping up-to-date with its strategy and pivoting accordingly when things don’t work? Do they keep you apprised of how the campaign is running (and what they’re doing in the background to keep it that way)?
If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no,’ it might be time to look for a new PPC agency.
And while the idea of changing agencies might seem daunting – and rightly so, as there’s a lot you’ll want to keep in mind as you switch – don’t worry! Today, we’re going to look at the 7 key things you need to consider when you’re ready to choose a new PPC agency. We’ll also lay out a clear plan for how to change PPC agencies when it’s finally time to make that switch.
So, ready to get started?
What to Consider When You Change PPC Agencies
You’ve decided it is time to change PPC agencies. But you need to make sure you’re moving forward fully prepared to find the best possible option for all of your needs. Before you begin vetting your next great agency, there are a few big-ticket items you’ll want to consider.
Review your contract before you change PPC Agencies
The first thing you’ll want to do is review your contract. The agreement you have with your current PPC agency may include unique stipulations that could cause problems for you when trying to switch agencies. Some agreements include line items such as a required period of notice before cancellation. They may also have line items that prevent you from being able to work with particular competitors for a certain period of time after the conclusion of your contract.
Remember, reviewing your current contract thoroughly before pursuing cancellation helps you avoid these potential roadblocks. These roadblocks can prevent you from having the ability to easily change PPC agencies.
Get your Google Adwords login credentials
Your current PPC agency will hold all of your account information for Google Adwords. And, if you want to ensure your campaign continues moving smoothly as you transition away from them, you’ll have to have access.
Your PPC agency will likely also be leveraging:
- Facebook Ads (and Instagram Ads, which is included therein),
- Linkedin Ads,
- Bing Ads,
- Twitter Ads,
- Facebook Business Pages,
- Google Analytics,
- Google Console,
And possibly others. Before you give them any hints that you’re looking to end the relationship, make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of all platforms for which your business has accounts. And then get that login information, stat.
A truly devious agency could, theoretically, hold your campaign hostage by withholding that login information if they find out you’re looking to switch. Don’t let them. Accounts are held in your business name and you’re paying for them: that means you own them, and the agency could face legal issues if they try to withhold access from you.
(By the way, you can learn more about PPC agencies and Google Ads in this post)
Look for where your landing pages are hosted
The landing pages attached to PPC ads are yours as well, and like your Google Adwords account, you’ll want access to those landing pages when you say goodbye to your current agency. Find out who’s hosting what and grab the login information for those pages.
You may need to switch hosts when you switch PPC agencies… that’s okay! As long as you’ve got access, your next PPC agency can get you set up with new site hosting as needed.
Get rid of your old agency’s account access
Once you’ve hired your next PPC agency, you’ll want to ensure the old one no longer has access to your campaigns. That way, there’s no outside interference (whether intentional or not).
It’s also a kindness you’re doing for your old agency so they’re no longer bombarded with notification emails from those accounts. You’ll want to do this across platforms, and the method for each may vary. Likely, you’ll either remove admin permissions from the agency or you’ll have to change passwords entirely.
You can also always just let your new PPC agency assist you with this – they’ll know exactly how to do it on each platform. But before credentials can be transferred, first you’ll need to get them!
Look for that next great agency
There’s a lot that goes into how to choose a new one when you change PPC agencies (and we’ll discuss that in greater detail further on).
For now, we’ll just emphasize that when you’re ready to say goodbye to your current agency, be prepared to find new help fast. Leaving a campaign stagnant may not seem like a huge loss, but you could end up losing tens of thousands of dollars in potential revenue from missed clicks if a campaign sits idle and untended… especially if it was successful at its outset.
So don’t wait: get someone into your accounts and back to work, ASAP.
That said, look for the best agency for the job. Likely, a big reason your previous PPC agency didn’t work out is that they weren’t ideal for your unique business.
So take some time (though not too much time) to think holistically about your overall growth strategy and the audiences you’re trying to reach. Then, do the research to find an agency that’ll work towards that same vision and goal.
Finding an agency that’ll take the time to get to know you, your business, and your goals will make a huge difference when it comes to your overall campaign results.
Attributes of a Great PPC Agency
Before we discuss what makes a PPC agency great, let’s ensure we understand what a PPC agency is. So, what is a PPC agency? A PPC agency is a team of trained digital marketers who specialize in creating, testing, launching, and managing your paid ad campaigns across any number of digital platforms.
They should be well-versed in both marketing strategy and the complex and ever-changing world of the digital ad space so that your digital ads are reaching the greatest potential audience with the highest likelihood of converting – at the best price point.
There’s a lot to it, so let’s go ahead and take a deep dive into what to look for in a PPC agency.
Here are the seven key things to keep in mind:
A great PPC agency will value data, analytics, and results
Not only will they leverage Google Analytics to keep tabs on your campaign success – they should be experts at it. They’ll provide you with the intricate reporting, dashboards, and projections you’ll need to understand what about your campaign is working… and what isn’t. Further, they’ll be results-driven.
Remember earlier when we talked about an agency that understands your growth goals? A great agency should be keeping those in mind at all times, should devise a strategy that works toward those goals, and should be studying the numbers at all times to make sure you’re on track (and if you’re not, they’ll be ready to pivot).
A great PPC agency brings strategic partnerships and first-party data sources
Over time, you’ll likely collect a wealth of data on which of your many campaigns have been successful, which haven’t, and why. But until that time, you’ll want to be able to rely on a PPC agency that brings that data for you.
Great PPC agencies will have their own repository of first-party data to help you create the most effective PPC campaigns. They may also be strategic partners of the precise platforms you need to leverage.
Google, for example, can certify agencies to be Google Certified Partners. This means those agencies will have access to a suite of tools, resources, and training through Google that others won’t. And, bonus, their PPC campaigns are likely to be far more efficacious because of it!
They’ll have knowledge of local search
Have you ever asked Google for a dentist, a gym, or a CPA that’s “near me?” If so, you’ll know the importance of local search PPC advertising. The right PPC agency will know the ins and outs of creating local search campaigns that ensure audiences near you find you.
They’ll have strong mobile optimization capabilities
Today, more than half of all ad “clicks” occur on a mobile device. That means your PPC agency needs to design campaigns that are as PC and laptop-friendly as they are mobile-friendly. The right agency will understand this (in fact, they’ll probably advertise it).
If not, be sure you ask about mobile optimization capabilities when you’re vetting potential candidates.
They focus on the right PPC channels
Depending upon your needs (the audiences you want to reach and the growth goals that you’re shooting for), the type of PPC campaign you choose could vary greatly. You might need to focus your energies on a social campaign, or a paid search campaign that leverages local. You might also need a multi-channel campaign.
Whatever your needs, it’s imperative that you find a PPC agency that’s well-versed in those channels.
Better yet, a great PPC agency will be able to get to know your business and your goals. They then consult with you on which is the most appropriate channel for your unique needs (in case you’re unsure). An agency that can guide you in the right direction is always ideal.
They conduct impeccable keyword research
It’s in the name: when you’re doing a paid search campaign, you really want to be search engine optimized.
So the ideal agency should be an expert in all things SEO. You’ll know they’re savvy in this arena if they’re paying attention to your growth goals.
Maybe the goal isn’t necessarily to make quick sales: it’s to develop a lengthy email list of loyal followers. The keyword strategy should reflect that end goal and work accordingly.
Unfortunately, the strength of an agency’s keyword research isn’t likely something you’ll find out about them through their marketing. You’ll have to do a little sleuthing.
Ask questions like “what keyword research tools do you use” and “what metrics do you use to assess keyword strength?” These give you a sense of the agency’s SEO savvy.
They’re well-versed in all things digital marketing
This might seem unnecessary: after all, you hired them to manage your PPC campaigns only – why do they need to know the rest?
But the reality is no campaign exists in a vacuum. Your PPC marketing is one component of the overall digital marketing strategy. You want an agency that not only understands that but will design a PPC marketing strategy to work cohesively with the other aspects of your digital marketing.
Now that we know what we’re looking for in an ideal PPC agency, let’s explore some of the key questions you can ask to ensure you’ve found that perfect vendor relationship.
Questions You Should Ask Yourself When Choosing The Right PPC Agencies
So you’re in talks with a vendor that you think might be the one. That’s great! Let’s make sure this relationship is going to work for your business for the long haul. During discussions, ask yourself the following questions to ensure you’ve picked a winner:
- Is the company actually certified? Whether it’s Google Adwords or any other platform, you want to make sure that the agency you’ve chosen has certified analysts and marketing experts working on your account.
- Do they tie you up in a contract? How long are you committed to this relationship? Is it annual? Or do they have to earn your business and loyalty every month? Make sure you understand what the commitment looks like, and what your options are if things change down the road.
- Do they set your PPC account on autopilot with automated software? You want an agency partner that’s as locked into your campaign (how it’s going, and how it might need to change) as you are. So you want to make sure you’ve chosen an agency that won’t just set things up and then walk away.
- Are they completely transparent with your accounts? Whether it’s Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, or Twitter, your business owns those accounts. Do you know exactly what’s going on with each one? Your agency needs to let you know the minute they make a change or take an action in your name.
- Is there actual proof of success? You need to know that campaigns will generate results. What successes has your agency had before? How did they measure that success? The right agency will tell you exactly which metrics they’re looking at and then will share the stats for your campaign with you at regular intervals so you know that things are working.
- How often do they test their own site? Testing is pivotal – your agency needs to be conducting thorough and consistent tests to keep glitches or issues at bay.
- How frequently are they updating and A/B testing Ad Copy? – The need to test different ad copy is a vital step of Google Ads that is frequently overlooked.
- Do they penalize you when payment is late? Accounting issues happen at every business – what will the repercussions be if a setback causes your payments to be late? Review the contract carefully to ensure you’re working with an agency that’s forgiving… and not one that’s out to money-grub when hiccups occur.
- Are they proactive? This is a big one. Particularly in digital marketing where the environment changes so rapidly, you want to work with an agency that will anticipate change and respond proactively (not reactively). So, how is your agency keeping on top of changing trends?
- Do they openly tell you about pricing? No hidden fees, no escalating costs: you need to know exactly what you’ll be expected to pay each month and with every campaign to ensure you’re getting proper value from the partnership.
- Who owns the PPC account? – Understanding who owns the PPC account is VITAL for your business. Make sure you own the account and add them as a manager.
- Does the agency in question create a negative keyword list? – Negative keywords ensure that your campaigns will run as efficiently as possible.
- Do they charge you per campaign, per ad group, or per keyword? There isn’t necessarily a good or bad payment model. You just need to know what the structure looks like so you’re fully aware of what costs will be.
- Do they know how important landing page testing is? You and I both know: it’s VERY important. If ads don’t direct to proper landing pages, or those pages have glitches (or even just don’t look great), you effectively kill your campaign. It is absolutely pivotal that your agency tests those landing pages regularly and thoroughly. Talk to them about what their testing procedures are and make sure you agree with the regularity and process.
Ready to change PPC agencies? Call us today!
You know how to make the switch from one PPC agency to another. You review past contracts carefully and ensure you’ve got all of the account information you need. Then you ask those deep-dive questions of a new agency to ensure you’re getting a long-lasting and effective relationship.
Remember: you want an agency that’s transparent, proactive, communicative, has the ability to write great ad copy, and that keeps your growth goals at the heart of their strategies. So, while it may seem daunting to change PPC agencies, don’t let it deter you. Making those big moves can be easy if you’re asking the right questions.
And if you need help, get stuck, or just have questions, you can always talk to the talented folks at Blue Water Marketing. Our team of experts from Stuart, Fl. is ready to help you make the most of your search and social ad campaigns with strategies that get you powerful results.