Google Ads has been a solid online marketing choice for hundreds of thousands of brands over the years, and a bit of a failure for many others. The difference between success and failure when using Pay-Per-Click (PPC) could be your digital marketing agency.
Digital marketing, when managed properly, can yield great results and a high ROI. But if the person running your PPC campaign is inexperienced, it can be a waste of your marketing budget.
Is your marketing agency doing a good job for your organization? You don’t necessarily need to have a huge understanding of digital marketing to figure out if your agency is handling the campaign correctly—just being aware of some of the mistakes they may be making can help you make more informed business decisions.
1. They are Not Google Ads Certified
No, you don’t have to be certified to have and manage a Google Ads account—but that just means anyone can call themselves an expert. However, credible digital marketing agencies and experts can get a Google Partner Badge, which is only awarded to those companies with Google Ads skills and expertise. You know you’re in good hands if the digital agency has this—see what it looks like!
2. Poor Discovery Phase
The discovery phase is when your digital agency rep will sit with you and make time to proactively ask the right questions to gain a better understanding of the basic goals and objectives of your organization. A great PPC marketer will spend ample time doing this, whereas one of the biggest failures in Pay-Per-Click advertising is the lack of information during the discovery phase. This can lead to a big chunk of wasted time and money.
Note: A credible and experienced digital marketing agency will also make sure that your digital marketing strategy/plan is developed in coordination with all other online and offline marketing initiatives.
3. Not Granting You Access to Your Adwords Account
As a general rule of thumb: your organization should always set up your own AdWords account so that you always have access to the complete account and data. The digital marketing agency you choose to work with can then gain access to the account via My Client Center (MCC). This will ensure that you retain control of the account if you choose to switch agencies at some point. It provides you with the insight and transparency you need as your campaigns are running, and also prevents agencies from holding your Google Ads account data hostage should your relationship ever end.
4. Unclear Pricing Model
Ideally, you should be directly paying Google Ads for your campaigns, meaning your credit card should be linked and getting billed by Google Ads. This is a way that an agency can provide transparency with its campaign management services. If your brand is receiving just one bill from your agency, it will be hard for you to be sure just how much traffic you’re actually buying. It is also likely that the agency is marking up your actual costs much higher than necessary, and you would have no way of knowing that by simply looking at your bill.
5. Not Actively Optimizing the Account
A well managed Google Ads campaign will be able to show a healthy history of regular maintenance and optimization including new campaign creation, keyword management and adjustments to eliminate underperforming keywords. You can easily tell if your agency is working hard on your digital marketing campaign management by looking at the change history. Ideally, your PPC agency should be making changes weekly to further optimize your account. If months go by with little or no changes, fire that agency!
6. Weak or Nonexistent Reporting
Proper Google Ads reporting should contain a wealth of information, including:
- Click-through rates
- Conversion rate
- Cost-per-acquisition (CPA) or CPL (cost per lead)
- Cost-per-click (CPC)
- Impression Share
- Store visits, phone calls, directions, app downloads, etc.
- Any insight on increased revenue yielded by the campaign in collaboration with your sales team
“Shady” agencies will often deceive you as to the performance of your campaign by only showing you only the number of “clicks” your campaign has received rather than showing you the true return on ad spend (ROAS) and return on investment (ROI). Conversion data is also manipulated by mis-identifying insignificant engagement (such as traffic to a page) as conversions for the campaign, which is deceitful, and is also representative of a grand disconnect between the advertiser and her or his ability to yield genuine results. Screenshots from the Google Analytics dashboard without any additional analysis or strategy based on findings are also not sufficient reporting. An agency partner should be pioneering the digital marketing strategy for their customers, and analyzing the campaign’s performance closely. If you see minimal reporting, have minimal confidence that your campaign is being managed properly.
7. Keyword Stuffing/Broad Keywords
Many agencies engage in keyword stuffing or using broad terms when setting up your campaigns, yielding tons of traffic that is costly and less likely to be a qualified lead. Using the right keywords to reach your audience is a critical factor for success when using the Google Ads platform. The best performing campaigns are extremely specific in keyword targeting so that consumers are more likely to convert when they reach your site. More specific keywords also result in a cheaper cost-per-click rather than broad terms.
8. Insufficient Negative Keywords
Inexperienced “PPC experts” are not aware of how to properly use negative keywords—a keyword that ensures your ad is not shown in results related to particular words or phrases in a search. This helps you save money by ensuring that your ad isn’t clicked on as a result of an irrelevant search term.
Negative keywords play a major factor in conversions, as search terms that aren’t relevant won’t likely create new leads for your business. If your digital marketing agency isn’t using negative keywords, you could be wasting a significant amount of money on click-throughs that don’t yield any results. If your agency is not taking the time to understand what makes a lead unqualified for you, then it’s likely they’re not optimizing the account to its full potential.
9. Failing to Recommend, Implement or Optimize Landing Pages
When using Google Ads, it is recommended that your PPC ads send traffic to specific landing pages, rather than just your homepage. Organic search traffic will already send a great deal of traffic to your site. PPC ads can be better put to use by targeting specific products or services and sending click-throughs directly to the relevant page, which increases your quality score and chances for a conversion.
If you haven’t already, your digital agency should be recommending that you set up specific landing pages for each target segment, product or service. The agency should also encourage landing page optimization and testing to improve the user experience for your visitors. Examples of this include implementing a form that stays in sight or experimenting with various imagery, copy or layout of a landing page, etc.
Improving the user experience via your brand’s landing pages will contribute positively to your overall Quality Score in Google. When your Quality score is high, Google will then reward you with higher ad rankings and lower costs per website visitor.
Don’t just rely on your digital agency to take care of your PPC campaign without checking on it periodically. You should be receiving thorough reports each month, (and if not, definitely ask for them!) Examine your progress over the long run—if a substantial amount of time has gone by and you are not hitting your goals or driving more qualified leads, chances are you are partnered with the wrong agency.
To ensure the success of your digital marketing campaign, it’s crucial to ensure that your brand has hired the right search marketing company. Armed with the knowledge detailed above, you should be able to make an informed decision and improve your Google Ads campaign ROI.If you’re looking for a credible, results-oriented digital agency to help you gain more qualified leads, get in touch with us! Our growth-obsessed digital marketing team will put a strategy in motion to get your campaigns on track and take your digital marketing efforts to the next level.