Finding the right agency to manage your PPC marketing campaigns is quite similar to making an internal hire – in addition to evaluating the agency's background and reputation, you'll want to ask a series of questions to help you better understand what they're about. For most businesses, the PPC agency with the right fit will need to meet your expectations in three areas:
- Depth of Expertise — Because of the complexity associated with PPC, you want to find a pay per click agency  with depth of focus in the paid search space that can put adequate time and attention into the PPC area of your marketing efforts. The agency should have at least one dedicated PPC manager who focuses solely on paid search. They need to be able to keep up with trends and accouncements in this rapidly changing space.
- Transparency — Another key factor in selecting a paid search agency is their willingness to share information and expertise. You should know exactly what they are doing in your account and how often they're working on it – a lack of transparency is a sign that the agency either doesn't know what they're doing or isn't devoting enough time to your campaigns.
- Ability to Retain Control — A final factor, similar to transparency, is a willingness to work with you, allowing you to retain control over the goals, focuses, and in some cases even certain execution around your paid search campaigns. (This may or may not be important to your particular business.)
Here are ten questions to ask when evaluating potential PPC agencies. Their answers will help you better understand the level of expertise, transparency, and control you can expect from a working relationship with them.
- Years of Experience: How long has your agency been handling pay-per-click marketing?
- Focus: How many dedicated account reps do you have managing PPC campaigns hands-on? Do they work on anything outside of paid search? Does your agency offer other services (SEO, web design and development, etc.), and, if so, what’s the ratio of people who work on those services to those who focus on PPC services ?
- Transparency: How active will you be in sharing data with me and my organization?
- Specialization: Does anyone at your agency specialize or have experience doing PPC in my particular business niche?
- Cross-Platform Capability: Do you offer services across multiple PPC platforms, or just AdWords?
- Certification: Are your reps certified in Google AdWords or any other paid search platforms?
- Reporting: What standard reports do you provide, and what types of metrics will I be able to ask for “on demand”? Will I have independent access to reporting?
- Portability: What types of tools do you use to manage campaigns and generate reports? Are they proprietary? If I were to switch agencies or move PPC management in-house, what would happen to my campaigns and the processes and reporting you’ve put in place?
- Shared Workload: What if there are specific tasks or components of my campaigns that I want to manage in-house while you handle other components? Is that possible? How do you typically handle that situation?
- Proof of Success: How do you determine which metrics and goals equal success for my PPC program? How do you plan to work with me to refine and ultimately reach those goals?
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