How to Choose a PPC Agency

Estimated Reading Time 18 minutes

Looking for the best PPC agency can be a challenge. Here are some hints and tips.

If you want the best – you need to work with the best. This guide is written for those companies who are looking to work with a digital agency and looking specifically for PPC or AdWords & Bing management. This guide is also useful for those that are currently with an agency and are looking to move.

In many cases, agencies are employed when a business is looking to substantially increase sales online. Setting guidelines, objectives and communication, are key to a harmonious partnership.

Choosing the right fit for your business requires some planning and asking the right questions.

It also means you have to look at your own business requirements and seriously work out a desired outcome – a good agency will ask the right questions to fill in the blanks, collectively, this can then help you shape a fuller brief if you have the basics.

Why listen to me?

Having been both client and now agency side for quite a number of years, I have over 15 years in successfully growing numerous businesses through the power of online, especially PPC.

[disclaimer]: though I actively work at an agency, this guide is totally independent and unbiased. It is intended to help those that need a start-point to find the right agency or move to a new agency.

Why I wrote this guide

In all my years of hands on experience, I have all too often come across poor practice from agencies and clients who have had terrible experiences, some at the end of their tether.

So, this guide is designed to save some heartache and time as well as help you to focus on what you ‘really’ need.

The best way to find your ideal PPC agency is to understand that it is a relationship and like any relationship, it involves both parties. So, I have broken this down into  core areas.

  • Questions to ask yourself
  • Questions to ask the agency
  • Due diligence

Questions to ask yourself

Why am I looking to engage with an agency?

Though this may sound obvious, many companies fail to understand the ‘Why?’ As the old saying goes, you can’t get there if you don’t know where you’re going.

Work out your internal resources and understand that if you were working with an agency, what support you could provide them – or would they need to do everything, from a-z. If that is the case, fine. Most importantly, know where your capabilities end and the agencies begin. Have this discussion with the agency. It will save a lot of pain in the future.

What are my business objectives?

The real question is, what am I looking to employ the agency to do. Do I have a turnover/profit target I need to achieve? If so, what proportion of that target is down to your business and what is the agency responsible for?

What am I after?

Traffic? Branding? Leads?

Traffic

  • What is my current online traffic?
  • What is the makeup of this traffic?
  • Is my Google Analytics counting the right numbers?
  • How much of this is paid and how much is organic traffic?

Branding

  • How am I measuring brand engagement through PPC?
  • Is this the only channel?
  • Is my PPC aligned with my Social Media?
  • Can I easily measure a content engagement path to conversion?

Leads

  • What leads am I getting currently?
  • What is the difference between a lead to an enquiry?
  • How do customers currently find me?
  • What percentage:
    • Fill in a form
    • Call the tel no.
    • Send a direct message
    • Tweet a question
    • Send an email
  • Where do your current enquiries come from:
    • Google search – SEO?
    • Google search – PPC?
    • Both?
  • Social Media?
    • LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter?
  • Word of mouth?
  • Influencers
  • Bloggers/Vloggers?
  • Reviews?

Google Analytics

Over and above your profit and loss account, how are you measuring your results? These can be enquies through to sales. It is always a good idea to give your prospective agency access to your Google Analytics (GA) account.There are further questions regarding GA below in the ‘Questions to ask the agency’ section.

Create a benchmark

Creating a start-point is important. This helps understanding the journey.

  • How am I measuring currently?
  • What are the lead times?
  • How many leads to conversion?
  • What is the current conversion rate?
  • How much am I willing to pay per lead/sale?

Budgets

Having a idea of budgets is key. In many cases, budgets are down to affordability. In some, it is down to a desired result i.e. what do I need to spend, to achieve this amount of sales over 12 months?

Either way, budget planning is crucial and will also determine the size of agency you use, more importantly, the level of service and return.

A good agency will guide you based on experience and your perceived return. A good agency will also walk away or guide you in another direction based on your budget or expected return.

Budget setting questions to ask are:

  • What budgets can I allocate to my desired goals?
  • Number of leads I want
  • Number of units I want to sell
  • How many clients do I want to acquire?

Cost per acquisition (CPA) may not be something you have accurately calculated up until now, but it is crucial to start thinking about costs against returns. Again, a good agency will help you understand and measure true return on investment (ROI) and your return on advertising spend (ROAS).

PPC Audit

Understand what you’re working with. In certain cases, when there is a lack of data or the agency or client is unsure of the results being achieved, it is good idea to undertake a PPC audit. Many agencies will ask for this to help them better understand the overall PPC footprint. This may also incorporate a wider audit that will look at other factors. If this is agreed and both parties understand what the objectives of the audit are, it is always seen as a good investment.

Once you have addressed the above, it is time to think about what you should ask your prospective agency.

 

Questions to ask the PPC Agency

This is designed in you getting to know the agency and find a safe pair of hands.

Finding and then contacting an agency for the first time can seem daunting.

This could be through a Google Search or reading an article and engaging with a piece of content, whether from a social channel or again through content found through a search engine result. Going through what a company may say about itself or even looking at accolades, may not mean that this particular agency is right for you.

So, in order to help create the right business match and following on from the above, here are some questions to ask the prospective agency.

Honesty and transparency

One wants to believe that all business is honest and transparent. Sadly, this is not always the case.

When things are going well, all is rosey but real relationships are tested when things are a little more challenging.

Here are some questions to ask or at the very least, keep in mind:

  • What happens if you don’t hit my targets?
  • What plans do you have in place for the holiday season – we’re open
  • Who owns the data?
  • If I change agency, can they have our logins?
  • Do I have full transparency of my AdWords account?
  • Can I share Google Analytics logins?

In most cases, ask these questions and the answers you get will help determine whether a particular agency is right for you.

Most experienced agencies will not shy away from this and possibly even discuss transparency before you have to ask.

Trust is two ways. So be prepared for a good agency to ask about transparency in your own business.

Experience

An important part of the process is to ascertain how long the company has been in existence and the experience of the team involved. Logic dictates that a company that has been going a week may well have less experience and skill-set that one that has been going for 10 years.

So, what can help you understand experience and what are the questions to ask?

  • When was the agency established?
  • What industry or vertical sectors do they have experience in?
  • What clients have they worked with before?
  • Process and planning

Ask your potential agency about how they work. Questions to ask are:

  • What process do you have in place?
  • Will it fit around my requirements?
  • What reporting do you use?
  • How often will I see reports and what will they contain?
  • Will you pick the phone up to me if I require, equally how often can I call you?
  • Can you share a succesful or recent PPC plan that showed results?
  • How often do we meet – face to face / skype / etc.?
  • Do you share market information – can I share information with you?
  • What does success look like – what are the key metrics (KPIs) we can measure?

Asking some of the above will give you a taste of your future agency’s process.

Due diligence

Looking between the lines.

Due diligence is a passive way of getting a feel for an agency you may want to work with. It allows you to get behind the headlines or statements on their site. What are the areas you should look for and what are the best places to explore more about your future agency?

Below are some areas to take a look at and see what they and others are saying, to help you build a profile.

Remember, over 60% of companies make their mind up about an agency, before they even contact them (Google B2B survey) – a good agency will help you achieve the same for your clients.

Look at social channels – what tone does this reflect? What are the cultural elements of the agency? Particular channels and areas to pay attention to are:

  • Linkedin, Twitter Instagrametc. 
  • The agency’s own blog:
    • What are the topics?
    • What do they address?
  • Are they or their team on independent blog channels e.g.
    • Medium
    • Thrive Digital
    • etc.
  • Awards and Testimonials
    • Is the agency respected by peers and its clients?
    • Who are testimonials from?
  • Case Studies
    • What clients have they worked with
    • What were the results?
    • Etc.

Summing up

If you have gone through the process above, you should be better informed and ready to make a decision. In the end, it will come down to a number of factors that should all be considered and if required, done in a scorecard format.

Following this, the main factor is down to non-tangible elements like culture, empathy and likeability. These final points, mixed with all your information above should help guide you to shortlisting the right agency.

Reggie James
Having built and sold various technology businesses over the years, Reggie heads the consultancy and commercial side of the business. Approachable and pragmatic, Reggie previously ran the first dot-com to list on the Singapore Stock Exchange as well as developing business strategies for brands whilst at AltaVista and Yahoo! before launching Digital Clarity. As a passive investor, he is also involved in the US public OTC markets.
Today is 1st June 2020 - the meteorological first day of summer and half-way thr
Today is 1st June 2020 - the meteorological first day of summer and half-way through the year. Though it will not be business as usual . 
Today is also the day that many of the lockdown restrictions in the UK are being eased and businesses that have been trading, prepare to awake from their slumber . 
What will you business look like as we prepare to head into the second half of the year . 
Have you embraced and enhanced your digital framework to transform your business . 
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Posted 9 hours ago.

Today is 1st June 2020 - the meteorological first day of summer and half-way through the year. Though it will not be business as usual . Today is also the day that many of the lockdown restrictions in the UK are being eased and businesses that have been trading, prepare to awake from their slumber . What will you business look like as we prepare to head into the second half of the year . Have you embraced and enhanced your digital framework to transform your business . Learn how we can make your next 6 months successful - contact @digitalclarity | info@digital-clarity.com | +44148 338270 . . . . #business #thenewnormal #digitalgrowth #businessgrowth #ppc #seo #newnormal #b2b #b2c #marketingagency #google #consulting #digitalmarketingagency #socialmediaagency #digitalagency #growth #planning #digitalconsulting

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Clap for the NHS is no longer a thing but
All good things must come to an end
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All good things must come to an end . Clap for the NHS is no longer a thing but it will never be forgotten . It would be "beautiful" to end Clap for Carers after its 10th week, and make it an annual event, said Annemarie Plas, organiser of the event . Here’s to the heroes 👏👏👏 . . . . #clapforourcarers #clapfornhs #nhs #nhsheroes #guildford #royalsurrey #clapforthenhs #clapforcarers #countyclub #isupportguildford #surrey #nhssurrey #theroyalsurreycountyhospital #theroyalsurrey

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Deepak Chopra often talks about seeing opportunity when we sometimes see no futu
Deepak Chopra often talks about seeing opportunity when we sometimes see no future. He mentions that this opportunity is increased if the other areas in our life like health and mental wellbeing are in tune
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Back in 1980s Chopra was disillusioned within Western medicine’s sometimes short-term approach and after desperately trying to give up smoking, turned to meditation to help
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Deepak Chopra often talks about seeing opportunity when we sometimes see no future. He mentions that this opportunity is increased if the other areas in our life like health and mental wellbeing are in tune . Back in 1980s Chopra was disillusioned within Western medicine’s sometimes short-term approach and after desperately trying to give up smoking, turned to meditation to help . This quest led to a chance meeting in India with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Ayurvedic medicine - Chopra seeing this as an opportunity to bring this to Western society . The rest as they say, is history . . . . . #quotes #wisewords #opportunity #quote #motivationalquotes #thursdaymotivation #win #hustlehard #resilience #content #digitalclarity #marketingagency #digital

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The iPhone has revolutionised how we crea
A creative powerhouse in your pocket
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A creative powerhouse in your pocket . The iPhone has revolutionised how we create on the move and run our business . Whether you are creating a post, writing a blog or running a report, the phone in your pocket; connects you to the world, your business and your customer . Digital Clarity work with CEO’s and owner managers of business to help them and their teams in the digital economy . Learn how we can help you grow . Call: +441483 338 270 | info@digital-clarity | @digitalclarity . . . . #iphone #digitalmarketingagency #ppc #seo #socialmediamarketing #socialmedia #instagrammarketingtips #facebookads #instagrammarketing #googleads #creative #design #digitalagency #socialagency #createdonthate

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SEO is often thought of as free. The fact that you don't pay for the clicks has
SEO is often thought of as free. The fact that you don't pay for the clicks has led to this perception, but how much does SEO cost? .
On the face of it that could suggest it is free or at least a much cheaper channel compared to PPC
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However, search engine optimisation requires time, effort, expertise and therefore money - whether doing it in-house or outsourcing - our latest blog takes a look at what the possible SEO costs are and why they can vary so much - LINK IN BIO .
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SEO is often thought of as free. The fact that you don't pay for the clicks has led to this perception, but how much does SEO cost? . On the face of it that could suggest it is free or at least a much cheaper channel compared to PPC . However, search engine optimisation requires time, effort, expertise and therefore money - whether doing it in-house or outsourcing - our latest blog takes a look at what the possible SEO costs are and why they can vary so much - LINK IN BIO . . . . #seo #seotips #seoagency #befound #google #bing #organicsearch #ppc #searchengineoptimization #marketing #digitalagency #digitalconsultancy #digitalclarity #digitaltransformation

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This quote from the American investor, business tycoon, and philanthropist, Warr
This quote from the American investor, business tycoon, and philanthropist, Warren Buffet has so many applications
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In the main, it addresses two main points .
1. the the need for medium and long term planning
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2. The joy in giving and helping others. 
Warren Buffett is normally known for his investment strategy prowess and the returns he has made for the firm Berkshire Hathaway. 
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This quote from the American investor, business tycoon, and philanthropist, Warren Buffet has so many applications . In the main, it addresses two main points . 1. the the need for medium and long term planning . 2. The joy in giving and helping others. Warren Buffett is normally known for his investment strategy prowess and the returns he has made for the firm Berkshire Hathaway. Sometimes less known for his philanthropic work where he intends to give away all his wealth on his death to charity . . . . #warrenbuffett #berkshirehathaway #philanthropy #philosophy #wisewords #begood #mindfulness #creative #quotes #quotestoliveby #wisequotes #instragram #digitalclarity #contentcreators #guildford #surrey

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For those that don't know yet, businesses around the world can now set up a sing
For those that don't know yet, businesses around the world can now set up a single online store to sell products, with no fee, on Facebook and Instagram - that's nearly a million businesses in the UK alone
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The stores will appear on business pages, Instagram profiles and through targeted ads
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Posted 1 week ago.

For those that don't know yet, businesses around the world can now set up a single online store to sell products, with no fee, on Facebook and Instagram - that's nearly a million businesses in the UK alone . The stores will appear on business pages, Instagram profiles and through targeted ads . This is one of a number of initiatives social media channels are using to attract business - learn more: . E: info@digigtal-clarity.com | +441483 338 270 |@digitalclarity . . . . #facebook #instagram #ecommerce #ecommercebusiness #b2b #b2c #instagrammarketing #facebookads #socialmediamarketing #socialmedia #socialmediaforbusiness #digitalclarity #retail

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Are you ready to ‘create’ your business for the new buyer? .
What will your
Are you ready to ‘create’ your business for the new buyer? .
What will your business look like in June 2020 and beyond? .
As people shift behaviour - prepare your business for the new way of working and doing business - pivot and create
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Learn more: @digitalclarity | info@digital-clarity.com +441483 338 270 .
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Posted 1 week ago.

Are you ready to ‘create’ your business for the new buyer? . What will your business look like in June 2020 and beyond? . As people shift behaviour - prepare your business for the new way of working and doing business - pivot and create . Learn more: @digitalclarity | info@digital-clarity.com +441483 338 270 . . . . . #newbusiness #newnormal #resilience #digitalmarketing #digitalconsulting #digitalmarketingagency #creative #socialmediamarketing #socialmedia #instagrammarketing #facebook #google #googleagency #ppc #seo #analytics #guildford #surrey #london #pinner #horsham #southampton #basingstoke #woking

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