During the sales process, agencies often use their A-team to present their pitches. But after signing on with an agency to run your SEM campaigns, you might begin to feel that you have the D-team running your campaigns.
The following are five signs you can keep an eye out for that will let you know if you need a new PPC agency.
1. Negative Onboarding Experience
Onboarding a new client should be a seamless experience. There are a specific set of credentials such as your engine account and analytics logins needed by the SEM agency.
A specific set of questions should be asked that outline the goals of your campaigns, any rules/regulations for your industry, and provide the agency with the background info they need to know about your products and services. Many of these questions may have been answered during the sales process.
Most agencies have a standard set of procedures and documents that bring new clients through the onboarding process. If you happen to have a negative experience while onboarding, it could be a sign that the agency you have selected and the experience you're going to have moving forward could be less than stellar.
2. Canned Reporting
Each business is different and each business has different goals. This should lead to customized reports for each client.
Sure, the standard format may be similar, but if your agency limits you to only tracking a certain amount of conversions, and won't include additional metrics you have requested, this should be a red flag that they are offering a lowered standard of service than is generally available from most agencies.
3. Too Much Broad Match
Agencies that have a large amount of clients tend to take short cuts to save time. One of the most time consuming tasks is building out and creating the actual SEM account.
One shortcut that sub-par agencies will often take is creating an entire account in broad match. This saves them time as they don't have to utilize as many keywords, due to how loose Google is within broad match. This leads to less ad groups, which saves them time.
The problem with this is it also affects your accounts performance. Making sure you understand the match type distribution in your account is important. While broad match can be an affective part of your agencies PPC strategy, it should only make up a small percentage of the total keywords within your account.
4. No Ad Text Testing
One of the ways SEM managers can constantly optimize is by testing ad text. A simple change to a call to action can lead to big changes in CTR and conversion rate.
The agency you're utilizing should have a standard process in place for ad text testing. Whether it is rotating a standard set of ads per ad group or making changes once data is statistically significant, there should be a process in place.
When working with your account managers, make sure they explain their process to you and provide you with results as they go through testing. If this is something your agency isn't currently offering, speak up and ask them to implement it immediately – or else.
5. Limited or No Attribution
Many PPC campaigns are run on a last click basis, only giving credit of a conversion to the final click. The agency you work with should have an understanding of top of the funnel keywords as well as the role they play in driving conversions they play in your account.
Whether it is view-through conversions or assists, your agency should be managing these keywords based on their support to the conversions that end up coming through long tailed or brand queries.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!