How to choose a Google Ads agency: 6 elements to look for
Google Ads is one of the most powerful tools you can use to get in front of potential clients and motivated buyers, actively searching for your product or service. It is a flexible, high ROAS digital advertising platform which provides fast results and excellent tracking and targeting options.
However, if your Google Ads campaigns are not pre-optimised and set up poorly, you are guaranteed to waste most of your paid media budget and miss out on potential conversions. You could even risk your reputation and make a bad first impression to your potential client base.
Finding the right Google Ads agency can be hard, especially for small businesses and start-ups with low budgets. With an abundance of digital agencies and freelancers, the process of finding the right partners can become even more confusing and overwhelming.
This is why as a specialist PPC agency we thought it could be useful to you if we put together this brief guide. It will help you choose your Google Ads agency and will help you make sure you're dealing with experts, notice red flags and teach you how to vet your future account managers.
Reporting & Tracking. Before choosing your Google Ads agency, make sure you understand the metrics they track and report. Different businesses have different objectives and while some metrics like cost, conversions and engagement are tracked across all accounts, other metrics may be just as valuable to your business. When vetting potential marketing agencies, communicate your current situation and objectives and ask how the marketing agency would track your performance beyond ROI, beyond clicks and CPCs. If this metric is important to your performance, your agency might need to track and report on metrics like Search Impression Share, to give you a realistic overview of what percent of the market share your business has.
In most cases, marketing agencies and lead generation partners fail to track lead quality, aiming to sell the highest volume of leads at the lowest cost per acquisition. If this could be a potential problem for your business, speak to your agency about how they would make sure the leads are from motivated users and how your account managers would like you to report conversions back to them.
Your Google Ads account managers and your chosen PPC agency should also have the tools and knowledge to properly understand attribution models, cross channel remarketing and easily visualise this data for you. The right agency will not only fully understand what matters to your business, but will be able to provide an industry overview through data and account analysis.
They should be able to produce insightful reports, give you actionable advice and set performance goals for your account. They should also have an established process of managing and maintaining your account, with the scope of their work outlined in your contract. A good marketing agency should keep you updated on your account's maintenance, how the spend is distributed across different campaign types, products and platforms, best performing devices and audiences and should be capable of providing any other information which can help you improve your product or service, both online and offline.
Agency Scope. Does your chosen Google Ads agency also specialise in graphic design, social media, web and app development, SEO, email marketing, PR and every other aspect of digital marketing? If yes, you may want to reconsider your decision.
While a full-service marketing agency might sound great, the reality is that many small to medium sized agencies don't have enough qualified staff to efficiently manage different aspects of digital marketing. Just because an agency can provide outstanding results in a certain area of digital marketing, that does not mean they would excel in Google ads.
Check the agency's case studies, clients and ask how many other accounts they are managing, as well as how many dedicated PPC specialists they have on board.
Google Partners badge. If you’re looking for a Google ads agency to manage your account, working with certified professionals and official partners is important.
In Google's own words, "The Google Partner badge is awarded to companies with expert-level Google Ads product knowledge. Partners receive training, support, and insights that keep their skills sharp and help drive campaign success."
Genuine Google ads partner agencies have proven track record of managing large spend across different campaign types, have certified individuals within their organisation and maintain consistent growth.
Working with Google partners like The PPC Agency have other advantages too, including access to beta features, new ads and extension formats, tools and more.
Last but certainly not least, make sure the badge is clickable to be 100% certain that you are dealing with an authentic Google partner. Upon clicking on the Google partners badge, you should be able to see how many certified PPC professionals the company has, as well as their certifications.
If their profile is missing this information, they no longer have certified specialists in the listed Google ads categories. If the badge displayed on the website is non-clickable, it is most likely to be fake.
Contracts & Transparency. Trust is an absolutely essential ingredient to any business partnership, including the one with your marketing agency.
While most agencies are transparent about their management fees, lack of access or ownership to your Google Ads account is a huge red flag.
There are plenty of examples of marketing agencies stealing media budget, driving low quality traffic to your website, while presenting vague reports focusing on impressions or clicks.
As a business owner purchasing a service, you should be able to find out how much of your advertising budget was spent on Google Ads, what changes were made to your account and how often the account is monitored.
Transparency also means being upfront and honest about whether your goals are achievable, required investment and whether your business and the agency are compatible. At The PPC Agency we always keep our clients in the loop, providing full lifetime access to all advertising platforms we use, including Google ads, Google Analytics, Tag Manager and any other platforms we use.
Account ownership is another thing to watch out for when choosing a Google Ads agency. Simply put, your account has valuable performance data you are paying for when advertising on Google.
Loosing access to the account or not having ownership of it most certainly guarantees you will no longer have access to your past performance once you severe ties with the marketing agency.
Ask your account manager and check your contracts about who has copyright, account access and account ownership during and after your contract with the marketing agency. At The PPC Agency, we adapt a fully-transparent approach, giving lifetime administrative access to our clients, as well as account ownership.
Client portfolio. While most clients are inclined to look for agencies who have worked with other clients in their niche, other client similarities like budget, company size or values are another important element when choosing your Google ads agency. Apart from industry, try to find other similarities between their past clients and your business too, such as Google Ads campaign types: does the agency mostly work with clients whose main objective would be lead generation, such as finance or SaaS? Do they have multiple case studies highlighting shopping success across different ecommerce stores? Do any of their case studies apply to your business objectives? When choosing a Google Ads agency, campaign budget is another crucial element to look for when comparing yourself to their other clients. It's no secret that if a budget is big enough, the account can carry out much more tests and would eventually generate enough traffic and impressions for Google to optimise the account through machine learning. If your budget and company size seem smaller than their other clients, you may want to reconsider your decision and vice versa. If your chosen digital marketing agency exclusively works with small businesses and your monthly budget exceeds £100,000s, you may be better off working with a bigger agency which can offer exclusive tools, a bigger dedicated team and will be proven to have managed large spend across different channels.
Guarantees, certifications & promises. As much as we would like to be able to guarantee certain performance, cost per acquisition or traffic, this simply isn't possible for most industries.
Guaranteed impressions or guaranteed clicks is a huge red flag, especially if that's on the agency's website, without any reference to industry benchmarks or search volume. In some instances, if you are 'guaranteed' traffic or views, you will either get low quality traffic, irrelevant to your objectives or in worst case scenario, bot traffic. When it comes to sales and lead generation, your business' performance depends on multiple factors, including your client reviews, product features and pricing, website and your ability to be competitive. Guaranteed sales, unsupported 'as seen in' or misleading partnership badges are definitely a sure-fire sign that you are dealing with a dishonest agency.
We hope you found this post helpful, don't forget to check out our other posts and case studies on your blog page.