6 Strategic Tools Your PPC Agency Should Be Providing

By Cassie Oumedian | @cass_oumedian | Associate Director of Services at Hanapin Marketing

While performance and optimizations are a big part of the relationship between a PPC agency and the client, there is one piece that can provide value beyond just the numbers – communicating strategy and account insights. Below we will cover 6 strategic tools that we feel help provide value to clients beyond performance.


Recently, Hanapin did a focus group to find out what the key elements that marketing managers wanted to get from their PPC agencies. While they all said performance was important, the other piece that marketing managers wanted to get from their PPC agency was strategy and insights. We took this feedback seriously and have implemented several tools to help create value for our clients. Below are a few that our clients appreciate for showing strategic value beyond the numbers, starting with reporting.


1. Reporting


Showing performance results is the first line of defense in discussing PPC strategy with clients. Whether the client needs daily, weekly, monthly reporting or all of the above, it is important to discuss more than the numbers. Additional information to showcase along with reporting includes:


  • Comparing results to the previous period
  • Calling-out any piece of information that is performing well or not performing
  • Discussing the optimizations that were completed to achieve these results
  • Forecasting future optimizations and initiatives based upon results


The longer period of reporting time, the more information beyond the numbers should be provided. It is also important to look at different time frames, especially if you are using AdWords conversion metrics. AdWords conversion metrics report on day-of-click, which means that if your click-to-conversion window is set to 30 days, if a customer clicked on your ad on April 1st but didn’t actually convert until April 28th, the conversion will be attributed to April 1st. Looking at longer windows of data allows you to account for some of these lagging conversions.


2. Strategic Plan


Having a strategic plan is imperative for your PPC program, especially in those first 90 days of a relationship. Most of the time PPC managers probably have a strategic plan that they are working on to help clients achieve goals but may not have taken time to actually communicate that plan to the client. Having this plan easily accessible at all times can help alleviate any questions of what is being worked on and why. Below is an example of a strategic plan that helps eliminate any confusion of the overall strategy and action plan. Taking the extra time to layout this plan will help save time for the client and the PPC manager by eliminating confusion of what is being worked on.


strategy doc


3. Account Insights / Audits


PPC account managers typically eat, sleep and breathe PPC account performance but there are still going to be times an account may struggle and need additional support. Another value of using a PPC agency is that you typically have a team of people available to help work on your account whether performance is good or bad. We’ve found that proactively auditing our clients PPC accounts brings fresh insights to help prevent issues before they start. A few of the account insights we review when auditing an account include:



4. Competitor Analysis


Competitor analysis is always great for showing insightful value, and for good reason. Knowing where an account falls in the competitive landscape is crucial in developing a strategy that allows for maximum and efficient results. Running a competitive analysis every 90 days to 6 months is typically a good time frame. However, if you notice a steep climb in CPCs or branded traffic being impacted, you may want to run a quick analysis to see if new competitors have entered the space or are bidding on your brand terms. Below are a few free tools that you can use to run a competitive analysis:


  • Auction Insights
  • Spyfu
  • SEMrush
  • iSpionage


These are all great tools to get a feel for the competitive landscape but it is also important to have a strategic plan as to what you plan to do with this information.


5. Market Expansion


Market expansion is a great follow up from competitive analysis because you may find that competition is increasing and potentially reaching the point of diminishing returns for some channels. Providing clients with a market expansion plan that includes how, why and how much to expand into other channels can be another valuable tool beyond just performance.


6. Quarterly Business Review


Last but not least, is a quarterly business review that encompasses all of the other strategic tools mentioned above. These presentations should be more in-depth and provide an opportunity for the client and the PPC agency to brainstorm and reflect on performance, discuss key insights and collaborate on future initiatives and goals. A few strategic items that we’ve found success covering during these quarterly business reviews include:


  • Performance numbers comparing year-over-year and/or previous period
  • Industry trends and projections
  • PPC Impact
  • Account insights
  • Strategic action plans