7 Habits of Ineffective PPC Agencies

By Jeff Allen | @JeffAllenUT | President at Hanapin Marketing

When considering hiring or switching agencies, you want assurance that your account performance isn’t going to tank. Here are 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective PPC Agencies so you know what to avoid.

1. They Don’t Know their Strengths

A PPC agency that has never had an ecommerce client is often all too eager to take on the challenge. And this is fine if the agency is completely transparent with the client that they will be their first. But often times that fact is hidden, and the client winds up being the testing ground.

It’s important in PPC to know what you are really good at, and delegate, or even pass up, what you’re not. To expand your strengths you hire top tier talent that has a history of mind-blowing performance in whatever you are weak at. This is opposed to spending your client’s money to get better at it.

2. They Spend Their Time—Your Money—on Basic Tasks

There is software that will do 75% of routine PPC maintenance. It typically costs a lot less than an agency, and while it requires time and knowledge, it’s less than if you try to manage your PPC account without it.

For an agency to be highly effective it has to be asking, “what is the action we can take that will put a significant dent in account performance.” The routine maintenance has to get done, but it should be done after the really important things are handled, and producing meaningful results.

3. Their Fee Model is Flawed

It’s easier to manage an account that spends $10,000 a month than it is to manage an account that spends $100,000. If an agency has a fixed price, they’ll do everything they can to lower the costs associated with managing your account. So it follows that they will focus on cutting spend, read as revenue and profits, in lieu of growing your account.

Percentage based models create a win-win situation between clients and agencies. If the client is seeing profit, they’ll increase spend, which increases revenue for the agency. But if the agency isn’t performing, the client will cut spend, which obviously reduces revenue for the agency. In these models, there should be a way for client or agency to win without the other seeing some benefit.

4. They Focus on Tactics not Strategy

A good PPC agency follows best practices, gives their clients exactly what they want, and does everything in their power to hit goals. A great PPC agency invents best practices, convinces their client to want what the client needs to grow their business, and always hits goals. They do this by focusing on strategy, not tactics

5. They Work in Silos

Many agencies have dedicated teams for accounts. No one outside of these teams look at the account, and no on inside the team works on other accounts. This produces silos that prevent the synergistic benefits of always having fresh eyes on accounts.

The greatest way to get the needle to move in your account is to have as many eyes on it as possible. You prevent having too many cooks in the kitchen by having a lead manager who organizes the feedback and ideas and actually implements those that will make the biggest positive impact on account performance.

6. They Report Redundantly

Getting the same reports at every client meetings shows a lack of creativity and ability to identify new issues, opportunities, and performance changes. You should be receiving new reports, such as an analysis of impression share, to help you better understand what is happening and how to reap more rewards from pay per click.

7. They Work Too Much

A smart agency knows that it’s people need time to recharge. Driving account managers to work nights and weekends without break reduces their efficiency and drives up costly mistakes. Sure, you always need someone to call in a pinch, but you don’t want your manager working 24/7 to please their clients. An effective agency understands this and builds in as much holiday time off as feasible.