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What is a PPC Agency? & How to Choose the Right One

Sydney | June 11, 2024 | Evenbound

So you’re interested in pay-per-click (PPC) ads—but what are they? And what is a PPC agency? Those are important questions to ask before embarking on a new digital marketing tactic, especially one that’s super technical and budget-focused. Since there’s so much to consider, it can be tough to judge who's actually great at their job, and who's just telling you they are. In this blog, we’ll help you cut through the clutter and make a confident choice.

 

Let’s Start with the Basics. What is a PPC Agency?

A PPC agency helps you create, manage, and optimize online advertising campaigns on search platforms, such as Google and Bing. Some PPC agencies also help with digital ads on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn or Meta. These services can include strategy, content, web updates, and spend management to support the ads, though the level of involvement can vary depending on the agency’s offerings and your company’s investment.

How to Choose the Right PPC Ad Agency

Naturally, you’re probably wondering how to choose a good PPC ad agency when options are abundant. Fortunately, the Evenbound team is here to help. We work with clients every day who incorporate PPC and paid media services into their overall marketing strategy with us. Through this experience, we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, and we can help you figure out what's what. Now, let’s dive into seven key qualities to look for in the best PPC agencies.

 

 


 

#1. They Have Partnerships with Relevant Ad Platforms

As mentioned before, paid media can include anything from Google and Microsoft ads to social media advertising on platforms like Meta and LinkedIn. Regardless of what kind of paid media services you're looking for, a good PPC ad agency is one that is certified in and partnered with the platforms that make the most sense for your industry, audience, and business goals.

The main three partnerships you should look for in a PPC agency include:

  • Google Partner
  • Microsoft Partner
  • Meta Business Partner

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There are different tier levels for each of these partnerships, but any good PPC agency will have some sort of partnership with at least those three, if not more. These partnership certifications are more than just a badge that signals a good PPC agency.

PPC agency partnerships also deliver some significant benefits, like:

  • Skipping the support line: If you ever have an issue with your ads, a PPC agency that is a Google, Microsoft, or Meta Business Partner has a representative they can contact directly to immediately address problems rather than having to wait to resolve a support ticket. 
  • Trained & certified pros: These partnerships show that this PPC agency has taken and passed extensive platform-specific training programs. For you, that means the people building and managing your campaigns know exactly what they're doing and can deliver the results you're looking for.
  • Serious results: For most of these partnerships, partners must meet or exceed certain performance requirements to maintain their status. PPC agencies with these partnerships have delivered serious results for their clients and continue to do so.

 

 


 

#2. They Understand Your Goals or Help You Set Them

 

The bottom line? You can't have an effective PPC strategy if you don't have goals. There are so many ways to run paid media ads. Aside from the overarching types of ads you can choose from—such as display ads, search ads, and social media ads—there are even more sub-options within those, such as single image ads or video ads. Additionally, there are a variety of targeting options for some ad types, such as remarketing to previous customers. The list goes on and on. 

To decide how best to spend your money for the greatest ROI, you need to identify which ads you’re going to run to achieve your desired results. So, when you're interviewing PPC agencies, pay attention to the questions they ask and the advice they give you right off the bat. Have they asked you what you're looking for? In other words, is there a strategy driving what they’re doing? If not, you may want to consider other options.

A good PPC ad agency will want to know your goals before they start offering solutions. If they ask you what your goals are for your paid media strategy and you don't have a great answer, an experienced agency will partner with you to determine goals before they build those ads.

Goals for your paid media campaigns could include brand awareness or lead generation, among others. These goals can be measured with one or more of these metrics:

  • Clicks and click-through rate
  • Impressions
  • Conversions
  • Cost per conversion
  • ROAS (return on ad spend)

 

 


 

 

#3. They're Big on Data

In the realm of marketing and advertising tactics, paid media can feel a bit more high stakes. Why? Everything you test and try costs money. And you immediately see those dollars come out of your bank account in a way you don't when you start blogging or emailing.

That's why it's so important to look for a PPC ad agency that uses data and expertise to inform their decisions. Good PPC agencies look at a whole host of metrics, leverage all of the optimization capabilities, and utilize best practices before and during campaign build-out.

A good PPC agency will inspect:

  • Your keywords: Which keywords make the most sense for your paid media campaigns? How do the bid prices for those keywords stack up?
  • Your industry: What are your competitors doing? How much are they spending and what results are they seeing from those efforts? Plus, how much of your audience is on each platform, and what targeting options are available?
  • Your current campaigns: If you have paid media campaigns running, a good PPC agency will take a look at how they're performing and make recommendations for improvement based on your historical data.
  • Future campaigns: In addition to looking at historical data, good PPC agencies are always working to gather and use data to inform future campaigns. They test your existing campaigns, work to improve copy and landing pages, and are looking for data that shows them how they can build better campaigns for you in the future.

Any PPC agency you interview is going to tell you how much of a difference they can make for you. A good PPC agency will show you exactly what changes they plan to make, and what data they used to arrive at that conclusion.

Questions to ask your PPC agency include:

  • What kind of tools do you use
  • What kind of testing they do to improve ads over time
  • What data, stats, and information is most important for them
  • How they arrived at the recommendations they're showing you

When you're talking to a great PPC agency, it'll be pretty obvious by the numbers, charts, and examples they use that they're big into data. Asking the questions above can help you get a better feel for how they plan to use that data to manage your paid media campaigns.

 

 


 

#4. They Specialize in Your Industry

Some marketing tactics don't require a ton of industry experience. Paid media isn't one of them. When you're trying to figure out how to choose a good PPC ad agency, look for one with proven expertise in your industry. If you manufacture bolts, you don't need to find an agency that only advertises for bolt manufacturers—but you should look for agencies that regularly work in the manufacturing industry and who understand how to advertise highly technical B2B products.

PPC agencies with experience in your industry offer a few benefits, including:

  • They already know how to talk to audiences like yours.
  • They have plenty of information and data on the advertising platforms that work best for you. (Example: These Google Ad Benchmarks by Industry our PPC team put together.)
  • They have industry-specific data they can use to judge how well your campaigns are performing.

Choosing a good PPC ad agency means more than just choosing someone who knows how to set up ads. Finding an agency you can trust who has worked with clients in your industry can provide a wealth of benefits that typically translates into better results, faster. They'll have plenty of examples of how certain campaigns have performed for clients like you in the past, and they'll have a wealth of knowledge about how and where your company is likely to see the best results.

 

 


 

 

#5. They Practice a Big-picture Approach

 

 

Paid media services are an important marketing tactic, but they don't exist in a vacuum. A good PPC agency recognizes that paid media is just one (very important) component of your entire marketing plan. At Evenbound, we make sure our clients have the best chance at capturing leads by working with them on comprehensive marketing strategies. For example, did you know that your Google Ads campaigns are more likely to gain first-position placement when your website is already ranking well in organic search results? A good PPC agency does.

There's only so much an exceptional paid media campaign can do for you. If you don't have a relevant landing page and an optimized website, for example, the leads you're pulling in from your campaign are more likely to bounce right off the page. That's why a good PPC agency will offer suggestions beyond just which keywords to bid on and how much you should be spending on search engine or social media ads.

A good PPC agency will offer well-rounded recommendations. These might include:

  • Suggesting improvements to the landing pages for your pay-per-click ads, which is where potential leads will land when clicking an ad.
  • Working to develop ad campaigns that fit well into the rest of your inbound and outbound marketing strategies. For example, if you're heading to a tradeshow, they may develop a plan to help you drive relevant leads to your booth.
  • Asking about your bigger marketing and sales priorities to tailor their strategy. A PPC agency that asks about and understands your big-picture goals is an agency that can work with you to achieve them.

 

 


 

#6. They're Upfront About Pricing

Some investments are hard to put a number on. For example, you might not know exactly how much a website rebuild costs until you discover which features you’ll want. However, you should know how much your paid media services will cost. A good PPC ad agency is great with numbers. As we've already discussed, they're confident working with data and they have historical data on how much companies in your industry typically spend on advertising. They’ll have the information they need to be upfront about how much a PPC campaign that can meet your goals will cost—and if anything changes, they should be transparent about letting you know.

The cost of a PPC agency includes a few key expenses. While every agency is different, the big numbers to look for and ask about are:

  • Onboarding & campaign audit costs: Essentially, how much it will take for this new agency to poke around in your existing ad campaigns, audit them, and develop a solid plan for the next steps that bring you closer to your paid media goals?
  • Ad costs: This is the cost of running the ads themselves. No matter what platform you're running ads on—Google, Microsoft, Meta, etc.—it costs money to run those ads. A good PPC agency will be very upfront about what they recommend you spend, and they should share what you're likely to get out of that spend. 
  • Ad campaign development & management costs: This is the money the agency actually gets for putting together, managing, and running those ads for your company. It's important to remember that campaign development & management costs are separate from ad costs. Your ad spend is going directly to Google, Bing, or another platform, while your development and management costs support the agency team members who create and manage those ads.

In short, there's a lot of money floating around when it comes to paid media. You want your PPC agency to be upfront about how much they'll need to achieve your goals, and where exactly all of that money goes. Paid media strategists know that every company has a different budget. Many quality PPC agencies will offer pricing options in a good, better, and best format that helps you understand what results you'll see for the money you put in and how they can help you maximize your specific PPC budget.

 

 


 

 

#7. They're Dedicated to Transparent Reporting

 

 

The last (and maybe most important!) thing to look for when choosing a good PPC agency is transparent reporting. They should be upfront about where your money is going and what it's accomplishing. A good PPC agency will give you all the access, information, and analysis you could ever want (and possibly even more than you can handle).

To discover how transparent the PPC agency you're interviewing is, these questions can help:

  • How do you communicate campaign results?
  • Will I have access to my own campaign reporting?
  • What happens if we have a bad month and our ads don't deliver leads?
  • How often will you update me on the progress and results of my campaigns?

In general, most PPC agencies want campaigns to gather enough data to be statistically significant before they report on results, but once your campaigns are rolling, you should expect monthly reporting.

If you don't care too much about the numbers behind your paid media campaigns (as long as they're delivering results), that's OK—but you should still seek a PPC agency that is happy to share results, analyze performance, and offer options for continuous improvement. Any agency that doesn't let you see how your own ads are performing is one you should run far away from.

Don’t Rush—Take Your Time Choosing a PPC Ad Agency

Finding, interviewing, and hiring a good PPC agency can feel like a long, arduous process, but putting in the effort now will pay off in dividends later. If we could offer just one tip to anyone looking for a good PPC agency, it would be to really do your research to make sure that this agency is one you’d be comfortable working with long-term.

Once you've put in the work and found an agency you like, make sure you're keeping up with them! The longer you work together, the more historical data you'll collect, and the more refined and optimized your ads can become. That's why it's so worth it to find a good PPC agency and work together to tackle the hard work upfront. With a solid partnership, you'll soon start to see the results you've been looking for.

Need Help Choosing a PPC Ad Agency? We’ve Got You.

If you have more questions about choosing a PPC ad agency or if you're not sure your PPC ads are performing the way they should, set up a free consultation with the Evenbound team! We can walk through your existing campaigns, let you know where you're doing well, and offer a few suggestions for improvement. Plus, we can help you integrate paid media with other marketing tactics for optimal ROI.

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Not ready to talk to a real person? No worries! This checklist is an amazing resource to help you optimize your PPC ads (no human interaction required)!

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