If you’re having trouble running a successful Google AdWords campaign, it might be time to outsource the project to an AdWords account management team. But how do you find a company that will deliver results?
The future of your business could depend on whether or not you can answer that question.
While there are plenty of AdWords account management companies to choose from, you’ll find that many of them aren’t qualified. Others charge way too much money.
In this article, we’ll cover the responsibilities of an AdWords account management company and offer some pointers on how you can find the right PPC partner for your business model.
What Does an AdWords Account Management Company Do?
Before we get into the specifics of what you should look for in an AdWords account management company, it’s important to understand what the company will do for you.
When you contract with an AdWords account management company, you can expect that company to follow a series of steps to maximize your online advertising ROI.
If the company isn’t doing that or isn’t delivering on expected results, then that’s a sign that you probably picked the wrong company.
A good AdWords account management company will start with research. That phase can be broken down into several smaller units of work:
- Keyword research – A qualified company will start by finding popular search terms related to your brand.
- Competitor research – As with any other aspect of marketing, it’s important to identify competitors when it comes to online advertising. It’s also necessary to identify the keywords that competitors are using in their search ads.
- Negative keyword research – You don’t want to show your ads to people who use certain keywords in the search queries. It’s important to identify those keywords so you can improve your return.
- Target location research – It may be the case that your product or service sells better in some regions than others. Your management company should find those regions and maximize your ad spend there.
- Bid research – AdWords operates on an auction model. That means you stand to lose a lot of money if you don’t get your bids right.
Next, your partner company will conduct a pay-per-click audit. That includes looking at your current campaigns.
The company will check your click-through rate (CTR), number of clicks, number of impressions, and overall spend.
In addition to that, though, you can expect the company to look at your landing page for analytics like the bounce rate and conversion rate.
Beyond that, the team will also check your Quality Score. As the name implies, that score is Google’s assessment of the quality of your ad. It’s measured on a scale from 1 – 10 with 10 being the best.
Next, the company will look at your ad copy itself. Even if it gives you a positive Quality Score, the team might find that the copy doesn’t do a whole lot to entice people to click on your ad.
After the PPC audit, the team will launch your first campaign. Keep in mind, that’s just the first step in a very long journey.
The company will start by setting up one or more campaigns related to your brand. Usually, each campaign will relate to a category, product, or service that you offer.
It’s during this phase that your management company will use the keywords that it uncovered in the first step. The team will apply each keyword to a campaign.
Next, the company will allocate a portion of your budget to each campaign. You’ll need to provide some guidance at this phase because you likely have certain products or services that you want to promote more than others.
Your partners will also evaluate your landing page. Remember, the content of your landing page can affect your Quality Score, so it’s important that it properly reflects the keyword used to get people there.
During the last part of this phase your management team will draft copy for each ad that’s going to run. Again, you should provide some input so that the copy promotes the benefits of your brand.
After your new campaigns have run for a while, the company will review your ad performance and make the necessary adjustments. You’ll need to provide input at this phase as well so that you can be sure that the changes line up with your company mission.
This is when all the tweaking happens. Your management company will adjust bids, add negative keywords, remove underperforming keywords, change match types, re-optimize your landing pages, perform split-testing, and experiment with new search terms.
That’s how a good AdWords account management company will give you the best possible return on your investment.
Do You Need an AdWords Account Management Company?
In some cases, you might not.
If you’re running a really small business and you don’t have a whole lot of cash to throw at PPC advertising, it’s probably best to fly solo for a while. Then, when your business expands, you can outsource the ad management to a qualified team and focus more on building your business.
Keep in mind, though, that running a successful AdWords campaign requires knowledge. If you’re new to the game, you’ll have to learn a lot about keyword research, bid strategies, effective ad copy, and much more.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources online to help you out.
The good news is that once you’ve mastered the science behind AdWords advertising, you’ll be in a better position to judge the quality of a management company.
What to Look for in an AdWords Account Management Company
So what should you look for in an AdWords account management company? There’s a lot to consider.
In the next several sections, we’ll cover go over how you should evaluate the countless management companies that are competing for your business. Armed with that information, you’ll be able to find the marketing team that’s right for your brand.
What Kind of Experience Does Your AdWords Account Management Company Have?
As with almost any other discipline, there’s really no substitute for experience.
You might come across a relatively new company with a rep who assures you that the team is “fully certified” and/or “thoroughly trained” in Google AdWords ad management. Unfortunately, that’s probably not good enough.
When it comes to online marketing, there really is no teacher quite as valuable as experience.
Companies that have been around for awhile have learned many painful lessons. They’ve made mistakes, considered what they did wrong, and improved.
New companies will likely make those same mistakes because they don’t have the benefit of hindsight.
In short, find yourself a company that has been managing PPC accounts for a long time. During the interview process, be sure to ask team members about what they’ve learned along the way.
But Training Is Also Important
Although experience is important, and can’t be substituted for training, that doesn’t mean your management team shouldn’t be trained properly.
Your team should be a Google AdWords Certified Partner. That means it’s a company certified by Google to manage AdWords accounts.
Google awards the Google Partner or Premier Google Partner badge to companies that have demonstrated superior AdWords expertise.
How does Google “gauge” the expertise of certain companies? There are several qualifications.
One of those qualifications is that the company employs one or more people who are certified in Google AdWords. People become certified by passing exams.
Specifically, Google offers the following AdWords-related exams:
- AdWords Fundamentals – Covers basic and intermediate AdWords concepts, such as best-practices, optimization strategies, and the benefits of online advertising.
- Search Advertising – Covers more advanced concepts, such as best-practices for creating and managing search ad campaigns within a search network.
- Display Advertising – As the name implies,, covers advanced concepts related to launching a successful display advertising campaign.
- Mobile Advertising – Covers basic through advanced concepts related to mobile ad formats, bidding, targeting, and analysis.
- Video Advertising – Covers basic through advanced concepts related to launching a successful video ad campaign.
- Shopping Advertising – Covers basic through advanced concepts related to a Merchant Center account.
People who want to become AdWords certified need to pass two of those exams.
Not just any two, though. They need to pass AdWords Fundamentals and one of the following: Search Advertising, Display Advertising, Mobile Advertising, Video Advertising, or Shopping Advertising.
Keep in mind, though, that certification is still no substitute for experience.
Certification proves that the person passed a test. That’s it.
That said, any company that has an employee or another affiliated individual with AdWords certification can become a Google Partner.
However, having a certified individual on the payroll isn’t the only requirement for a company to become a partner. There are other qualifications as well.
To earn the Partner Badge, the company must also manage at least $10,000 of ad spend during a 90-day period, deliver solid revenue growth, and complete a Partners company profile.
To earn the Premier Partner Badge, the company must have at least two AdWords certified professionals on staff, deliver solid revenue growth, complete a Partners company profile, and manage a significantly higher amount of ad spend than a standard Partner company.
You can search for a Google partner near you right here.
When you’re interviewing prospects, ask them about the number of people on staff who are AdWords certified. Also, ask them which exams they took to earn their certification because that might make a difference in your selection process.
For example, if you need to promote your business with video ads, you might want people who not only have experience with video advertising, but also took the Video Advertising exam.
Does Your AdWords Account Management Company Have Expertise in Your Industry?
It’s one thing for an AdWords company to have experience. It’s a completely different thing to have experience in your industry.
If you’re running an online auto parts store and the company you’re considering is mostly experienced with businesses in the hospitality industry, you should probably look elsewhere. Your business model is completely different.
Keep in mind, though, that it’s easy to take these criteria to an extreme. If you operate in a very specialized industry, it’s likely that not too many great AdWords account management companies have worked in your niche. Don’t exclude them just because of that.
Of course, in those cases, just ask company reps about how they would approach an ad campaign in your industry. You’ll be able to tell a lot about their qualifications that way.
Do They Have Expertise in Your Online Model
Next, look for a company with expertise in your online model.
For example, if you’re running a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company, you want to work with a partner that has successfully marketed SaaS companies in the past.
Disregard companies that have focused almost exclusively on other types of online models, such as ecommerce or viral content.
Again, though, make sure that you use the interview process to get a read on how the company would approach your business model.
What Level of Ad Spend Do They Offer
Next, ask the company about the level of ad spend it’s accustomed to managing. That’s important for a couple of reasons.
First of all, you want to make sure that the company can manage the level of money you think you need to spend for successful AdWords marketing.
Secondly, the skill set required to manage hundreds of thousands of dollars for multiple clients is significantly different from the skill set required to manage a couple of thousand dollars for a few clients.
Keep in mind, companies that can successfully manage high levels of ad spend have a skill set that goes beyond AdWords. It means they have great project management.
What are The Latest Industry Trends
The only constant is change. That’s more true when it comes to digital marketing than anything else.
Your AdWords account management company should not only demonstrate a history of success, but also stay on top of all the latest changes in PPC advertising.
When you’re interviewing a company rep, make sure you ask about how the company keeps up with the latest in AdWords best-practices.
How Much Availability Does The AdWords Account Management Company
Did you ever hire a contractor to do some work on your house and he never showed up? Or he started the work but then got busy with other projects and didn’t finish it?
That can happen in digital marketing, too.
Some companies bite off more than they can chew. They see dollar signs with a prospective new client and they don’t even think about the fact that their team doesn’t have the bandwidth to take on new work.
During the interview process, be sure to ask company reps about whether or not their employees are available to take on your project. Be sure to probe by asking specifically about how many hours people currently work.
Does the Ad Management Company Have Analytics Certifications?
Your AdWords account management team should understand analytics. Thoroughly.
Fortunately, Google offers certification for Google Analytics. The team member who’s responsible for checking your metrics should have that certification.
During the interview process, ask company reps about certification and how their teams use analytics to improve results.
What Kind of Reporting Can You Expect?
When you hire a management team, you’re paying for a service. You certainly want to know if you’re getting your money’s worth.
That’s why the company should offer you detailed reports. Those reports should answer almost every question you have about the work that the company is performing on your behalf.
More importantly: the report should be customized for your own business. Don’t settle for “white label” reports that are generically produced by a third-party source. Make sure the company is paying attention to your needs with a report that addresses your specific organizational goals.
Do They Offer Conversion Rate Optimization Services?
Although it’s wonderful to get clicks from your AdWords campaigns, those clicks mean nothing if they don’t turn into conversions. That’s why you need a company that not only specializes in AdWords ads, but also landing page conversion rate optimization (CRO).
Your company should spend time going over your landing page, adjusting colors, changing text, and moving buttons around. That’s all in an effort to get you the best possible conversion rate.
When you’re considering competing companies, ask about how they approach CRO. Cross off companies that don’t give you a solid answer.
Do They Provide Multi-Language Support?
It’s a global economy. Thanks to the Internet, it’s even easier to reach people in other countries than it was just a few decades ago.
Unfortunately, though, there are still language barriers. That’s why your AdWords account management team should know how to support multi-language campaigns.
Ask the companies you’re considering about their experience with international marketing. Make sure you eliminate companies with little to no overseas experience.
Your Ad Words Mangement Company Should Have Honest Pricing
Some companies will entice you with lofty promises of outstanding conversions, turnkey operations, and a great pricing structure. Then, they’ll nickle-and-dime you with additional fees for extra (but necessary) services.
When you finally get the bill, your jaw will hit the floor.
That’s why you should make sure that the companies you’re considering describe their fee arrangement in nauseating detail up front. Get everything in writing.
You certainly don’t want to incur any extra expenses that will wipe out the profit you earned from a great AdWords campaign.
Realistic Expectations Should Be Set
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Nobody can guarantee you a #1 spot forever in the Google search results. Nobody.
If a company rep approaches you with a lot of dubious sales talk about how you’ll triple your revenues or double your market share, it’s probably best to move on. Look for a company that offers reasonable goals instead.
People who are experienced with PPC know that an AdWords campaign is a long-term, strategic effort. It’s not something that’s going to make you a millionaire overnight.
Thus far, we’ve gone over some questions you should ask when interviewing different AdWords account management companies. But you should also take note of the questions they ask you.
Why? Because you want a partner.
There’s no way a company rep can understand your business model, objectives, and target market without asking you questions. In fact, the rep should probably ask more questions than you.
If you find that you’re the one who’s doing most of the questioning during an interview, that’s a sign that the company isn’t really interested in learning about your business. That’s also a sign that the company will make a poor partner.
On the other hand, if you talk to a rep who asks question after question about how you run your business and your approach to marketing, you’ve probably got a winner on your hands. That’s somebody who’s committed to your success.
Wrapping Up How to Choose an Ad Words Management Company
You don’t have to “go it alone” when it comes to AdWords account management. There are plenty of great companies that will handle your AdWords campaigns on your behalf.
The tough part is finding just the right one. To do that, you’ll need to conduct a series of interviews.
During that process, you’ll eliminate companies that aren’t suited to your business model and don’t have the right background. Then, you can pick the AdWords account management company that will help you maximize your ROI.