In 2017, PPC advertisers invested over $ 10 billion.
If you had that many $ 100 bills stacked on top of each other, you would have a tower of money nearly seven miles high. So that's a TON of money.
But year after year, global advertising spending on all major PPC channels continues to grow.
And this explosive growth is not happening for nothing.
It happens because PPC works. It is the classic "spend money to make money" model. From social media to paid search, PPC is a smart way to get results fast.
However, this only applies if you know what you are doing.
This is where an experienced PPC agency comes into play. You spend countless hours experimenting and learning all there is to know so you don't have to.
So, if you're looking to hire an agency to create and manage your PPC campaigns, but aren't sure where to start, you've come to the right place. In this article I describe:
- What to look for in a PPC agency
- How to work with them for maximum results
- Steps to Finding the Right Agency
- My five most important recommendations
Let's dive in!
Know your goals and desired results
PPC campaigns exist for a variety of reasons. And it's important to have a clear picture of what you want to achieve before going through the process of finding the right PPC agency.
Without this important information, you will find it difficult to make an informed decision.
Before you begin, sit down with your team and set clear goals and expectations. There are no right or wrong answers, but it is good to understand this from the start.
Your goals can be:
For now, you need to set an overall goal for your next campaign. Understanding your expectations will make it easier for you to communicate what you're looking for and make sure everyone is on the same page.
The idea is to get a general agreement on why you want to hire a PPC agency.
You should also consider the level of involvement you would like to have throughout the process. Do you want to be super practical or do you hope someone will take control?
Don't worry about the details just yet. You can work through the specific metrics and KPIs that you want to measure later when you actually sit down with your new PPC partner.
7 qualities that make a great PPC agency
You now have a crystal clear picture of your goals, expectations, and level of participation. So it is time to talk about what properties to look for.
Not all PPC agencies are created equal. Some are characterized by certain types of advertising, while others specialize in creating a great customer experience on each platform.
One isn't necessarily better than the other, but it ultimately depends on what you're looking for.
Use these characteristics as a basis for creating a list of viable options. They will help you narrow your choices down to the PPC agencies that are worth every penny.
From there, you can sit down with them before making a final decision.
1. You value data, analysis and results
PPC is an exciting form of digital marketing because it allows you to directly link the income generated to the advertising spend. Data and analysis are therefore crucial for the success of future campaigns.
The best PPC agencies know how to use numbers to come up with new ideas that will improve your overall ROI. They use what they already know and what they are learning about your target market to develop high-yielding campaigns.
In addition, they also understand the importance of gathering as much information as possible and sharing that data with you.
If this is not clear on the site, be sure to ask questions so that you can assess before working together. You can ask things like:
- What tools do you use to measure key PPC metrics?
- Will you be actively sharing data and results with us?
- Do I have independent access to analyzes and reports?
- Is a full analysis report included with your offer?
- If so, what do you include in these reports?
2. Strategic partnerships and first party data sources
The longer you are in business and the more campaigns you run, the more first party data you collect about your specific target audience and their behavior.
However, the best PPC agencies also have an extensive database of their own first party data.
Additionally, they know how to use it to predict your audience's buying behavior based on similar industries and previous customers. They can also connect to first party data sources to access their information pool as well.
In addition to data, intelligent agencies work together with leading search and social media platforms. Partners are the first to be notified of new changes and updates.
This means they are ahead of the game when things change.
What … seems to happen every second. These strategic partnerships provide PPC agencies with in-depth insights that non-partners don't have.
Check the website for clues or ask if you are not sure.
3. Knowledge of local search
82% of smartphone users turn to search engines to find businesses near them. They use phrases like “near me” to help them decide where to have lunch, go shopping, and find entertainment, among other things.
In addition, 76% of those searches result in a visit to the store in the same day.
Source: Think with Google
As a result, your business cannot afford to ignore local search when it comes to directing pedestrian traffic to a physical location.
Whether you use your business to sell products or meet customers, getting in the search results at the right time is important.
Make sure you choose an agency with an in-depth knowledge of local search (both paid and organic). You may not find this information on their website. So be sure to ask questions.
On your first call, it can be helpful to ask questions such as:
- How do you deal with local paid search destinations?
- Can you share local PPC results that you created for similar companies?
- We want to reach our local community. Can you tell me a little about how this works?
- How do you measure the success of location-based keywords?
- Do you use bid modifiers for location-specific queries?
4. Strong optimization possibilities for mobile devices
Mobile devices account for more than half (53%) of clicks on search ads. The era of designing creatives and making copies for the desktop is over.
It is more important than ever that PPC ads are easily accessible on devices of all sizes.
And the world of mobile optimization is difficult, especially when combined with ever-changing search and social algorithms. So it's important to hire a PPC agency that knows how to make that transition to surfing on the go.
Some agencies may highlight this as a feature on their website, others may not. So be sure to ask questions on your first phone calls to make sure they know their way around.
To assess this, you can ask questions such as:
- Can you share mobile specific results for previous campaigns?
- What do you think of the design of PPC ads for phones rather than desktops?
- Do you offer copy and display ads or suggestions for improvement that are optimized for mobile phones?
- Do you use bid modifiers for mobile devices?
5. You focus on the right PPC channels
Whether you are interested in search, social, programmatic, shopping, or multi-channel PPC campaigns, finding a PPC agency that specializes in the platforms you plan to use is important.
There is no right or wrong marketing channel. But it depends on your ultimate goal.
Some agencies may only manage search campaigns while others consult, design, and manage paid social media campaigns. Neither two campaigns are the same, nor are two PPC agencies.
First you need to understand what you are looking for.
Which channels are you considering? Do you also need help with design or ad copy? Maybe you want a collaborative venture, or maybe you'd prefer it entirely without hands.
Decide what you need and expect from a PPC agency and use this as a decision aid.
Make sure to share your expectations and goals during your first meeting to make sure they suit you well.
6. Impeccable keyword research
The fastest way to get a return on your investment is to target keywords with commercial intent (transactions). People looking for things like "buy iPhone X" or "best web hosting service" are ready to buy.
Making more money isn't the only goal behind PPC advertising, however. You may want to expand your email list to include more leads in your sales funnel. Or increase brand awareness. Or, increase traffic to increase advertising revenue.
Regardless of the ultimate goal, your PPC agency needs to understand the purpose of your campaign and help you choose appropriate keywords.
This is usually not found on the website. So you need to do some digging.
Here are some good questions to ask the first time you call:
- How do you decide which keywords to focus on?
- What keyword research tools do you use?
- Can you tell us a little bit about your keyword strategy for a similar company?
- What metrics do you use to determine whether a keyword is performing well?
7. Familiar with all things digital marketing
PPC advertising doesn't exist in a vacuum.
This is usually a small part of a larger digital marketing strategy.
And the best PPC agencies know this and are working to develop effective campaigns and PPC strategies to support your high-level business goals.
Sure, PPC requires strong keywords that appeal to the right audiences. But it goes much further than that.
Great agencies understand the bigger picture and can often help improve other parts of your digital marketing system as they are great marketers themselves.
How to work with a PPC agency
Now you know what to look for in a PPC agency.
However, if you've never worked with one before, you may not be sure what to expect from your new partnership. And there are several ways you, as a customer, can improve the overall experience.
By doing these things, you can place both your company and your agency in a strong position for success.
Set clear goals and communicate your expectations
We talked about this briefly at the beginning of this article, but I want to come back to it because it's so important.
Your goals and expectations form the basis for the rest of your partnership.
It is important to understand your goals and communicate them to your PPC agency. The best agencies use your goals and expectations to develop a strategic plan that works well for both of you.
So if you are hesitant or not sure what to look for, sit down with your team and repeat. And make sure you know how to communicate what you want.
Collect and share data from previous campaigns
Any first party data you have can have a significant impact on the outcome of future campaigns.
Think back to any previous partnerships or campaigns you've run and gather that information into a clean and easy-to-understand report.
Then share it with your agency.
Hard data is the best way for them to learn about your audience's attributes and behaviors, as well as what worked, what didn't, and why.
That way, they don't have to reinvent the wheel or start their research from scratch.
Choose a contact person
To avoid confusion, choose a central contact person for communication with your agency. This ensures there is no misunderstanding or wasted time by multiple people managing this relationship.
You can certainly have a team working on the project but limit communication to one person.
It also helps make things easier for your agency. They always know who to speak to and don't have to worry about waiting too long for your answer.
Be prepared for advice and suggestions
PPC agencies are great at what they do. Hence, it is important to listen to their advice and suggestions. This could be advice on improving your home page for conversions or redesigning landing pages to increase sales.
Maybe it's a suggestion to improve your ad copy or headline.
Always remember that they are the experts and you hired them for a reason – they know their stuff. So take the time to listen and stay open throughout the process.
Ask all the questions you need to ask
There is no stupid question. And there aren't too many questions either. If you are unsure or confused about anything, your best bet is to ask.
There is nothing wrong with not knowing, but there is something wrong with not asking.
This will help you learn and help clear up any confusion about the project. You can just rest every day and understand how and why your campaign is working.
How to Find the Right PPC Agency for You
There are hundreds (if not more) PPC agencies to choose from. And choosing the right one is often the hardest part of getting started.
However, the best PPC agencies for you specialize in the types of campaigns you are interested in. You should also have a solid understanding of your industry. These properties together pave the way for the best results.
It can also be helpful to make a list of your expectations and needs before starting your search.
From there, list the companies you are considering. Make sure you include:
- Your specialties
- What does it mean to you
- Why do they seem to fit well
- Prices when available online
- Any negatives about your business
Then you can use your needs and expectations to tick off agencies that don't meet your needs. Finally, arrange a call with the remaining agencies on your list.
This is your chance to interview them as well as your chance to interview you.
So ask all of your questions and take notes throughout the meeting so that you can come back to them when making a final decision.
The 5 Best PPC Agencies
Now you know what to look for, what to expect and how to choose.
Here are my top PPC agency recommendations for different business types and sizes to start your search.
1. Neil Patel Digital – Best Multi-Channel PPC Company
At NPDigital, we leverage our first-party data and search partners to create multi-channel campaigns that can be used to meet potential customers anywhere they are online.
Additionally, we focus on using data to deliver a great customer experience no matter how and where they interact with your brand.
And now more than ever, consumers are doing research before they buy.
We are committed to giving customers the content and information they need to make informed decisions and to help you meet your PPC goals.
From paid search to social media to Amazon and shopping ads, your PPC campaigns are in good hands.
2. Loud Mouth Media – Best Small Agency in the UK
Hiring a partner near your time zone can have a massive impact on the nature of your communication, as well as the length of time it takes to reply.
If you are in Europe or the UK Loud Mouth Media is an excellent small PPC agency serving large clients like Volvo and BBC as well as small businesses around the world.
And there's a reason Loud Mouth Media has won the UK's Best Small PPC Agency two years in a row – they're phenomenal at what they do.
With the data and results to save.
They are also Google, Bing and Facebook partners. Hence, Loud Mouth Media is an excellent choice if you are interested in these channels.
3. Stryde – Best for ecommerce and B2C businesses
If you are a B2C business or run an ecommerce store, Stryde is a great choice as the company specializes in digital ecommerce marketing for businesses of all sizes.
Additionally, the B2B and B2C industries couldn't be more different when it comes to PPC.
And there is no one who can better strategize and manage your product-oriented campaigns than an agency that works exclusively with e-commerce and B2C companies.
They also have an extensive portfolio of case studies that prove they are great at what they do.
4. KlientBoost – Best for landing page design + management services
PPC ads drive traffic, and landing pages (usually) convert that traffic into revenue or leads.
No wonder, then, that landing page design and optimization are critical to successful PPC campaigns regardless of your industry and business type.
If you don't have an in-house designer or are having trouble creating conversion-focused landing pages, KlientBoost is an excellent PPC partner for your company.
In addition to PPC and social media management, they also specialize in designing new landing pages and tweaking existing ones so you can meet and exceed your PPC goals.
The in-house team of designers and developers is happy to help you achieve excellent customer experiences from the first to the last click.
5. Policy Advice – Best for SaaS and B2B companies
B2B companies and SaaS tools face unique challenges when it comes to PPC campaigns. After all, you are targeting other companies, not individuals.
So, you need a PPC strategist and partner who understands how to meet these challenges.
Directive Consulting specializes in helping software companies conquer every marketing channel from paid search and shopping ads to SEO and CRO.
Whether you are solely looking for PPC or are interested in a full digital marketing plan from one of the leading agencies, the guideline is a fantastic choice. They also offer digital marketing training and have a pool of first-party SaaS data that you can access.
You + the right agency = reliable results
Choosing the best PPC agency for your business is just as important as creating the perfect copy, designing eye-catching themes, and posting conversion-focused landing pages.
There is no doubt that you have a strong message and life changing products for the right audience. Plus, you owe it to them to show it to them when they need it.
The right PPC agency will help you generate more leads, make more money, and better keep track of your brand. It's a win-win situation for everyone involved.
The good news is that you now know what to look for throughout the process. The next time you're looking for your dream PPC agency, use the tips, tricks, and traits we talked about.
And remember, a great PPC partner and reliable results can make a huge difference to your business. You deserve it and so do your customers.
What do you look for when hiring a PPC agency?