The Definitive Guide to Choosing the Best Google Ads Agency | Updated for 2019

It’s time to get serious about PPC advertising.

For a business owner with a scalable model and rock-solid product or service, PPC is a no-brainer to boost sales.

But when it comes to finding the right agency to tackle your Google Ads campaign, the bottom of the barrel won’t cut it.

So, how do you find the best PPC agency for your business?

We’ve got you covered with a checklist of must-ask questions to narrow down the competition.

But First — a Refresher: What Is PPC? And Why Is It The Next Step to Grow Your Business?

First, let’s review the basics.

PPC, or pay per click advertising, is a form of online advertising displayed on search engine results pages:
As you probably suspected, the advertiser (i.e. you) pays a fee when (and only when) their ad is clicked on by a user.

When executed properly, PPC is a fast and effective way to get prospective customers to visit your site. But when executed by a super-qualified professional, PPC not only gets more people to visit your site — it also draws in the right people. 

In other words, people who are highly likely to purchase what you offer.  

Google Ads: Consider it Non-Negotiable

Now let’s get a little more specific. PPC is an umbrella term for all forms of pay per click advertising. PPC can be utilized through different platforms, including Facebook, Bing, and Google.

But let’s make one thing clear: Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords) is the number one PPC advertising system on planet earth.  

And for good reason. 

Google alone receives around five billion searches each day. It’s the one virtual space internet users across the globe go to get their questions answered.  

These users are literally asking the search engine to give them an answer to their immediate need. It doesn’t matter if that answer is an ad or not — so long as the result helps them along their journey. 

Now compare that to social media PPC advertising. 

While there are millions of individuals on social media each day, these users aren’t looking for solutions. Rather, they’re looking through vacation photos and catching up with their friends and family. A sponsored ad is distracting and takes up space in their (often mindless) scrolling.

Needless to say, Google Ads is the strongest marketing mechanism at your disposal and should be your primary focus when it comes to advertising yourself online.  

Here’s the Thing…

Like most digital marketing methods, PPC advertising — and Google Ads specifically — must be a full-time job.

Strategizing, managing, and optimizing Google Ads is not something you can do on the side and expect your ads to be successful.

That’s why you need the best Google Ads agency you can find.  

Hey, What About an In-House PPC Advertiser?

Sure, some businesses opt for an in-house PPC manager, while others choose to partner with a PPC agency.

Not sure which is right for you? Here’s a quick review:

In-House PPC Managers: The Good

In-house PPC managers are hired directly through your company and work solely for you.

Typically, these PPC managers are also in charge of all digital marketing efforts (SEO, email marketing, content development).

In the eyes of a business owner, an in-house PPC manager will learn everything there is to know about the business. After all, he or she is hired as a member of the team; that means they will be involved in any important meetings and stay up to date with the latest happenings (no extra communication needed).

In-House PPC Managers: The Bad

The reality is no single person could handle each branch of digital marketing (PPC, SEO, email marketing, content marketing) and yield successful results.

Each area of digital marketing requires its own expertise. Effective PPC advertising alone requires regular education and training to stay up-to-date with the constant changes and strategies.

And, truth be told, the average business executive typically doesn't prioritize training when it comes to the budget — particularly the continual education needed for PPC managers to be successful.

Furthermore, utilizing an in-house PPC manager is a significant long-term commitment to your business.  

PPC Agencies

While some businesses may be concerned that a PPC agency won’t understand the complexities of their brand as well as an in-house employee, any reputable PPC agency will make it a top priority to learn the ins and outs of your business and industry.

This also means researching who your competitors are and what makes your brand unique at the beginning of your working relationship.

The right PPC agency will become a part of your team just like an in-house PPC manager, but with a few notable differences:
  • PPC agencies are experts in their field, which means they get regular training on their own time and dollar in order to keep up with competitors.
  • Similarly, PPC agencies compete against one another — which means they are aware of what other agencies are doing and utilize the best and latest tools to keep up.
  • Did we mention that hiring an agency also means no salaries to pay or benefits? Not only that, but a reputable PPC agency will never lock you in to a long-term contract.

Sound Like a PPC Agency Is What You’re Looking For? Make Sure They’re a Google Ads Agency Specifically

If a PPC agency is what you’re looking for, remember that Google Ads is the strongest marketing mechanism at your disposal. So, that means above all else, your PPC agency should be Google Ads gurus.

In other words, Google Ads should be their bread and butter. No exceptions.

So, How Do You Find the Right Google Ads Agency?

Lucky for you, we consolidated a short list of essential qualities to research when looking to hire an Ads agency:
  • Qualifications
  • Experience
  • Tracking and Reporting
  • Communication, Pricing, and Transparency
  • Strategy and Setup
  • Tools
  • Campaign Building and Account Activity
  • Brand Culture
Don’t worry, we’ll discuss each point in detail below:

Qualifications

When looking for a Google Ads agency, the easiest place to start is by reviewing their qualifications and experience — something that should be listed right on their website.

What to ask: 

Are They Google Ads Certified?

Have we mentioned Google is the number one search engine on planet earth? So, clearly we can’t emphasize enough that your potential PPC agency must be Google Ads certified.

What Is a Google Ads Certification, Anyway?
A Google Ads certification is awarded by Google to individuals who prove their proficiency and expertise in online advertising and, specifically, Google Ads.  

The only way to earn a Google Ads certification is to enroll in Google’s online training program, Academy for Ads.

This training program tests advertisers’ competence in basic and advanced aspects of Google Ads. Further, in order to earn a badge as a Google Partner or Premier Google Partner, a PPC agency must be Google Ads certified.  

Why They Need It
A Google Ads certification is the only way for an agency to prove their expertise and specialization in Google Ads.  

A Google Ads certification represents credibility in a field full of mediocre online advertisers. Earning this certification isn’t easy and should be the bare minimum requirement moving forward in your PPC agency search. 

What Other Certifications Do They Have?  

A reputable Ads agency will always seek out further certifications and education — always.

While a Google Ads certification is absolutely necessary, it’s vital that the agencies you consider demonstrate a continual effort toward growth and improvement. 

Some Certifications Worth Noting

As we mentioned before, not only should an Ads agency be Google Ads certified — they should also take the next step to become a certified Google Partner, which means they’ve completed and passed the Ads Certification, as well as demonstrated performance by delivering strong client and company growth.

And if they are indeed a Google Ads Partner, it doesn’t hurt to be ranked in the top percentage of all partners in performance and customer care.
DigitalMarketer Certified Partners have access to their massive library of world-class marketing materials, educational labs and support network.

With over half a million subscribers in 68 countries across the globe, DigitalMarketer is the premier online community for digital marketing professionals and the leading provider of digital marketing training and certifications. 

Though your agency’s primary focus should be PPC, your strategists should also understand the full scope of the digital marketing practice to understand how each aspect works synergistically with the others—which is where DigitalMarketer proves invaluable. 

See, a DigitalMarketer certification ensures your agency is up to date with the latest industry trends and changes—kind of like continuing education for marketers. 

This means not only will your agency be PPC specialists, they will also be able to make strategic recommendations on other facets of the marketing funnel, especially those that correlate to and interact with the PPC campaign.  
The Forbes Agency Council is “an invitation-only organization for owners and executives of public relations, media strategy, creative, and advertising agencies.”

Members are handpicked and invited to join this community — and to qualify, an individual must be the owner or executive leader of a successful agency (in this specific case, a PPC agency). Once invited into the council, members have the opportunity to share their voice as thought leaders on CommunityVoice, a Forbes.com platform. 

The council is extremely selective, so any PPC agency affiliated with the Forbes Agency Council community is guaranteed to stand out from others in their field. 

Experience

Not only will the right Ads agency have the right qualifications, they will also have an impressive list of experience, including a proven track record and process (we’ll talk more about this later).

Can They Show You Powerful Case Studies? 

No matter how meticulously planned, a process is only as impressive as its results in digital marketing.

In other words, while an agency may wow you with a step-by-step course of action to bring in leads and boost your revenue — don’t get your hopes up until you review examples of past success from their clients. 

Case studies are a great way for agencies to showcase their proven process.

These reports spotlight a specific client or project, identifying the client’s goal or problem, the agency’s suggested solution, implementation, and results.

A high quality agency with a high quality process will show a pattern of successful implementation in each case study.  

Have They Worked In Your Industry Before? 

Spoiler: The answer doesn’t have to be “yes.”

While past experience in your particular field is helpful, an excellent PPC agency should be able to prove their expertise by showing you an industry or client that’s somehow analogous to your campaign.

Are They a Marketing Agency Specializing in PPC? Or Do They “Do It All”?

"Agencies who claim to “do it all” (think SEO, PPC, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, CRO, print media, website design) probably aren’t lying. Which sounds great, right? It’s a one-stop-shop for all your digital marketing needs! "

Wrong.

PPC is just like any other tradecraft.

The only way you can be the best PPC agency (or SEO expert, or content writer) is to make it your focus. It requires daily practice, continuing education, and spending any extra time you have learning and growing. 

You wouldn’t trust an optometrist who claimed to diagnose and treat foot pain or dental concerns, would you?

Avoid the “do it all” agencies. 

Tracking and Reporting

Now, let’s discuss tracking for a moment.

To turn website visitors into customers, expand your business’s reach and visibility, and optimize your entire digital marketing strategy, your PPC agency must gather immense amounts of data.

And, as a client, you should expect regular reports from your PPC agency that showcase these pieces of data in an easy-to-understand yet detailed way. The reports should detail what your agency is doing behind the scenes: what’s working, what isn’t, and why.
Remember:
Agencies can’t report what they don’t track.
In other words, it is imperative to ensure your future PPC agency has rock-solid tracking practices in place. Meaning they collect, monitor, and sort through all of the data from your website and campaigns in order to find out more about your visitors and customers to make you more sales.

Now, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager are known as the gold standard for tracking tools (we’ll talk about these platforms in a minute), and many PPC agencies will claim to “use” these tools. 

But, here’s my official warning to you: 
Bad agencies track improperly.
Terrible agencies don’t track at all (seriously). 

Yup. Somehow there are PPC agencies that truly don’t track anything. This, of course, means they have nothing meaningful to report because they can’t prove if their work yielded any results.

How these agencies continue to take money from clients is a mystery and borders on criminal. 

Conversely, there are bad agencies that track improperly; meaning they may install some tracking tools but they’re not utilizing those tools properly.

All that data piling up with no action taken. It’s like going on a road trip with a perfectly good map but leaving it untouched in the glove compartment.

Here’s a more specific example of why “pretend” tracking is so problematic:

Let’s say this agency has a client whose website encounters a PHP update. This update compromises a snippet of code on the client’s site — but, because they aren’t actively checking in on the metrics, this small error causes days, weeks, or months of information to be lost forever.  

Whoops. 

So, when looking for the right Ads agency, it’s important to really grill ‘em about their tracking methods. Here are some specific questions to ask: 

Do They Use Google Analytics?  

As I mentioned before, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager are known as the gold standard for tracking metrics.

Google Analytics collects information about interactions with your website, like which pages are most visited, how many visitors you had on any given day — as well as where those visitors were from, what pages they read, and how long they stayed on each page.   

How does Google Analytics track this information? 

Marketing tags.  

Often called GA Javascript code snippet or pixels, marketing tags are pieces of code that gather data about website visitors and their behavior.  

For example, when a visitor checks out your “About Us” page, a snippet of code sends a message to Google Analytics’ servers. 

This information is compiled into reports you can review at anytime, which looks like this: 
While these snippets of code in your website allow you to track basic information, like bounce rate, those “vanity metrics” aren’t quite enough to paint a full picture of what’s going on when someone visits your website.

Which leads us to our next question…  

Do They ALSO Use Google Tag Manager? 

To track all those more intimate actions, like a form submission, you would need to write hundreds of custom snippets of code — something that would take a developer a lot of time.

This is where Google Tag Manager comes into play (and why your future agency shouldn’t be using Google Analytics solely). 

Google Tag Manager acts as your own virtual developer by coding more specific, customizable tags, which reduces the possibility of human error and allows digital marketers to really zero in on the valuable data they want to collect. 

While both are effective forms of tracking your digital marketing efforts, no reputable PPC agency will simply use Google Tag Manager or Google Analytics. 

See, Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics use different attribution models.  

Attribution models help us understand how touchpoints impact visitor conversion rates.  

That’s a whole lot of jargon, huh? Let’s break that down quickly. 

A touchpoint is, essentially, any form of engagement from visitors with your site. Examples of touchpoints include: 
  • Clicking on a Google display ad
  • Reading through a page of your website
  • Filling out a form
When tracking touchpoints, it’s less about if visitors engage with them — but more about whether or not it increases your conversion rate.

So, when I say Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager use different attribution models, that means the two platforms rank touchpoints differently. 

According to Google Analytics, an attribution model is:  
“...the rule, or set of rules, that determines how credit for sales and conversions is assigned to touchpoints in conversion paths.”
Long story short, your PPC agency should use Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Capiche?

Do They Set Up a Full Tracking System to Measure Goals? 

We just covered the importance of tracking actions on your site with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, but *spoiler* that’s not enough.

The right Ads agency will have a full tracking system in place to ensure your goals are met.  

This means your PPC agency should be keeping track of: 
  • Form fills
  • Chats
  • Purchases
  • Device types used
  • Specific pages
  • Predictive indicators (downloading a white paper, for example)
  • Calls
  • Even manual conversions — meaning a customer saw your ad, physically came into your store (if you have a physical location), and made a purchase.
Think about it this way:

Few sales are made from a customer who sees your ad, clicks on your product or service, and makes a purchase — just like that (*snaps*). 

Instead, customers tend to take their time before giving you money. 

Sometimes this involves reading through pages on your site or taking a few days away before clicking a retargeted ad. Luckily, these are actions Google Analytics tracks easily. 

But what about those other conversion points?  

Like when a potential customer calls to learn more, or utilizes the chat on your website to ask a question? 

These are the little, tough-to-track pieces essential to understanding the big picture of your campaign.  

What Do They Consider a Conversion? 

Not every phone call, form fill, or online chat is a conversion.

Yet, the few agencies that do track these actions tend to consider these touchpoints an automatic conversion. 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly spent time on the phone with businesses for over thirty seconds without buying a thing. 

Sometimes, these calls are even the opposite of a sale — customers calling about a problem, for example.

The issue? Not every form of contact is truly a conversion. That means there’s a whole lot of diluted data out there.

The only way to accurately track these conversions is about as tedious as it gets:  
  • Record each incoming call
  • Review each conversation
  • Manually enter the conversion information into Google Ads
Tedious? Yes. As accurate as possible? Also yes.

Will They Track the True Profitability of the Campaign?  

In other words, will they allow (and enthusiastically encourage) you to provide your business’s total revenue numbers in order to track the campaign’s profitability?

If they don’t, well, that just means they aren’t interested in how much money their campaign is bringing in.  

Will They Track Actions That Are Important to You?

A flawless tracking system means nothing if they don’t track the actions that matter to you.

Your future PPC agency should always customize their reports to showcase the metrics important to your brand. 

Not sure what actions should be important to you? While tracking metrics like conversion rate, cost-per-click, and position are all important — ultimately, your #1 concern should be sales and leads. 

How many sales has the campaign brought in?How many leads? That’s the point of all this digital marketing, afterall. 

What Does Their Reporting Method Look Like? 

Now that we know how Ads agencies should track, it’s time to make sure their reporting doesn’t fall flat.
In theory, reporting should be the easy part! All your PPC agency has to do is showcase your website’s metrics (clicks, conversions, impressions) in a way that is easy to understand, yet easily reconcilable with your Google account.

By using Google Data Studio (more on this in a minute), your agency can create a clean, readable monthly report. 

Bad agencies will veil conversions with vanity metrics that don’t mean much, which is why it’s imperative to ensure your agency tracks actions that are important to you

Your agency should give you this physical or digital report and go over the details with you to make sure you understand what all those numbers mean

We’ll talk more about communication and transparency in just a moment — but first:  

Do They Use Proprietary Reporting or Dashboards? 

Google Data Studio is a completely free tool connected to your Google Analytics account, which allows PPC agencies to make customized, honest, and easy-to-understand reports.

Some agencies may also choose to use a platform like Swydo, which monitors and reports your Google marketing metrics, but can be better at pulling in data from external sources, like Facebook. 

However, if an agency claims to use their own proprietary reporting tool, run.  
This means they can omit important data. 
Remember, your monthly reports should be easily reconcilable with your Google account, but easier to read.

There’s no need to create a proprietary reporting tool, unless your agency wants to control the narrative in a way that makes them look good — rather than making you money. 

Communication, Pricing, and Transparency

When you hire a PPC agency, you’re investing in (and committing to) a relationship. And like any relationship, communication and honesty are the keys to success.

If you found an Ads agency that has the right experience, qualifications, tracking and reporting methods — but shows signs of poor communication, that means they still aren’t “the one.”

Avoid the heartbreak. Here are some questions to ask to make sure you can depend on your PPC agency: 

How Frequently (and Clearly) Will They Communicate?  

If you’re just starting to learn more about an Ads agency, chances are their communication will be flawless: they’ll get right back to you, follow-up often, and make you feel comfortable.

… But what can you expect after you sign that contract agreement? 

During these early stages, it’s important to ask what you can expect going forward regarding communication. 
  • How often will you touch base?
  • Will they email or call you?
  • What if you have questions?
  • Will they over-communicate, to a point where it is time consuming for you?
  • What are their expectations and needs from you regarding communication?

How Much Work Will You Need to Contribute? 

Your PPC campaign won’t be as successful without effort on your end; so, it’s important to determine early on what (and how much) work you are expected to contribute.

Similarly, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how much work your PPC agency will put in as well. 

The earlier you set expectations, the smoother your working relationship will be long term. 

Will You Have a Primary Contact in Charge of Your Campaign (I.e. a Dedicated Client Manager)? 

No matter how small your PPC agency is, it’s important to know there is one designated person you can speak to about your questions or concerns.

Make sure you’ll have a dedicated client manager who not only knows everything about your business, goals, and marketing strategy — but is also your go-to representative.  

Do They Charge Enough to Do the Job Right?  

It makes sense to feel excited about finding a super-affordable agency. But a low cost almost always insinuates low-value and high-commitment.

Think of it this way: How much work will you expect from your agency?

At the very least, they should be monitoring your campaign daily, optimizing monthly, utilizing the best software and highly skilled labor available — not to mention investing in regular education to ensure they are up-to-date with the latest industry trends.

Now, really think about all that time, experience, and commitment.

Would you take the fee they’re offering to do the same job? Knowing how much work should be going into it?

If the answer is, no, maybe you should ask yourself why their services are so cheap.

Do They Want You To Sign a Long-Term Contract?  

Once upon a time, Yahoo was the epicenter of the internet.

My point? Things change. 

Your campaign may change. Google may change their rules. A big competitor could enter the digital space you once dominated and throw you for a loop. Your Ads agency could change CEOs and you may not jive with their new culture. You could just simply change your mind on what’s right for your business. 

Whatever the reason, if things do change, you don’t want to be locked into a long-term contract. 

If a potential agency wants to lock you into a long-term contract, can they guarantee it will be successful?  

If not, why would you agree to such a long commitment? 

If they do make a promise or guarantee...well, that leads us to our next point. 

Do They Offer Promises or Guarantees? 

It’s tempting to believe a good old fashioned guarantee.

But if your potential PPC agency promises results or an increase in revenue right off the bat — it’s time to find someone else.

The reality is no reputable Google Ads agency will promise or guarantee results.

How could they without knowing more about your brand, current campaign, and how your campaign will perform down the line? Are they psychics? Who’s giving them these powers?

The right Ads agency will under-promise and over-deliver. Don’t believe the hype.

Is Their Pricing Transparent? What Does It Include? 

You might be wondering what, exactly, should be included in your agency’s pricing.

So, first, here’s a rough list of services that should be included without add-on fees: 
  • Search, display, GSP, video campaign creation and management
  • Ad copy creation from professional copywriters
  • Remarketing campaigns
  • Social network remarketing
  • Reviewing and scoring all campaign-generated calls
  • Importation of those calls into Google ads
  • Google Analytics creation
  • Google Tag Manager creation
  • Conversion action creation
  • Keyword research and development
  • Competitive research and targeting
  • Ongoing AB testing and optimizations
Now, it’s imperative that your agency is completely transparent in their pricing.

Here’s what I mean: 

You should have a complete breakdown of costs; for example, what percentage of pricing goes toward copy creation? What is (and isn’t) included in their pricing — remember, the services listed above should always be included. Are they trying to charge you for little add-ons that add up? 

Similarly, they must be transparent in what they can (and cannot) do; for example, it’s okay if they don’t do landing page development or video production, but they need to tell you upfront.

Finally, if you’re looking to pay by the hour, you’re going to need to hire an in-house PPC manager. 

Think of PPC agencies as attorney — if there is a sudden emergency, you can pick up the phone and call anytime. Your Ads agency is “on retainer” in this sense. The monthly payments pay for so much more than building Ads campaigns.  

Will You Maintain Complete Administrative Ownership of Your Account? 

Speaking of transparency, it is vital to ensure you maintain complete administrative ownership of your account, no matter what.

See, If your PPC agency claims ownership, that means if you decided to terminate your business relationship, you can lose all the work you paid for. So, instead of bringing your data and current campaigns to a new agency, they would have to start from scratch (meaning more work, time, and money).

Your Google account should belong to you and only you. Your agency is a guest in that space, with access to build campaigns and monitor progress. 

Strategy and Setup

How Do They Get to Know You? What Is Their Process? 

If you decide to sign-on with an agency, how do they intend to learn everything there is to know about your business?
  • Will they have you fill out a lengthy questionnaire?
  • How many questions will they ask?
  • Are those questions relevant to driving your revenue?
  • Will they conduct outside research, or rely on you?
Any agency that does not dedicate a whole lot of time and energy learning the ins-and-outs of your business will be unable to build the strongest campaign possible.

Do They “Diagnose Before They Prescribe”? 

Similarly, your agency should never suggest a strategy or course of action for your Ads campaign before knowing the nitty gritty about your business.

Only after asking you a million and one questions, conducting independent research, and in-depth strategizing will they be qualified to suggest a solution for your PPC needs.

Beyond that, your agency should also offer explicit expectations for their proposed campaign strategy:

Why it should work, why it may not, what the potential outcomes could be, and why it’s the best option for you.

Think of it this way — A doctor never writes a prescription without understanding the patient’s specific health concerns.  

Why would a PPC agency offer up an advertising solution without understanding the complexities of your business? 

Will They Review Your Existing Campaign? 

...And if you don’t have one, will they perform a traffic study?

Any agency looks past this valuable background information and starts from scratch is, well, lazy. 

There can be so many answers hidden in your existing campaign — problem areas to be avoided in the future as well as points of success that should be optimized.

Check the foundation before demolishing the whole home.  

Do They Take Advantage of Everything Google Ads Offers? 

For a while, basic paid advertising with Google Ads was the best avenue for online sales. But today, Google Ads is so much more than standard paid search.

With options like Smart Shopping campaigns and responsive ads, it is essential that your future Ads agency takes advantage of everything Google Ads has to offer.

Especially for you eCommerce business owners, Smart Shopping is a must-do.

See, Smart Shopping campaigns not only include placement ads — these ads are also shown across Google’s networks, from Google search to YouTube and Gmail.

But, not only are these ads shown in more places, they’re also only shown to specific people, i.e. shoppers who have shown extreme interest in what you’re selling.

In other words, what makes these campaigns “Smart” is their ability to post up on any other websites that run display ads with Google — and actively seek out users who have shown an interest in your product.

If your prospective agency doesn’t take advantage of Smart Shopping or responsive ads, it’s time to move along.

Are They Account Managers or Strategists? 

Sure, your agency will manage your account on a daily basis, therefore making them “account managers.”

But at the core, they should be strategists — meaning there is always intention, research, optimization, and proactivity behind your campaign.

Ask your potential agency what makes them strategists, as opposed to account managers.

Tools

So, here’s the deal with software and tools: some are essential, some are helpful, and some are unnecessary (and could be used as an excuse to charge you more money).

So, it’s important to ask: 

What Tools and Software Do They Use — and Why? 

How do you determine your agency uses the right tools — and doesn’t waste your money on frivolous ones?

Here’s a quick overview:

1. Click Fraud Software
Don’t need it! Google has you covered.

If your agency claims they use click fraud software, ask why they need it. They could be using it to charge you more.

Google should already catch fraudulent clicks and refund you in the time it would take an outside software to notify you of the fraudulent click.

2. Advanced Software for Competitive Analysis
Need it! Sort of…

Here’s what I mean: Competitive analysis software (like SpyFu, iSpionage, and SEMrush) is used to compare data to your competitors.

It’s a great tool to learn what’s working and not working for competitors, how much money they’re wasting on their campaigns, what landing pages they’re using, the keywords they’re targeting…

This software should be used as initial research to make informed decisions, but not to copycat your competitors’ campaigns.

So, basically, while it’s necessary to get a baseline understanding of what the competition is doing — it’s just a starting point. No need for your agency to shell out a lot of time or money on these platforms.

Campaign Building and Account Activity

Look, you don’t need to know everything about Google Ads (that’s your agency’s job!), but you should know what a good campaign structure looks like and how active your agency should be in your account.

Here are some helpful questions to consider: 

What Do Their Campaign Structures Look Like? 

Capable agencies will build organized campaigns that are easy to understand at a glance.

By this, I mean keywords are grouped into themes — there is a clear campaign hierarchy, in which each campaign has a very particular focus and intention. 

It should be easy to understand what each campaign’s intent is just by looking at them on the dashboard — like library shelves, neatly organized by mystery, non-fiction, and children’s literature.

Here’s an example: Let’s say a dishwasher manufacturer launches a new Ads campaign.

Their goal? Get readers to download a whitepaper that discusses how to properly maintain a dishwasher.  

That means this unique campaign's copy should include keywords about dishwasher maintenance and whitepapers. If the user clicks on the ad, it should take them to a landing page dedicated to that white paper. 

And, like a well-organized library shelf, this campaign will sit in the dashboard next to campaigns with different desired outcomes. 

It sounds kind of complicated, but it all comes down to organization and structure. A big, red flag would be an agency running an entire account theme on one campaign. 

Will The Campaign Be Customized? 

The Google Ads campaign your agency builds should be fit to you, rather than trying to fit you to the campaign.

Just say no to any agency that uses templates and cookie cutter strategies — you are not a cookie, my friend. 

Are They Active in Your Account? 

If you already hired your agency, you can answer this question for yourself by accessing the history report from you Google account.

Here’s how it should look: 

Early on, you should notice routine changes. Your agency will be pretty active in your account within the first 90 days or so. 

Over time, if your campaign is performing well, there could be fewer changes, especially when campaigns become more optimized; however, your PPC agency should never go a month without at least 100 changes in your account. 

Do They Review Search Terms on a Monthly Basis (At Least)?  

And while they’re at it, do they update your negative keyword list and match types?
Search Terms - Solutions 8 Google Ads agency

Culture

Are you still with me? We’ve officially made it through the technical jargon!

Now, we need to talk relationships.  

This stuff seems small, but you need to actually like who you’re working with when it comes to your PPC campaign. That means not only how they work but also their business’s culture as a whole. 

When interviewing potential PPC agencies, consider these questions: 
  • What do you want out of your business relationship?
  • Who is the type of person (and people) you can collaborate with?
  • What do you value in an employee?
Don’t forget about these personal questions and determine if you really “jive” with the Google Ads agency you choose to hire.

What’s Next?

Congratulations! You have all the tools you need to find the right Google Ads agency for your business; let the sales start rolling in.
And hey, if you still feel like you could use some guidance, our crew here at Solutions 8 is happy to explain the inner workings of PPC marketing, Google Ads, and what kind of agency is right for you.

Could that agency be us? Maybe! 

But maybe not.  

See, we believe in actually helping people, which means working with clients who jive with us — not just making a sale.  

So, give us a shout. We’re happy to help.
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