This post was originally published in 2018, and last updated 2022.
After offering PPC for the last decade, Seer has run into a number of companies who were roaring to go with PPC and some who (with best intentions) wanted to run, but needed to take a step back.
Below are 8 evaluations to do before pulling the trigger on that PPC Agency.
Should I Hire an Agency for PPC?
1. Yes, hire an agency that talks about measuring revenue and goals.
ROI is important, especially in PPC when you have to spend money to make money. If branding is the main purpose of a campaign, great. If you’re looking to drive revenue and hit conversion goals, an agency that reports impressions as a main goal is likely someone to reconsider.
"Say yes to the agency that is willing to challenge the goals your business is considering."
Be sure your PPC agency works with you understand your business and to set challenging, yet realistic goals based on your business objectives.
2. Yes, hire an agency if you have enough budget.
PPC can be expensive depending on the platform, industry, and product you’re trying to sell. One of the considerations here is lead time. If closed leads can recoup that spend within a 30-60 day period, great. If leads can take up to 6 months or more to close and drive revenue, you have to strongly weigh where to spend that budget (especially at that point, hiring a consultant could be the better move).
If you need results ASAP and your lead to revenue time is 2 weeks, PPC is a great avenue to explore. If your lead time is 6 months, ensure you have enough budget to feed the PPC machine to float 4, 5, or 6 months before the revenue comes back in to replenish that budget.
Optimizing and tweaking campaigns can take time and is an ongoing process. If your margins are razor thin and having your CPA (cost per acquisition) be off even by one dollar could cause issues for your business, take a step back to determine if PPC is the right avenue for you.
PPC campaigns are most effective when you have an understanding of the numeric goals you need to hit in order to be profitable as a channel. Think break-even cost per acquisition, ROAS, CVR, and lead volume.
3. Yes, hire an agency if you’re looking to optimize your campaigns.
PPC agencies live, sleep and breathe PPC. Since it’s their main focus, PPCers are constantly training and educating themselves on best practices and optimizations.
Be sure the PPC agency you are working with provides you with opportunities to not only be effective, but efficient.
In the initial stages of talking with a PPC agency, ask them for a few quick wins. This is a great test to see what the agency is able to find, especially with a quick turnaround time.
4. Yes, hire an agency if you have internal resources dedicated to PPC.
If you have one (or are one) person wearing many hats, they may not be able to approve PPC campaigns, changes, and all of the work that goes into managing an agency relationship. Yes, an agency can do a LOT to drive an amazing return in PPC, but it can require a lot of feedback on testing ideas and approvals to pull levers on budget internally. If you have a decision-maker who has time to make quick yes/no decisions, great.
If you have no one who is able to provide approvals or take on the responsibilities of reviewing and communicating, it might not be the right time for a PPC agency to come aboard; while agencies are great for driving the car, we still need gas!
5. Yes, hire an agency if you have development resources or budget for a dev agency.
PPC campaigns may require landing page development (it’s a best practice). PPC campaigns may require images (think Social and Display). Yes, your PPC agency should be able to provide options for one or both of those, but ensuring you’re able to afford that additional cost should be a consideration.
Ensuring you can develop landing pages in a timely manner should be a big consideration. It might take 2-3 weeks to figure out that process, but FIGURE IT OUT before spending with a PPC agency. If you know your site has issues converting and you aren’t able to create unique landing pages, conversion rate optimization or a UX consultant could be the right move before starting up PPC. Make the most of all the traffic coming to your site and have it be conversion focused before starting to pay for traffic.
Read more about the importance of PPC optimized landing pages here.
6. Yes, hire an agency if you determine they’re a great fit for your culture.
Make sure the PPC agency you’re looking to work with fits the vibe of your internal team. A PPC agency should be considered an extension of your team, rather than an outside partner. The PPC agency you work with should fit your company’s culture and beliefs.
If your company is big into volunteering, find an agency that is as well! When finding that right agency, ask them about their culture and benefits.
Ask about their team’s working style and how they execute the day to day. Ask them what the best part of their job is. The right fit will be honest and upfront with their policies and structure.
7. Yes, hire an agency that won’t own your account.
It’s a more rare finding, but even in 2018 we run into PPC prospects that don’t own their account. PPC agencies can use this tactic as a perceived ‘insurance policy’. If you leave and they own your account, you lose your account history/data/access.
That’s. Just. Awful.
ALWAYS own your own account and allow access from there. There’s HUGE value in owning your own data, and any agency that wants to hold it hostage should not be worked with.
8. Yes, hire an agency if you’re also investing in other marketing channels.
PPC typically provides a faster turnaround time compared to SEO and some other marketing channels. PPC can help inform SEO on keywords that convert well, calls-to-action that trigger clicks, and landing page layouts that converts gangbusters. PPC can be a huge help and driver of success for other channels.
Be open to your PPC agency recommending to test channels that might not be just Adwords. These could range from staples like LinkedIn or Facebook to Reddit. Let the testing do the talking, but be open that there might be opportunity to advertise outside of the norm that could have a high converting rate.
That said, PPC has its pros and cons. Once you shut it off, it’s off. No more leads will show up unless you start spending money. On the other “marketing channel” hand, when you engage in SEO and stop that engagement, you hold on to all of your organic wins for a number of months or even a few years.
Learn more about how to integrate PPC, SEO, and Analytics to reach your goals.
"Know which channels to invest in and don’t put all your budget eggs in one channel."
Should your company hire a PPC agency?
Leaning toward hiring a PPC agency after thinking through these 8 items? Check out our paid media services at Seer.
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