Firstly, we feel it’s important to note that we are NOT a PPC Management company. If you want to know why, shoot us an email and we’ll explain it to you.
That said, we regularly come across clients who have had terrible experiences with companies that they have hired to manage their PPC campaigns in the past, so we feel that a post outlining what to watch out for would be beneficial.
So here you go…and you’re welcome 🙂
Red Flag #1 – The firm requires you to create an entirely new PPC campaign through them, even if you already have one up and running.
This is usually done for two reasons: One, so that the company can make some interest off your PPC money, since search engines usually offer Net-30 terms on payment of PPC spend, and two, so they can hold your campaign hostage if you ever want to leave.
If a company says they can manage and/or optimize your pay-per-click, make sure that they will do that for an account that you already have created, or for a new one they will create but that you will have 100% access to and the right to take and keep that campaign even if you leave. If they insist that you create a new one through their account that you won’t be able to take with you when you leave, JUST SAY NO!
This is the #1 complaint that we hear, that a client spent many months and tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars building out a perfectly optimized campaign, only to want to leave the company and to be told that all that work can’t be transferred over to them. Oops.
Red Flag #2 – The company requires you to pay a % of your PPC spend as your fee (usually 9-30%), regardless of how much you are spending.
This is money grubbing in the extreme. While a $1,000,000/mo campaign will certainly require more maintenance than a $10,000/mo campaign, it most certainly won’t be $150,000-$300,000/mo worth of work!
For many marketing companies and agencies, PPC management is gravy. Once they account has been set-up and initially optimized, it is often either left alone or lightly touched thereafter. You might get your money’s worth for month 1 and 2, but pretty much anything after that and they are just taking your money. This is super common, so watch out!
Instead of a % of spend, ask the company for their hourly rate and request to pay hourly, with a minimum and a maximum monthly spend. A $1,000,000/mo campaign can easily be managed on a budget of $25,000 or less (about 2.5% of spend, and much less if you hire a PPC expert to come in-house and do the optimization.) You will likely pay significantly more for month 1 and 2 (to do it right), but you will almost always get your money’s worth this way.
Red Flag #3 – The company has proprietary software to manage PPC campaigns effectively.
In our experience, that “software” is usually a person or persons making $10-$12/hr (or $2/hr in India), with little to no past PPC experience 🙁 Sad, but true.
While there are numerous PPC management software solutions out there, most of them have issues. They can save some time and allow some automation, but nothing, and we mean nothing, can beat a set of well trained human eyes carefully monitoring a campaign from day to day.
Take the time to educate yourself about PPC, and ask to speak to the person who will actually be doing your PPC work so you can get a feel for their level of expertise. If they can’t answer your basic questions, then go somewhere else.
And those are the 3 most common things to watch out for when looking to hire a Pay-Per-Click Management company. If you find a company that will let you take your campaign with you when you leave, charges you hourly or by the project, and that uses well trained experts to do your work, then you’ve found a keeper!
Otherwise, consider hiring an individual expert to bring your PPC in-house…if you hire well, you’ll almost certainly get much better results, and often for a fraction of the price of an agency.
Keep in mind as you are searching for a PPC expert that AdWords certification does not mean they will do a good job optimizing your campaign…it just means that they are familiar with the AdWords interface and its various features. If you want to identify a real expert, ask for references for past clients and/or examples of past work. If they say no, so should you.