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10 Essential Questions to Ask When Hiring an AdWords Agency

This is the second in a series about hiring an AdWords agency.

Ask These Questions Before Hiring an AdWords Agency

Now that you’ve made the decision to got about and get some experts to manage your account, you’re going to notice there are a lot of them out there.  Agencies of varying abilities and even more concerning, agencies that get you questionable results.

<start of rant>

A prospective client recently gave us account access to evaluate whether WebSavvy and the client’s business would be a good fit (a sign of a good agency is that they ask questions).  We had a look around took our notes to pass back to the marketing manager and were done.  Later the client called saying their existing agency was accusing us of deleting all their paused campaigns.  Of course we hadn’t changed anything – we were just evaluating issues & opportunities, so we popped back into the account only to find that the option to only show “enabled campaigns” was active.
One quick click of the mouse brought the view back to “all but deleted enabled campaigns.” Even my mum could have figured that out. The fact that there are agencies out there (& running AdWords accounts) operating with that little knowledge really peeves me!!

<end of rant>

Before you contact any AdWords Agency, do some research and see if you can answer some of these questions. It may save you some valuable time.  The ones you can’t answer, direct to the agency when you contact them.

1) Is this really an agency? Really?

You want an agency with resources. Relying on a 1 or 2 person outfit may save some coins, but when one of them goes on a honeymoon for 3 months, how’s your adwords account going to be optimised?

2) What services does your contact offer?

Ideally they’ll have one answer. PPC. If the contact at the agency also does PPC AND web design, search engine optimisation, graphic design, social media strategy and birthday parties there is cause for concern. What you want is the agency that has a specialist for each channel and a support team around them.

3) Where did you hear about the agency?

Did you get an unsolicited email or a phone call out of the blue? Don’t hire this type of agency as their priority list is in this order: sales, then sales, upselling, your account and more sales. Case studies and referrals are what you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to ask for references either!

4) Have they got any clients in your industry?

It’s a very good sign if they have other business in your industry. They’ll have some good insight how to get your account performing based on their past experiences. Not a deal breaker, but something to help you make up your mind.

5) What is their reporting like?

Do they connect your AdWords & Analytics accounts? If not, move along. You need to know what happens after those clicks you’re paying for – and you want an agency that’s obsessed with finding patterns in all that data. When & how often will you get reports, and are they catering to your timeframe or theirs?

6) What Indicators do they use for success?

If the agency is talking about KPI’s like impressions, number of clicks, ad position and CTR – wave goodbye as you run. You want to hear about profit most of all, and things like conversion volume and CPA (cost per action/lead/sale).

7) What account management system do they use?

You may not get an exact answer here, as an agency may not to share everything to get a sale, but if they have a system – good enough. No system? Keep looking.

8) Who will work on your account?

Ideally an agency will have a few PPC experts managing your account. Techs to do AdWords scripts & pivot tables as well as creative to do ad copy and design.

9) Are they certified?

At the very least they should be AdWords Certified & part of the Google Partners program. This isn’t difficult to do, so don’t base your whole decision on this. But if there’s no certification, best to save your time.

10) How comfortable do you feel with them?

This is a company, if you choose, that you’re going to be dealing with for a long period of time. If you’re getting blindsided with jargon from the get go, maybe let them go. It’s always good to follow your instinct. It got you this far didn’t it?


By all means, feel free to ask us these questions – I think you’ll find we measure up.


Read more about hiring an AdWords agency here.

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