PPC (pay-per-click) management is a complex field, so it's good that you're outsourcing this aspect of your business. But how do you know what results you're getting for your money? Here are four questions you can ask your PPC management company to help you know where you stand.
1. How do you track my leads, conversions and sales?
Different PPC management companies may use different combinations of industry-standard metric analysis tools to track the success of their clients' campaigns, from Google Analytics and Adwords to a variety of specialized proprietary and third-party programs. But unless you understand precisely what is being gathered and how it's being counted, all those figures might as well add up to zero for all the good they're doing you. Ask your account manager to sit down with you and explain how each metric - leads, conversions, sales, et cetera - is collected, and how it is integrated into the bigger picture of evaluating your campaign's status.
Every metric matters when tracking PPC success.
2. Do you use bid modifiers in AdWords?
Many factors play into the true value of a PPC ad's keywords at any given moment, from geographic location and time of day to which mobile devices are displaying your ad. The Google AdWords platform has addressed this dynamic by giving PPC management companies access to bid modifiers. These adjustments enable you to set larger or smaller percentages based on your base bid so you can automatically bid, say, 20 percent more when a local smartphone user searches for your keyword during the day, as opposed to a PC user in another country at night.
This feature helps you pay more money to secure more desirable searches and less money on less desirable ones - but don't just assume that your PPC management company is using it by default. Ask whether you have access to bid modifiers, and if you do, whether they're currently being applied to your campaign.
3. Can you provide me with PPC-based growth projections?
Any sensible business strategy requires the use of projections that indicate where the company will be in a given period of time if the current strategy continues unaltered. Without sound, informed projections, you have no idea how or whether you can reach your goals. This means that your PPC management company must be able to take those detailed metrics they've been gathering and create clear projections for the growth of your PPC campaign.
Ask your PPC management company what kinds of growth projections they typically provide their clients in terms of impressions, conversions, budget , ROI and other key factors. Make sure you understand how frequently those projections will be delivered, how to read them, and who to talk to about their implications.
4. How much is automated, and how much is manually controlled?
It's perfectly normal to find that a good portion of your PPC campaign relies on automated systems and processes. In fact, the more campaign tasks delegated to automation, the more value a smaller business can usually get for its PPC dollar. But these automated tasks should be relatively low-level ones such as setting bids and adjusting keywords to better match up with user search patterns. Ask your PPC management company where the automation stops and human oversight, evaluation and intelligence take over.
In addition to knowing which aspects of your campaign will involve actual living, breathing humans, it also pays to know who those living, breathing humans are. Ask pointed questions about the account manager assigned to your PPC campaign, including how long that person has been doing this kind of work and for which industries. Also, try to get a feel for the size and overall experience level of the PPC team that this account manager controls. If you don't feel that you're in properly seasoned hands, it may be time to request another account manager or even switch to a different PPC management company.
Who's overseeing the automated "machinery" of your campaign?
Ask the right questions of your PPC management company, and you'll get the answers you need to either keep moving forward with the status quo or try a different company. If the latter appears to be wiser strategy, contact us to find out how we can help you.