It’s a million-dollar question. On the average, small businesses waste 25% of their PPC budget—that’s millions of dollars. So, if you don’t know the answer, it’s probably a yes. How to Find out if Your Marketing Agency is Wasting Your Budget?
No matter who is managing your AdWords account— an agency, an in-house team or even you— there are some early warning signs that can give you a clue to consider substitutes.
1. You Have An Incomplete Tracking Picture
Any decent agency presents you monthly reports containing the keywords that your customers click, the search queries they type, and the cost you pay. However, numbers don’t mean anything without a perspective. Your Google Ads agency should not only present the numbers but also show you a comparison of your CPC (cost-per-click) and conversion cost.
A professional Digital Marketing Agency should also show you the overall performance of your campaigns over time. If your agency is not reporting any comparisons, perhaps they’re under confident in their craft. You should suspect that they’re wasting your money.
2. Your Google Ads Account Activity Is Low Or Inconsistent
You have to consider how much time your agency is devoting to your account. Some marketers might log in daily and make small changes. Others might log in less often and make big changes at once.
Whatever the case, the big question is “has there been consistency in the activity over a long time period, let’s say a month at least!” You can check your AdWords account activity by clicking the Change History sub-tab in the campaigns tab.
When you are going through history, don’t look at the number of changes. Consider the quality of changes instead. As a matter of fact, the number of bid changes should be remarkably higher than the number of ad changes.
Low or inconsistent account activity is the easiest warning sign to spot. Once you see it, don’t ignore it.
3. Your AdWords Account Is A Mess
A sound AdWords account structure reduces your CPC by increasing your Google Ads Quality Score. A high-Quality Score tells Google that your ads are relevant to your audience. A relevant and organized account structure also makes it easy to track your campaigns and make improvements.
If your agency has not spent time on building and cleaning up your AdWords account, you’ll keep losing money on campaigns. Here’s how you can cross-check your Google Ads account structure. The structure of your account consists of the following elements:
Ad Groups: Ad Groups represent your product or services categories. If you’re selling shoes, but you also sell leather accessories, your Ad Groups might include these two categories.
Your agency should be running two to three ads per Ad group, so you can compare their performance and invest in the best ad. In no case, your agency should pack more than 20 to 30 keywords in a single Ad group, or you will be paying for too many irrelevant clicks.
Keyword Match Types: Google Ads allow advertisers to select from four different keyword match types:
Broad Match is the default match type and will trigger your ad to appear whenever any search query contains your key phrase, regardless of the order of words.
Modified Broad Match allows you to lock individual words in a key phrase. For example, if you choose Modified Broad Match for the keywords leather and shoes, your ad will only appear when a search query contains both these words.
Phrase Match is a more restrictive match type. Your ad shows up only when the search terms contain the particular words in the same order.
Exact Match will make your ad eligible to appear only when the search query contains the same words in the same sequence. To check the keyword match type, click the KEYWORDS tab and review the list of keywords.
Broad match key phrases do not have any symbols or signs with them. The modified broad match has plus (+) signs with different words in a key phrase. Phrase match keywords are enclosed in double quotes (“), and exact match is enclosed by brackets .
If your agency is using a lot of broad match keywords, you can rest assured you’re losing money on your campaigns.
4. Your Agency Seldom Approaches You. Instead, You Initiate The Conversation Every Time
Whether it’s professional or personal, communication is critical for a healthy relationship. When talking about the PPC agencies, both the client and agency should be keen about keeping each other updated about the work.
When working with a digital marketing agency, you expect them to send you a monthly report. A worthy agency usually sends a small summary of the tasks done and updated and provides details when asked for it.
They communicate with you and discuss the things that concern your AdWords performance. For example, they might tell you they need your team to improve the landing pages, or if the page speed bothers them because it’s too slow.
The “Yes sir” game doesn’t work here. Both the parties (client and the agency) should be able to communicate freely and frequently to achieve the results that you desire.
5. Even After Investing A Lot Of Time And Money, Your Competitors Seem To Have Better Features
It would really concern you if you are behind in the competition even after hiring an agency to which you pay a handsome amount just in exchange for good work. An expert Digital Marketing company keeps you abreast of the latest features that Google keeps adding to its world-famous advertising platform.
The most recent of these value-added features, for instance, include: Life Event Targeting, In-market Audience, Google Surveys 360, AMP Ads and Landing Pages, Google Optimize, Google Attribution, and Landing Page Report.
If your agency is not using these or other advanced Google Ads features, you might see your competitors’ ads dominating the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). If you notice that the competition is consistently outperforming your ads in terms of position, ad extensions, and ad copy, you should probably look for a new agency.
Should You Change Your Agency For The Better?
Once you have spotted one or more of the red flags we mentioned above, you should start trying to fix the irritants in your relationship with your agency. Instead of reacting in a knee-jerk fashion, first, you should communicate with your agency. Tell them the complaints you have and ask them how they can resolve the issues.
If they still don’t respond, it’s time for you to start looking for their replacement. Be careful not to repeat the mistake of hiring bad AdWords services again. You should take the time to analyze your prospect agency’s credentials and way of working.
Take a look at the agency agreement. Does it address the red flags that indicate wastage? Ask them how much time they would spend on your account and what actions they would take to ensure you pay the lowest CPC while reaping the highest conversion rate.
Wasting money can never be good business, but the wastage becomes even more dangerous when it’s hard to detect. Paying a few extra cents or converting fewer clicks into sales or leads might not seem to hurt your business in the short term, especially if you’re making some sales.
However, as the cents pile into dollars and dollars into thousands of dollars, and as the lost business opportunities accumulate, the impact of bad AdWords services might start to show.
You might see your business growing at a snail’s pace, or worse, not growing at all! You might see your competitors leaving you behind on the SERP as well as in actual sale.
Before that time come, you must pay attention to the red flags we just mentioned and work with your agency to turn them into green lights. If, however, you feel that your existing agency is not equal to the task, you owe it to your business, employees, and yourself to change your digital marketing agency.