5 Things an AdWords Agency Will Never Tell You

A simple Google search for a digital marketing agency to manage your AdWords campaigns can yield dozens of results, but every one of them apparently has something different to offer. That said, the only way to find the best one is to set aside what they are telling you and, focus on what they are not. Below we look at five things that most digital agencies will never tell you until you ask them! 

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1. Who Own the AdWords Account?

It is important to ask AdWords agencies who own the AdWords account, especially in the event when you decide to switch to another agency.  Your AdWords account contains all the campaigns that have been run, including those that work very well and those that didn’t.  Having all these information and also being able to relaunch campaigns that worked well work significantly improve the campaign performance for your new agency, which will benefit you.  It is best to have the account ownership in writing, whether it is in the quotation that you sign on, the service agreement or even an email.  Some agencies may not allow you to own the AdWords account, making it harder for you to switch over to another agency.  So, it's always a good idea to hire an agency that is willing to hand over the account back to you at the end of the campaign, at no additional charge.

2. Guarantees

Most digital agencies will probably advertise a 100% satisfaction guarantee.  Others will hurl meaningless guarantees like "cheapest service", "reputed experts guaranteed", etc.  All of this means nothing if there is no conversion, i.e. visitors do not sign up for newsletters, enquire, download or buy a product.  A decent agency may not be able to guarantee you an exact figure on the conversions, as there are a lot of other factors that are beyond the agency control.  However, a decent AdWords agency should be able to give you an estimate on the conversions, or any other measurables, that they are confident in achieving.  The estimated number will be the benchmark or KPI to gage whether the campaign is successful.  A KPI that is well defined and mutually agreed upon should be established before you sign on the dotted line to engage the agency.

3. Ad Management Fee

The vast majority of AdWords agencies will charge you a management fee to place and optimise the ads for you.  The management fee can range from 15% to 30% of your budget.  Most clients will only compare 15% with 30% and think that the choice is clear.  Compare these two agencies using a budget of RM20,000:

Agency A charges 15% or RM3,000 and delivers 100 conversions by managing RM17,000 ad spend on AdWords.

Agency B charges 30% or RM6,000 and delivers 150 conversions by managing only RM14,000 ad spend on AdWords actively and effectively.

Which one will you choose?  Cheap Agency A who delivers 100 conversions or ‘Expensive’ Agency B who delivers 150 conversions, with the same budget of RM20,000 including fee.  Of course, you may argue that you won’t be able to see the actual results before engaging the agency and running the campaign.  Nonetheless, you can still gage the agencies based on their past records and their estimates.

4. Reliability of the Report

Most reports provided by the agencies are in spreadsheet or PDF format, either generated manually or via third-party software.  However, it is not that hard to tweak a figure or two in order to show a better result.  It is important for you to have access to your Google AdWords account and to equip yourself with basic AdWords knowledge to understand the figures in the AdWords account.  For more advanced clients, they can refer to the Change History available in AdWords account to understand what the agency has done to optimise the campaigns.  This is also another reason why we strongly advocate the clients to ask for the ownership or at least a read-only access to the Google AdWords account.  At Gapture, we give read-only access to our clients when the campaigns are running.  After the campaign ends, full access is given upon client’s request, at no charge.

5. Traffic Guarantee and Quality

Many AdWords agencies claim that you can expect up to 100,000 visitors or perhaps a certain number of impressions.  Other than quantity, quality is extremely important to ensure that your Google Ads are effective and the ads reach your targeted audience.  It is up to the advertiser to indicate how much they want to pay for a click (known as CPC, Cost Per Click) in Google AdWords.  Most of the time, cheapest traffic is not the highest quality traffic.  Reverting to conversions as KPI will be the best measure to take.  However, if that cannot be achieved, clients may refer to the Bounce Rate and Average Session Duration in Google Analytics as indicators of the traffic quality.  A fair comparison would be to compare the metrics against your previous campaigns.


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