Hiring PPC Management Experts (What You Need to Know)
Is it worth it to hire a dedicated PPC expert or should you try to stick it out yourself?
Most businesses might be aware of the value of pay-per-click advertising but might not be sure where to start. As it is, the pay-per-click style of ads has grown past simple search ads to include a wide range of platforms, including social media.
Hiring PPC management experts definitely comes with a range of pros and cons, mainly in the balance between costs and results. Although it’s definitely possible for businesses to run digital ads on their own, it’s not always easy. Campaigns get the best results with more monitoring, careful adjustments, and more time to plan out a professional strategy designed for important KPIs. Especially for larger sites and retailers – guessing or inexperienced trial-and-error can mean a totally waisted budget!
Ultimately PPC offers strong returns and good results, which means that most of the time great results far outweigh the costs. It is after all one of the most popular and successful forms of marketing – that’s why Statista research shows search ads offer a median ROI of 23% and that display ads also have a median ROI of 16%.
Adverts that appear in search engine results require marketers to bid for target keywords – meaning in order to see results, businesses have to pay to play. Google claims that for every $1 spent, businesses can get $2 in revenue, so with professional campaign optimization, keyword research, and dedicated management it’s possible to get a whole lot more from this strategy.
The path of hiring PPC management experts offers businesses the benefit of higher returns and optimized campaigns that aren’t wasting ad budget.
Here’s how to find the right option.
Types of pay-per-click
To hire PPC experts, first you need to know what kind.
Since PPC is a style of advertising (based on having advertisers pay per each click on their ad) it’s used on a wide range of platforms. But this style of advertising is a broad category that includes a huge range of internet content.
For search engine advertising it usually involves bidding on search terms, but for other platforms your ads can appear in social media feeds, web pages, partner-websites, videos, and more.
These are the main types of paid digital marketing:
- Search engine advertising (PPC ads that appear on search results pages)
- Display advertising (PPC ads that appear as banners on web pages)
- Social media advertising (usually in user feeds)
- Shopping/product ads (similar to search engine PPC, product listings that can appear in search engines or online marketplaces)
There are other kinds of paid advertising, but these are the most common and most popular styles of PPC. For businesses that are considering whether to hire PPC management experts, they’ll first need to consider what types of PPC they’re interested in and which channels are beneficial to their business model. Likewise, it’s also important that businesses know where their target audiences are.
Hiring dedicated PPC experts for your brand or business could mean hiring agencies or individuals that offers services for one or all of these channels.
What to consider when hiring dedicated PPC experts
For businesses that want to outsource their paid marketing by hiring PPC management experts, how do you know what to look for?
You’ll want to research different sorts of agencies and see what sort of services they offer. Depending on your business model some PPC experts might be more suited for eCommerce sites, service based companies, publications/content focused sites, software-as-a-service brands (SaaS), multi-channel marketing, and more.
You’ll want to ask them how they plan on approaching situations like these – or more specifically how they would handle your business model and what sort of PPC style’s they’d recommend.
Remember that for smaller businesses or smaller sites, an agency might not be the right choice. Since PPC agencies often charge fees, brands with smaller ad budgets might not be able to justify the cost. Smaller budgets can still be used (most PPC requires no minimum budget), but the larger the budget the more it makes sense to hire PPC management experts to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.
Questions to ask before hiring an expert or an agency
When looking for agency services or dedicated experts you’ll want to ask the right questions. Think about these issues and also think about what specific concerns you have. If you’re talking to experts, here are some things to ask:
- Are they willing to share case studies and reviews from other clients? More to the point, are they able to give detailed numbers on successful campaigns?
- Do they make outrageous guarantees? Some things like ad budgets, and Smart Bidding allow for lots of control but guaranteed timelines or hard promised profit numbers have a lot of variables. Beware of exact promises.
- Are they a Google/Microsoft ads partner, or are they certified with other ad platforms?
- Can they point to previous clients they’ve worked with that are similar to yours?
- How much of the data will you have access too? What sort of reports do they promise? Can they create custom reports for your KPIs?
- How often will they be in touch with you?
- When/how will you be able to contact them? In order to save ad budget and to be efficient, campaign changes sometimes have to happen on short notice. How will they be able to keep up?
- How do they plan on invoicing or billing your business?
- Can they expand your brand across multiple ad networks (Google, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) If you decide to branch out later on you won’t want to be stuck with a marketing team that can only do one.
- Can they incorporate your search PPC strategy with your SEO strategy?
- How would they plan on responding if the campaign doesn’t do well?
- What sort of questions do they ask about your existing PPC? Do they bother to ask?
- How long does it take to see results?
These are good starter questions to ask agencies when looking to hire PPC management experts for your paid media marketing approach. In fact, questions like these are key to finding the “experts” out of a sea of options that might just be over-confident amateurs.
This is why many companies opt to go with agencies instead of consultants or individuals; having a team of dedicated PPC experts for your business is better than having an “expert” individual who might not be able to keep up with your total business needs.
You get knowledge and experience
The main advantage to hiring PPC management experts is that they offer knowledge and experience that your team might not have.
(It’s bad enough learning all the terminology: CPC, ROAS, CPA, quality-score, click-through-rate (CTR), CPM, etc. – But the truth is that marketers need to know these concepts just to get their ads off the ground)
Hiring an expert or any agency means they’ll be able to set-up a campaign quickly without having to fumble through the process. Plus they’ll have a baseline of knowledge that will bring in better results faster. A big part of PPC is being able to start a campaign, and then quickly make adjustments to make sure ad budget does not get wasted. Choosing landing pages, understanding search behavior, and reading audience metrics are important skills too.
Agencies can also use technology (proprietary and enterprise level software) to research keywords, performance and campaign data sets. They can monitor monthly results for POP/YOY comparisons and read trends to ensure that ad campaigns run efficiently. They can also track how customers behave on-site or across social media accounts to identify better landing page opportunities and to tone-down bad ones.
They can also make sure that ads are written and designed to get through approval processes and to stay within the confines of advertising rules/TOS for platforms like Google, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. This will help businesses avoid troubleshooting their campaigns or having their ad campaigns shutdown for breaking the rules!
Finally, professional advertisers will be able to perform crucial keyword research.
Keyword research plays a critical role in PPC success, and it means finding the balance between accurate, traffic driving target keywords that gain valuable customers, and overly-competitive keywords that rapidly drain ad budget. PPC experts will be able to identify “negative keywords” that can be filtered out of campaigns to improve efficiency, plus they’ll be able to break-out keywords that perform best and add them to unique campaigns to maximize conversion value even more.
Time and effort for creating ads
With help from the outside, businesses will be able to better optimize ad creation.
One of the biggest mistakes many inexperienced advertisers make is failing to set up ad campaigns with a sensible hierarchy. If your ad account structure is not organized, it will be more difficult to understand metrics and make adjustments.
Many platforms only allow adjustments at a campaign level, so grouping all your ads into one campaign will make it too difficult to optimize strategy.
Ads generally follow this structure: account > campaign > ad group > ads > keywords/audience.
By hiring dedicated PPC management experts to handle the accounts, ads and campaigns can be optimized with a more intuitive structure. Plus, experienced experts can help you target high-value customers by creating separated campaigns and writing individual ads for more narrow ranges of customers.
For example: a footwear eCommerce site wouldn’t want to group men’s and women’s shoes together for the same target audience. Nor would they want to group sneakers and snow-boots together for seasonal campaigns.
Keep these things in mind when trying to decide between running ads in-house or hiring dedicated PPC experts.
- Campaigns will have to fit with the business’s services, products, site structure, or geography (target locations).
- Understand which keywords/audiences will be targeted at the end, since this might determine how accounts/campaigns are set up at the start.
- Choose campaign goals that fit the business, as well as extensions/formats that fit the ad (promotions, phone number, site links, etc.)
- Well written ad copy needs to fit the platform rules and won’t be too long/short. Inaccurate, or poorly writen content can reduce conversions and drive bidding costs that fail to lead to revenue.
Knowing how to use data for better growth
Next there’s data. Fortunately, most ad platforms give marketers in-depth data on metrics like ad spend, monthly budget, conversions, cost-per-acquisition (CPA), and more. But understanding and using this data is a whole other game.
There are few tools for tracking campaign performance, namely Google Analytics, or Google Tag Manager. For on-site sales/conversions/goal completions Google Analytics is still a valuable tool for supplementing data.
PPC ad platforms offer their own data (via Google Ads, Facebook Ads Manager, Google Merchant Center, Microsoft Advertising, LinkedIn Ads, etc.). These platforms always have their own metrics and platform portals for advertisers to understand how their campaigns are performing.
Professional ad management services will be able to take the time to monitor data and read through reporting info to get a sense of how ads are doing. In case things go wrong, they’ll be able to make informed decisions and save ad budget by avoiding mistakes.
Getting the most out of PPC means being able to track key advertising metrics and what they mean (along with your brands specific KPIs). For businesses that are thinking about hiring PPC management experts they’ll want to consider things like:
- Setting up ads and utilizing ad budgets for better cos-per-action (target CPA), especially for serviced based brands where success often looks more like a download, sign-up, or a call.
- Get overall better ROI, usually in the form of return-on-ad spend (ROAS), particularly for clients where goals are easily measured in dollars.
- Getting maximum clicks, conversions, and sales, usually in cases where budget is a secondary concern.
- Maximum value, which means targeting high-value conversions instead of more conversions.
Be sure to talk to your consultant or dedicated PPC expert team about how they can achieve these goals and how their ads strategy matches up with what you want for your online business.
The benefits of hiring dedicate PPC experts at an agency
Having a team that can focus on this side of a business saves online companies a lot of effort, and helps them grow their business overall. A win-win!
Professional agencies are able to offer account managers and liaison services that make sure businesses are always on top of their paid marketing. Make sure that the agency you go with is able to provide full-service PPC management from dedicated account managers and analysts – specifically those trained in digital advertising.
Plus, better, more experienced agencies will be able to offer: keyword monitoring, daily/weekly/monthly communication, negative keyword filtering, quality score and CTR optimization, continuous ad adjustment, budget recommendations, ad forecasting, bid strategy A/B testing, ad text copy testing, and more.
Ask about these sort of business services at the beginning – if companies can’t answer your questions about these features, then they might be trying to hide something.
Experience from similar clients in the same industry
One of the great things about PPC is that it works for almost any industry or market. Search ads and even social media PPC can be used for any business that’s interested.
This means that PPC management agencies can bring with them experience from other clients that are similar to yours. They’ll be able to take what they learned from others and apply it to a new campaign from the get-go, avoiding past mistakes and applying new tricks.
The best advantage here is for keyword research. The pros will be able to find high-value keywords (both high-traffic, and longtail), raise your site’s quality score, and optimize landing pages with both content and ad copy based on how competitive the industry is.
Some sectors like apparel are very competitive and mean careful keyword, landing page, and audience targeting. Other industries like commercial business services and niche B2B eCommerce brands require other skills like audience narrowing and careful negative-keyword filtering.
Ad platform certifications
When looking to hire an agency or expert PPC team, ask about certifications. Most ad platforms offer certification programs or even partner programs designed specifically for digital marketing agencies.
These are what set apart individual do-it-yourselfers and legitimate agencies.
Ask any agencies you talk to if they are Google Analytics certified and how they use Analytics to provide data on website traffic and ad performance.
For Google search ads PPC, look for experts that are “Google Partners” or even “Google Premier Partners” (look for the badge on their site). Partnering with Google means these companies have passed Google Ads product certification exams and passed Google’s stringent requirements for quality services. Google Premier Partners have to be in the top 3% of Google Partners with continued performance in ad revenue, growth, and maintained client base – agencies with the Premier Partner badge are sure to be high-quality.
Bing offers a similar program with the Microsoft Advertising Certified Professional program for PPC experts. Look for agencies with this badge on their site as it indicates their ad managers are certified through Bing’s ad training program.
If you’re trying to hire PPC experts for social media, look for “Facebook Blueprint Certification.” This is for advertisers who are certified across the Facebook/Instagram ad network. Facebook doesn’t offer an agency partner level “badge” but this program is available to individual marketers – so talk to agencies about whether their team is experienced with these ad programs and have this certification.
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