When it comes to PPC, many organizations feel in the dark when trying to understand what their agency is doing and if it’s helping them achieve their business objectives.
Before we continue, we are not suggesting that PPC agencies are not doing their job. There are lots of great agencies out there, and many different approaches to PPC management.
What we are suggesting is that you don’t take a back seat to how your PPC agency is managing your account. Yes you hired a PPC expert so you don’t have to be a PPC expert, but you’re the expert when it comes to your organization, and you are the one accountable for the results it delivers.
If you have made an investment in a PPC agency and articulated your PPC goals, you’ll want to ‘check in’ from time to time and see that what is being done to manage your account is aligned with your PPC objectives.
Here are 4 tips to help you keep your agency in check:
1. Look at what changes are being made in your account
- Look at the AdWords change history report.
- This will show you what changes are being made, by who and how often.
- Example of changes include: bids adjustments, adding/pausing keywords, ad changes, keyword suppression (adding keywords to negative keyword lists)…
- If what you are seeing is off-scope (e.g. you see that competitor keywords have been added to an AdGroup, when this was never discussed nor approved), contact your PPC account manager and review together.
- To easily access Change History, log into your AdWords account and click ‘View Change History’:
- Tip: If you do not have access to your AdWords account you should. Request it. Here are some tips for working with a PPC agency to ensure you have control and flexibility over your AdWords account.
2. Check that your ads are not showing up for the wrong keywords or on the wrong sites
- Negative keyword lists and campaign placement exclusions help prevent your ad from showing up where it should not.
- These are key to preventing your budget from being wasted because of off-target or inappropriate targeting like:
- Your target customer is seniors and your image ads are showing on baby/maternity sites.
- You sell a premium dog grooming service and your text ads are showing up when someone searches ‘premium cat food’.
- These lists should be updated regularly for as long as campaigns are in market, so look at your change history report as well – do you see this being done?
- To see these lists, log into your AdWords account and click ‘Shared Library’:
- Tip: Keywords and placements can be excluded at the AdGroup level as well (and at times it make sense to do this). This can lead to inefficient management of your account. If you do not see lists, ask your Agency about it.
3. Review the search terms people have typed into Google which triggered your ad to show and resulted in a click (and cost to you!)
- When it comes down to it, the search queries that your ads are showing up for say a a lot about whether you are reaching your target audience or not.
- Say you sold sold an organic environmentally-friendly hair care product line and was using PPC to drive traffic to content on your site about the positive effects of using your products. If you have no negative keyword lists and your keyword targeting is broad, your ads will show up where they should not (and worst, waste your budget):
- On-target ad clicks have a higher likelihood to convert once they land on your site.
- To review the search queries for which your ads are showing for and getting a click, check out the Search Queries Report in Google Analytics.
- Tip: Your AdWords account needs to be linked to Google Analytics. If it is not linked, reach out to your agency. There are many benefits to linking these accounts that you are missing out on if you do not.
4. View the websites/pages where your image ads are actually showing
- The best way to reach your target audience online is to have your ads showing on the sites they frequent and in the conversations they are participating.
- For example, if your using PPC to help with hiring new employees, unless you know that your target applicants loves cats and spends their time watching funny cat videos online, you will want to have your targeting adjusted as to prevent wasted budget (and time):
- You can see what sites your ads are showing using Google Analytics’ AdWords Campaigns Report and adding a secondary dimension for the ‘Placement Url’
- If your ads are showing up in some questionable places and you are not seeing any action in the change history to prevent this not do you see any campaign placement exclusions, talk to your agency.
- Tip: Your AdWords account needs to be linked to Google Analytics. If it is not linked, reach out to your agency.
If you are still not sure what is going on, or you just don’t have time or resources to check yourself, ask your agency to review these with you. If you are not comfortable doing so, you can always involve a third party to do a PPC audit for you.
Remember, at the end of the day you are accountable for delivering value and results. Don’t settle for being dazzled with AdWords certifications or millions of impressions and clicks. Be dazzled with transparency and results that matter to your organization and the objective(s) you are trying to achieve through PPC.
We hope that you find these tips helpful and that they start positive dialogue with your PPC agency, leading to stronger more effective campaigns. If you have any other tips, we’d love to hear them!