InsightsPPC Agency

20 Questions to ask before hiring a pay per click advertising agency

Written by Wes Parker

Posted on: September 26, 2023

Digital advertising is now a pillar of the marketing experience. And within that space, pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is seen by 75% of businesses as a major driver of effective advertising spend1 For most companies, it makes sense to outsource this critical advertising function to a skilled and dedicated pay-per-click advertising agency rather than try to handle it in-house.

How do you know you are choosing a PPC partner with the experience, in-depth knowledge, and expertise you need to boost your ROI and conversions and achieve your advertising dreams? Today, the experts at DemandMore have assembled this easy guide to finding the right PPC ad agency, including key questions to ask before you sign on the dotted line.

The Quick PPC Questions Overview

Below, we’ve outlined 20 questions to ask before hiring a pay-per-click advertising agency. These questions concentrate on the following areas:

  • Expertise: How good they are at what they do, and how they prove it.
  • Customer Service: The experience you can expect.
  • Transparency and Communication: How they measure success and communicate it to you, and how they treat their customers.
  • Industry and Business Understanding: If they work with clients in your industry with a similar budget.
  • Services: What they will (and won’t) do for you.
  • Strategies: How they approach PPC campaigns and the nitty-gritty of the PPC industry

If the pay-per-click advertising agency you are considering can satisfy you on these points, they’re likely to be a good match for you. Now on with the details.

20 Questions to Ask Your Pay-Per-Click Advertising Agency

Let’s look at these general points in more depth through key questions you should be asking your future pay-per-click advertising agency.

  1. Do You Have Experience in My Industry?

Digital marketing is a unique skill-set all by itself. Chances are you’re approaching a pay-per-click advertising agency to leverage their expertise in driving advertising that converts, rather than developing in-house PPC talent yourself. But there’s another side of the equation to consider. Each industry has its own pain points, unique selling propositions, and niche ecosystem.

Your PPC partner needs to know not only how to craft great online advertising, but how to work with your target market and its segments2,%252C%2520psychographic%252C%2520and%2520behavioral%2520segmentations., identify key selling points in your industry, and understand the wider advertising landscape and competition. A track record in working with similar niches could be the difference between good PPC campaigns and great ones.

  1. What is Your Track Record?

The ideal pay-per-click advertising partner gets consistent results for their clients. But you need more than just their word on that. Here, testimonials and case studies can give you a great sense of what they can do for you – but it is easy to cherry-pick those, too. Be sure to ask about their client retention and contract renewal rates.

It is estimated that sheer human fickleness will account for around 23-30% of customer losses in a year3 Everything beyond that comes down to great customer service, delivering results, and other controllable factors. If you’re seeing a retention rate for your new PPC advertising partner of around 75%, chances are they’re delivering on their promises.

  1. Will You Invest Time in My Business?

Industry experience in your niche is a great start. But you also need a PPC company willing to dig deeper into your products and unique selling propositions. Will the keywords they choose actually convert for you, or do they just rank highly on search term reports?

A PPC company that will ask the right questions on your behalf is essential. They need to understand your best-performing products and services, your geographical area, and other factors unique to your business if you are going to see the ROI you need. They also need to know how to craft and use negative keywords4 for your industry.

  1. What Certifications Do You Have?

With the constant shifts in the digital advertising space, you should be working with a partner who not only thoroughly understands the PPC industry, but knows how to translate that into the results you need.

While certifications are no guarantee of performance, they do indicate a PPC advertising agency that’s willing to invest in its staff and ensure in-depth industry knowledge. Google5, Microsoft/Bing6, and Meta7 all offer certifications in their products – does your future PPC partner have them for the platforms you want to work with?

  1. How Do You Measure Success?

Great pay-per-click advertising and data go hand-in-hand. Did you know that simply displaying the price on e-commerce items can drop wasted ad spend by up to 25%8 Conversions are a great success metric, and what you count as a conversion needs to be part of the onboarding conversation, too.

But if they aren’t effectively gathering, tracking, and using conversion data, you can’t effectively account for a campaign’s ROI. Ask how they’re gathering, and most importantly using, data to power better campaigns in the future. Then ask how they use this to declare a campaign successful.

  1. How Will You Prove This to Me?

Knowing they track and use data is one thing. Communicating it to you is another. After all, they’re the ad experts, not you. But you still want in-depth understanding of how your ad spend is working for you.

Dig deeper into the reporting they will communicate with you. Make certain it provides all the essential information you need to evaluate their performance, including clearly stated goals, jargon-free presentation, detailed and overview data, and how it integrates with other online marketing efforts9

  1. How Often Will We Communicate?

When you hire a pay-per-click advertising firm, the whole point is that you don’t need to micromanage. But you don’t want to be left in the dark about your account, either. While most communication can be handled by email and great reporting, you still want a firm willing to touch base and update you on your PPC strategy regularly.

  1. What Contract Am I Tied To?

It’s reasonable to enter into a fairly long-term agreement with your PPC agency. It takes at least 3 months to properly judge the impact a PPC campaign is having10 But you want an SLA that not only outlines obligations and expectations clearly, but which also does not tie you to a dud firm for months or years to come.

  1. Can You Set Up/Take Over Accounts?

Which question to ask depends on whether you are already using pay-per-click advertising. If you’re new to this kind of marketing, you want a firm that can help you set up your accounts the right way. If you’re moving PPC agencies, you need a firm willing to liaise and monitor the transfer. Either way, you want an engaged, helpful service provider, not one who makes you do most of the legwork.

  1. Who Owns My PPC Advertising Accounts?

We’ve all heard horror stories of key digital marketing employees leaving a firm – and leaving the business completely locked out of its own accounts! Some pay-per-click advertising firms will create your accounts as part of their wider account, leaving you with no access to your advertising legacy and critical ad data if you opt to leave.

Additionally, where there’s no transparency, it is easy to fudge how your advertising is performing for you. Make sure you will still own and have access to your PPC accounts under the agency, and know why it matters. Remember, the history of your PPC account will influence future bid rates, for example11

  1. What Tools Do You Use?

Related to owning your ad account, it is important to know if your PPC company uses in-house/proprietary software behind the scenes. If you choose to leave, how much of your data analytics will come with you? Remember, paid campaigns account for about 65% of ad clicks on Google12 You don’t want to lose your progress if you swap firms.

  1. How Do You Charge?

Each pay-per-click advertising company structures its fees differently. Some may take a percentage of the advertising spend. Others have flat fees. You may need an initial audit, or you may simply need them to take over an existing PPC campaign. With SMEs spending up to $10,000 a month on PPC costs13, you want to know that the bulk of that spend is driving your campaigns, not padding the agency’s bottom line.

  1. Do You Have a Minimum Ad Spend?

Some PPC agencies target business sizes and will only work with customers who can commit to specific ad budgets. Consider that in 2021this was a $173 billion industry and it is set to nearly double by 202614,over%2520%2524252%2520billion%2520in%25202026.. Find a partner who is working with businesses like yours, and where budgetary expectations match.

  1. Do You Offer Holistic Services?

Pay-per-click advertising, as with all digital advertising, doesn’t neatly occupy its own box. While specialist PPC knowledge is required, you still need a partner which can work with other advertising initiatives. They need to be able to implement tracking strategies for conversions and help you optimise your online marketing strategy accordingly. A DLG Group studyrevealed that 80% of companies lack optimised tracking across customer touchpoints15 Don’t be one of them.

  1. Do You Create Ad Landing Pages?

Linked to the previous question, the quality of your ad only goes so far. You need consistent and conversion-focused landing pages to seal the deal. It’s often best for the pay-per-click advertising partner you use to handle this side, to ensure campaign consistency and results.

  1. Do You Work With My Preferred Pay-Per-Click Advertising Partners?

Google Ads campaigns currently account for about 92% of the search engine market16 Despite this domination, they’re not the only PPC partner out there. You may be happy focusing all your attention on Google Ads, or you may want to target other platforms. Make sure your PPC advertising partner works with all the services that interest you.

  1. How Long is Onboarding?

It takes time to bring in a new pay-per-click advertising partner, get campaigns set up, and measure the results. However, onboarding shouldn’t be unnecessarily complex or long-winded. Businesses are leaning into the so-called 90-day rule, where the first 90 days on a job indicate if employees will stay loyal17 The same rule of thumb applies – if you aren’t up to speed and starting to see results in the first 90 days, then something has gone wrong.

  1. Who Will Handle My Account?

81% of customers cite customer service as their most important benchmark in staying with a company18 Remember that you are the PPC agency’s customer. It is impossible for someone handling lots of accounts to deliver the service you need for your PPC campaigns to flourish. If the PPC company can’t give you a central touchpoint and someone dedicated to your account, or they’re passing daily management to juniors, or their reps are handling 100s of accounts weekly, move on.

  1. How Do You Minimise Wasted Ad Spend?

In the PPC environment, some wasted ad spending is inevitable. But a great pay-per-click advertising firm does everything it can to minimise this. On average, each successful click costs $1-$2 and can net up to $8 in ROI19 Make sure your chosen partner is willing to optimise campaigns, budgets, and goals to reduce waste and boost ROI.

  1. Do You Remarket?

Remarketing (ensuring ads are displayed to people who’ve already shown interest in the product but didn’t convert) is amazingly effective. Retargeted users can be up to 70% more likely to convert, and their click-through success is 10x higher 20 If your PPC agency isn’t addressing this, go elsewhere.

FAQs on Choosing a Pay-Per-Click Advertising Firm

Why should I consider hiring a PPC advertising firm?

A good PPC partner brings expertise, time savings, access to advanced tools, and a strategic approach to maximise your ROI and campaign performance to the table.

What should I look for when choosing a PPC advertising firm?

You want a firm with a proven track record, industry expertise, transparency, clear communication, tailored strategies, and a focus on understanding your business goals.

Can I maintain control over my PPC campaigns when working with a firm?

Yes, you should have the ability to provide input, set goals, and maintain open communication to ensure the firm aligns with your vision.

How can I ensure effective communication with my chosen PPC advertising firm?

Ensure you have open communication, that they provide comprehensive briefs, collaborate on strategies, regularly review/discuss reports, and make data-driven decisions collaborativly.

How long will it take to see PPC results?

While timescales vary, expect to see a trickle of results in the first few weeks, and a solid idea of campaign performance within 3-6 months.

With the right pay-per-click advertising agency on your side, you can expect to see boosted ROI and conversions and greater campaign efficiency. With these easy questions to ask your pay-per-click advertising partner, you’ll soon find the right match for your business.

Not sure where to start with your pay-per-click advertising efforts? DemandMore is an expert PPC agency based in London, and we’re here to help you make your PPC advertising goals a reality. Reach out to us today – you won’t be disappointed!