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4 Ways You’re Being Hosed by Your PPC Provider

Do you have an agency managing your PPC campaigns? Here are a few things to look out for to make sure you get the results you deserve.

Many companies choose to outsource their PPC management to a massive PPC management firm. These companies manage thousands of accounts and often have standard “processes” which get installed for each client. See below to learn how this is negatively affecting your budget every day.

Note: We’re going to make some generalizations in this article because we’re calling it as we see it. We acknowledge we might offend some people or make someone mad…the following has been OUR EXPERIENCE.

PPC management should not be outsourced to a big company unless someone internal is paying attention and keeping them in check. Here’s why:

1. Very little differentiation from one campaign to the next

Massive companies who manage your PPC budget like to install “standard” processes and campaigns which will have very little differentiation from one dealer to the next. What does that mean? You end up with the same stale ad copy as every other dealer being managed by that provider. That would be fine… if the ad copy was good! But most of the time, when we take a look at a PPC account that is being “managed” by a large company, we find outdated, poor quality ads that are not appealing to the searcher.

  • Large companies might like to “set and forget” your campaign because this makes it easier for them to thousands of budgets. That’s great for them, not so much for you.
  • Quality ad copy is pretty much the most important facet to any PPC campaign. It should be “actively” managed, not “passively” managed. Large PPC providers will tend to “set and forget” your account…. bad idea. While you’re running with the same ad copy you had 6 months ago, your competitors are keeping it fresh and lively and stealing your customers.
  • Ad copy should be refreshed monthly with new specials and attractive offers.

2. Your current provider is probably not using “Negative” keywords.

One of the biggest success factors for a business’ PPC account is the use of “Negative” keywords. This means you have to tell Google when you don’t want your ads to show up. For instance, if you’re running a sales campaign about “Ford trucks,” you probably don’t want to pay for clicks when the searcher is looking for “Ford truck parts.” To prevent your ad from displaying when a searcher is looking for “parts,” someone would need to set “parts” as a “Negative” keyword. The problem with most large PPC companies? You guessed it: they’re not adding enough “Negative” keywords, so you’re blowing a bunch of your budget on useless clicks that will never help you achieve your goals.

3. Your competitors are stealing your traffic… and you’re not doing anything about it.

So you spend tons of money on TV advertising. Great! But have you ever Googled your dealership’s name as a customer will when they see your TV ad? If you’re like many dealers, you’ll notice that your competitor down the roadshows up first. Why? Because your competitor is actively managing their PPC campaign and is “bidding” on your business name. That way, they can poach the website traffic which should be coming to you.

Now, you might be running one of these Competitor campaigns already. But, are you making sure your business always shows up higher than your competitor’s?

4. Your current provider shows you a bunch of pretty charts and graphs. But where is the REAL data?

Most business owners want a “high level” data. “Just tell me how many people clicked on my ad, and what it cost me.” Well, this is great news for many large PPC companies, because it means they don’t have to be completely transparent about your information. For instance, here are the questions you SHOULD know the answer to… and the ones WE will ask on your behalf:

  • What is my click-through rate? This gives you an idea as to the quality of your ads. If your click-through rates are low, then your ads are probably low quality and not relevant to the term being searched. Look for click-through rates of 3-5% minimum.
  • What are my quality scores? Search engines provide quality scores on each of your keywords and ads. These give you insight as to the quality of your ad, the relevance to the term being searched, and the searcher’s average experience on your landing page. If you’re getting tons of clicks, but none of those people are staying on your website after they click to it, then this indicates your landing page stinks and your quality score is going to suffer. This is an important indicator of success
  • What is my bounce rate? Spending a bunch of money on clicks, only to have 85% of the visitors “bounce” off your site in the first 5 seconds = waste of money. If you’re seeing high bounce rates, something needs to be changed.
  • How is my campaign performing when you REMOVE the “branded” keywords? PPC providers LOVE to tell you how great your campaign is performing. “Look, Jim! We got your click-through rate to 50% and you’re only paying $.65 per click!” That’s all well and good, but keep in mind that for most companies, a large number of their clicks are coming from searchers who were looking specifically for their business. So, if your business is “Jim’s Ford” and someone searches for “Jim’s Ford,” then you’re going to show up higher and pay very low costs for the click because Google knows you are already the most relevant result. That’s fine…. but all these “branded” clicks actually skew the real numbers. Any moron can get you a low cost per click when they’re just providing branded keywords like this. You need to know your statistics when these branded keywords are removed.

PPC management is incredibly complex and most business owners and marketing directors do not have time to do it, while also managing teams and daily tasks. That’s why we’re here. Even if your current PPC management is mandated to be outsourced to a certain company, we can still jump in and help you ensure they are investing your budget wisely and appropriately.