10-Point Bulletproof Checklist For Finding Enterprise PPC Solutions
Have you ever thought to yourself: “ugh, I have to find another agency and listen to more bs from these “experts”?
We’ve been there too!
It’s always fascinating to see how enterprise agencies answer the same questions.
It seems like there is only one “best” path to take every time someone pitches you an Enterprise PPC solution.
Everyone seems to have the best “proprietary” tech that nobody else has access to or some tricks up their sleeve.
The truth is, it’s not easy to discern who’s the perfect fit from a few meetings alone.
It happens because of a few reasons…
- You may not be an expert on PPC.
- You have to rely on internal experts to decide who’s pitching “far-fetched” solutions.
- Your budget has limits.
- SEM work gets outsourced overseas, rather than done in-house
- You’re not familiar with the Google Martech.
- You don’t know the best practices when it comes to SEM.
- Technology moves faster than ever today.
- Platform targeting capabilities change frequently.
- Competition gets tougher every year as more SMBs move into space
If you had 10 or more agencies pitch their enterprise PPC solutions, they would all say something different about the same topic.
Is it lack of knowledge, lack of skilled staff or different service offerings?
When it comes to Enterprise PPC, it is a combination of knowledge gaps and a weaker service offering.
We all have access to the same media platforms and similar technology for the most part.
However, this saying is true:
Not every agency is equal in their offering, despite what they pitch
It comes down to your unique business goals and how well their enterprise PPC solutions fit.
Naturally, this means some agencies won’t be a “good fit” for your unique business goals.
So, what are the top 10 things you should ask your PPC agency pitching Enterprise PPC solutions?
1) Do they speak your Mar-Tech?
Here is the first question you should consider:
Can they work with your internal team to use software that will push your business further?
- What we’re getting at here is connecting the data between:
- Your CRM Platform
- Email Marketing Platform, like ActiveCampaign or SalesForce
- Landing page software like Unbounce or Instapage
- Your CMS, like WordPress
- Your tracking software, like Google Tag Manager
- Reporting software, like PowerBI, Google Datastudio or DOMO
- Google Analytics vs. Adobe Analytics
- DMP (data management platform)
Does your agency follow the best PPC practices according to Google Ads and Facebook Ads or LinkedIn Ads?
2) Do they follow the best PPC practices according to Google Ads and Facebook Ads or LinkedIn Ads?
Google Ads best practices in a nutshell:
Are they following best practices by having the right campaign structure in place?
- Each campaign should correspond to a specific product or service
- Each campaign should contain highly-themed ad-groups
- Each ad group should have keywords with specific match-types to control user intent
- Keywords should be organized into themed ad-groups
- Keywords should be used in the ad copy
- Ads should reflect the theme of the ad group and the keywords in that ad-group
Does each campaign target a specific geo-market?
For example, if you have a campaign targeting “AI Content Tools” in the USA and AUS, ensure both campaigns target each country separately.
- Ideally, you’d target each state with its campaign, if that’s something you can manage.
- Each campaign should be using specific geo-targeting.
- This approach can help you improve quality scores in each state.
- Google looks at regional speeds for each advertiser who bids on those keywords.
- The advertiser with the best engagement and speed gets the highest quality score.
- To boost quality scores, aim for 3-4 seconds load time, as outlined in the Google support pages.
Do they use various ad-extensions across all the ads?
- Each ad group should have different types of ad-extensions associated with the ads. It helps improve quality scores, CPC and CTR for those ad-groups that have them.
Are they tracking different types of goals as conversions?
- It is common sense to track leads, downloads, form fills, demo requests.
- What a lot of people miss is engagement based tracking. You could create a goal that tracks anyone who spent more than 1 minute on a site or visited 3+ pages. You could then take this audience and re-market to them since they show high engagement.
Are they using Google Tag Manager to track all conversions?
- Google Tag Manager is a native Google product that is the gold standard for tracking. Using one platform for all tracking tags can help ensure you can gauge performance.
Does the agency design landing pages or provide recommendations on landing page design?
- To ensure you have high conversion rates your agency must be able to support you on this. Focus on the more significant part of SEM, which is the landing page speed and user experience. It will boost your performance, by reducing CPCs and improve quality scores.
Do they understand how to use RLSA and other types of audiences?
- It is used in re-marketing campaigns using hyper-specific ad-copy and dynamic ads?
Do they understand how to leverage In-Market Audiences?
- In-Market audiences capture users that are actively looking for your solution online. Google tracks user behavior and classifies people into clusters, based on browsing history. They monitor search queries and decide if somebody is “In-Market” for a specific service.
Facebook Ads best practices, according to Facebook Blueprint?
- Do they understand how to use and install the Facebook Pixel?
- Check out these steps from Facebook to install it on your site.
Do they know how to structure Facebook campaigns to bring in engaged targeted users who will buy?
- Using correct campaign objectives in the right order of the funnel
- Using different creative depending on your business is critical to sales from Facebook.
- Targeting very specific audiences and aligning creative is critical for success.
- Using no more than 4 ads per ad-set is essential.
- Tagging your ads using the Facebook UTM parameters tool to measure and optimize performance
- Testing wildly different audiences with different creative across each campaign type
Can your PPC agency segment audiences at scale to discover high-performing audiences fast?
- This is a tough one to pull of, but possible, given that your data is accurate and intact.
- Use a mix of campaign types depending on traffic temperature.
- These could be video campaigns, lead gen campaigns and conversion based campaigns
- Deploy “strategically tactical” re-marketing campaigns using different media types to convert users.
- Make sure to install and use the LinkedIn Conversion Tag
- Use data-driven customer avatars by installing the LinkedIn Insights Tag.
3) Does the agency’s Enterprise PPC solution include uber-customizable reporting?
Can they use Adobe or Google Analytics?
- Both platforms offer fantastic solutions when it comes to digital analytics. Your agency should be able to work with at least one of them.
- If the tracking is installed the right way, you should be able to get actionable insights from either platform.
Ask the agency if they can help develop a visual dashboard for you.
- Visualizing data is extremely powerful today. If you’re running any performance-driven campaigns, you need this.
- Having the tools to understand performance and make accurate business decisions is critical.
The fastest way to failure is to miss the data right in front of you or fail to take action on it.
4) Ask if the agency can guarantee the results with their enterprise PPC solutions?
If they say yes, that’s a huge red flag. Nobody knows how campaigns will perform. Despite previous results from similar clients, your offer and business are different. This means, your results will not be the same.
A smart enterprise PPC agency will focus on continuous improvement over time. Your agency of choice should also be data-informed and provide strong data insights.
5) Is the agency pitching you on PPC Enterprise Solutions data-informed?
There is a significant trend nowadays that talks about being data-driven. The problem with being data-driven is that agencies are looking at data without considering context. That can drive your decision making in the wrong direction for a very long time.
“If you fail to relate data to human beings in the real world and ignore psychographics or demographics, you’re in for a big roller coaster ride.”
Being data-informed means considering real-world scenarios and relating them to human behavior. Consider piecing different types of data from various sources into a story. Then check to see if it makes real-world sense. Does it seem to be good to be true or does something seem wildly implausible? If so, you’re probably correct.
If your future agency is pitching you an enterprise PPC solution, ask if they can use data to tell a sensible story.
Using data to tell a story that makes sense is an excellent way to spot possible issues and make corrections fast. This could mean saving your business from a lousy media investment.
6) What are their strengths and weaknesses in their solution?
The most common pitfall for an agency is to talk about their strengths and avoid weaknesses. This is a sign that you’re likely about to hire another PPC vendor and not a true enterprise partner.
There is a world of difference between a vendor and a partner selling an enterprise PPC solution. A vendor will tell you what you want to hear, now what you need to know.
Partner will tell you “the good, the bad and the ugly.”
Not everything in the world of marketing is always rosy, and your partner will highlight it all.
Vendors execute on tasks, but partners outline the strategic value they bring. Partners move businesses forward with thoughtful, visionary processes in their arsenal.
What this means in the context of Enterprise PPC solutions is the following:
- Partners have strategic recommendations on how to grow and scale your account.
- Partners focus on specific types of audiences
- Partners could recommend using AI-powered tech to enhance performance.
- Partners help you navigate the digital ocean with a strategic roadmap every year.
- Partners move your account forward by providing strong insights and recommendations.
- Vendors don’t have a map, much insights and no real plan to grow your account 3x or more over the coming years.
- Vendors don’t make tech recommendations.
7) Are they specialists or generalists when it comes to Enterprise PPC?
Far too often, agencies will take on business because it makes their bottom line look great. There are too many “me too” agencies out there, who are “full service” agencies and are “jack of all trades.”
Ask your self this sensible question:
Can a creative agency be truly great at analytics, creative work and media buying? They’re likely good at a few things, but only world class at one.
Your job is to discover what they’re world class at and hire them to execute on that one thing.
If they specialize in AI-Powered Enterprise PPC, don’t hire them for social media influencing.
- Ask them if they specialize in the SaaS vertical.
- They may offer specialized services around enterprise PPC or SEO around SaaS.
- Even though PPC and SEO are different, SEM and SEO are often referred to as a search channel.
- Very often SEO and PPC is something an agency will take on as their core service offering.
- If the Enterprise PPC agency you’re evaluating has 10+ products, that’s likely a red flag
- There is nothing wrong with focusing on 5 services like SEO, PPC, Content, Marketing Automation and Analytics. However, at some point, the agency can’t hire high-end experts to excel in every service offered.
- They’re likely world class in 1, great at 2 services and mediocre at the other ones.
- This may work for you, as they’ll charge high rates for the services they excel in, and less for other services. This may increase the chance of error, so if you have minimal tolerance for mistakes, you may have to pay top dollar.
- Figure out what’s critical for you and pay top dollar for that service, while you save costs on others.
8) Do they have case studies where they got strong results?
- Ask the agency if they’ve worked with a similar client like yourself on a similar project. This can help uncover exciting insights and ideas for your SaaS. Perhaps Enterprise PPC solutions should be reinforced with marketing automation.
- Check if they had any success with similar clients and what kind of learnings can they bring to the table today.
- Have they worked in a similar vertical that has a similar business model?
- Do they understand your SaaS funnel and all the unique sticking points for your SaaS?
- Many SaaS businesses have unique sticking points during the customer journey.
- Knowing that your potential enterprise PPC agency was able to solve specific pain points can prove crucial to scaling your SaaS
- Do they have data or case studies they can show you where they got similar results?
“Don’t show me your awards. Show me the data.”
9) Is your enterprise PPC solution provider an agency or a consultancy?
An agency executes day in, day out without a long-term strategy in place. Consultancies focus on a long-term plan and can help provide a more holistic approach. Your digital marketing must strike a balance between strategy and tactical execution to win today.
- Will your agency directly execute on tasks or educate you on why they do what they do, which is what a consultancy does.
- Partners educate and provide personalized help, not just reports.
“True success today comes from having both parties working together in the trenches.”
- Do they have project managers who can keep staff accountable and deliver projects on time and budget to avoid BIG surprises?
- This one element is enormous especially if you’re making a ton of changes in the account regularly.
- Most companies want things done on time and budget. That makes perfect sense. Nobody wants to go over time and budget. So, if you’re installing tracking, improving conversion rates and creating audiences, you’re going to go over. This is almost inevitable, so you need someone who can set expectations for both parties. Project management isn’t an extra cost as you might think. It actually saves time or cost for most companies in the long run.
10) Do they use AI yet to optimize performance?
Artificial Intelligence in PPC marketing is not adopted widely yet. It’s ok if your agency is not there yet. But, keep in mind that AI adoption is happening amongst the leaders of every industry or vertical.
Adding AI to your marketing stack is very critical today if you want to maintain a competitive edge.
There are AI tools that can power-up your Facebook, Google, Programmatic or LinkedIn PPC campaigns. Check out Frank.ai, Albert.ai, Trapica.ai, Adext.ai, or Adohm. These tools can lift performance by targeting high converting audiences. They can drastically reduce your CPA, CPC and skyrocket your conversion rates.
Artificial intelligence tools for PPC are like having a team of 100 account managers optimizing your campaigns all day. It’s incredibly powerful when it comes to improving results. These tools will explore audiences, adjust bids, shift budgets cross-channel increase R.O.I. 3x or higher.
They do charge differently, so test them separately. The platforms make different types of promises when it comes to ROI and charge wildly different fees.
Your enterprise PPC solutions vendor should suggest AI automation if your B2B leads are costing you an arm and a leg.
Performing an audience audit, checking conversion tracking and following best practices is usually the way to go.
If you want to improve the efficiency of your media buying and skyrocket your R.O.I. send us a message today.