Selecting an agency partner to manage your paid media efforts can be a difficult decision. You want to partner with an agency that has worked with many different clients across many different industries. Digital marketing agencies that specialize in paid media and search engine marketing (SEM) will have experts that are always up to date with the latest changes and trends to identify new opportunities and refine existing strategies to garner the best results for your brand, product and/or services offered. You should be looking for an agency with an experienced team that combines strategic thinking with the latest technology and tactics to achieve results.
Things To Consider In A Paid Media Agency Partner
Quality and Experience
You’re not just looking for account managers, you’re looking for strategists with a proven track record of results. To that end, look for specific examples of success including case studies and testimonials to ensure the agency is right for your brand. An agency with proven success for similar businesses can be a huge bonus, as long as they can explain how they differentiate campaigns, content and strategies so you know you'll be getting the personalized service and attention your brand needs. Also, find out how much of the agency’s paid media efforts are outsourced – this can compromise the quality of work and level of support you may receive. In addition, with so many agencies competing for your business, it will be easy to find affordable packages, but be cautious when that price is dirt cheap. The old adage "you get what you pay for" may ring true, and when it's your brand's reputation on the line, you have to be careful. Sometimes paying a little bit more can make all the difference.
Legitimacy of the AgencyYour agency should provide some sort of proof of their experience and expertise. Ask for certifications such as whether team members are Google certified or if the agency is a Google Premier Partner (GPP). When judging the agency, you should check to see that they are specifically Google AdWords Certified and/or Google Analytics Certified. If your agency has a Google Partner Badge, it means they have access to their own Google Agency Team and keep up with the latest AdWords innovations. When this level of expertise is achieved, then accountability and reliability are assumed and you will receive guaranteed management experience.
Social Media Advertising
Most paid media agencies will tout their expertise in paid search (Google, Bing & Yahoo), but their capabilities in social selling is essential as social channels offer very granular targeting and expansive ad options that achieve customer acquisition, drive sales, increase engagement and lead to greater retention.
But, be wary of any agency that advises you to run ads on all social channels. The fact is, your target audience isn't everywhere, so you shouldn't be investing resources everywhere. The agency you choose should be able to recommend the channels that are most relevant based on your audience and business goals and should be able to suggest unique and engaging ways in which to connect with customers across those channels. Your agency should be thinking of social strategies that are consistent with your brand rather than just resorting to tactics they’ve used for other clients.
Reporting and Measurement
All paid media agencies should deliver easy-to-read reports and summaries for all paid media initiatives. All measurement and metrics should be catered to each individual client and not some cookie-cutter report that may not be relevant to you. With both social advertising and more traditional paid search, certain KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) should be included – conversions, conversion rate, average CPC, average position, CTR, impression share, revenue, best performing ad creative and ad sets, GP and ROAS (if applicable) and any additional metrics that you deem important. The Agency should provide a clear indication on how your paid search campaigns have been performing.
Communication and Transparency
Finally, any paid media agency should be completely transparent and have constant communication with their clients. They should relay how your advertising dollars are being spent, how performance is doing whenever you ask, notify you of any issues or challenges that may impact results and what is being done to address these issues. The frequency of communication should be up to you. Some clients prefer daily contact while others are fine with check ins a few times a month. The agency should be flexible and accommodate your needs. When you have that communication and transparency with your agency, your business is always up-to-date on account performance and will know all details on your advertising strategy. If you're left in the dark, you remain uninformed about your account, promotions may be outdated and you have no knowledge of your data. No one likes to be blindsided by poor or unexpected performance.
When you finally decide on a paid media agency, don’t just pick a talented team – choose a group of professionals that you think you’d enjoy working with. Why? Simply put, there might be a lack of chemistry between the primary contacts of your business and the team members who are part of the agency. Good chemistry and developing a rapport is important. Make sure you partner with people that don’t rub you the wrong way. Team dynamics and culture matter more than you may realize.