Pay per click (PPC) marketing is a simple and effective method of advertising – you define the keywords that you would like your ad to display for (or not), you build an advert and you wait for a match against the search query, get a click and hopefully a conversion. It’s all based on relevancy.

As a client are you happy with the quality of your PPC?

Agencies are making PPC advertising more complex than it needs to be through a shortage of keyword research and a lack of good old fashioned marketing techniques such as consideration of buyer behaviour in the purchasing process.

Rather than doing a bit of groundwork at the start of a new campaign to get a feel for the right keywords, I see every conceivable keyword combination thrown into the adgroups, use of every match type on every keyword, lots of broad match keywords being used and not enough negative work being undertaken.

The result is a birds nest of cross-serving, irrelevant ads being displayed, low quality scores, high costs and low ROI.

I’m sure I’ve not taught anyone anything new about PPC so far, and I’m sure most people reading this blog know how to conduct some basic keyword research.

However, although everyone knows how to do it the right way, as a client I believe either lack of management in the agency or junior staff working on the accounts are making these mistakes.

Managing a PPC account goes a little deeper than simply knowing how to navigate around an adwords account and get an advert live.

Here are the things that separate a quality PPC agency from an average one:

1. Agency/Client kick off meeting

The Agency needs to probe for insights about how shoppers go about researching the product and ultimately making a purchase. Higher value products will typically involve more research, take longer to convert and use a different mix of keywords at different stages of the buying process.

The client may have content on the site which helps the customer with this decision making process so a good agency would get familiar with the website and it’s content.

2. Commercial acumen  

It’s important the person working on the account gets an understanding of what success looks like for the client. Conversions are simply not enough, an appreciation for profit margins separates the quality agencies from the average.

3. Keyword research

The take outs from the client meetings should make researching keywords an easy process. Clear distinctions between keywords used for researching and buying should be made along with notes about match types, landing pages and content that is either available or needs creating.

4. A good account structure

One that is easy to navigate around for both the agency and the client. Big keywords should be on exact and phrase match.

5. Feedback and optimisation

Two way communication is important. How is paid search performing against organic, are sales and profit growing? Seasonal high’s and low’s, challenging targets to hit etc.

Some of the items above are about client/agency relationships. Some are more about bringing traditional marketing techniques to the digital world and there is a skills gap as the distinction between the two disciplines gets wider.

Digital marketing can only benefit from utilising traditional marketing concepts and it’s something agencies should consider investing in.