Five signs your PPC agency is ripping you off

Managing a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign can be a time-consuming task and getting the best value for money from your marketing budget is not simple, which is why many people choose to use a PPC agency in some form, whether to look after the management of a PPC account or to provide consultative advice.

Whilst most agencies, including Accord, work hard to ensure that the relationship between agency and client is built on trust, of course there are some who take this for granted and simply do not provide the best value for money. If you’re wondering whether your PPC agency is ripping you off, take a look below at the five sure-fire signs to look out for.

1. Your agency is charging you based on a % of sales/online revenue

If you are paying your agency a fee based on the amount of sales or revenue generated through the site, you are probably paying over the odds for your PPC management. Most fees should be based on the media spend or a fixed management fee and will therefore be substantially lower. Particularly unscrupulous agencies may even try to charge you based on the total revenue through the site and not just that generated by PPC — a double con!

2. Your agency makes no optimisation changes in your account

Regular quality optimisation should be included as part of the management of your account; this is the fundamental difference between having a PPC account that is working and having a PPC account that is working for you. We have seen instances of companies making no changes to an account for up to eight months! This means no ad copy updates, no bid management, nothing! Your agency should be talking to you about the work they have done and the work they plan to do and if you have any doubts, then you should start the conversation with them.

3. Your agency provides poor quality reporting

Regular reporting may be the main way you have of judging the effectiveness of your PPC account. The reporting should be as detailed as you require and also be transparent, a true reflection of the activity in your account. Rip-off reporting could take on two forms:

· Lack of detail — a report that is simply a top line summary won’t have the information you need to make judgements on the performance of both the account and agency. Reports should have multiple views, by time or by account level, campaign, keyword etc.

· Misleading — the worst agencies may simply send out misleading reports, for example reporting all actions as having come from PPC or omitting downturns in performance.

4. Your agency uses an automated approach with no human intelligence

There are lots of powerful PPC tools out there, but success with all of these relies on having an experienced PPC executive applying their intelligence to oversee the rules or systems in place. There is no system that is simply ‘set and forget’. Automation should be applied in a considered fashion and routinely reviewed and optimised to increase performance gains. The worst agencies will simply set the rules and leave it to run.

5. Your agency doesn’t make the effort to contact you

Finally, a good agency should be in touch with you and your business objectives. They will naturally want to keep in good contact to ensure you are happy as a client and to shout about the great work they are doing. The agencies to look out for are the ones who are happy to take your money, but who you can’t get hold of when you want to. Without a steady, evolving conversation about the account, how can either side make sure that the PPC is working at its best to achieve your goals?

Does this sound like anything you recognise in your PPC agency? Talk to the experts in our London PPC agency, who can provide an audit of your account and confirm what the situation really is, not just take your money and run.

Image Credit: James Cridland ( This image has been edited from the original.

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