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6/25: #ThreeMinutesADay: How to Tell if You Hired the Right PPC Manager or Firm
Three minutes a day takes bad business decisions away.
Today's tip: Make sure you find a PPC manager who is proactive, results-driven and has an exceptional data-driven mindset. Learn from this article what that means.
In a hurry? Just watch the video below.
Doing PPC right is really hard. I tip my hat to all those experts who are great at this job.
I’ll be the first one to admit that being a PPC manager sucks. Most clients don’t understand how hard it is to correctly set up a campaign the first time. It takes at least 40 hours to perform the preliminary research and ensure you are bidding on the right keywords at the right time. Executives who do not understand PPC will simply think the effort is inflated. You will likely spend 60 hours of time on this but only bill for 40 if you’re really good at your job and care about client success.
But most PPC managers and companies do not spend this much time and dedication on doing the right thing. Why not? It’s simple. It takes a lot of time and the pay isn’t that good.
For example, in Chicago, the average PPC manager makes $48,450 / year according to GlassDoor. That’s good, but not great. The average PPC contract, when you outsource it to a third party, is for 20% of your PPC spend. In other words, if you spend $10,000 on ads per month, the PPC firm will be paid $2,000 for their work. This means that neither the full time employee nor the PPC firm is necessarily incentivized to spend a tremendous amount of time on your PPC campaign.
This problem has downstream effects on companies that want to use PPC for their business. Because the figures above are what the market bears, executives are less inclined to invest in PPC managers or companies that charge a premium but deliver better results. Why? Because companies look at the bottom line instead of the quality of the service provided. Service providers and those requesting the service are each a bit to blame for the current situation.
With all that in mind, how can you, as an executive at a company, determine if you have hired the right PPC manager or vendor?
Here are the three most important things to observe:
1) Your PPC manager / firm is proactively seeking to optimize your campaign and conversion rate
When PPC managers/ firms are in it for the money and nothing else, you will notice that they work on your PPC campaign upfront and then simply sit back and provide a monthly report. As explained above, this is what you can expect from your typical PPC solution provider. After all, most companies will lose money on a PPC engagement upfront and recoup it down the line. They will perhaps assign a PPC manager to spend more time and money then you’re paying them in the first month, and then they will devote less time to your campaign in subsequent months so that they recover the loss.
In truth, spending less time on a campaign is not necessarily wrong. However, the right PPC manager/ firm will find a way to spend whatever amount of time is dedicated to your campaign in wise and effective ways.
For example, PPC, by definition, is paying for clicks from organic search results or via website ads that will lead a potential customer to your website. But that is only half the battle. The other half of the battle - and even more important than the first part- is to convert that visitor into a customer.
Companies should hold PPC managers accountable and responsible for bringing the right paid traffic to the website and for conversion. I’m not suggesting that the PPC manager needs to be a coder, designer and copywriter, all in one. Still, he or she should proactively monitor what is happening when paid visitors come to your website and suggest ways to improve the site so you can optimize your conversion rate to the fullest extent.
Bottomline: A great PPC manager will not only work on optimizing your paid keywords. He or she will also drive the strategy - and engage with the appropriate internal and external teams - when it’s time to optimize the ad copy, your landing page, your creative elements and even website design. That way, you are set for success: converting the highest percentage of PPC visitors to your website.
2) Your PPC Manager is Results Driven
If your PPC manager/ partner is proactive, then almost by definition they will also be results-driven. But it is worth mentioning exactly what this means from a tactical point of view.
The majority of PPC experts will simply set up your campaign and then send you monthly reports on how said campaign is performing. They will explain any predictable or unpredictable results to the best of their ability. That’s about it.
This goes back to the low PPC monthly fees most executives are willing to pay in exchange for this service. So it’s a catch 22.
But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a results driven PPC manager. You absolutely should. So it’s really important to know what to look for.
A results driven PPC manager will constantly try to improve your conversion rate. Even if the current rate is good, that person won’t be satisfied with the results. He or she will want to make it better.
Truth:, I’ve never seen a single PPC or SEO campaign in my entire life where there wasn’t room for improvement. Even when a campaign is performing well, you can still do additional A/B testing on copy, creative elements, colors and more. There’s no such thing as a “perfect conversion rate.” As you continue to pay an arm and a leg on PPC (average company spends $10,000/ month on PPC, in case you’re wondering), there is always room for improvement.
It’s worth putting forth the effort to find the right person who will come to you and say “let’s make this better.” Sadly, more often than not, it is the client who goes back to a PPC vendor asking for ways to improve a campaign. That should never be the case.
Bottomline: PPC is expensive. Because it’s expensive you should always try to find ways to improve your campaign. The success of your PPC campaign is not determined by how much money you spend on it but who you hire to manage it. Look for a manager/ vendor who is always results driven. You may even look for vendors or job candidates who insist that their compensation structure should be tied to results. With that structure you know you have found a person who is really good at running PPC campaigns.
3) Your PPC manager has a data-driven mindset
This tip is at the end of this article for two reasons.
First, if you got all the way to this section, you are an executive or part of a company with a sincere desire to improve the performance of your PPC campaign. Good for you!
Second, finding a person with a data-driven mindset is incredibly difficult. Oftentimes, it is close to impossible.
A data-driven mindset is NOT how the average person thinks. In my experience, only 1% of the 1% of people I’ve ever met in my life have it. Most say they have it or fake it.
A data driven mindset requires two skill sets. First you must possess the curiosity to learn something new every day - or force yourself into doing it. Second, your brain must constantly ask “why.”
That’s now how most people think. Most employees, when given a task will run with it. Ideally, they will deliver what they’ve been asked to produce. That’s about it. It takes a different type of person to think “why am I doing this?” or “why is this the way things are working?” or “why is this not working as intended?”
Having a data-driven mindset means you’re always eager to learn and find ways to improve both yourself and the work you are doing. When you find the right person or vendor who possesses both qualities, never let go of them. Make sure they know they are respected and trusted. You’ve hit the jackpot.
Bottomline: Find a PPC expert who always tries to push the boundaries of what is possible. This PPC manager or firm will constantly attempt to improve your conversion rate. They will advocate for frequent advanced analytics tracking on your campaigns and constant experimentation. They will help you turn data into insights and insights into action.
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