There are two ways to look at how companies can engage with a search marketing company, and both present problems. In our traditional, offline business world, the problem of picking a service provider is made simple through the fact that most professions are well established, measurable and quite often certified or come with a degree or diploma.

For so many reasons, this just doesn’t hold true with many of the online professionals. Yes, Google would have you believe that a certified professional or company is competent (to a degree), but is that enough? Are you buying the technical competence to put a campaign in place (which, if you’ve learnt how, isn’t that hard) or are you buying a part of a digital strategy?

The question is great – because most people don’t have a strategy. Quite often the website was the strategy and this is a knee jerk reaction to the slow realisation that the free traffic didn’t materialise. Quite a few companies have a working AdWords system in place – but its not about the science of AdWords as much as the cunning strategy of a creative and experienced person driving it.

There are a lot of companies offering Google AdWords consulting services. Having worked with AdWords since 2004, here are my opinions.

Classifying Agencies

We classify agencies by the following main types, bearing in mind that many may consist of more than one type but many exist at the highest level as just one.

  1. Digital or Marketing Agencies that offer PPC
  2. Google Engaged Agencies
  3. Google Qualified Professionals
  4. Google Certified Businesses
  5. Google Certified Partners
  6. Training Agencies (who just provide training)
  7. Google itself. If your spend justifies it, or your account is new enough, you can get an account manager in Google. Also, if its your first campaign, you get a starter AM for 2 weeks

Disclaimer: These are subject to change at any moment!

Engagement Models

Just how are we going to work together?

Engagement models tend to be:

  1. Hourly (ranging from €25 to €200 per hour)
  2. Retainer/Fixed monthly – from €100 – €500 pm
  3. Percentage 5%-15% of spend, minimum % must work out to from about €500 per month
  4. Single projects / Consultancy – €350 – €700 a day


Adwords Campaign Managers

There are three singularly critical ways for looking at an AdWords campaign:

  1. Technical capability (i.e. can you create a campaign, understand the different platforms
  2. ROI Capability – the higher up the rate scale – these are people who understand the technical aspect but have a model/strategy to create value instead of just buy traffic
  3. Experience – especially industry relevant experience.

Balancing what you’re looking for with what the market offers.

Watch for

  1. Cost Per Click – you should be buying converting traffic. You should have an ROI calculator that tells you if you spend €100 you get back €XXX. The CPC is dependent on market demand. If you’re just buying traffic, thats a whole different strategy
  2. Lowest fee of the consultant. You’re buying time and experience and knowledge. The lowest fee maybe someone who has low market demand/new. You’re really looking for the person that clients retain – possibly up the market scale
  3. Overly expensive fees where the consultant work is pushed down to a junior (technical/partially technical capability only)
  4. Fresh eyes are always good
  5. Immediate metrics. If you don’t have a campaign/fully optimised one, then you need to allow 3-6 months (potentially) to research and develop your KPI’s based on market conditions, costs, on page conversion.

A good PPC campaign can tell you a lot more about your business, business model, brand and customer than you thought! 🙂


One Response to “Working with PPC Providers – an overview of the 2012 PPC Marketplace”

  1. […] PrimaryPosition,  understanding and advising on PPC advertising, as well as running campaigns, is one of the main services we offer so we feel this is quite […]

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