Hiring the right ppc agency to manage your campaigns can provide tremendous value. However, not all agencies operate ethically or have the expertise to deliver on promised results. Be on the lookout for these red flags before signing any agency contracts:
They Promise Unrealistic Results
Avoid agencies that guarantee first-page Google rankings, massive conversions overnight, or other “too good to be true” outcomes. Reputable agencies set proper expectations.
They Won’t Provide Detailed Proposals
Quality agencies will provide robust proposals outlining strategies, services, reporting, and pricing. Vague or incomplete proposals may hide deficiencies.
They Don’t Have Experience in Your Niche
Look for niche experiences relevant to your industry. Generalist agencies may miss key optimization nuances specific to your vertical.
They Outsource Work Overseas
Ask exactly who will be managing your accounts. Some agencies secretly outsource to overseas contractors, lacking local oversight.
They Require Long-Term Contracts
The best agencies may start with short 3-6 month contracts and extend based on performance. Lengthy contracts lock you in and reduce accountability.
They Hide Pricing Details
Avoid opacity around fees, commissions, minimums, and non-transparent pricing models. You want fixed-fee or performance-based pricing clearly spelled out.
They Take Over All Accounts Immediately
Ethical agencies will start by managing a test budget or subset of campaigns before taking everything over. Gradual onboarding reduces risk.
They Don’t Have the Right Experts
Make sure the agency has dedicated specialists for your accounts like bid managers, creatives, and data analysts. A lone jack-of-all-trades account manager creates risk.
They Aren’t Willing to Share Clients and Results
Ask for referrals and case studies proving their expertise in your industry. Transparency builds trust. Opaqueness is a flag.
You Don’t Have a Dedicated Point of Contact
You want a single, knowledgeable account manager overseeing your relationship, not fragmented contacts. Lack of ownership jeopardizes service quality.
Vet agencies thoroughly and trust your instincts to avoid potentially disastrous partnerships. With rigorous evaluation, you can find an agency that aligns with your business ethically and skillfully.
Avoiding PPC Agency Red Flags – Case Study
Background: Acme Corp is a mid-sized retailer selling home goods online and in stores. They wanted to grow revenue through paid search and hired a PPC agency.
Red Flags: After starting work with the Agency, Acme noticed concerning issues:
- The agency guaranteed first-page Google rankings in 3 months, an unrealistic claim.
- The proposal contained buzzwords but lacked specifics on strategy, services, and reporting.
- None of the Agency’s clients were e-commerce companies. They lacked vertical expertise.
- The team was based overseas, making communication difficult.
- The contract was for 2 years, preventing flexibility.
- Pricing relied on vague bonuses and commissions vs. fixed fees.
- The agency took over all accounts immediately instead of gradual onboarding.
- Beyond the salesperson, there were no specialists like bid managers assigned.
- When asked, the agency refused to share past client results or case studies.
- Acme had no single point of contact and support was very fragmented.
Based on the overwhelming red flags, Acme Corp backed out before signing the contract and chose a more reputable agency. This saved them from potentially disastrous results and financial losses down the road.
Key Takeaway: Thoroughly vetting agencies using the red flag warning signs can prevent partnerships with unethical or unskilled providers. Always trust your instincts during the evaluation process. Demand transparency and alignment with your needs. The right agency relationship can greatly boost your PPC success when chosen carefully.
This case example underscores the importance of avoiding agency red flags through rigorous selection criteria. Overlooking warning signs can severely damage PPC performance and waste budget. However, identifying concerns early protects your accounts and business.