I spent a large part of last week looking at the competitive marketplace with regards to potential PPC suppliers, and it really does surprise me how many companies and individuals claim to be PPC Gurus, so I thought I would share some of my thoughts with those looking to source a PPC agency.

There is a lot of choice for advertisers these days, with many web development, web design, and creative agencies, all claiming to “do PPC”. However, when you look beyond their site content and marketing speak, there often seems to be very little evidence of successful campaign management or happy PPC clients.

If you’re thinking of handing over your precious AdWords budget to a third party, you really need to make sure that PPC is a core competence for that particular agency, and not simply a bolt-on service as it has become for so many agencies.

My advice for anyone looking to outsource paid search, is to make sure that you do your home work and invest plenty of time in researching  the credentials, knowledge, and experience of potential partners, as this can save you thousands of pounds (not to mention, plenty of headaches!).

I thought I’d put myself in a client’s shoes for a moment and devise a checklist that I would follow if I were outsourcing my AdWords campaigns.

  1. Make sure the company is Google AdWords Certified (if not, walk away!).
  2. Find out if they feature in the Econsultancy PPC Buyers Guide. This is an invaluable resource for those investigating the market for PPC suppliers, with profiles of all the leading vendors.
  3. Ask for case studies from any agencies being considered, and ask to speak to a selection of their current PPC clients as references.
  4. Find out who will be working on your account, and make sure that they are Google AdWords Qualified.
  5. Ensure that you meet your account manager face-to-face at the pitch, and test their knowledge and experience.  Their performance and motivation will affect your bottom line, so this really is a critical point.
  6. Ask for references from your proposed account manager and speak directly to his / her client base.  Find out what they are really like, are they proactive? Statistically minded? Passionate? Etc. All too often, clients are lumbered with junior or inexperienced team members, having been promised otherwise. Don’t let this happen to you.

If you are unable to verify all of the above in your selection process, my advice would be to keep searching for the right partner who can satisfy the entire checklist, and fulfill your needs and meet your requirements.

There are some excellent PPC agencies and individuals in the UK who are truly passionate about paid search and obsessed with statistics, although finding the right one is unfortunately not a 5-minute job!

The Google Partner Search is not a bad place to start, as anyone who is serious about PPC will be listed here.

Happy Hunting!