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Ask the Pit Crew: Can I Get Better PPC ROI with an Agency?

Outsourcing PPC

Members of the Pole Position Marketing pit crew answer your web marketing questions from their unique perspectives, with a “bonus lap” by a guest industry pro. See previous questions or ask a digital marketing question.

Today’s Question: Can an agency get me better ROI with my PPC than what I’m getting by doing it myself?

Stoney deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter’s Answer from an SEO Perspective:

Let me answer your question with a question: Are you an expert PPC strategist? If not, then the answer is likely a resounding “yes!”

Like most things in this world, we can “save money” by doing it ourselves. I can change my oil, mow my lawn, fix my plumbing, trim my treas, remodel my bathroom, fix my car, etc. And while I do a great number of those things, what I do know is that I’m not the best at all of them, am only passable at some of them, and dangerous with a few of them.

But even the things I can do fairly well, I may choose not to because I feel that my time is more valuable spent on other things.

Let’s rephrase the question: Can an expert at PPC get better ROI than someone who dabbles in it? Again, that’s a resounding “Yes.”

PPC can be very simple to set up and manage, but squeezing out valuable ROI is another matter entirely. That’s where much-needed expert skills come into play. It takes a lot of time to tweak PPC campaigns to make sure every click turns out to be profitable.

So, yeah, you can do it yourself. And maybe you can be profitable. But is that where your time is best spent? You will likely get better ROI out of your own time by hiring an expert to manage your PPC, not counting the increase in ROI the expert is likely to bring.


Alan Waggoner’sAlan-Headshot Answer From a PPC Marketing Perspective:

This is a great question, and one I hear often. Many business owners are quite savvy when it comes to the internet and working with different software. To save money on management fees, they often decide to launch and manage their own marketing campaigns on Google Adwords, Bing, and Facebook. These are some of my favorite clients to work with.

You see, it’s not that difficult to set up a pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaign in Google Adwords. Most people can set this up themselves, and sometimes, even get results that are not terrible. But it’s very rare that they’ll get the ROI that a professional Adwords expert can. Actually, not even close.

In the early days of Google Adwords, it was pretty easy to set up a campaign and get great results. You could get clicks at a cost of $.05 to $.10 per click, so it was easy to get a great ROI because you could buy a lot more traffic. Conversion rates could be much lower, and you could still be profitable.  But those days are gone.

Over the years, Google has continued to increase its pricing. Cost-per-clicks (CPC’s) have increased substantially over the years. These days, conversion rates have to be much, much higher to be profitable and achieve a great ROI.

When I first started working with Google Adwords, it was like riding a bicycle. Now it’s like flying a plane. There are so many different knobs to turn and buttons to push to tweak your results that it can be overwhelming if you haven’t worked with Adwords for several years.

An experienced Google Adwords expert knows the best practices to get the best results, not to mention all the tricks of the trade to get the lowest CPC’s and highest conversion rates. Adwords experts know many different PPC strategies to maximize your ROI: Remarketing, conversion optimization bidding, automated rules, and many more.

This is why I love to take over an account that’s been managed by a novice. The baseline is set very low, and I can usually immediately step in and make hugely impactful changes resulting in a much greater ROI. There seems to be a greater appreciation for my service when the client has had an opportunity to see the results he can expect without the services of an expert.

An Adwords expert will not only get better results, but typically he’ll cover the cost of his fees many times over.

I’ll leave you with a quick story about a good friend of mine. His name is Jimm (yes, that’s with two “m’s”). Jimm is a very talented web designer, and he’s very savvy online. Jimm had a client that wanted to test some PPC traffic from Google Adwords. Jimm felt that he could manage this on his own because, after all, he’s online savvy.

Jimm had a budget of a few hundred dollars, so he went ahead and set up a campaign in Adwords using his own credit card, which he would later bill the client.

Jimm’s didn’t have his campaign set up properly, and he wasn’t watching it closely. PPC traffic came flooding in uncontrollably. Within a month, Jimm racked up just under $10,000 in charges on his credit card from Adwords traffic.

This was Jimm’s mistake, so he had to pay the $10,000 off over time. Jimm has vowed to never use Adwords again, and now refers all PPC clients to me.

So whatever you do, don’t be a Jimm.


Marty WeintraubBONUS LAP WITH: Marty  Weintraub

Marty is an entrepreneur, author, speaker and musician. He founded Aimclear®, a driven marketing agency dominant in audience targeting, modern distribution, customer acquisition, and classic creative values. Entrepreneur Magazine wrote the reason for Marty’s success is his “Unique persona that is instantly recognizable.” He has been described as “not your typical agency type,” a “social media maverick,” “Foodie-Yelp addict” and “more innovator than follower.”

I’ve often been asked this question, “Can an agency get me better ROI with my PPC than what I’m getting by doing it myself?”  My first response is usually, “Well, who are you and what is your experience?”

From the earliest days, PPC was a moving procedural target, with important functional and UI changes coming often, even weekly…or daily.  Aimclear (my company) has handled hundreds of millions of dollars, sometimes in very small increments, over the last decade. What we know is that running PPC is easy, unless you want to do it well.

While Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, etc., have made great strides in easier processes and intuitive UIs, success-mojo often lives in more advanced functionality. Sadly, dumbing down PPC often makes it easier…and stupider. Google makes more money that way, not you.

Here are some of the variables to keep in mind when deciding whether to take PPC on yourself or within your company. Ask yourself these questions. If the answers to all are yes, then have at it. You don’t need an agency. If you can’t afford an agency, use these questions as a starting point for issues you’ll need to tackle.

  • Are you great at math, fluent in spreadsheets, and detail oriented?
  • Are you willing to attain Google AdWords certifications, including analytics? It’s not getting the certification that matters. It’s the training.
  • Will you spend 10+% of your schedule reading blog posts, studying, etc.?
  • Can you handle tedious, repetitive work, not unlike the type of shit accountants deal with?
  • Are you willing to work at all hours, when things go both wrong and/or right?
  • If you are taking PTO, is there a backup team member to handle emergencies while you are not available?
  • Are you covered if your one PPC employees quits? Short term? Mid term?
  • Do you work well with stakeholders, and are you willing to put yourself in the position of marketing money/revenue gatekeeper? Picture yourself heading into the CEO or owner’s office after click costs triple and revenue tanks. SRSLY are you up for this pressure?
  • Are you familiar with intellectual property rules (trademarks, copyrights, etc.) enough to navigate pitfalls without exposing your company legally or socially?
  • Do you understand FTC disclosure guidelines?
  • Will you budget between $7.K and $10K a year to attend conferences, paid webinars, and other trainings? Yes, it takes that much per person.

If the answer to these questions is “Yes,” then you may be ready to take on your own PPC. If I personally owned any type of company OTHER than marketing, I’d hire an agency, unless we were really rich. At the end of the day, IMHO, agencies cost much less than they save.


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