Presented on February 13, 2014
By auditing your digital marketing agency, you can determine if they’re following best practices and actually making a difference in improving your sales, or just spending your money.
How should you evaluate your agency to find out if they’re performing up to par? During this webinar, Marketing Mojo’s Janet Driscoll Miller and Tad Miller will show you the criteria to use to evaluate your agency’s performance and ensure you’re getting the most bang for your marketing buck.
Kari: Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us for today’s webinar, How to Audit Your Digital Marketing Agency. I’m Kari Rippetoe, Content Marketing Manager at Marketing Mojo, and I’ll be serving as your moderator for today’s webinar.
Before we get started, I just have a couple reminders for you. Firstly, a recording of this webinar will be made available to everyone who registered and will be sent via email by Monday at the latest. Also, we do encourage you to Tweet about today’s presentation using the hashtag “mojowebinar”. Plus, you can also follow us on Twitter at MarketingMojo.
Today’s presenters are Janet Driscoll Miller, President and CEO of Marketing Mojo, and Tad Miller, Vice President of Accounts at Marketing Mojo. Janet has nearly 20 years of marketing experience and, in addition to her work in digital marketing, she has a background in marketing communications. Janet holds a degree in public relations and communications from James Madison University and she is a frequent speaker at marketing conferences and writes for several blogs and print publications.
Tad Miller is Vice President of Accounts at Marketing Mojo where he works directly with clients to manage and execute their search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, and digital marketing strategies. Tad has a broad spectrum of search marketing experience in working with Fortune 500 insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, OEM automotive manufacturers, and small start-up online businesses to significantly improve their natural search engine rankings. Tad has also managed over $35,000,000 of search marketing budgets for clients with a proven record in conversion optimization through strategic bid management, budget reallocation, and landing-page design and testing.
Originally founded as Search Mojo in 2005, Marketing Mojo is a full service, data driven, digital marketing and demand generation agency helping marketers to achieve their online marketing goals through search marketing, paid media, content marketing, and marketing automation. Marketing Mojo is headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia, and we also have an office in Charleston, South Carolina.
We’ve been featured in several marketing publications and blogs, and we also speak at several conferences, including SMX, MarketingProfs B2B Forum, DemandCon, and Pubcon. We work with a variety of clients and brands in the B2B, B2C, and nonprofit sectors. And now with that, I will turn it over to Janet.
Janet: Thanks, Kari. So, I want to start off today by talking about the challenge that SEO buyers have that many of you as marketing directors and managers who are buying SEO services from agencies tend to have. And that conundrum starts with let’s go back to the dawn of Ivory Soap. So here is an old package of Ivory Soap and what I want you to notice about this Ivory Soap is that it’s 99.44 percent pure. From its original days over 100 years ago, Ivory Soap was 99.44 percent pure. And if you look at today’s packaging, guess what, Ivory is still 99.44 percent pure. In over 100 years the formula for Ivory Soap has not changed but unfortunately technology and SEO don’t move at the pace of Ivory Soap, they move at a much faster pace. And so the challenge you have as an SEO buyer or services and agency services is that SEO is changing, literally, everyday.
Every single day at Marketing Mojo I have a 15-minute update that I sit down and talk with all the staff and tell them about all of the updates, the algorithm changes, all of the myriad of changes that are going on in just 24 hours and literally it can be crazy.
So, how can you as a buyer stay on top of the right questions to ask and be evaluating your agency in a way that makes sense and that is asking the right questions? It is definitely a challenge. So here are some of my questions I would be asking to see if they are really serving you the best way that they can.
The other thing I want to caution you about before I get into these six questions is about believing everything you see on the internet. Like this quote from Abraham Lincoln, “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet just because there’s a picture of the quote next to it,” said Abraham Lincoln. And, of course, that’s not really true so I want to just caution you about worrying too much about some of the things you hear on the internet.
There are lots of people out there commenting about SEO, especially SEO but really anything digital this is really true, that you have to be careful how much you panic when you hear certain things come out of Google or other folks who are talking about search and other industries in digital because sometimes you could be led down a road where you panic too much. So just be careful about how much you panic about it, just listen to the advice, hear what they have to say, and talk to your agency about it.
So my first question is, “How are you going to measure results?” Your rankings aren’t always indicative of success because rankings today are highly personalized, geographically focused, and many folks in the SEO industry are even saying that the rankings really should not be considered a form of measurement anymore. And I really personally believe that to a great degree as well because it is very challenging to understand rankings across the entire country and across different users because of these personalized results. But it is important to be measuring results.
So what are the measurements that your agency is using? You really need to ask yourself what do you want SEO to do for your company. And that’s what the measurement should be about is SEO achieving your goal, whatever that goal might be. It could be traffic, it could be conversions, it could be sales. What are those types of things that you’re wanting to know and how you need to make sure your SEO is working for your company?
And then you need to make sure that goals are setup in your analytics package, maybe that’s Google Analytics where you can setup goals in Google Analytics to really track specifically how organic search is working towards meeting your goals. This is a great way to make sure that SEO is really achieving what you want it to achieve.
The second question is, “How often do you receive reports?” Now, I’ve got to be honest with you, I’ve talked to lots of different clients out there in different companies and shockingly in many cases clients don’t receive reports and I find that really, honestly quite shocking. There should be at least a minimum monthly report in many cases. It depends on, let’s say your business is seasonal and it’s only at Christmas time. Well, then maybe you’re not doing a monthly report.
So you have to really tailor it to your company but whatever you do you need to have a benchmark report when you start and you need to have some sort of interval measurement. Whether that’s weekly, whether that’s monthly, whether that’s quarterly, whatever fits for your organization, but you should be receiving some level of reporting on your SEO efforts.
Question three, “How much should your agency be doing?” Well, let’s back up and talk about what kind of agency you have. So, it’s important to understand that there, in my estimation, there’s really two main types of SEO agencies out there. There are consulting agencies and they mostly give advice, they’re really not the doers, they’re not actually executing on your site, they typically expect the client to execute whatever they advise.
And so given that, if you have a consulting agency and your expectation is that they are going to actually make changes on your website to improve your SEO, that may not be the case. Make sure you clearly understand what the role of your agency is and what your contract says that they are suppose to do. Are they supposed to be consulting and just giving you advice? Or, are they suppose to be, in another case, full service, where they give you advice and they execute?
And the level of execution in full service may vary based on the fact that you have limitations about who can touch your website, what can be done, etcetera. But, to some degree, your full service agency should be doing some level of execution.
And you really need to understand this because, I’ll tell you, I ran into a situation, before I started Marketing Mojo I worked in an online survey company and we had a very large SEO agency working for us when I came in, they’d been on-board for eight months. The company had spent $80,000 with them, a lot of money, and this particular agency saw themselves as more of a consulting agency.
When I came on-board to start running SEO for that company, they said to me, I asked them first off, “What pages has this company edited for you?” and they said, “None.” And I said, “What do you mean they haven’t done any on-page edits for SEO? That’s clearly something you have to do.” And this particular agency, that was not their expectation, that’s not what they were doing. So, you have to make sure you understand that relationship first. What is the expectation of what your agency should be doing?
Question four is, “What is the link building strategy?” You’ve got to tread lightly here, this is a really key one because there’s lots of dangers in link building today, there’s been lots of changes, especially by Google, about what they like from an inbound link building perspective and what they don’t. So one thing is as a customer that you can be doing is make sure you check your Google Webmaster Tools for these unnatural link notifications like the example I’m showing here right.
You have to make sure you have access to your Google Webmaster Tools so that you’re getting notifications that are urgent. Caution, if you see one of these it does not automatically mean that your current agency is at fault or at blame for unnatural links. Google could find some from years and years ago that maybe a really zealous employee went out and tried to build some links or you maybe had an agency before that wasn’t very good.
However, your agency should be seeing these, notifying you, and telling you what the plan of action is going to be to rectify the situation because if you don’t rectify the situation Google sure as heck will rectify it for you and take you out of the rankings, they will penalize you.
So, it’s very, very important that you’re paying attention to these types of notices that come out of Google Webmaster Tools. And in my estimation, the link notifications for unnatural linking is one of the most important ones in there. So, make sure you’re watching for those types of things.
Question five, “What about rich snippets and schema?” So, rich snippets, if you’re not familiar with them, are extra information that are placed alongside of an organic listing and they are created through schema or structured markup language. Structured markup language and schema are providing new opportunities everyday.
And if you look over here at the right I’ve got an example of how much a click-through rate from an organic search result can improve by having a rich snippet showing. And the blue area you’ll see on the top is before rich snippets, the bottom is after a rich snippet. And what you’ll see is the blue area which is the number one ranking of course generally gets the most clicks. But what you’ll see here is that yellow and green especially, the third and fourth result, when they have a rich snippet, look at how much the click-through rate improves, dramatically.
So, there are a limited number of types of rich snippets out there today, things like recipes, product ratings, all sorts of different things, and Google and Bing also differ. But, your agency should be bringing opportunities to the table like this if they are opportunities for you.
The other really big one that I think we should be talking about is authorship. If you have a blog and they haven’t talked to you about authorship markup and it’s not in place, it’s something that you really need to be having a conversation with them about. So, ask yourself, “Is my agency bringing me the most up-to-date technology, things that are going on in SEO, that could really help improve our results?” And if they’re not bringing this kind of thing up to you, that might be a problem area.
Finally, question six, “Have they discussed a mobile strategy?” And I cannot stress enough the importance for mobile, going into especially this year, 2014. This is some statistics that Matt Cutts shared at the Pubcon keynote in October, 2013, so just a few months ago, about YouTube. And what you can see here is that in 2011 YouTube’s traffic for mobile devices was only about 6 percent and in 2012 it was only about 12 percent. Then you shoot forward to 2013 and look at how dramatically the percent of traffic for mobile has increased up to 40 percent.
Now you may say to yourself, “Well, that’s all fine, Janet, but I’m not YouTube and we’re a B2B and this doesn’t apply to us.” I can tell you from personal anecdote from our own website at Marketing Mojo that upwards of 20 to 30 percent of our site traffic every single month is from a mobile device, it’s huge. And so, it’s not just for B2C, it’s not just for Facebook, it’s not just for YouTube. You need to be looking at mobile and if your agency is not addressing this or even starting that conversation with you then they should be. They should be asking you what you’re going to do about a mobile website and how you’re going to rank in mobile because this is where SEO is going in the near future and it’s really already there in many cases.
Also, a few questionable SEO tactics, red flags you should be looking for. First one is around content, Google made quite a few updates in the past year, two years or so with the with the Panda update. And this addresses duplicate content where you have the same content in multiple places on your site. If you have that kind of situation or scenario where you need to copy your content in more than one place on the site, the agency should be addressing this because if you don’t you could have certain rankings lost and that’s really important to address it, especially for Google.
Second, and this one I think is even bigger than the content issue, and that’s linking because like I said Google has been really clamping down on bad linking practices for inbound linking for SEO. So, if you’re agency says, “Let’s put a bunch of links in press releases,” that’s probably a red flag. Google has specifically come out and said, “Don’t put a lot of links in your press releases that have, especially, certain key words in them and that kind of thing.”
It’s not that you can’t put links in press releases; it’s that you want to watch how you’re using them. So if that’s a core link building strategy, you might want to hold of, ask them why and do a little more investigation.
And the other one that I’d really watch out for is article marketing. This is where maybe you have a subject matter expert in your company and you’ve written an article and the agency takes it and decides they’re going to put it 50 different article websites. Now the problem with that is it’s really frowned upon by Google, especially right now, as a poor link scheming practice and so I would refrain from doing that.
It’s one thing to put it on your blog and share it or to do blogger outreach and write it on other people’s blogs at times but to try and take one article, also because of a duplicate content issue, and then publish it throughout many, many different sites is probably not a great tactic. So with that I’m going to hand it to Tad, who’s going to talk now about the PPC things you should be looking for.
Tad: Thanks, Janet. Let’s jump right in. As an agency, we frequently inherit PPC messes that other agencies created. Ever buy a foreclosed house? A lot of them are just completely trashed and that’s really an analogy we use all the time for inheriting someone else’s mess in a PPC account. Essentially, a lot of times you just have to gut it and completely start over from scratch and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
We see the same mistakes over and over and over again. It doesn’t matter if it’s a well known agency or your brother-in-law Steve that’s been working on it. It’s usually the same mistakes over and over; lack of diligence, really misguided strategies, and ignorance of really just understanding the platform of pay-per-click advertising.
Basic tenant of pay-per-click advertising is you can track what converts and succeeds for you but believe it or not we still inherit accounts all the time that never bother to install any form of conversion tracking for years. Or, we also inherit this a lot, they installed it incorrectly and they’ve either been over reporting too many conversions or under reporting not enough conversions.
So, obviously a major, major problem; you’ve got to have those conversions to optimize the account and make it successful. And oh, while we’re at it, a lot of times we just never see any analytics tracking at all either. Basic, basic things that you should have with your pay-per-click advertising agencies.
Janet touched on this earlier with SEO, we frequently see many cases where there’s never been a PPC report ever delivered to the clients. Very reputable, huge agencies, we’ve inherited clients that spent hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars with other agencies that never received a single report and it was obviously a bone of contention. So yes, this really still happens, if you’re in that situation you need to demand better.
Let’s get into tactics a little bit. The default setting for Google AdWords and, for that matter, Bing Ads is broad match. And you can see in the red box there, broad match includes misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and any relevant variation of your keywords.
The biggest turnaround successes we always see in our pay-per-click advertising accounts when we take them over are in cases where we add the other match types of keywords, exact match and phrase match. You can kind of see the results there in conversions and conversion rate in an instance where we did this.
Broad match, like I said, is the default setting and Google encourages the use of broad matching, they tell the advertisers just let them do the heavy lifting with all the broad match technology. You don’t have to add keywords or do anything to make your account any better, they’ll handle that.
The problem is, it doesn’t work. It’s incredibly broad, it’s often broad to the point of being completely irrelevant, it’s lazy. If you’re paying an agency to just do broad matching for you, you really deserve better. You need to max out the number of exact match keywords and max out the clicks there, that’s going to get you a higher click-through rate, a lower cost per click on those keywords, and if you have a lower cost per click that means you get more clicks for the same or even less money.
Another basic tenant of pay-per-click advertising; negative keywords, easily the most neglected tactic we see in all the accounts that we inherit from other agencies. You need to be able to find out if your agency is adding negative keywords. And here’s how to do it, go to your keywords tab, drop down on the details, and you should see a list of keywords that have either broad or phrase match to your keywords.
Look for red, the keywords listed below there in red are negative keywords that have been added. The ones in green are relevant keywords, hopefully, that have been added. If you’re seeing nothing but blank screens for a long time period, you’ve got problems and you’re probably not being served. Just look at the list of words there that you broad match to, do the math, figure it out, you’ve probably spend a lot of money on words that weren’t even related to your product or service.
All right, another one, too many ads in the same ad group. As a best practice, we only test two ad copies at a time or a maximum of three at a time. What happens when you’ve got too many in there all fighting against each other for impressions, it waters down your click-through rate. We frequently take over accounts that have anywhere between seven to ten different text ads in a search campaign or in the same ad group. This really, really has a detrimental effect on your cost per click. And again, if you’re paying more per click, that’s less clicks and fewer chances to convert and succeed.
Another basic tenant, mixing search and display campaigns in the same campaign. They don’t perform the same, they aren’t the same real medium, so they shouldn’t share budget because their performance is usually quite different. When you match them together, you’re, in most cases, you’re throwing good money at bad performing ad groups or campaigns. So, you need to allow for more granularity and better performance and you’re going to have a lot better bidding at the keyword level on display once you separate those campaigns into their own display-only campaign, don’t mix and match, and we see it all the time.
Bigger isn’t better for campaigns, it’s really common for us to take over an account that only has two or three campaigns in it that really should be five or six or even eight campaigns, smaller campaigns. If you’ve got too many ad groups with really wide variation in performance in the same campaign, that is a situation where you’re probably throwing good money after bad.
If you’ve got one ad group that delivers 80 percent of the versions in that campaign and the others are doing terrible, that one ad group needs to be its own campaign and get its own budget otherwise you’re giving money to all the other bad performing ones at the same time. So you need to separate the great from the not so great and another basic tenant, separate the branded keywords from your non-branded more category level keywords.
All right, let’s get into where to look to find if you’re being served diligently by your agency. Let’s take a look under the hood, you just have to know where to look and what to look for in deciding if your campaigns are running at an optimal level.
Go into AdWords, and I’ve got AdWords and Bing Ads here, look for the change history links on those pages. You have to run it in as a report in Bing Ads but you can see all the moves that your agency has made, or even if you have an in-house person, all the moves that they’ve made in the account are there for you to look at.
You know you’re in trouble when you got to one of these change reports, change histories, spread it out over a distance of time and there’s no activity there. If it’s blank, you aren’t being served well, that’s an account that’s on set it and forget it mode. There’s no bid changes being made, there’s no budget changes being made, no keyword changes being made, you aren’t being served in those situations. And we frequently see this whenever we take over a new accounts that we inherit from other agencies. They haven’t been touched in weeks and even, in some cases, months.
All right, let’s kind of talk in the opposite vein a little bit. If you’ve got automation running your account, you need to start understanding the level of human interaction there as well. You can go to your change history and take it a look at it. If all the activity happens the same exact time every day and happens at a faster pace than a human being could ever do it, you’ve obviously got some automation.
But you also need to look at the other times of day to see if, “Oh, did they add negative keywords? Did they make any changes that detrimentally impacted performance?” Automation’s not a bad thing in itself but algorithmic formulas don’t always work. You can talk to people that have been on the stock market for years, the algorithms failed at some point over there and the same things can happen if you don’t have any human interaction on your accounts.
We inherited an account that was on a purely automated management and we recently improved their return on investments 800 percent and the revenue 135 percent over the last ten months compared to just strictly running on the automation. So, human beings still matter in this business, the machine can’t do it all and the machine is especially can’t do it all if they’re setup with a fault algorithm that’s not meeting your return on invest needs.
Look for this in the change history, check out the keyword bidding. Are the bids only being increased? We see this all the time and it’s kind of a crying shame because not all keywords are created equal, all of our bidding is done based on performance. In situations where the bids are only being raised, typically you’ve got a situation where the agency just gets paid on the percentage of media spent and a lot of times they’re raising bids on keywords that never perform or deliver anything in the way of conversions.
So, you’ve got to watch for that, look in that change history, look to see where the changes in cost-per-click are, see if they’re only in the upward direction. You’ve got to have some downward bidding because nothing performs the same across the board. You might have thousands and thousands of keywords, 20 percent of them might be converters, the other 80 percent probably aren’t.
Here’s another thing kind of along the same lines, we typically see this in a lot of situations just like I mentioned earlier where the agency’s paid on the percentage of media spent. Well, you can go into the activity log and see in the last week of the month, there’s just a furious attempt to get the spend up to the budget amount.
You don’t see that level of activity the first three weeks of the month though and typically you’ll see a big ramp up in trying to get the money spent but no correlation to improvements in conversion. If you’ve got a pattern like that that just keeps repeating itself over and over and over again with no conversion improvements in that last week of the month, you got to ask yourself are they just trying to spend your money or are they trying to succeed for you.
Let’s talk about new keyword addition. When’s the last time the activity log indicates that new keywords were added to your account? Now, there’s two things to look for, you add new relevant keywords but also, as we mentioned earlier, new negative keywords are extremely important in making sure your performance is optimal. They should be regularly adding new relevant keywords whether they’re negatives or positive keywords. And frequently we see this sporadically and sometimes accounts we take over just have never had this done ever.
All right, one of the most underrated things that we do every single day here at Marketing Mojo is budget allocation based on performance and we typically take over a lot of campaigns that utilize this strategy of giving every single campaign an equal share of the budget. Well, what happens if you’ve got a situation where one campaign is delivering 85 percent of the conversions and it needs more budget?
We typically see this in these situations. There’s on campaign that’s overwhelmingly the big producer that’s really underfunded. And it’s a crying shame because it’s money left on the table for you as their customer of this agency, they aren’t serving you well. So check and see when the last time budget allocations were changed in the change history, look to see if the amount of budget allocated towards a campaign correlates to the amount of conversions that campaign delivers.
All right, let’s talk a little bit about bid management. Not all keywords are created equal; we’ve established that a little earlier. But we typically see in a lot of cases, what I kind of call cruise control bidding, where the keyword bids are really set at the ad group level. There may be 100 keywords in that ad group but they’re all bid the same exactly. You need to check in your accounts to see if they’re any keyword level bids that are different from the ad group level bid.
You should obviously be bidding high on the keywords that produce conversion and lowering bids on the keywords that spend a lot and never convert. So, look for cruise control bidding and if you see it ask your agency, “Why are we doing this? Because these aren’t performing.”
And that’s another common theme here, “What are you spending my money on here, PPC agency?” Do this filter, go into the keywords tab of Google AdWords, select conversions equal zero, this should pull up every single keyword that you’ve spent money on that never converted and then you can do all kinds of filters like sort by cost in descending order or sort by clicks in descending order. It’s pretty revealing what your money is actually going to.
So, things I like to play with, I look at the non-converting keywords by average position and clicks. What is the average position of all your non-converting keywords? Are you paying to be number one on your non-converting keywords? Or are you paying to be number three or four on your non-converting keywords? Do those positions ever decline to lower positions? Or do you just keep doubling down on those losers to keep being at the top of the heap of the search results?
So, look for those, look for the click volume on those non-converters. Has the click volume on non-converting keywords ever decreased? Look at this over a long period of history and look over a month or even up to six months if you’ve got that much history and evaluate if you’re being served in this regard. Average position should go down and clicks should go down on non-converting keywords. Now, if you’re adding a lot of keywords that don’t convert, that could be a little different story. But for the most part, you need to evaluate if this is happening.
And still along the same lines, look at the average cost per click of the keywords that have never converted for you. In a situation like you see in this graph, the average cost per click keeps going up on keywords that never convert. Ask yourself again, “Are you paying by the percentage of media spend? Are they doubling down on loser keywords that aren’t working for you? Look to see if the average cost per click on non-converting keywords ever goes down.
All right, let’s do this filter sort of in reverse, instead of selecting zero for your conversions, select greater than or equal to one conversion. This should pull up every keyword that has had a conversion. So, analyze the performance of all of those words. Now, is your average position to low on your converting keywords? Really, this is the evaluation I care about more for anything else with regard to click-through rate.
What is the click-through rate on my converting keywords? Click-through rate on non-converting keywords should be going down because you’re bidding lower positions for it but click-through rate on your best converting keywords should be improving over time. So, take a long view in the date ranges and try to evaluate that.
Okay, another basic tenant, budgeting, but let’s talk specifically about budgeting by the time of day. There’s such a thing as called day parting, you have the power and the ability to schedule what time your ads run. If you have a call center and all of your clicks need to be calling the people at that call center, obviously you want your ads to run when they are in the office or when you have salespeople there.
If you are in a situation where your ads don’t need to run at 3:00 in the morning, they shouldn’t be running, but we frequently see this all the time. If you go into the dimensions tab and look at the hour of the day report, take this over a long range of time, you will see what hour of the day your clicks are coming and what hour of the day your conversions are coming.
Sometimes we see situations where 90 percent of the budget gets spent before 4:00 in the morning, that doesn’t leave any budget to spend when you’ve actually got salespeople there that could close your deals. So, check that out, make sure your budget isn’t being blown before you ever get an opportunity to sell, and make sure that you’re not paying exorbitant cost per conversion in the middle of the morning too.
Let’s talk about the Google Display Network. Your agency has the power to see where your Display banners and text ads show up and they should be cleaning those up. If you are advertising on the Display Network and you’ve got some very expensive placements that never convert, you need to start evaluating those sites. Our account managers go in every other week and start evaluating where we get the most clicks and no conversions and if those placements are not working, we will either exclude them or bid a percentage down on them. So check this filter out with the Display Network and the placement report, could be very revealing to see where your ads actually do show.
In those placement reports you can see an example of placement exclusions here on the right-hand side, these are sites that your agency hopefully has excluded. But there’s also category exclusions that not a lot of people even know about, and look at the categories there. Sexually suggestive pages, juvenile gross and bizarre content, profanity and rough language. Do you really want your ads showing on those type of websites?
We typically see that this is an option that’s never been checked in the accounts that we inherit and there’s typically a lot of, first of all, terrible conversion performance for their clients but second of all it’s just wasted money. So, make sure that they are staying out of bad neighborhoods on the Display Network and not wasting your money here, and make sure they’re excluding placements that spend but never convert.
Let’s talk about e-commerce. First question you always have to ask with e-commerce, “Are you making more money from your e-commerce ads than you’re actually spending?” And we’ve seen a lot of situations where agencies didn’t even know how to define what return on investment was, so make sure you understand that and make sure your agency does.
Let’s talk about the focus of e-commerce. Emphasis on product specific ads and product listing ads is really where it’s at in e-commerce right now. We’ve had a lot of clients that we’ve inherited in the last year that focused just on broad category words that were really competitive, really expensive, and were really poor at converting. I mentioned earlier, we had a client that has an 800 percent turn around in return on investment and all we did was really change the focus from secondary non-branded category keywords to product specific ads and started using product listing ads.
A lot of times you see situations where you’ve got an agency that’s either technically incapable of handling the scale of all your products. If you’ve got 5,000, 10,000 different skews or products, they don’t have the bandwidth to be able to handle that or they just don’t have the technical understanding. You’ve got to demand a lot more from today’s PPC agencies when it comes to e-commerce and being able to go to your product level and get the best converting clicks.
Let’s talk about reports a little bit. Yes, there are some agencies that don’t even deliver reports but we’ve also seen other agencies’ reports that the emphasis is just completely wrong when it comes to delivering results. All of their language is about impressions or awareness or engagement or building a brand with pay-per-click advertising.
We think those are all great things but it’s kind of putting the cart in front of the horse, you need to get concrete results like conversions, sales, or leads with these clicks and the awareness and brand building come with that. So, if their focus is in the wrong area, you need to demand more of them.
And I’m going to close with saying there are so many great new features in pay-per-click advertising right now. If you are just getting vanilla service and you don’t see anything even remotely exotic coming back to you with, “We’d like to try this,” or, “We’d like to do this because we think it would work really great for you,” you need to be asking, “Why not?”
There are so many targeting options right now with mobile, with tablets, with geographies, age, gender, re-marketing history visiting your site, all of those are available now and could be working for you now. And if they aren’t, you need to ask, “Why not?”
Kari: Great. Thank you Tad and thank you Janet. And just to let you know, we do have another webinar coming up in a month called The Secrets of Landing Page Success: Optimization, Best Practices, and Case Studies. That will be presented by Jenny DeGraff who is our Design Optimization Manager. She and I will be talking through a few of our case studies and some amazing landing page stories from the trenches. So you won’t want to miss that, that’ll be March 13th at 2:00 pm Eastern and you can register today for that at marketing-mojo.com/lpsuccess.
And if you’d like to connect with today’s presenters, Janet Driscoll Miller or Tad Miller, you can through social media, Twitter and Google+, and there’s their information here. And if you are indeed looking to change agencies, you’re going to go through some of the points that Janet and Tad talked about today, auditing your agency, maybe you’re looking for a change, then you can get in touch with us and certainly get in touch with Sean McCusty, here’s his contact information here, and we’re happy to help and offer some advice. Also you can connect with Marketing Mojo through Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.
So thank you very much for attending, thank you to Janet and Tad for presenting, and we hope to see you again soon.