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Top 10 Key Questions to Ask Before Hiring a PPC Agency

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Pay-Per-Click advertising is helping many businesses to get substantial leads & sales. PPC ads are effective to target the bottom of the sales funnel to get quick results, and that’s why most of the online businesses consider it or about to get it on. You need to pay for the PPC campaigns to show your ads in search engines result pages and well-optimized ad campaigns offer handsome ROI.

As you are reading it, you are also enticed by the benefits of the PPC ads and looking for an expert or PPC agency to handle your ad things.

However, if you don’t hire the right PPC management agency, you end up losing your money. The baseline is money and time, and a wrong agency can risk both. 

The question is how to find the right PPC agency or expert for your online business? 

You will need some questions to get the answer to the above question. You can test the reliability of a PPC ads agency with these questions that you must ask before hiring a PPC agency.

Q1. Are You Certified for Paid Ads?

Search engines like Google and Bing offer courses for PPC experts, and one needs to pass the test in order to get the certification. If your PPC prospect is Certified, then he has the knowledge to handle your PPC campaigns.

However, you can’t scale the reliability with this only. It only shows that that particular individual has spent substantial time and passed the exam, ensuring his knowledge. It’s not always mandatory that your ideal PPC candidate should have the certificate because he might be so good that he has lots of clients and can’t find time to pursue the certification course.

Still, consider the candidate who has a certificate, because the tests are not that easy and a one with ample knowledge can pass the test. 

Q2. Do You Offer Free Assessments?

When you interview your PPC management agency, you can ask the agency representative for a free assessment. Most PPC management services always approach you with a complimentary report about existing or new ad campaigns. Although, if they don’t then you ask them for one to analyze their efforts and seriousness. 

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Q3. Who Will Have the PPC Account Ownership?

PPC ads need Adwords or Bing ad accounts to create and manage the ad campaigns. For your business, you should have the account ownership to keep track of the things. You can set up a different setup for the PPC experts to access the account. From your account, you can give him manager access. You can set up different credentials for the manager, and they can only manage your campaigns. Your credit card details will be accessible by you only. So, ask who will own the account and don’t give the ownership ever.

Q4. Will You Provide Ongoing Management of the Account?

If you want to manage your account by yourself, you must disclose it to the expert and let him know that you only need the instructions. 

If you need regular support, then your PPC agency must have the proper direction and process of managing accounts on a daily basis. You can also ask them about the process they support you. They need to monitor your campaigns regularly to optimize the campaigns for the best performance. 

One should analyze both analytics and AdWords in order to examine all over performance and suggest the required changes. A good agency also suggests some website changes to better handle user persona and boost conversion rates.

Q5. Who Will Handle Your PPC Campaigns?

Sometimes it happens that PPC companies have too many clients, and they can’t give suitable time to your account. So, ask for the dedicated person who will manage your campaigns so that you can approach him directly whenever you need something. 

You should also ask how many accounts are managed by that particular guy. You can consider one with 15-20 or fewer ad accounts. If they don’t assign a specific person for your account, then you need to think. Consider the one who can promise dedicated time and person for your PPC campaigns.

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Q6. What is Your PPC Process?

The PPC process of your prospective expert lets you know their marketing approach. The answers should include your business analysis, market analysis, user intent research, user pain points research, conversion action for you, target audience research, etc. 

If he/she talks about their process only and doesn’t ask about your business information, then it’s a red flag, and they might not deliver what you are seeking.

Many agencies talk about different tools and their advanced strategies, but they can’t deliver the results without knowing your business. 

Consider the one who talks about your business instead of theirs all the time.

Q7. Do My Business Need PPC?

There are many types of generating leads online. PPC is not the only option, and some businesses can earn the business without paid ads.

Every business has different needs, and depending on your situation, it’s possible you might thrive without considering paid marketing. 

So, know if your business needs the PPC or not.

If you want to reach more customers and spread brand awareness in a short time, then PPC is your cup of coffee. 

Q8. What is the Fee Structure of PPC Advertising?

There are PPC agencies that will charge you a percentage of your ad spend, and the rest works on a flat fee. It’s good to have flat fee agencies if your ad budget is high because the percentage of your budget will cost you extravagantly. On the other hand, with a low budget, a high flat fee isn’t feasible, as well. So, make the decisions according to your budget.

Additionally, if you are short on budget and need the PPC services, you can also consider an audit and initial account and campaign setup. If you see some profitable results, then you can spend more on professional advertising services.

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Q9. Do You Have Any Relevant Experience?

There are many PPC agencies that come up every day, and you should consider the one with experience. It’s not like that all the new companies aren’t reliable, but it’s a plus point to have some experience.

If they have some experience, then you should ask for case studies and client results that you have achieved. Furthermore, you can also approach the particular client to get feedback on the services.

Also, consider the agency’s retention rate like how many clients were and are there and how much time the client stays with the agency. If there are more clients for a long time, that means the agency is reliable.

So, go drill down some client information to scale the reliability.

Q10. Is There Any Contract?

You should be very careful before signing any contract because many PPC agencies make you sign annual contracts, and you can’t discontinue the services if you don’t like it. So, to not be stuck in a situation like this, ask for the contracts and tenure policies. 

There are some agencies that offer monthly services and allow the flexibility to move. If the rest is fine, but they ask for an annual contract, then try to negotiate. The reason behind the good retention rate of your prospective agency might be this contract thing. So, don’t sign annual contracts.

You should have the freedom to stop the services whenever you feel like. 

These are the top 10 key questions to ask before hiring a PPC agency. These questions let you know a lot about your PPC services and whether you should hire or not. Only correct PPC optimization can help you get the desired results. So, hire the right PPC management agency to uplift your business to new heights.

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Ad Fraud Warnings to Look Out for in 2022

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Ad Fraud Warnings to Look Out for in 2022


Advertisers spend $455 billion in online advertising per year and $42 billion of it lost due to ad fraud in 2019, according to Juniper Research. In addition, the Wall Street Journal reported that 28% of all web traffic likely comes from “non-human” bots.

Why hasn’t ad fraud been stopped yet? 

In short, it’s still difficult to detect. 

Fraudsters are using far more sophisticated techniques today than in the earlier days of the web and a single advertiser can run millions of ad impressions across hundreds of websites, making it extremely difficult to spot irregularities at such a large scale. 

It’s not a secret that ad fraud remains a major problem. But are advertisers aware of it and, if so, are they doing anything about it?

Fraud Blocker, a click fraud protection software, sent out a survey to PPC marketers to help answer some of these questions as they plan for their 2022 campaigns.

What is ad fraud?

Ad fraud is a means to defraud advertisers by using techniques that inflate the total number of ad clicks or views for financial gain. 

With click fraud, malicious actors can employ robots or low-wage workers to repeatedly click on ads illegally. Unaware of the fraud, advertisers then pay for the clicks as if they were real humans with actual buyer intent.

Another type of ad fraud, impression fraud, is often done by serving ads in places that are invisible to the human eye. This can be done by stacking ads on top of one another, loading them in tiny iframes, or serving them in the background of a mobile application.

Here are a few of the most common types of ad fraud today: 

  • Ad Stacking: Multiple ads are stacked on top of one another where only the top ad is visible, however advertisers are charged for the non-viewable ads.
  • Pixel Stuffing: A malicious publisher loads ads, or an entire website, inside a 1×1 pixel. The ads are non-visible to the human eye.
  • Click Farms: Attackers hire a group of individuals whose job it is simply to click on ads throughout the day. Click farms use techniques that give the impression that each click is from a different user and device.
  • Click Bots: One of the most popular methods of click fraud is done by web robots. These bots can be simple programs that click on ads repeatedly or they can be large operations that are installed with malware on user’s devices and click on ads unknowingly in the background.
  • Location Fraud: The geographic location of ads are spoofed using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This makes ads appear to be shown in a more desirable location, such as in the US, despite actually being shown in a less desirable country.
  • Video Viewing Fraud: The popularity of video channels can be easily faked to appear more appealing to advertisers, much like social media followers. Advertisers ultimately end up paying based on the view counts which a large portion of may not be from real humans. 
  • Affiliate Ad Fraud: Fraudsters manipulate the cookies on a user’s device to wrongly credit an associated affiliate as the source of purchase without the user’s knowledge.
  • Source Spoofing: The data detailing where an advertisement ran is altered to appear as a more trustworthy publisher or mobile app. 
  • Domain Spoofing: The domain name is changed to falsely appear as if the ad came from a more premium site, such as changing from junknewssite.com to WSJ.com.
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Visit here for more details on the different types of ad fraud.

Ad fraud still remains a large concern for advertisers

In the new survey, PPC managers were asked about their awareness of ad fraud, their overall level of concern and, what role in marketing they held to see if there was any correlation. 

The vast majority of all respondents, 70%, stated they were somewhat or very concerned about ad fraud. 

The survey also showed that more experienced marketers had a larger concern about fraud. These particular respondents may be able to identify fraud more frequently due to their dedicated marketing and analytics experience relative to more general business owners and consultants.

Ad fraud continues to significantly impact campaign performance

All respondents to the survey had direct experience managing PPC ad campaigns and most of them reported seeing a large amount of fraud. 

74% of those respondents experienced more than five percent of fraud in their ad campaigns and an incredible 11% of marketers experienced greater than 25% of fraud. Even a small amount of fraud can have a tremendous impact on an advertiser’s budget and performance.

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The types of ad fraud, and their marketing channels, still vary wildly

Historically, click bots were often the most commonly mentioned type of fraud, but today the survey shows “ad stacking” and fraudulent URL sources as the most common problems for PPC managers. 

Click bots and “pixel stuffing” were the third and fourth most commonly mentioned and over 10% stated that competitors clicking their ads was a major problem for them.

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The respondents also experienced fraud across every channel in nearly the same amount. Even newer technologies, such as over-the-top streaming TV (OTT), reported sizable issues of ad fraud. This could be due to it having less mature ad tech that creates a greater potential for exploits. 

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Experienced marketers use third-party software to help prevent fraud 

Eliminating ad fraud entirely can be very difficult, but advertisers can rely on a few techniques to help save their budgets and improve their performance.

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The first is to simply follow best practices to help identify bots, such as adding a “honey pot” to lead forms, or by frequently monitoring data from clicks, views, and leads to find irregularities and then adjusting advertising campaigns accordingly. However, these require experienced marketers to be able to identify the bad data and it can be labor-intensive to frequently monitor and take action. 

Another option is to rely on anti-fraud services provided by ad networks, such as Google Ads. This can be effective; however, there is often a conflict of interest the ad networks generate revenue from each click or impression regardless if it’s fraudulent. Reducing their fraud clicks thus reduces their revenue. Some ad networks also provide very little transparency of invalid activity in their reports and then the burden can be up to the advertiser to request reimbursements if fraud is discovered. 

Some ad networks, such as Google Ads, provide “invalid clicks” in their campaign reports for advertisers, but one man sued Google after allegedly discovering his invalid clicks were far greater than what the Google reports were showing. 

When the survey respondents were asked if they believed Google Ads blocked click fraud, only half of the respondents, 49%, believed Google did. This should be a major consideration for advertising in 2022.

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The final option is to use a dedicated, independent ad fraud detection software. There are several players on the market that can help advertisers detect, block fraud in real-time and the survey showed that about 50% of advertisers use these services, or have considered using one.  

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Overall, the results of this survey indicate the prevalence of fraud in advertising campaigns today is still very high. As marketers plan for 2022 they should consider taking action against this fraud to improve their ad performance and extend their ad budgets.

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Methodology

The Fraud Blocker survey was conducted by Pollfish and concluded on December 1, 2021. It was sent to a randomized group of PPC marketers and media buyers in the US and UK who purchased digital advertising in the prior 24 months. 200 respondents completed the survey. Pollfish is a leading survey company with a pool of over 480 million mobile audience members worldwide that participate in their surveys.





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Use Customer Lifetime Value to Find More Clients

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Use Customer Lifetime Value to Find More Clients


With new privacy rules continually changing the landscape of third-party data, brands are increasingly becoming more focused on understanding their current customers in order to make more sophisticated marketing decisions. One approach to this is utilizing customer lifetime value (LTV) to segment your best customers and ultimately find more of them. In this article, we’ll provide a brief outline of LTV but you’ll want to attend Hero Conf 2022 in Austin, Texas for a more in-depth breakdown with key takeaways.  

What is customer lifetime value?

The lifetime value of a customer, or customer lifetime value (LTV), represents the total amount of money a customer is expected to spend in your business, or on your products, during their lifetime. 

*Note on calculating LTV*

Now to be fair, there are a number of varying ways to calculate LTV going from relatively simple, to complex and complicated. This article will not be focused on evaluating the best approach or even how to calculate LTV.  I do have some preferred tools which I’ll share at Hero Conf- but ultimately finding the best tool that works for your brand is important. 

Large brands like Amazon and Starbucks have documented how their understanding of LTV has influenced their marketing and overall business decisions. Smaller brands who often have limited resources in their pursuit of growth often overlook LTV or don’t truly appreciate how helpful it can be to their overall growth.

Which campaign is performing better?

Take a look at the chart below – at a glance – which campaign appears to be performing better?

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Campaign A Campaign B
Clicks 2,000 2,000
Purchases (Conversions) 1,000 780
Cost/Click (CPC) $5.00 $6.50
Cost $10,000 $13,000
Cost / Acquisition (CPA) $10.00 $16.67

Most digital marketers, including myself, would say campaign A.  More purchases (revenue), lower CPC, and lower CPA. Seems pretty obvious. 

But a question that’s worth asking is – what if campaign B focused on acquiring a better quality customer?  Someone who purchased a higher average amount bought more frequently, and stayed, is a customer of the brand for a longer period of time.  Ultimately, a customer with a higher LTV.  The question of which campaign is performing better looks a lot different when LTV is factored as a metric and could lead to very different marketing approaches.  

Looking beyond CPCs & CPAs

These are conversations that more brands should be having. Looking at CPCs, CPAs and the revenue from the first purchase are all very common KPIs, but they can be misleading and myopic. Factoring in LTV provides a more holistic approach to making marketing and overall business decisions.  

Going a step further, brands that decide to utilize LTV often come across the hurdle of how to efficiently segment their best from worst customers. In the workshop, I’ll share the most effective analysis that we’ve found.  For brands on Shopify, we’ll take it a step further and offer a valuable app that will both help solve LTV and segment your customers as well.  There are a number of apps in the Shopify App Store that can help calculate your LTV and effectively segment your customers for you, but there’s one that we’ve found to be leaps and bounds ahead of the rest.   

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Finally, once you’ve segmented your customers, you now have the ability to supercharge your marketing efforts to find more of your best customers, while also excluding targeting anyone who you believe might be exclusively bargain hunters or cherry pickers.  

Summary

If you’re interested in scaling your brand, you’ll want to attend this workshop.  Understanding LTV and how to find more of your best customers will be an invaluable tool that will help move the needle for your brand in 2022.  Key takeaways will be: 

  • How LTV has shaped the decisions of large brands we all know
  • How LTV provides a more holistic picture of success within paid search
  • How we’ve helped a women’s apparel and homeware brand find more of their ideal customers
  • Tactical insights (including apps/tools) on how to implement an LTV strategy within paid search

Hope to see you there!





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Tips for Optimizing a Localized PPC Account

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Tips for Optimizing a Localized PPC Account


Before jumping into the components of a local PPC account and why it matters, we should first define what constitutes a local PPC account. The basic definition is that it targets customers within a specific region. The strategy for localized PPC specifically involves using local keywords and geotargeting.  One would quickly assume that only brick and mortar businesses like a neighborhood pizza shop, dentist’s office, or boutique retailer would run local campaigns, but that isn’t always the case. Even if you have locations around the world,  you can serve and sell to potential customers virtually, by using a localized approach. 

The Value in Running Localized PPC

As PPC marketers, one of our biggest responsibilities is to optimize campaigns. The term ‘optimize’ may sound like a broad term, but it really represents many tactics. The biggest areas of focus for optimization would likely be to improve the engagement via click-through rate, improve the return on ad spend via sales leads or transactions, and make each dollar in the budget go just a little farther. In national campaigns, it may sometimes be a little bit harder to find pockets of wasted spend, like geographic targets for example, but in local campaigns with a laser focus, inefficiencies are easier to spot and/or avoid. If the budget is tight and you can’t afford to spend money on clicks, you have to optimize toward what works.

How to Optimize for Local PPC

Source: Google Ads Manager user interface

In terms of local PPC, the biggest way to optimize campaigns would be to focus on performance by geographic area. More often than not, when you dig into the data, you’ll find these areas of opportunity. In Google Ads, location reporting provides insights into not 

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only your targeted locations but also your matched locations (where activity has been attributed to). Reviewing these location reports is a great way to discover new pockets of results-driving zip codes or DMAs, which can be leaned into with a positive bid modifier to increase traffic, or conversely, excluded from your campaign altogether if they are wasting budget by not driving conversions. Additional geographic reporting available in Google Ads includes the distance report, which shows how the distance from a location impacts search ad performance.

Here are a few reasons why optimizing for location is so crucial in PPC:

  • Nearly 30% of searches for something in a specific location will result in a purchase (Source: Valve and Meter, via Google).
  • In 2020, 93% of Americans used the Web to find local businesses. (Source: BrightLocal)
  • Almost one-third of all searches made on mobile phones are location-based (Source: The SEM Post).

Source: Crimson Park Digital

There is so much more to local campaigns than just their location settings, however, a huge factor that contributes to performance is intent, via localized keywords. These are phrases that not only include the words “near me,” “local,” or “nearby,” but also zip codes, town names, and other localized signals that show “near me” intent.  

Did you know? 

  • 82% of smartphone users are actively searching for businesses near them (Source: Search Engine Land)
  • 76% of people who search for something nearby on a smartphone will visit a business within one day (Source: Google)
  • Almost 70% of searchers on mobile will call a business using a link from the search (Source: PowerTraffick, via Google).
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Localized searches are not just siloed to mobile, even with such strong mobile statistics,  it really depends on the industry, offerings, business, and how that type of customer behaves by device. Is your business in higher demand when customers are already on the go? Or are your services something that needs extensive research ahead of time, before leaving home? These are questions to ask before dialing up the mobile bid adjustments. 59% of consumers still prefer to search for local information on a desktop versus other smart devices.





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