PPC, SOLUTIONS 8
The Best Google Ads Agency: 8 Qualities You Should Expect
How to find the Best Google Ads agency for your business.
Google Ads is the most powerful marketing platform on the planet.
…But it’s also a lot of work to tackle on your own.
So, should you hire a Google Ads agency?
And if so, how do you find the best agency for your business?
This guide is here to help. Packed with questions to ask prospective agencies, qualifications to expect, and a list of the best Google Ads agencies according to your unique needs, you’ll be raking in the returns in no time.
Let’s kick it off with a checklist of 8 critical qualities the best Google Ads agency will have:
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Google Ads Is a Full-Time Job—But Not Impossible
Plenty of ambitious business owners dedicate hours to learn how to run Google Ads on their own.
Strategizing, managing, and optimizing Google Ads isn’t something you can do on the side and expect success; but it is possible to run your own campaigns without paying for PPC services.
It will still cost you—time, that is (and maybe a little sanity).
You could benefit from spending some money on education (like DigitalMarketer’s Paid Traffic Mastery course); but there are plenty of free resources out there, such as:
Yikes, That’s a Lot of Effort. What About an In-House PPC Advertiser?
If the thought of running your own Google Ads campaigns sounds bonkers, you might consider hiring in-house PPC manager or a Google Ads agency.
Not sure which is right for you? Here’s a quick review:
In-House PPC Managers: The Good
In-house PPC managers are hired directly through your company and work solely for you.
Typically, these PPC managers are also in charge of all digital marketing efforts (SEO, email marketing, content development).
In the eyes of a business owner, an in-house PPC manager could be a great option because they will learn everything there is to know about the business.
After all, this employee is hired as a member of the team; that means they’ll be involved in any important meetings and stay up to date with the latest happenings (no extra communication needed).
In-House PPC Managers: The Not-as-Good
It is impossibly hard to handle each branch of digital marketing (PPC, SEO, email marketing, content marketing) and yield successful results.
If you do opt to hire an in-house manager, we strongly encourage you to “pick a lane” and stick with it. Each area of digital marketing requires its own expertise, and effective PPC advertising alone requires regular education and training to stay up-to-date with the constant changes and strategies.
And, no shade, but the average business owner doesn’t typically prioritize training when it comes to the marketing budget—particularly the continual education needed for PPC managers to be successful.
Furthermore, utilizing an in-house PPC manager is a significant long-term commitment to your business.
Some businesses may be concerned that an agency won’t understand the complexities of their brand as well as an in-house employee; however, any reputable PPC agency will make it a top priority to learn the ins and outs of your business and industry.
This also means researching who your competitors are and what makes your brand unique at the beginning of your working relationship.
The right PPC agency will become a part of your team just like an in-house PPC manager, but with a few notable differences:
- PPC agencies are experts in their field, which means they get regular training on their own time and dollar in order to keep up with competitors.
- Similarly, agencies compete against one another — which means they are aware of what other agencies are doing and utilize the best and latest tools to keep up.
- Did we mention that hiring an agency also means no salaries to pay or benefits? Not only that, but a reputable PPC agency will never lock you into a long-term contract.
Looking for a PPC Agency? Make Sure They’re a Google Ads Agency Specifically
If it sounds like a PPC agency is what you’re looking for, remember that Google Ads is the strongest marketing mechanism at your disposal. So, that means above all else, your PPC agency should be Google Ads specialists.
In other words, Google Ads should be their bread and butter. No exceptions.
So, How Do You Find the Best Google Ads Agency?
It’s time to do a deep dive into those 8 critical qualities!
First up: Qualifications.
When looking for a Google Ads agency, the easiest place to start is by reviewing their qualifications and experience—something that should be listed right on their website.
What to ask:
Are They Google Ads Certified?
Have we mentioned Google is the number one search engine on planet Earth? So, clearly we can’t emphasize enough that your potential PPC agency must be Google Ads certified.
A Google Ads certification is awarded by Google to individuals who prove their proficiency and expertise in online advertising and, specifically, Google Ads.
The only way to earn a Google Ads certification is to enroll in Google’s online training program, Skillshop (fka Academy for Ads).
This training program tests advertisers’ competence in basic and advanced aspects of Google Ads. Further, in order to earn a badge as a Google Partner or Google Premier Partner, a PPC agency must be Google Ads certified.
Of course, the best Google Ads agency for your business will always seek out further certifications and education—always.
While a Google Ads certification is absolutely necessary, it’s vital that the agencies you consider demonstrate a continual effort toward growth and improvement.
Additional Certifications Worth Noting
To become a certified Google Premier Partner, an agency must complete and pass the Google Ads Certification, as well as demonstrate performance by delivering strong client and company growth.
DigitalMarketer Certified Partners have access to their massive library of world-class digital marketing materials, educational labs, and support network.
Though your agency’s primary focus should be PPC, your strategists should also understand the full scope of the digital marketing practice, including the latest industry trends and changes, to understand how each aspect works synergistically with the others—which is where DigitalMarketer proves invaluable.
Not only will the right Ads agency have the right qualifications, they will also have an impressive list of experience, including a proven track record and process. Below are some important questions to ask.
Can They Show You Powerful Case Studies?
Case studies are a great way for agencies to showcase their proven process. These reports spotlight a specific client or project, identify the client’s goal or problem, and describe the agency’s solution, implementation, and results.
Have They Worked In Your Industry Before?
Spoiler: The answer doesn’t have to be “yes.”
While past experience in your particular field is helpful, an excellent PPC agency should be able to prove their expertise by showing you an industry or client that’s somehow analogous to your campaign.
Are They a Marketing Agency Specializing in PPC? Or Do They “Do It All”?
Agencies who claim to “do it all” (think SEO, PPC, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, CRO, print media, website design) probably aren’t lying. However, PPC is just like any other tradecraft.
The only way you can be the best PPC agency (or SEO expert, or content writer) is to make it your focus. It requires daily practice, continuing education, and spending any extra time you have learning and growing.
Avoid the “do it all” agencies.
3. Tracking and Reporting
To turn website visitors into customers, expand your business’s reach and visibility, and optimize your entire digital marketing strategy, your Google Ads agency must gather immense amounts of data.
And, as a client, you should expect regular reports from your agency that showcase these pieces of data in an easy-to-understand yet detailed way. The reports should detail what your agency is doing behind the scenes: what’s working, what isn’t, and why.
Now, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager are known as the gold standard for tracking tools (we’ll talk about these platforms in a minute), and many PPC agencies will claim to “use” these tools.
But, here’s our official warning to you:
Bad agencies track improperly.
Terrible agencies don’t track at all (seriously).
So, when looking for the right Ads agency, it’s important to really grill ‘em about their tracking methods. Here are some specific questions to ask, which we cover in detail in the full version of this guide:
- Do they use Google Analytics?
- Do they ALSO use Google Tag Manager?
- Do they set up a full tracking system to measure goals?
- What do they consider a conversion?
- Will they track the true profitability of the campaign?
- Will they track actions that are important to you?
- What does their reporting method look like?
- Do they use proprietary reporting or dashboards?
Each of these questions is a highly important stepping stone on the path to choose the best Google Ads agency for your business.
4. Communication, Pricing, and Transparency
When you hire a PPC agency, you’re investing in (and committing to) a relationship. And like any relationship, communication and honesty are the keys to success.
If you found an Ads agency that has the right experience, qualifications, tracking and reporting methods—but shows signs of poor communication, that means they still aren’t “the one.”
If you’re just starting to learn more about an Ads agency, chances are their communication will be flawless: they’ll get right back to you, follow-up often, and make you feel comfortable; but what can you expect after you sign that contract agreement?
During these early stages, here are some important questions to ask:
- How—and how often—often will they be in contact?
- Are they easily accessible if you have questions?
- What are their expectations and needs from you regarding communication?
- How much work will you need to contribute?
- Will you have a primary contact in charge of your campaign? You should absolutely have a dedicated client manager.
- Do they want you to sign a long-term contract? This should be a clear red flag.
- Do they offer promises or guarantees that sound too good to be true? Another red flag: No reputable Google Ads agency will ever promise or guarantee results.
- Will you maintain complete administrative ownership of your account? This is a BIG one, and the answer should always be yes.
Pricing and Transparency
What, exactly, should be included in your agency’s pricing? We’ve put together a rough list of services that should be included without add-on fees:
- Search, display, GSP, video campaign creation and management
- Ad copy creation from professional copywriters
- Remarketing campaigns
- Social network remarketing
- Reviewing and scoring all campaign-generated calls
- Importation of those calls into Google ads
- Google Analytics creation
- Google Tag Manager creation
- Conversion action creation
- Keyword research and development
- Competitive research and targeting
- Ongoing AB testing and optimizations
From the start, you should be provided with a complete breakdown of costs; for example, what percentage of pricing goes toward copy creation? What is (and isn’t) included in their pricing—remember, the services listed above should always be included. Are they trying to charge you for little add-ons that add up?
Similarly, they must be transparent in what they can (and cannot) do; for example, it’s okay if they don’t do landing page development or video production, but they need to tell you up front.
Finally, if you’re looking to pay by the hour, you’re going to need to hire an in-house PPC manager.
Think of PPC agencies as attorneys—if there is a sudden emergency, you can pick up the phone and call anytime. Your Ads agency is “on retainer” in this sense. The monthly payments pay for so much more than building Ads campaigns.
5. Strategy and Setup
How Do They Get to Know You? What Is Their Process?
If you decide to sign on with an agency, how do they intend to learn everything there is to know about your business?
- Will they have you fill out a lengthy questionnaire?
- How many questions will they ask?
- Are those questions relevant to driving your revenue?
- Will they conduct outside research, or rely on you?
Any agency that does not dedicate a whole lot of time and energy learning the ins and outs of your business will be unable to build the strongest campaign possible.
Do They “Diagnose Before They Prescribe”?
Similarly, your agency should never suggest a strategy or course of action for your Ads campaign before knowing the nitty gritty about your business.
Only after asking you a million and one questions, conducting independent research, and in-depth strategizing will they be qualified to suggest a solution for your PPC needs.
Beyond that, your agency should also offer explicit expectations for their proposed campaign strategy:
Why it should work, why it may not, what the potential outcomes could be, and why it’s the best option for you.
Think of it this way: A doctor never writes a prescription without understanding the patient’s specific health concerns.
Why would a PPC agency offer up an advertising solution without understanding the complexities of your business?
Will They Review Your Existing Campaign?
…And if you don’t have one, will they perform a traffic study?
Any agency that looks past this valuable background information and starts from scratch is, well, lazy.
There can be so many answers hidden in your existing campaign—problem areas to be avoided in the future as well as points of success that should be optimized.
Bottom line: A good agency will check the foundation before demolishing the whole home.
Do They Take Advantage of Everything Google Ads Offers?
For a while, basic paid advertising with Google Ads was the best avenue for online sales. But today, Google Ads is so much more than standard paid search.
Just look at how the introduction of Performance Max campaigns shook things up!
It is essential that your future Ads agency takes advantage of everything Google Ads has to offer.
Are They Account Managers or Strategists?
Sure, your agency will manage your account on a daily basis, therefore making them “account managers.”
But at the core, they should be strategists—meaning there is always intention, research, optimization, and proactivity behind your campaign.
Ask your potential agency what makes them strategists, as opposed to account managers.
So, here’s the deal with software and tools: some are essential, some are helpful, and some are unnecessary (and could be used as an excuse to charge you more money).
So, it’s important to ask:
What Tools and Software Do They Use—and Why?
How do you determine if your agency uses the right tools—and doesn’t waste your money on frivolous ones?
Here’s a quick overview:
1. Click Fraud Software
Don’t need it! Google has you covered.
If your agency claims they use click fraud software, ask why they need it. They could be using it to charge you more.
Google should already catch fraudulent clicks and refund you in the time it would take an outside software to notify you of the fraudulent click.
2. Advanced Software for Competitive Analysis
Need it! Sort of…
It’s a great tool to learn what’s working and not working for competitors, how much money they’re wasting on their campaigns, what landing pages they’re using, the keywords they’re targeting…
This software should be used as initial research to make informed decisions, but not to copycat your competitors’ campaigns.
So, basically, while it’s necessary to get a baseline understanding of what the competition is doing—it’s just a starting point. No need for your agency to shell out a lot of time or money on these platforms.
7. Campaign Building and Account Activity
You don’t need to know everything about Google Ads (that’s your agency’s job!), but you should know what a good campaign structure looks like and how active your agency should be in your account.
Here are some helpful questions to consider, which we cover in detail in the full version of this guide:
- What do their campaign structures look like?
- Will the campaign be customized?
- Are they active in your account?
- Do they review search terms on a monthly basis (at least)?
- And while they’re at it, do they update your negative keyword list and match types?
All of these questions will help you determine the best agency for your business.
This stuff seems small, but you need to actually like who you’re working with when it comes to your PPC campaign. That means not only how they work but also their business’s culture as a whole.
When interviewing potential PPC agencies, consider these questions:
- What do you want out of your business relationship?
- Who is the type of person (and people) you can collaborate with?
- What do you value in an employee?
Don’t forget about these personal questions to help you determine if you really “jive” with the Google Ads agency you choose to hire.
Want Some Help Starting Your Search?
Here’s a List of the Best Google Ads Agencies
(According to Your Unique Needs)
For Lower Budgets:
StarterPPC provides Google Ads management services to small business owners at a fraction of the cost of most agencies.
For Small to Medium-Sized Businesses with a Web Design Emphasis:
Nuclear Networking is a digital marketing and full suite SEO agency that leverages SEO, SEM, and Social Media Advertising to boost conversions and generate measurable ROI for your eCommerce business.
Jeronamo Digital Solutions creates beautiful and fully optimized websites that drive traffic and convert customers.
They also offer value-driven inbound marketing packages that let you choose only the services you need, giving you more flexibility and freedom to make the most out of your budget.
Agencies Offering Multiple Marketing Services:
Tier Eleven is known as the “Anti-Ad” marketing agency that focuses on finding the root causes of underperforming acquisition strategies, and provides end-to-end diagnosis of your entire Customer Acquisition Path.
These are things like Facebook Ads, conversion architecture, funnel development, multi-channel campaigns and more.
Conlink Media is a digital marketing agency that provides consulting and marketing services for all stages of your funnel. They offer web design and development, SEO, paid ads, and Facebook management.
Increase your organic traffic, get qualified leads, and grow your monthly sales.
Marketing Services for eCommerce Businesses:
OMG eCommerce is a world-class eCommerce marketing and advertising agency.
Known for their Accelerated Marketing Portfolio (AMP) framework, they build, measure, and manage your digital marketing channels––Google, YouTube, Amazon, Facebook
SEO and PPC Management Hybrid Services:
Posirank helps agencies, business owners, and resellers grow their brand online through Smart SEO, Content, and PPC management.
Their team of SEO and PPC veterans will plan, strategize, implement and manage your entire campaigns month over month.
For eCommerce and Saas Brands Seeking a “Personal Touch”:
Collin Schmelebeck is a one-man powerhouse who helps eCommerce and SaaS brands grow and scale their business with Google Ads.
For YouTube Ads:
Viewability is an agency specializing in YouTube Ads.
They offer both done-for-you and done-with-you services so you can create the perfect video ads to scale and grow your business with YouTube.
White Label PPC Services:
Invisible PPC is the world’s largest 100% white label PPC service that helps agencies grow and scale through their done-for-you services and PPC agency training programs.
For Higher Budgets (and Wicked Results):
To avoid a cringy self promotional plug, you can check out our reviews here.
Not Ready to Hire an Agency?
Here Are the Best Google Ads Educational Resources In the Meantime
SF Digital Studios offers digital marketing services for small, medium, and large businesses.
They primarily focus on Google Ads but they also provide web design, video marketing/production, and photography services. Plus, they offer Google Ads coaching to marketers and entrepreneurs.
Whether you want to position your business in front of your target audience or you want to get better at Google Ads, Uzair Kharawala is one of our trusted friends who can help you.
One of the world’s top two geniuses in Google Ads is Ed Leake. He created God Tier Ads––the ultimate PPC Framework.
It’s a no-fluff, step-by-step guide on how to build and optimize high performing Google Ads accounts. We use his PPC framework as one of our go-to references in setting up and running successful Google Ad campaigns all the time.
Need streamlined PPC checklists, Google Ad playbooks, and proven PPC frameworks that make you money? Get God Tier Ads.
DigitalMarketer is the place where pro digital marketers are born.
They created the world’s best digital marketing courses. In fact, we don’t let any new member of our team start working until they’ve gone through Digitalmarketer.com’s courses.
They also offer certifications, workshops, coaching and community.
Want to become a digital marketing expert? Get DigitalMarketer’s courses. Specifically Paid Traffic Mastery!
Smart Marketer provides on-demand training on how to use the most popular digital channels to grow any business.
From coaching and masterminds to live mentorship programs (for your social media manager, email marketing specialist, and media buyer), Ezra Firestone and Molly Pittman––together with their awesome team––bring you all the resources you need to grow your brand the “Smart Way.”
Forge is Ed Leake’s exclusive community for PPC agency owners and practitioners.
Inside, you’ll find ongoing support like coaching, tailored training, and video workshops. Plus you’ll get direct access to Ed Leake and other like-minded professionals in the PPC industry.
If you’re looking for a private membership group for PPC growth, this is the place to be.
Ad Outreach helps entrepreneurs and marketers harness the power of YouTube Ads to grow and scale their businesses.
They offer training for ad, webinars, and organic videos for 6-7 figure business owners who want to leverage the power of YouTube.
Let’s Get To It!
Congratulations! You have all the tools you need to find the right Google Ads agency for your business; let the sales start rolling in.
And hey, if you still feel like you could use some guidance, our crew here at Solutions 8 is happy to explain the inner workings of Google Ads, and what kind of agency is right for you.
Could that agency be us? Maybe!
See, we believe in actually helping people, which means working with clients who jive with us — not just making a sale.
We also offer completely free education every day on our YouTube channel.
for a Weekly Roundup of Google Ads Tips, Tricks and Tutorials
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Interested to work with us?
No cost. No obligation. No high-pressure salesmanship. The action plan is yours to keep regardless of whether or not you choose to move forward with us. What do you have to lose?