The following guest contribution comes from our friends at After Clicks Interactive.
When a Search Marketing Agency pitches a new client, they may provide them a complimentary audit, initial strategy overview, competitive analysis, etc. However, once the client signs on the dotted line and the work begins, more often than not, the client slips into the dark with regard to the specifics. These specifics consist of the day-to-day “blocking and tackling” of PPC (keyword matching, search queries, CTR, quality score, competitive bidding, affiliate hijacking, etc.). When something goes wrong with an account (and is always does), the PPC Marketer/Agency needs to explain the cause and effect and it is that situation where the client needs to really understand what they are talking about. Enter client education in PPC.
In this post, I will discuss specific instances where it’s in the best interest of both the marketer and the client to educate one another in order to not only grow their businesses, but to keep the relationship from turning sour.
Discuss What Metrics Matter Most
Regardless of how seasoned a client/prospect might be with regard to “PPC metrics lingo”, marketers should still take the time to explain which metrics matter the most and why. Sometimes, Adwords metrics such as interactions or engagement rates for example are not the most accurate or effective on measuring success.
Success should be identified by conversions. For example, most people think automatically that an increase in impressions is a good thing, but depending on the targeting and the platform that’s not necessarily true. There are two main reasons for that:
- Search Networks: More impressions can reduce the CTR, which in turn can lower Quality Score and result in higher costs and worse AVG Position. This also results in additional “irrelevant” traffic that will drive up budgets.
- Display Networks: Depending on the bidding options (especially CPM), an increase in impressions will only drive up costs.
Discuss The Influence of Competitors
When a company enters the world of PPC Marketing, they will encounter competitors not only bidding on similar keywords, but also their “sacred” brand terms and this can have a detrimental effect on the overall performance of the account. More competition on your own brand name means you pay more to advertise for it! It’s important to keep a watchful eye on who is bidding on your brand terms and develop strategies to counteract this problem. While potentially an extreme solution, here are some strategies to protect the brand:
- Make sure the client files their trademark with Google to ensure no one else can use their trademarked term in text ads
- Send an email/letter to all affiliates and resellers that they are NOT permitted to bid on the trademarked name in any of their text/banner ads
- Contact competitors directly and ask them to stop bidding on their trademark terms (if they do not oblige, getting legal assistance would be beneficial)
Discuss Attribution of Other Online or Offline Advertising
Attribution can be a tricky thing to interpret, especially to a client, but it’s imperative to tell a story that makes sense. Understanding attribution varies depending on the life cycle of the client (history, offline advertising, social media presence, etc.). Typically, a new advertiser will have to rely on “non-brand” terms to drive relevant traffic to their product or service. Once more people get familiar with the brand, consumers will ultimately type in their brand name (Search Engine, Direct/Bookmark) to get to their site. Therefore, an advertiser may stop branded campaigns early, because they’re not being attributed to traffic or sales, but this is typically a temporary situation and clients need to understand that when looking at campaign success.
Similarly, “non-branded” terms are more expensive and don’t always provide tons of conversions, so clients automatically want to pause the campaign. That’s a bad idea! Quite often, the “non-brand” terms are the first point of contact that introduce the brand to hopefully soon-to-be loyal customers. Yes, it costs more money, while not resulting in an immediate conversion, but over time it’s what will generate more customers. Clients need to understand that it will take time to grow their brand and that this is a revolving cycle.
Discuss the Importance of “After-the-Click”
Perfecting the fundamentals of Quality Score in a campaign is a good thing, but it’s only half the battle. The other half is persuading the customer to take an action and frankly that is the only thing that matters here. PPC alone typically isn’t the whole picture and once the person clicks past your ad, the client needs to know they’re on the line to convert that traffic post-click.
Even though the term “after-the-click” is simple in its meaning, execution is another story. It requires constant and intelligent testing to ensure maximum effectiveness. The bottom line is that the client needs to understand that in order to maximize their ad dollars, they will need to the invest time and money into these post-click strategies. Testing tactics typically include:
- A/B Landing Page Testing
- Cart/Form Testing
- Audience Testing
- Promotion/Offer Testing
Discuss the Trust Factor
It’s very easy for customers to trust the platform that they are advertising on. There is this common notion that if Google recommends it, then it must be a good strategy. However, I would strongly recommend that any of Google’s Opportunities, even though sometimes justified, need to be viewed as a just a suggestion, not an immediate decision. Remember, Google is a lucrative business and they want advertisers to spend more money with them. Increasing traffic and spend may sound good on paper, but they do not come with any guarantees of conversions. When appropriate, clients need to understand the difference.
Coming to a Close on Client Education
There is a “fine-line” that needs to be met, where agencies need to maintain control on the PPC Accounts, while allowing the client to continue to interact and take part in the overall strategy. One way to overcome any potential issues is to educate them on all of the intricacies that may occur throughout the client-agency relationship. Once the client has developed a good rapport with the agency, it becomes easier to properly manage their performance expectations.