How to manage a PPC agency to get results fast

How to work with your PPC agency to get results fast.

November 3, 2017 by Nenad Molerovich

Have you ever felt like your PPC agency is half-assing it? This article is for all marketing executives that manage a PPC agency and want to get the maximum value from them. It will increase the quality & quantity of work done and make managing your PPC agency a lot easier. The only catch? You have to be willing to take the lead and set the tone on what they should deliver.

The biggest problem working with an agency is that you’re one of many clients for them, so they need to optimize their time carefully. They want to put all the work in the first month so they can do minimal management from then on. They end up being a maintenance service, rather than a business consultant. You hired them because you need progress and improvements month over month, not just the first month.

The solution is to keep your agency’s focus on uncovering new opportunities and increasing efficiency. It is your job to take the lead here, but how do you do that without creating more work for yourself? How do you make sure your PPC agency is focused on executing all of your opportunities effectively?

Well, there’s good news. You can change your PPC agency behaviour once and for all. The key is implementing 3 different types of meetings; weekly, monthly and quarterly. You probably already have some meetings scheduled, but having them properly structured with the right intention and cadence is critical to their effectiveness. Otherwise, they become a waste of time.

As you already know, Google Adwords is so competitive that details matter more than ever before. These meetings are structured in a way to perfect all the details while discovering and properly testing new opportunities in your market. The goal is to gain insights fast and perfect your campaigns in real time. They should be agile and able to adapt as you learn.

I’ve personally developed and tested this method at LeanSEM and it works like a charm. The inspiration for the structure came from the book “Traction” by Gino Wickman, but we experimented a lot until we nailed down our own process.

Before we begin, make sure you understand the philosophy behind each meeting separately, and on a high level how all 3 work together as a system. Ready? Let’s dive in.

3 meetings that’ll make your PPC agency fire on all cylinders

Your organization lives in a 90-day world. It’s been proven that teams can’t focus on work goals beyond 90 days, so it’s vital to set the specific quarterly goals for your PPC agency too. As the team leader, it’s your responsibility to communicate those goals and keep your PPC Agency rowing in the right direction. Having a clear structure will keep everyone on course, but will also allow you the flexibility to change course if needed.

Having a set quarterly meeting agenda is the perfect place to start. By having the same agenda for your meetings every time, you set the right expectation and create the right habits. We have broken down each quarter into 3 types of meetings with specific agendas for each. These meetings are so focused that all you need to do is follow the agendas below and you’ll notice a significant productivity boost.

Quarterly Meeting

Let’s start with the quarterly meeting because as Stephen Covey says, you always want to “begin with the end in mind”. This meeting lasts for 90 min. In its simplest form the quarterly meeting is about getting you, as a leader, and your PPC agency clear on the vision and direction for the next quarter. Set the goals together!

If you follow the agenda below and share it with your PPC agency ahead of time you’ll achieve the following:

  • They will be able to do their due diligence and have actionable ideas ready rather than have to come up with something that sounds good on the spot.
  • You will find out what they think is a realistic forecast and why
  • You’ll function better as a team because you just addressed all the important goals and are in sync with the expectations and who is accountable for what.

Here is the exact agenda we use at LeanSEM with every Google Adwords client:

Quarterly meeting agenda (90 min.)
  • Adwords performance overview (10 min)
    1. Did we reach our goals?
    2. Where are we winning/losing and why?
    3. QoQ performance
    4. YTD performance
  • Other channels performance overview (10 min)
    1. Understand the trends, wins and loses from other paid channels
  • Account Insights – deep analysis of everything that happened in the past quarter (15 min)
    1. Performance by keyword theme
    2. Ads test
    3. Landing page tests
    4. Location performance analysis
    5. Device performance
    6. Time of the week and hour of the day analysis
    7. Auction Insights
    8. Demographics
    9. Attribution
  • Your industry & competitor research (10 min)
    1. Is there a seasonality factor for the next quarter and what does it look like?
    2. Was there a new player in the market and what is their positioning?
    3. Were there any new keywords, ads and landing page tests done by your competitors?
  • Next steps – Decide on new opportunities (45 min)
    1. Discuss new expansion opportunities and have them forecast its potential impact on your business.
    2. Discuss new optimization opportunities and have them forecast its potential impact on your business.
    3. Discuss new messaging opportunities and have them forecast its potential impact on your business.
    4. Any out of the box ideas that will drive insights or growth.
    5. Set goals and accountability for each member of your team and your PPC agency.

Monthly Meetings

There are 2 monthly meetings in the quarter and they last 60 min. They are a tool for you to understand the progress of your quarterly goals. Are there obstacles that need your involvement or is everything according to plan? Your job is to address and remove obstacles, so your agency can execute faster. Another key point of the monthly meeting is to present better data points of all the Adwords initiatives that are running. You’ll be able to see the data for the past month as a whole which gives you a more realistic vantage point. Here is the monthly meeting agenda:

Monthly Meeting Agenda (60 min.)
  • Adwords performance overview (10 min)
    1. Quarterly goals status; mark them with green, orange and red.
    2. YTD performance
  • Account Insights – How all the initiatives performing (10 min)
    1. Performance by keyword theme
    2. Ads test
    3. Landing page tests
    4. Location performance analysis
    5. Device performance
  • Ongoing initiatives review – Reality facing time! (10 min)
    1. Check the status of all the initiatives your team launched in the past 30 days
    2. Have a live document that tracks all of the ongoing initiatives you test. Review them and understand the potential impact on the business.
  • Next steps – Decide on new opportunities (30 min)
    1. Will the expansion opportunities help you reach your goals?
    2. Will the optimization opportunities help you reach your goals?
    3. Will the messaging opportunities help you reach your goals?
    4. Do you need more opportunities to reach your goals or is it an execution issue?
    5. Don’t adjust your goals yet, make sure you exhaust all your options.
    6. Confirm the next month action items that’ll move you closer to your quarterly goals.

Weekly Meeting

I hope the weekly meeting is something many of you already do. If you spend anything above $10k per month on Adwords and you don’t meet weekly with your PPC agency, my advice is to find another agency. Weekly touch points are very important. All you need is 30 min per week. It should be a more tactical meeting where you discuss what was done in the past week and what should be done the next week. This is a great opportunity for you, as a leader, to dive deeper into the execution part of your agency and understand if they are executing correctly or if they are losing sight of the high-level goals. It is also great for uncovering new opportunities. Have in mind that execution and speed of execution are very important for your PPC campaigns as details can make or break your success.

Weekly Meeting Agenda (30 min.)
  • Last week performance (5 min)
    1. Last week business numbers
    2. YTD performance tracker
    3. What was launched/changed last week and what are the results?
  • Ongoing initiatives review – Reality facing time (10 min)
    1. Check the status of all the initiatives your team launched in the past 7 days
    2. Have a live document that tracks all of the ongoing initiatives you test. Review them and understand the potential impact on the business.
  • Next week action plan (15 min)
    1. What are we launching and how?
    2. How are we going to measure success?
    3. How long will it take to get meaningful insights and results?
    4. Delegate action items and close the meeting.

Preparation actions for you as a team leader:

  1. Schedule the meetings with your PPC agency and share the agenda ahead of time so they can prepare.
  2. Assign owners for each line of the agenda so they come prepared.
  3. Share your business’ quarterly goals and set the tone for the meeting.
  4. Every idea needs to be presented with supporting data after they’ve done their due diligence. Don’t allow “smart” ideas to fly around without any reason to act on them. Action and hard work is key to getting results.

Summary

Your goal; to get their focused attention on you as much as possible. Remember that you are not their only client. It’s ok to be selfish. You want them to do the job you are paying them to do. You don’t need pointless meetings so everyone feels like they are working. You need results.

These meetings will take you from being a manager to leader. They provide you with the structure to boost results faster. Please take your time implementing them and you’ll see their power immediately.

After taking a few clients from “top” PPC agencies and doubling their performance in a month, we learned how agencies are dealing with their clients and it’s not pretty. I really hope your agency is able to give your campaigns real attention and that they treat your continued success with a sense of urgency. Many don’t realize it, but Adwords is a great channel to make sure you are staying competitive and can really help you move the needle in the long run. Of course, it has great potential as a revenue stream but it can also give warning signs to your business’s health. To see that requires true analysis and time, something most agencies don’t have.

Action item for you: copy the 3 agendas and start from there. Each business is unique, so you’ll need to adjust some of the line items to fit yours. And like everything else in marketing, test it!

Please, let me know what you think and if it’s helpful. I would love to hear your thoughts and feel free to send thank you notes. 🙂