A Detailed Guide to Vetting and Hiring an E-commerce PPC Agency: 6 signs it is time to hire an e-commerce PPC agency

6 signs it is time to hire an e-commerce PPC agency

Whether you are looking to hire your first PPC advertising agency for your e-commerce business or thinking it might be time for a change, it can be hard to know what to do.

In this post, we’re taking a closer look at the top signs it might be time to hire an e-commerce PPC agency and what your next steps might be if it is time: 

  • Your current PPC strategy is underperforming
  • Your PPC ad budget is increasing significantly
  • You’re looking to consolidate your ad strategy and execution
  • You’re updating your company’s positioning or messaging
  • You’re launching a new product
  • You just hired a new CMO or VP of marketing
  • Hiring and vetting a new e-commerce PPC agency
  • How Credo can help you find the right PPC agency for your e-commerce business

1. Your Current PPC Strategy is Underperforming 

The number one reason you should think about switching things up is if your current advertising campaigns are seeing diminishing returns, be it from an underperforming agency, freelancer, or employee, or from changing market conditions.

Bringing in new PPC experts with fresh eyes can often be the jolt you need to see better PPC returns.

  • You’ll end up doing more market research and customer interviews to understand the changing dynamics and identifying any trends you can capitalize on.
  • You’ll review Google Ads campaign performance reports in Google Analytics as well as through the platform’s default reports. 
  • You’re ensure tracking is configured properly in Google Tag Manager (Incorrect tracking is surprisingly common!) 
  • You’ll experiment with new ad copy changes and/or a brand new ad set targeting strategy.
  • And you’ll create or update existing ad landing page design, so they better align with your ad messaging.

2. Your PPC Ad Budget is Increasing Significantly 

On the other hand, if you are seeing great returns on your current PPC campaigns and you just raised a big round, you might want to deploy a lot of this capital to your ad budget. Bringing in a PPC agency or consultant experienced with larger budgets is a wise decision in this scenario. 

For instance, your PPC freelancer that is used to managing ~$10k monthly ad spend budgets for small e-commerce businesses is likely going to be over their head if you start spending $1M+ per month. 

3. You’re Looking to Consolidate Your Ad Campaign Strategy and Execution

If you are like most mid- to large sized e-commerce businesses, your in-house marketing team likely works with multiple marketing and advertising agencies, consultants, and freelancers.

That can be a great thing since you can work with best-in-class specialists for individual channels and campaigns.

For example, you might have: 

  1. a Facebook ad agency that runs your Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns.
  2. Another e-commerce agency focused on TikTok ad strategy and campaigns. 
  3. Another agency or consultant running your Google Ad campaigns. 

The potential downside of this approach is you can wind up with inconsistent brand messaging or overspending if your in-house team isn’t reviewing everything closely and monitoring ad attribution.  

While working with a diverse portfolio of experts does allow you to have specialists in each different type of marketing (for instance, using a social media agency for Facebook and a SEO freelancer for Google), maintaining consistent brand messaging can be difficult. Additionally, managing and overseeing the different budgets gets exponentially more complicated.

Consolidating to an agency that can handle all of the unique facets of your marketing can help streamline both your messaging and your budgeting.

4. You’re Updating Your Company’s Positioning or Messaging 

If you recently decided to change your company’s positioning in a big way, you’ll need to reassess and adjust your marketing and advertising strategies to match. 

Let’s take a hypothetical example. 

Suppose you started your e-commerce business selling kids’ shoes to anyone in the U.S and Canada. However, after looking at your financial and digital marketing reports, you realized that your best customers–the ones who have the highest average order value, are most likely to purchase again and have great NPS scores–weren’t parents buying shoes for their kids, but instead it was actually adults buying corrective shoes and accessories. This means your messaging strategy needs to change to cater to this niche. 

Your existing agency should be intimately involved with this process and prepared to rewrite your ads and recreate any creatives to align with the new messaging. Give them time to test new copy and creatives to achieve the same or better levels of performance as before, but if they are unable to do so it may be time to find a new agency.

5. You’re Launching a New (Line of) Product(s) 

You don’t want to change up your PPC strategy every time you launch a new SKU. That would be wildly inefficient and most likely ineffective. 

However, if you are launching a new product or line of products that have the potential to 3x, 5x, or 10x your company’s revenue, then reassessing your PPC strategy makes sense to capitalize on the opportunity.

You may also find that as your number of SKUs grows, your existing PPC agency does not have the skills to handle your new scale. At this point, finding a new PPC agency that is more experienced with your new level of business will pay dividends.

6. You Just Hired a New CMO or VP of Marketing 

Similar to launching a new product, this is another example that has a fair amount of nuance. If your PPC strategy is working well, it is probably a bad idea to break it just because your CMO wants to add their two cents. 

However, if there is room for improvement, a change in senior leadership is a natural time to update everything including resetting expectations and budgets with your existing PPC agency or even interviewing and vetting a new PPC agency or consultant. 

Hiring and Vetting a New e-commerce PPC Agency 

If the above list has you thinking it is time to hire a PPC agency, then it is time to move on to the next question: how you do properly interview and vet a PPC agency?

Except in the rare instances of a company emergency, there is no need to rush while hiring a new PPC agency. Taking the time to get it right the first time will pay off in the short, medium, and long terms.

Here are some key things to pay attention to as you are evaluating, interviewing, and vetting PPC agencies: 

  • How long the PPC agency has been in business: There are a lot of inexperienced or shady PPC agencies with great sales skills but little to no PPC campaign setup and management experience. Ask them about their process and ask for case studies before hiring them.
  • Their systems and process: What does the process look like for onboarding a new client? How do they train their team? How many clients does each account manager have? What processes do they have in place if a team member takes a vacation or quits? A lack of documented systems and processes is a giant red flag.
  • Who will be managing your account on a daily basis: Knowing who will manage your account on a daily basis and having an open line of communication with them will ensure that you are getting the expertise the agency has promised you. Unfortunately, you can’t always take companies at their word.
  • The agency’s experience running ad campaigns that are similar to yours: Along the same lines, you want to make sure the agency has experience working with businesses with a similar budget to yours and ideally in the same industry, especially if you are spending $500k or more each month on ads.
  • What services are included and how budget and time are allocated: Many general digital marketing agencies, as well as some specialist e-commerce PPC agencies, can help with content creation, landing page design, social media marketing advertising, search engine optimization and a lot more. If they offer additional services besides PPC campaign setup and management, make sure it is clear how those fees are charged, especially if hourly. For instance, an agency might eat up almost all of its hours on landing page design and copy and spend little to no time managing existing Google Ad campaigns.
  • The agency’s case studies and testimonials: In this day and age, it is easy to spin a case study or testimonial to look more impressive than it actually is.
  • Whether or not you maintain access to your accounts: This should be self-explanatory. However, you should always be able to log in and have full admin access to all of your ad campaigns and ad reports. There are horror stories of e-commerce businesses being locked out of their own accounts by dishonest ad agencies that refuse to give up access. 

Pro Tip: Looking for specific interview questions to ask a new PPC agency? Check out these PPC agency interview questions. 

How Credo can help you find the right PPC agency for your e-commerce business

Considering all the aspects above to be sure you find the PPC agency that is the right fit for your company can be both overwhelming and time consuming. But it doesn’t have to be.

Using an agency finding service like Credo can make this process more efficient and less stressful. 

In fact, every agency in the Credo network undergoes a rigorous 3-step, 28-point process. And, we only accept about 60% of agencies that apply to join our network.

When an e-commerce CMO, VP of Marketing, or founder comes to us looking for a new PPC agency, you can rest assured that you’ll only be matched with companies that are a great fit for your company and goals. 

This matching process starts with getting to know your specific needs, your PPC goals, and your current team structure.

From there, we use our custom-built software to facilitate the matching process. We’ll send the top agency candidates based on the weighted match score. 

Ready to hire a new PPC agency? Schedule your free consultation with our team here. 

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This page last updated on March 7, 2023 by John Doherty

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