What clients expect or think they’re getting, versus what they actually get from their SEO agency or digital marketing company might surprise you. Those monthly reports might be pretty and colorful, but what is your agency really doing for your bottom line?
If you have contracted an outside agency to run Google Ads campaigns in order to supplement your overall marketing strategy, how do you know they are delivering on what they promised? Are they actively optimizing your account or operating as a set-it-and-forget-it service? Are they proactive in explaining sudden changes in performance or suggesting new features and strategies? What conversions are they actually tracking, and are they double counting conversions to boost performance metrics? Yes, I have seen the latter in several new accounts that I have taken over.
In this post I’m going to share how to check account activity in addition to some basic reports you should be getting.
One of the easiest ways to check if they are talking the talk AND walking the walk is to login to your Google Ads account and view the change history report.
Here you can look at up to 2 years of nearly every change made in your account, including: budget and bid adjustments, whether keywords (including negatives) have been added or paused, adjustments to location targeting or ad scheduling, the last time new ads were uploaded, etc.
If you generate 1000s of clicks each month and the last change in your account was more than 30 days ago – you need to have a serious conversion with your account manager (or, contact me!). That said, please do give your Google Ads account manager an opportunity to explain what you may deem as minimal activity. Keep in mind that the size of your account (how many clicks and/or conversions you generate each month) often determines the frequency of account updates as you do need enough statistically relevant data before making smart optimizations.
Don’t have access to your Google Ads account? That’s a big, fat red flag in my opinion. Clients should ALWAYS have complete ownership with admin access to the accounts that outside marketing firms manage for them. Why? It’s your data, that YOUR company paid for, both to Google for the clicks and the agency for management! If you change agencies or want to bring search engine marketing in-house, some firms will lock you out and you have to start from scratch. Yep, it’s true. And of course, you should be able to login and view that change history or any other custom report you like, whenever you want.
Access to your account also allows you to double-check that the account is set up properly. Did they put all keywords in one campaign and ad group or properly structure keyword themes into unique campaigns and ad groups? Are they targeting your desired geographic locations? Have they made proper device level bid adjustments at the ad group level? Are there irrelevant search queries bleeding your account? What conversions are they actually tracking? Have they implemented ad extensions? Are low Quality Scores hurting your account? You should be able to login and look under the hood at any time.
On a final note, let’s talk about reporting. I’ve had new clients send me reports from their previous digital marketing agency and some have made me laugh out loud. They were simple, 1-page reports with basic impression, click, cost metrics but no conversion reporting, and no further analysis of specific components such as click and conversion type break down (e.g. by device, network, conversion type).
Are you getting weekly reports that show you high level metrics for how things are pacing each month? What about month end reports with a summary including specific insights and comments: what’s working and what’s not, why traffic or conversions shifted. Do their reports ONLY show you high level metrics (impressions, clicks, costs, but no conversions) or do they provide detailed view of traffic and conversions at keyword, ad, device and network level?
Successful client-agency relationships are built on trust and transparency.
Not satisfied with your digital marketing agency? Feel there is a lack of transparency in your Google Ads management? Review my services and contact me to schedule a call. I am happy to answer any Google Ads account questions you have – free of charge.