“Where’s my money going, exactly?” If you’re paying an online advertising company for PPC services, this is a question you should be asking. A disheartening number of providers don’t offer any type of transparency when it comes to billing, clicks, or campaign performance. Unfortunately, there are several ways your PPC services provider could be ripping you off without you even realizing it. When PPC providers don’t offer transparency, you pay dearly. In this post, we’ll highlight a few of the hidden dangers that result from a lack of transparency in PPC advertising. Be on the lookout.
1. Mysterious Management Fees
It’s not uncommon for online advertising companies to charge a management fee for PPC services. However, the problem lies in whether they disclose their management fee to you. Far too many providers pocket a large chunk (sometimes over 50%!) of your budget as part of their management fee—without telling you. This could mean less than half of the money you’re paying is actually going toward clicks. But they won’t tell you this. Usually, the best you can hope for is a passing acknowledgment of their management fee’s existence as part of your service charges. It’s rare to have a company tell you exactly what this fee is. And because of this total lack of transparency, some providers may sneakily pocket more and more of your money while spending less and less on clicks. They’ll squeeze every last penny they can from you before you finally notice a problem and fire them. Take a look at your last PPC services bill. Did your provider note the exact cost of the management fee? We’re guessing not.
2. No Ability to Check Your Campaign Performance
If you aren’t spending at least a certain minimum amount on clicks (which varies by location and service category), your ads won’t perform. Plain and simple. And if your PPC provider is pocketing half of your budget, there’s a good chance you aren’t spending enough on actual clicks. Diminished performance is the result. So, to prevent you from detecting an issue with your PPC spending, many providers will try to keep you in the dark. Most often, they do this by not providing access to reports on your campaign performance. This way, you can’t see how much is going toward clicks or how your ads are ranking. When you can’t see these reports, you can’t see how little they’re spending on advertising your company and how much they’re pocketing. Ask to see a report of your campaign metrics. If your provider can’t give you access to one, that should tell you something.
3. Reporting Only One Metric
Other times, instead of not showing you any performance metrics for your ads, a PPC provider will show you one metric. The problem with only revealing one metric is that you don’t get the full context of that number. For instance, if your provider focuses solely on click-through rate (CTR), then you miss other important factors, like total impressions (the number of people who saw your ad). Let’s say your campaign has a CTR of 66%. That sounds great, right? Well, it’s great until you realize only 9 people saw the ad and only 3 people clicked through. Conversely, a CTR of 0.5% sounds pretty dismal on the surface. However, 0.5% could mean 10,000 people saw your ad and 50 of them clicked through. Aren’t 50 clicks significantly better than 3? The lesson here? Context matters. Don’t be fooled by a company that manipulates only one metric so you can’t tell how much money you’re actually wasting.
4. No Control Over When Your Budget Is Spent
Oftentimes, the dollar amount of your total PPC budget is the only say you have. Once you’ve set your budget, you have virtually no control over how and when that money is handled. That’s why most business owners aren’t aware of how their PPC budgets are spent. Some questions to ask:
- Is your click budget portioned out so it lasts all 30 days of the month?
- Is it exclusively spent during peak days and times?
- Is your budget used up all at once?
The timing of your click spend may not be something you’ve put a lot of thought into before, but it actually has a huge impact on your campaign’s overall performance. For example, if your budget is portioned out little by little, and there’s only a small amount of money leftover (after the substantial management fee) for your clicks, then your ads will only run for an hour or two each day. Obviously, this is not going to provide you with satisfying results. To better understand how your money is being spent, you need to find out when it’s being spent.
How to Avoid Being Ripped Off
Don’t let this blog post scare you away from PPC services. PPC is a super-efficient way to attract leads, even if it’s a little pricey. The trick is to find an online advertising company that’s honest and professional. For instance, at Prospect Genius, we do charge a small management fee for PPC services; however, we tell you exactly how much it is so you can see what’s going to Google and what’s going to our team. And if the portion reserved for AdWords clicks won’t be enough to support a strong campaign, then we’ll tell you not to do PPC at all. Why? Because the meager results wouldn’t be worth your investment. Unlike other companies, we refuse to just pocket our management fee while your business flounders. Furthermore, we provide our clients direct access to campaign reporting. With these reports (easily accessible by logging in to your portal account), you can see how much we’re spending each day, your average ad position, and even what each ad looks like! We also develop an ad schedule with you, so you can have a say in when your ads appear. Shed some light on your PPC services! Talk to your provider to get some answers. Or feel free to get in touch with Prospect Genius to discover how we’re different.