Questions to ask Digital Marketing Agencies Before you Hire Them
How will they measure if the campaign is successful?
What is the long term goal for your account?
Your digital marketing agency needs to determine what the short term and long term goals of your account are.
Most clients need to understand that it can take some time to start ramping up a digital marketing campaign to help get a campaign to a saturation point (at least 60-90 days.) It’s important for you to have a conversation with the agency about how you will both determine how successful the campaign is. It’s important to determine what the one-time value of a new customer is as well as what the lifetime value of new customer acquisition is. The arbitrage of how much you spend on marketing and what the value of new customer acquisition is will help establish how you will gauge if a campaign is successful. Think about how much you’d be willing to spend on a new customer and what the value of a new customer is.
Do the digital marketing agencies team members have significant experience in digital marketing?
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of digital marketing agencies across the United States. It’s important to check the backgrounds of the people at the agency to make sure they have relevant experience and you’re not dealing with a fly by night digital marketing company. So many agencies claim to be digital “experts,” when in fact, they know nothing more than what they read in a book. Don’t get scammed.
Do a review on the leaders of the company who are in charge of digital and make sure they have good reviews and a high number of endorsements on LinkedIn for things like, online marketing, digital advertising, online marketing strategy, internet marketing, etc. You want to make sure that you’re not dealing in the minor leagues.
Have the agency provide you with a list of clients that they’ve worked with?
Depending on the industry that you’re in, it’s helpful if the digital agency has worked with similar clients in the past and that they provide you with several references for those clients. Make sure that if they haven’t worked with any major national brands, that they’ve at least worked with some major regional or local companies. Client references are important to make sure you are dealing with a good digital marketing company. Get at least a few client references that you can speak with.
-side note: if they aren’t OFFERING these testimonials to you, what does this say about them as advertisers? What does it say about how they will market your business?
How much ad spend has the agency managed?
Ask how much spend the agency manages on a monthly basis and what the total spend that they’ve managed over the past few years. You want to make sure that the agency has the relevant experience to take on the digital ad investment that you’re dealing with and they can actually support the spend level that you want them to manage.
Is the digital advertising agency a Google Certified Partner?
Being a Google Certified Partner is important. It shows that the agency has gone through the training that Google provides for its partners and they are willing to jump through the appropriate hoops to ensure they adhere to all of the Google guidelines such as transparency with billing. The Google Partner program requires that its partners are transparent with billing and provides clients with actual logins to see raw spend directly with Google (this helps the client having to deal with ad spend arbitrage.)
Every Google Partner has a profile page, like ours.
How does the digital agency track client performance for clients?
The foundation for optimizing performance with online ad campaigns is analytics and reporting. As you start working with an agency, you want to make sure that the agency gets you set up with Google Analytics or a similar reporting platform so you can monitor results on an on-going basis. If you don’t want to login to Google Analytics to view reporting metrics, the agency can easily set you up with automated reports so you can get a weekly or even daily scheduled email summary of metrics.
Do they use phone call tracking for each campaign?
There are plenty of phone call tracking platforms out there. Some agencies use Twilio for call tracking, and others, like ours, use a CallRail. Using phone tracking for online advertising campaigns will help you get phone call tracking data by each online ad campaign. Phone call tracking will help for campaign attribution and measure the immediate conversions, phone calls when you are not a pure play e-commerce company.
Are they setting up conversion goals for each campaign goal?
Conversion goals could be a number of different things, for a typical local business a conversion would be a form submission on your website or a phone call. If you are an e-commerce company, then your conversions are going to be e-commerce transactions.
For e-commerce tracking, Google Analytics allows you to see all the revenue data and order data broken down by marketing source, for example, Google, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook, Direct Traffic or Referral Traffic. Most major commerce content management platforms allow for easy integration with Google Analytics to provide e-commerce tracking data.
Billing and Transparency:
Does the agency provide you with an actual invoice from the ad network (i.e. Google Adwords, Facebook, etc.)
Often times digital marketing agencies will use an ad network and not bill the client directly from the ad network. In many cases where the agency is going through an ad network, the markup, or arbitrage, on the campaign is extremely high. I’ve seen markup on CPMs as high as $10 when the agency is actually buying the CPM for $2. This is very important to look at to make sure the agency is being honest with its billing practices. Most of the inflated markup with digital comes from local media companies selling to local businesses (i.e. local TV stations, Newspapers as well as DSP’s (demand-side platforms). It’s important to make sure the digital advertising agency gives transparency to the client to make sure the client does not overpay.