Outsourcing PPC in 2023: The Definitive Guide + Pros & Cons
Are you considering outsourcing your pay-per-click (PPC) management in 2023?
Before doing so, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of outsourcing your PPC campaigns.
PPC channels include paid search, display advertising and social media ads. These ad platforms change rapidly, from user interface changes to algorithm shifts, so it can be challenging to stay up-to-date. We’ll provide an overview of the potential benefits of outsourcing PPC in 2023, as well as the potential pitfalls.
We’ll also provide a detailed guide on how to outsource PPC, including tips on choosing the right agency or freelancer, setting up the right contracts, and ensuring the success of your campaigns. Read on for the definitive and up-to-date guide on outsourcing PPC in 2023.
What is PPC Outsourcing?
PPC (pay per click) outsourcing refers to engaging a marketing agency, freelancer or contractor to manage your company’s PPC campaigns. PPC channels include paid search, display and social ads, but the term PPC is often used to refer to just Google and Bing Ads.
This type of advertising is a great way to get your brand in front of potential customers, and it can help you generate leads, increase sales, and build brand awareness. It’s especially powerful for direct-response marketing.
Why Outsource PPC Management?
By outsourcing your PPC campaigns, you can focus on other aspects of your business while leaving the day-to-day management of your campaigns to a dedicated team or expert. The right PPC agency/freelancer can provide valuable insights into your campaigns and help you optimize ad accounts to get the best results.
A good PPC agency will be able to identify areas for improvement and recommend strategies to help you reach your goals. They can also help you with bidding strategies, keyword selection, and ad copywriting, as well as provide performance reports that measure the success of your campaigns.
The optimization and testing process that a PPC team provides ensures that campaigns run efficiently, and that budgets are spent in the most effective way possible.
Given that PPC agencies typically work with a large number of clients, and spend significantly on the ad platform each week, they have access to learning economies of scale where they can test new tactics on large audiences, which allows them to learn faster and translate these learnings into tactics that they can apply for their clients.
PPC outsourcing can be a great way to maximize your returns from PPC advertising and ensure that you are getting the most out of your budget.
How PPC Outsourcing Has Evolved In Recent Years
The past five years have seen a dramatic shift in the PPC and Google Ads landscape. Automation and artificial intelligence have become increasingly important, as Google has sought to make the process of creating and optimizing ads easier and more efficient.
Automated bidding strategies and machine learning algorithms have enabled advertisers to reach their desired goals faster and more accurately than ever before.
Additionally, Google Ads has introduced a number of new features, such as Smart Bidding, Dynamic Search Ads and Performance Max Campaigns, which have helped marketers to better target their audiences and improve their marketing ROI.
Finally, with the rise of voice search and proliferation of mobile devices, the way that people interact with PPC ads has changed, requiring advertisers to adapt their strategies to the new landscape.
All in all, the past five years have seen a massive shift in the way that PPC and Google Ads are used, with automation and AI playing a major role in this transformation.
Recent changes to Google Ads have had a major impact on both PPC outsourcing and PPC agencies. These changes include stricter rules around ad targeting, increased competition for certain keywords, and the shift towards greater automation of previously manual tasks.
For PPC agencies, the changes have meant that they have to focus on different areas of account optimization for their clients. The changes have also caused a shift in the type of services that these agencies offer, with more emphasis being placed on providing strategic advice rather than simply running and optimizing campaigns.
Overall, the changes to Google Ads have been challenging for both PPC outsourcing and PPC agencies, but those who are able to adapt quickly will be well-positioned to succeed in the future.
5 PPC Terms to Know When Outsourcing
PPC can be a confusing space, it’s highly technical and acronym-heavy. PPC agencies and digital marketers in general are often prone to using jargon. Here’s some terms you might encounter when discussing a potential project:
1. Cost Per Click (CPC)
This is the amount an advertiser pays for each click on their ad. The CPC will vary based on the keyword, the competition, and the quality score of the ad.
2. Quality Score
This is a measure of how relevant and useful an ad is to a potential customer. The higher the quality score, the lower the CPC.
3. Conversion Rate
This is the percentage of visitors who take an action when they click on an ad, such as making a purchase or submitting a contact form. A higher conversion rate indicates that the ad is using relevant targeting and resonating with your audience.
4. Landing Page
This is the page that visitors are taken to when they click on an ad. A landing page should be tailored to the message of your search ads, with clear calls to action and an easy way for visitors to make a purchase or complete the desired conversion action.
5. Bid Management
This is the process of setting bids for each keyword to maximize ad performance and minimize costs. Bid management can be done manually, but is increasingly done with automated strategies like target CPA or maximize conversions.
Pros & Cons of PPC Outsourcing
Outsourcing PPC can yield fantastic results – the right provider can help you to fix ailing Google Ads accounts or scale once you’ve validated that the channel is a good fit for your product/service category.
However – it’s not without its risks. There are shady PPC providers out there, and even the best paid search team can run into issues if your requirements are miscommunicated or your measurements of success are misaligned.
We take a look at some pros and cons of PPC outsourcing below:
Pros of PPC Outsourcing
Access to expertise
Managing PPC accounts in-house can work, but it can also bring disaster. Google makes it easy to set up and spend quickly, and if you’re not careful, you can quickly burn cash before seeing any meaningful results.
This is where relying on a proven PPC provider can help – they have the ability to audit your industry, identify opportunities and generate the best results for your budget. Given that PPC agencies typically manage hundreds of ad accounts, they have the benefit of learning what works at scale.
They also have access to dedicated Google reps that can offer enhanced technical support to fix issues faster, and often have access to beta ad features before anyone else.
More time to focus on other areas of business
PPC management and optimization isn’t for everybody, it requires a lot of time analyzing data, crunching numbers and understanding how various metrics in an ad account interact with each other and contribute to success.
Knowing which lever to pull can be hard, and it’s often not in the best interest of a business to have internal marketers running an ad account when it can be more efficiently outsourced.
By outsourcing your PPC ad management you can free up your team’s time to focus on more strategic areas of the marketing experience, refine your company message and optimize the journey from prospect to customer.
PPC consultants are experts at getting the most out of Google Ads for their clients. They understand the nuances of the platform, how to optimize campaigns for better performance, and what strategies get the best results for different client types.
One of the most important things they do is use data and analytics to analyze campaigns and make adjustments based on performance.
They are also adept at using the latest features, such as automated bidding and remarketing, to maximize the effectiveness of campaigns. Agencies may use software tools that can add to the efficiency of their clients campaigns, that simply wouldn’t be cost effective for in-house teams to implement.
With all these elements in place, it’s not surprising that Google Ads agencies are able to achieve better results than those who are not as experienced in the platform.
Cons of PPC Outsourcing
It can be expensive
When coupled with media spend on ads, an expensive agency partner can make the ROI of any PPC campaign questionable. While PPC providers have a variety of engagement models, many charge a percentage of spend, which can add up quickly if your marketing budget is limited.
Generally the efficiency that’s gained by working with a reputable PPC team or freelancer offsets their cost (and you should be monitoring their value-add to campaigns carefully), but if you’re paying for a ‘set-and-forget’ ads manager, you might be flushing marketing budget down the drain.
Choosing the right agency is tricky
Some PPC agencies may not have the experience or knowledge necessary to create effective campaigns. This can lead to wasted ad spend, as well as lost opportunities for conversions and sales.
Less-reputable PPC agencies may not be using the most up-to-date strategies and tools, which can make it difficult to keep up with the competition.
Lastly, some PPC providers may not have the customer service or support available when it comes to troubleshooting or optimizing campaigns, as can be a common issue when working with an external partner.
Finally, bad PPC agencies may have hidden fees or charges that can quickly add up. All of these factors can lead to a lackluster experience, so it’s important to do your research before hiring a PPC agency.
Before engaging with an outsourced PPC provider – get a handle on their communication cadence.
Ask good questions when interviewing potential PPC partners. When will you meet with their team? Who will you be meeting with and for how long? How often will you receive reports and what metrics will they be reporting on?
As a general rule – poor communication, or not enough communication, leads to worse marketing results. Agencies and freelancers can be notorious for patchy communication and flakiness, so check references for any issues around communication before starting an engagement.
Examples of When You Should Outsource PPC
- Proving out the channel – you want to test the waters
If you haven’t yet tested paid search, outsourcing to an agency or freelancer can be a great way to prove out the channel. You’ll get access to serious expertise, so you’ll get a better understanding of whether it’s a cost-effective acquisition channel for your business.
However, if you don’t yet have product-market fit confirmed, it may be best to hold off on investing in paid acquisition channels like PPC.
While these channels can actually be used to prove product-market fit and validate assumptions around product/service features that your target audience wants, going in too early can burn budget quickly as your messaging or audience targeting might be way off.
- Proven, but plateauing, want to scale
If you’ve been running PPC ads for a while, and the channel is profitable but you’re starting to see results plateau, outsourcing might be a great idea.
Agencies can offer battle-tested strategies for taking accounts from thousands of dollars in spend per month to hundreds of thousands of dollars, adding incremental budget and maintaining your CAC:LTV ratio to make sure you’re scaling efficiently.
- You lack the in-house expertise to get results
If your team goes deep in SEO and PR, let them work on that. Unless you plan on implementing training programs or making senior hires to coach on the channel.
Let your team play to their strengths while outsourcing internal areas of weakness to the experts.
How to Outsource PPC Management. A Step-By-Step Process
Effectively outsourcing PPC management is relatively simple, as long as you have a clear understanding of what you need, what to look for in an agency partner, and the target KPIs/goals you want to move the needle on.
Step 1 – Document requirements
Do you need a full-service team that does everything from strategy to landing page design? Or do you just need campaign management and optimization to incrementally improve results? These are the kinds of questions you should ask at the outset of your outsourcing project.
Take your time during this stage, build up a robust set of requirements, create a list of questions that you’ll ask PPC agencies or freelancers, and have a set of criteria that you’ll use to evaluate them objectively.
Step 2 – Build a shortlist of PPC providers
Whether you’re looking for an agency or freelancer, you should build up a list of 5-10 potential providers that can meet the requirements you’ve identified in stage 1.
Clutch.co is a great place to find agencies (they’ve even listed Velocity as one of their top PPC providers in NYC ;))
For freelancers you can look at sites like UpWork, Contra or even post to Craigslist or other classified boards.
Step 3 – Reach out, have conversations, and rank providers based on your evaluation criteria
Setup some introductory calls – fill out contact forms on the providers website or shoot them an email and schedule a 30 minute call.
Come prepared with questions, and using the evaluation criteria you identified in step 1, rank providers accordingly.
Eliminate anyone that doesn’t offer what you need, and after grading each, request a proposal from the top performers to get an understanding of their pricing, engagement models, project deliverables and typical timelines.
Step 4 – Sign a client services agreement and get started
Get the right paperwork in place, and have your legal or Ops person give it a good read. This doesn’t have to be a long commitment, in fact, you should be wary of any provider that wants to sign you up for a lengthy contract. Just look out for a solid scope of work and make sure you’re covered if things don’t go to plan.
More and more agencies offer monthly rolling contracts (it’s how we structure all engagements at Velocity) with a 30-day opt-out, so you aren’t tied to one particular provider if the project doesn’t work out.
PPC Outsourcing FAQS
1. What is PPC?
PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click, and it is an online advertising model in which advertisers pay for each click on their ad. It is one of the most popular forms of digital marketing, as it allows companies to target potential customers more precisely and measure the results of their campaigns more accurately.
PPC campaigns can be used to promote a variety of products and services, and the cost of each click can vary greatly depending on the competition in the market. PPC campaigns are managed through platforms such as Google Ads and Bing Ads, and they can be very effective when used correctly. However, they can also be very costly if not handled properly, so it is important to have an experienced team managing your PPC campaigns.
2. What services do PPC agencies offer?
Pay-per-click (PPC) agencies offer a range of services related to online marketing and advertising. The most common service is the management of paid search campaigns such as Google and Bing Ads. PPC agencies can also manage display advertising, social media advertising (Meta, LinkedIn and Twitter Ads), retargeting campaigns, and other forms of digital marketing.
They often provide a combination of services, including keyword research and selection, bid management, campaign setup and optimization, and reporting and analysis. Additionally, they may offer add-on consulting services such as market research, competitor analysis, and design. A good PPC agency will also provide guidance on ad platform best practices, helping you to maximize the return on your marketing investment.
3. How much does a PPC campaign cost?
The cost of a PPC campaign can vary widely depending on the type and size of the campaign, as well as the industry and competition. Generally speaking, a PPC campaign can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to millions of dollars per month. CPC or cost-per-click can vary wildly between verticals/industries from cents to over $50 per click for highly-competitive areas like insurance and law.
The total cost of a campaign will depend on factors such as the monthly search volume for your product/service category, the number of keywords you want to target, and their cost-per-click. A small business may be able to get away with spending a few hundred dollars per month on a small campaign, while larger companies may need to spend significantly more to get results.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the cost of a PPC campaign isn’t just the money spent on ads; it also includes the cost of creating and running the campaign, such as creating landing pages, pushing ongoing optimizations and tracking results.
4. How much does PPC management cost?
The cost of PPC management can vary depending on the size and scope of the campaign. Generally speaking, most businesses will pay between $500 and $5,000 per month for PPC management services, although this can be higher or lower depending on the complexity and size of the project.
The cost will also depend on the amount of time and effort required by the PPC manager to set up and maintain the campaign. Some PPC managers may offer discounts or reduced rates for long-term contracts or for smaller campaigns. It’s important to shop around and compare prices from different providers to make sure you get the best value for your money.
How to Choose the Right PPC Outsourcing Provider
1. Experience and Reputation
When choosing a PPC provider, it is important to consider their experience and reputation. Look for agencies or freelancers that have been in business for a while and have a proven track record of success.
Ask for references from past clients, and be sure to research their online reviews and ratings. Find case studies and testimonials from past clients, and look for evidence of successful campaigns.
2. Services Offered
Not all PPC teams offer the same services, so it is important to consider what type of services you need. Do you just need help setting up campaigns, or do you need ongoing management and optimization? Make sure the agency you choose has the right services to meet your needs.
Also – different industries have different requirements when it comes to PPC, and it is important to make sure that the agency you choose is familiar with the nuances of your niche.
While you shouldn’t base your decision on cost alone, it is important to consider the cost of working with a PPC agency or freelancer.
Different agencies will charge different rates and work under different pricing models, so make sure you get quotes from multiple providers before making a decision. It is also important to understand what scope is included in the price and what is not.
4. Transparency and communication
Finally, look for an agency that offers transparency and clear communication. It is important that you are kept up to date with the progress of your campaigns, and that all questions and concerns are addressed quickly and clearly.
Get a clear timeline for when work will be done, what channels will be used for project updates and when you will speak with your PPC freelancer or agency of choice.
Outsourcing PPC in 2023 requires careful thought and planning. It can be a great way to reduce costs and free up marketing resources for other areas of your business.
However, there are potential risks involved such as a lack of control and difficulty in evaluating the effectiveness of campaigns if you’re not working with the right partner.
To ensure success, you must do your research and find a reputable agency that has proven experience in the channel, and ideally also in your industry. With the right partner and a well-crafted plan, you can reap the rewards of outsourcing PPC in 2023.