Features

Partner vs. Provider: Bringing Strategy Back to Search

Written on
Sep 22, 2011 
Author
Kevin Buerger  |

ADOTAS – In today’s market, choosing the right partner to execute your PPC search program is critical. But how do you know you’re selecting a true partner — one that will examine your needs and put a plan in place to achieve your full potential — versus a service provider that merely executes a particular action?

The debate is not new to the space. In fact, it’s one of the most common historical debates in all forms of commerce.

How much do you entrust your advertising campaigns to your partners? A shocking number of marketers are relying on service providers, flipping the switch on their automated bid platforms for PPC and walking away. But truly effective search takes so much more strategy, resources and the all-important human touch required to efficiently meet goals.

When looking for the perfect partner for your campaign, it’s important to keep a few key questions and practices in mind while making this critical decision. Here’s a closer look at how to identify a true partner.

Goal Setting

Does your partner help you identify your goals and objectives? Search should not be an aimless venture. After all, you are investing in PPC for a reason.

The first step of any campaign should be to figure out what that reason is. Are you trying to lower your cost per acquisition? Or do you want to drive more traffic to your lead form?

A great partner will help you identify those goals and work with you to map KPIs and reports directly to your goals so that together you can quickly and efficiently test, tweak and optimize campaign performance.

Strategy

Once you have identified your goals, the next step is to map out a strategy to achieve them. A partner should be able to help you understand, create and implement all the critical components that make up your ideal PPC strategy – from keyword selection to creative development to a unique landing page designed to keep people engaged and direct them toward the intended action, whether that is filling out a lead form or converting into a sale.

On the other hand, a service provider who is not invested in your success will typically deliver a generic one-pager highlighting their offerings, leaving it up to you to piece together a strategy on your own.

The Optimization Cycle

Whatever your goals and strategy might be, the optimization cycle must be viewed as critical and continuous. This is where a human touch and expert eye can really make a difference on your bottom line. Campaign performance can vary by the day of week, time of day, season or countless other factors, and continuous testing, refining and optimizing is the only way to ensure you are maximizing the performance potential of your campaign.

It’s uncommon for businesses to have the dedicated resources to handle this continuous process, and even if the resources are available in house, a third-party partner brings experience, expertise and the added benefit of being able to leverage insights and trends across verticals to more quickly and efficiently optimize campaign performance.

Transparency

Communication is key when you are entrusting your campaign strategy to a partner. You should never have to wonder how your advertising is performing or what steps are being implemented to improve results.

When evaluating partners, ask to see examples of reports they provide clients. They should be clear and include actionable insights. Having a dedicated account management contact or team that is available to walk through reports, discuss campaign strategy and other day-to-day activities is also important and can help increase your organization’s knowledge of how PPC performance impacts other channels and bottom-line business goals.

Joint Ownership

Lastly, it’s a good idea to look for a partner whose economic interests are aligned with yours. Some service providers have moved toward a performance-based model, and they will share in the risk for sub-optimal performance and benefit from great performance. When your partner’s bottom line relies on yours, you can rest assured they are going to go the extra mile to ensure you succeed!

Armed with the above considerations, organizations can find an ideal partner to help them achieve their search marketing goals more efficiently.





Kevin Buerger is vice president of North American Sales for PPC agency Jellyfish. Based in New York, Kevin has over 15 years experience in business development, strategy and marketing for leading media properties. Prior to joining Jellyfish, Kevin was head of sales at The Search Monitor, a search marketing tool provider to large advertisers and ad agencies.

Kevin has held senior positions with Reed Business, the leading business to business publisher, Washingtonpost/Newsweek Interactive and Disney Interactive.

Kevin holds a degree in business from University of Vermont.

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