May 5, 2020

What Should You Expect To Pay For PPC Management Services?

What Is Involved In A Professionally Managed PPC Account?

A typical day in the life of a PPC management involves: 

  1. Initial daily checks

noting down anything that has changed for the worse/better to be then later looked into in more depth to understand why. 

  1. Calls

to discuss urgent concerns or new changes needed because of a promotion, report on results, insights, & actions.

  1. Monthly, weekly and even daily reports 

dependent on the spend of the account.

  1. Keeping up to date

on the latest updates to ad channels like Google or Facebook, which change daily!

  1. Disapprovals

if sites go down, or ads getting disapproved which would need urgent attention.

  1. Ideas to grow the account

to get more enquiries. to do this can take minutes, hours, or days to review, analyse what has happened, why it has happened so that the account manager makes the right choices to strategy.

  1. Implementing new campaigns

which includes writing new ad copy, and creating new ad banners if its a display campaign. 

  1. Landing page creation and testing

writing copy, adding images, setting up tracking, testing, building the page/s.

To understand the true WHY, can take time. The time taken to discover this is dependent on experience & some things are just more apparent than others.
An experienced heating engineer will successfully diagnose your heating system problem in as little as 5 mins and then come up with the best solution to fix within the next 5 mins, as opposed to a newly qualified engineer who may take hours to get to the real cause or may even diagnose incorrectly altogether. They both charge the same for different amounts of time taken; it's the experience & skill that is valuable.

The Importance of Tracking & Software Tools for PPC Management

To understand specific questions that will inevitably be raised during the time of an ad account, like, why have lead numbers dropped? Why has the cost per lead increased? Why are we not showing for X keyword? These questions will not be able to be answered if, the appropriate tracking, account set up is not put in place from the start. Call tracking, form tracking, click fraud software, Google Analytics set up properly, the right ad account structure to make sure your ad shows for the correct ad copy; at the right time is all needed to diagnose the problem accurately every single time.

Tracking & software specialist

When you expand into more than one marketing channel, software tools are needed and we recommend even before then to ensure quickest results & growth.

  • Tracking tools (from £49/m)

Imagine you run ads on Google ads, and the account manager can accurately report on where the leads came from using Google Analytics & Google Ads, as the calls and form submissions can only be coming from 1 channel. You're not advertising anywhere else. But even then if you start to rank organically on Google or Bing and you report to get more calls than what the PPC account manager sees you may not be able to identify which call came from which channel. But especially when you start to put more resource into one or more channels if its an ad channel or organic one, when the time comes to answer the question, why have my leads dropped/increased, why have cost per lead risen/decreased, there would be no way to know unless you introduce call tracking, form tracking properly for each channel that you expect traffic to come from.

Not having visibility as to where calls come from is why call tracking software tools like Call Rail are so essential. As of writing it is $45/m for the starter package which will be enough for a website that wants to track about 5 channels and get roughly for a site that gets relatively low traffic of under 5000 visits a month. You can also use this to track what calls come from offline advertising like leaflets.

  • Attribution (Full suite from £349/m)

Similar to tracking tools, but when you start advertising on more than 1 ad channel you need a software tool that can track conversions but also can attribute the right channel properly. Many call/form tracking tools include attribution measuring as well.
Did Google Ads solely contribute to that lead or was it only 1 interaction with your company among other interactions like visiting your Facebook page, Banner ad and so on?

  • Click fraud tools (From £49/m)

when running ads on Google Search or Google Display, there is inevitably going to be competitors clicking on your ads, and bots created by fraudsters imitating an ad click, it's a way that publishers increase how much money they get paid by allowing advertisements on their sites. Fraud is nothing new, it's just happening online as well as in previous decades where it was only happening offline.

  • Automation & Scripts (From £49/m)

Imagine paying for 1 persons time. They would be able to perform X amount of tasks in X amount of time. Now introduce that same person but with the support of automation, that same person will be able to increase the amount of optimisations, ads, & campaigns created for the same time. It's a win-win for agency and client in a lot of cases.
The amount of strategic work (which is what will ultimately improve your accounts performance resulting in more or better leads) will increase as the more manual, tedious but still important work is carried out faster with the help of automation.
These tools do cost the agency to buy off-the-shelf or to develop in-house so either the agency will increase your fee or keep it the same and add more accounts for your account manager to manage. You become 1 of 20 instead of 1 in 10. You won't be told this, & it would only become a problem if its evident you now have become a small fish in an ever-increasing pond, where communication and quality of time spent strategically declines. Otherwise, it is a positive impact on your account.

  • Landing page & conversion boosting software (from £79/m)

As advertising online is maturing, it gets more competitive. You need to up your game. Setting up great ads and targeting is NOT ENOUGH anymore. Where you choose to send that traffic is just as important. Think that layout, that headline copy, that form design, is on purpose when you hear people getting great results from advertising on Google Ads? You can create specific landing pages on your website, but typically a PPC account manager can't rely on the website platform or web developer to make the changes quick enough to keep up with the testing that's needed to find out what works to get that CPA or number of leads you require. Landing page software like Unbounce, Instapage, & Convertflow, and Webflow help account managers become independent to get the job done.
Additionally, heatmap and screen recording software like HotJar can be added to help further identify things to improve landing page conversion rate & sales. For higher traffic accounts it can be of benefit to have an a/b testing and conversion optimisation program as a separate service to support all channels including PPC.

Resources Needed From A Professional Account Manager

So that is the standard tools which the agency or consultant will advise you to pay for, or they will include within their management package as a 'tech' cost to run effective advertising.
Now it's time to dive into the actual time for someone or a team of people to manage the ad account/s & utilise those tools.

Resources needed for managing ppc accounts
  • Amount of ad spend 1 person can realistically manage

1 person with the appropriate hybrid of automation tools and manual strategy management should be able to manage an account up to an ad spend of £75k/m whether that is 1 account of a total from a selection of smaller accounts. It can be less if the spend is spread out across multiple ad channels as multiple ad channels present additional complexity.
Over and above £50k/m and there will likely be a supporting executive to help keep up with changes, & regular essential optimisations.

  • Month to month work

Some months there will be more time spent than is profitable for the agency. That can be because there is a big promotion, major change in the client's industry that they need to react to, results drop, setting up tests, new campaigns, or a new detailed strategy needs to be put in place which depicts the plan for the next 3+ months. Some months there won't be as much actual work carried out but instead analysing, monitoring the tests, changes made in the previous month needs to be given time, and monitoring, and analysing what happens is the best & most responsible thing an account manager should do., otherwise making too many changes all the time, will result in not understanding what had made the difference. Testing for testing sake is a big mistake inexperienced account managers make, especially when there is pressure from the client to rush & improve things quickly.

How Do Agencies & Consultants Charge?

Agencies typically mask their prices
  • Set up fee or not?

If the account is new or there needs a lot of work to improve it before going live, set up fees get introduced. It is time-intensive and can take many days to set up an ad account to a professional standard.
Many agencies charge a set-up fee with a slightly lower management fee.
While some offer a free set up with a higher monthly management fee. Free set up, and a low management fee is a fully automated solution with no strategy value added in at all. Worthless. Yell.com is an example of this type of solution, having 100+ clients per account manager! That's an expensive way to pay for management fee as the value and results will be poor more often than not.

  • Percentage of spend

A popular way to price for ongoing management. There is a minimum amount of ad spend that this fee structure applies to, however, as there is a base level of work needed, no matter how small the account is. An ad account that spends £500/m needs as much work to set up and manage as one that spends £2000/m. But any higher and the tools and processes needed in place to manage larger changes.

  • Flat fee

Another popular way to charge for ad account management is a flat fee where it is determined how much time and resource is needed to make a given company successful. Managing 1 ad account like Google ads is much easier than managing Google Ads, Facebook Ads, & Microsoft Ads at once. So typically if you need to grow as the current ad channel has been maxed out, then expect to be charged extra for an additional ad channel because of reporting, tracking & attribution complexity. Or otherwise, it will be a case of moving their resource from one ad platform to another and neglecting management on the original ad channel, which is not something companies will want to do.

  • Pay Per Lead

This is a great model in theory and primarily works well in specific industries like finance, & cosmetic where the price of each sale is high and volume is high.
You will likely just being buying leads either exclusively, which will be more expensive or be given the same potential customer as 3+ other companies. The disadvantage is it does not build your brand. You will not be advertising your brand and focusing more on just becoming a sales engine.

  • Hourly

Freelancers typically charge this way on websites like fiverr and marketplaces. The quality of service is low. You get no tools or software included, and the amount of work input is limited to their time.
It can result in being more expensive than fixed fee overtime. Or the account manager becomes de-motivated to be efficient with their time. Or worse, the time needed to make things work is not realised as expectations of time needed to make it work is not understood by the client resulting in cut-backs in hours. You will be entering into a lose-lose relationship.

  • Pay by performance

This is least preferred by agencies/consultants as the control of the whole customer journey is limited for the agency who is normally only looking after getting customers through the door. It's seen as too risky to rely on sales teams you do not know or have worked with before. That said if the relationship is good then it does happen from time to time,

What To Be Cautious Of

Caution, don't slip over un-professional PPC practises
  • Do not offer the tools/software mentioned above.

Be wary of any agency or consultant who does not offer or is not clear about the tools and software they use. No tracking in place will equal a guaranteed failure in results as you won't know if its working and how well its working and they will not know what to optimise as they won't know what's working or not.

  • How many ad accounts does 1 person manage?

1 £500/m client will not cover the salary of an account manager. An experienced account manager avg. salary is £35k a year. An in-experienced one is £25k or lower.
Work in profit margins of anywhere of 1 to 3 and 1 to 6. Do the math for yourself - How many clients does your account manager have?
Found + Form are fully remote, so our profit threshold is lower than traditional agencies as we have 0 office expenses and table tennis tables!
So just be aware if you negotiate a lower rate you will be given a less experienced account manager and/or will become 1 of many.

How Much Will You Pay for Found + Form PPC Management?

We first review what ad channel will work best for your business, not what ad channel we choose because that's what we 'prefer' and sell.
if it's out of our remit, we will say and refer you to the best people of agency we know if our network.
Whether it's your first venture into paid advertising online, or you currently run campaigns, we evaluate if this is optimum & suggest proposals for changes in your strategy.

As we focus on only specific industries, our prices do not need to change drastically and therefore, can be more price-competitive against agencies that work with all sectors.

For home service and mobile service businesses, we offer a flat fee structure starting from £349/m which covers 1 ad channel. Only a percentage of spend fee structure starts when you start seeing a return on £10,000+ ad spend. We typically manage ad spends from £1,000/m to £30,000/m.

Plus £100/m for all the tracking, landing page, click fraud software to make it a success. We need a minimum of a 3 month commitment to give us time to test and get the account to start having a positive ROI.
Working with more than 1 ad channel means more sophisticated tracking and attribution tools need to be in place, so additional ad channels on top of the first one are from £349/m also.
If you prefer we can charge for set up (which starts from £799 with no 3 commitment) and reduce the ongoing management fee, but most prefer a lower entry, putting further ownership on us to drive results.

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