8 Common Ways Your Agency Is Mishandling Your Ad Dollars

8 Common Ways Your Agency Is Mishandling Your Ad Dollars

by Patrick Dunn

It’s no secret that the world of Paid Media Marketing is growing faster than ever. This is especially notable within everyone’s favorite necessity, Google Ads. With all the platform changes and constant shifts in best practices, it can become overwhelming for a small marketing team to keep up with. It is in this state of confusion that most businesses turn to a digital marketing agency to help them stay relevant in a space where it is so easy to fall behind. Let’s face it, we all turn to Google for answers these days, and if your business is not showing up for your key search terms, you’re losing customers to the person who is. While there are lots of really great agencies working honestly and passionately every day, there are also a lot of really bad ones (really, really bad ones). These are the type of agencies that give digital marketing a bad rap because they not only waste their client’s time, but they are also wasting their ad dollars. Below are 8 common ways your agency is mishandling your ad dollars.

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Search Partners

Did you know that not every click/ad dollar in search campaigns go toward searches done within the actual Google Search Engine? Whenever a search campaign is created, Google will automatically opt you into their Search Partner Network. This means your search ads could be shown on any one of the thousands of Google Search Partner sites, often wasting ad dollars on very low-quality clicks and conversions. When was the last time your agency spoke to you about the amount of money spent within the Search Partner Network and how they have performed?

Automatic Placements

Whether you have created a Display, Remarketing, or Search with Display campaign, Google, by default, will opt you in to automatic placements that will serve your ads beyond what you are actually targeting in hopes they can show your ad to users similar to your audience. Unfortunately, similar to Search Partners, we have found very poor performance from these settings and Google Ads does not make it easy to turn off. How much of your yearly ad spend went to poor performing placements?

Location Settings

Do you know where your ads are actually being served? Did you know that even if you are targeting specific cities, states, or countries, you can still end up spending a large portion of your budget outside of these regions? I can’t count how many times we looked at an agency run account and found, due to mishandled settings, that their ad dollars were being spent in areas they do not even serve. The fix is simple, but is your agency utilizing it correctly?

Faulty Tracking

It is very important to make sure the metrics your agency is reporting to you are correct. Whenever they report “conversions” and “cost per conversion,” what are they actually reporting? I can’t count how many times I have audited an account and saw faulty tracking resulting in double-counted conversions or unimportant actions such as button clicks being attributed as conversions. This can greatly mislead the direction of the account and result in wasted ad dollars.

Keyword Malpractice

Using correct keyword match types and regular addition of negatives are some of the most basic common practices amongst agency beginners. Even with that being known, this is still commonly overlooked. Either the agency has assigned someone very junior to the account who has not grasped the importance of keyword management, or the account manager is simply too busy to take their time and show each account the attention it needs to run most efficiently. This can result in thousands of dollars in wasted spend if not fixed over a long period of time.

Not Using Advanced Bid Adjustments

While most people understand device bid adjustments (although, you’d be surprised how many don’t), there are a ton of other useful places where bid modifiers are commonly overlooked. Whether it’s location, demographics, time of day, or specific audience segments, Google provides in-depth data about the users interacting with your ads, and if that data is not being utilized properly, you could be far overspending what you should be.

Inefficient Bid Strategies

There is a constant pressure to turn over bidding strategies to Google’s automated bidding strategies, but is it the right decision for your specific business? We see a lot of agencies toss one of Google’s automated strategies on an account without much thought given to it. However, these strategies are not one-size-fits-all and can leave much on the table if not utilized correctly.

Baseless Campaign Strategy

It seems like each month Google unveils a new campaign, ad, or bid strategy, and then there’s a rush to be a part of the latest trend. While it’s crucial to stay up to date with industry trends, not every campaign type is for every business. I’ve done countless account audits where thousands of dollars were being wasted on poorly set up video, Gmail, display, remarketing, search with display select, and more, campaign types. While these campaign types have their own place within the marketing funnel, depending on your budget, there may not be room to be in all of these spaces and it is important to focus your ad dollars on what is driving the most success.

The world of paid digital advertising can be mystifying. Do you need help figuring out if your digital marketing dollars are being spent effectively? Would you like an expert opinion on how your campaigns and analytics are currently set up, and what you could do to improve your results?

Apogee Results offers a complimentary Paid Search Report Card. We look at a half dozen key metrics and provide you with our analysis and recommendations at no cost or obligation – simply a 30-minute debriefing to help you better understand where you are and where you might be able to improve.

Patrick Dunn leads Apogee’s Paid Search department. His team is responsible for the strategy, implementation, and growth of all Paid Marketing efforts. He has experience working both in-house and at agencies in both Houston and Austin. He has successfully managed campaigns across multiple industries including several multi-million dollar a month campaigns.

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