They call me the Google Ads Janitor. I’m always cleaning up messes inside of new clients’ Google Ads accounts. One of the most common messes that I clean up is the Agency Tornado. The Agency Tornado is when a Google Ads agency gets inside of your company’s Google Ads account and stirs up a bunch of trouble. You might have experienced this once or many times before so this might look familiar. But the Agency Tornado timeline goes like this:
A proud, honest small or medium business doing great work for their customers and society is running ads on Google and finds the results to be okay. They think the PPC campaigns are working, but they also have a strong hunch that things could be going better.
The business searches online and finds a few Google Ads agencies, one of them stands out because the person they talk to is a smooth operator, and they decide to hire that agency and let them into their Google Ads account.
And then, despite the promises of great performance and nothing but good times, the account not only fails to get better, things get worse!
Overly complex strategies, bad traffic, confusing results, confrontational phone calls, blame all around, and nothing but stress.
They promised you nothing but great performance, instead you got nothing but a mess.
Your results got worse not better, and the worst part is that you don’t even know how to remedy the situation and get the account at least back to where it was before the agency messed things up.
This is the kind of mess that Agency Tornadoes cause, and that’s when I come in as the Google Ads Janitor to clean things up.
How to hire Google Ads agencies the right way.
The two ways to avoid a mess like this are to 1) make the agencies talk and 2) come up with a transition plan.
Make the agencies talk. Audit reports are meaningless. Anybody can put anything on a stupid PDF and make it look nice with fancy graphics and images. If you’re deciding to hire a Google Ads agency based on a PDF, you’re invited an Agency Tornado to roll through your account. PDFs don’t mean anything. Make them talk to you face to face like you do when you hire vendors offline in the real world. Imagine hiring an important supplier based on a PDF they send over instead of having multiple face to face meetings with them. That’s crazy. And it’s crazy to do that in the online world as well.
Instead of accepting a PDF, tell them upfront, NO PDFS!!! And in replace of the PDF audit report, have multiple face to face conversations. Virtual meetings are fine, but the camera needs to be on and they need to be face to face. Ask them questions and make them talk.
1. Who specifically will be managing my Google Ads account?
2. Who specifically will I be in contact with, and how will I be able to contact them?
3. Don’t send me a PDF. Look at my account with me right now. What are you seeing? What kind of shape is it in? What’s wrong with it? What’s currently working?
4. How can you improve my account? Don’t tell me the end result of your improvements. I don’t care if you are saying my cost per lead will be 50% lower. I want to know how you will get that cost per lead 50% lower.
5. What’s the plan?
After meeting face to face and looking at the account together, the next step should be coming up with a transition plan. This needs to be a simple, written out plan that will guide the first three months of work while the Google Ads account is transitioned from being managed internally to being managed by the new agency.
Sometimes running the same campaigns and improving them over time is fine. Sometimes if makes more sense to make new campaigns. And sometimes a mix of both strategies is the right call. But the important thing is that there is a plan.
Google Ads agencies with good people and talented people can provide a lot of value to businesses that are advertising on Google. But bad agencies with a lack of PPC talent and communication skills can make your Google Ads account worse. They can put you in the middle of an Agency Tornado.
The best way to avoid hiring a bad agency is to make them talk, and to make them talk a lot. This will help you understand if they know what they are doing. If they are confusing and you don’t understand what they’re talking about, then don’t hire them. But if they can verbally communicate how they can help you and you are able to understand the strategies that they want to implement and you feel comfortable with them, then that’s a good sign.
And from there, having a transition plan is key. What campaigns will continue running? How will we improve those campaigns? What new campaigns will be built? What is the point of those new campaigns? Answering those transition questions and having a plan will help you avoid making your account worse and will help ensure that you and the agency you hire have the same goals for your account and that you both understand exactly how you will go about achieving those goals.
Hiring an good Google Ads agency can improve your results and your return on ad spend. But it is a very consequential decision and it should not be made lightly. Good luck!