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Are we being overcharged by our SEM?

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I have been assigned to run the marketing for a small Dog Training and boarding facility in los angeles.

 

They have been using a Premier SMB Partner for their Google Adwords campaigns, but they're not really happy with the results, and are trying to figure out if they're being un fairly charged for their campaigns being run by this SMB partner or if they're doing their job.

 

I'm really unsure of how to proceed with this as I have almost no experience in marketing adwords, but I'm a fast learner, so I'd love to hear some ideas on how to check to see how we can protect ourselves and not be overcharged if indeed we are.

 

I've noticed that some of the keywords we're using have a CPC avg cost of $1-2 according to google adwords traffic esitmator, but we're being charged by the SMB partner as much as $6.50 for the same keywords. Am I missing something?

 

Thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks!

2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Are we being overcharged by our SEM?

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi CanyonViewDogs,

 

Do you have access to the account?  That is the best place to start.  Estimates do not always turn into actual CPC's, there are many factors involved there. 

 

There could also be some alternative billing options used here. Do they pay maintenance fees above and beyond the click fees? or are maintenance fees added to the click costs?

 

It's tough to say do this one thing...gaining access to the account would be the first and most important piece of the puzzle.

 

And then you can start learning about adwords - which is a completely different discussion.

 

Good Luck!

 

-Tom

Tommy Sands, AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’

Re: Are we being overcharged by our SEM?

Badged Google Partner
# 3
Badged Google Partner
CVD,
You need access to the account or some really good reporting. Ask for a keyword list with impressions, clicks, cost and conversion data by day in an excel format (so you can more easily manipulate the date). It'll be a lot of data only then will you be able to figure out what is really going on with the account. It would also be wise to get the same kind of report but for the ads.

Your current partner may also need to be pushed and helped along a bit. Are the landing pages relevant and optimized for conversions? Are they aware of your latest promotions and value props? Do you have Google Analytics (or some other analytics tool) plugged in to give you more detailed insight?

Best of luck!

Re: Are we being overcharged by our SEM?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I do have google analytics, and I have a keyword report they sent me, which I can redact so I'm not naming names. Can I post those here? I'm trying to make a case on whether we should or shouldn't keep them. Thanks!

Re: Are we being overcharged by our SEM?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
I do not have access. They won't allow me to have it since they use it for multiple clients (that's the story I'm getting.) I'll ask about maint fees.

Re: Are we being overcharged by our SEM?

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

Hi,

 

I found this and thought you might like to see it.

 

Advertiser Guide: Working with Google AdWords Premier SMB Partners

 

I would try to find out the details of the agreement your partner entered into to get a feel for what they was promised vs. what was delivered.  Some of the companies listed here are probably quite large and I could understand if the accounts were indeed combined for management reasons, ultimately I can't speak for them.  This kind of set up may also be laid out in an agreement as well. It's really hard to say.  

 

Adwords reports or access to the account, which you may not get, are the only real way to see what is being spent. 

 

I would also start to try and gain an understand of the goals of the account.  Is it to drive traffic to the website? Is it to get inbound phone calls?  Maybe lead forms?  Sales?  What kind of conversions are they tracking and reporting back?

 

I'm curious if it is the cost that is concerning your client or the performance that is concerning them and how long they have been advertising?  Adwords is often based on ROI; what are you getting for your dollar.  The account could be performing as was intended but the return is just not there.  There are so many things that could be happening here.  

 

Try to get as much information from your client as you can on what the deal was and see if you can get any reports and/or invoices from them as well  These should tell you quite a bit. 

 

I really hope that there is just a bit of misunderstanding going on here and with some communication all will be resolved. 

 

Keep us posted!

 

-Tom

Tommy Sands, AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’

Re: Are we being overcharged by our SEM?

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 7
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆

Hi!

 

Okay so let's look at the pros and cons of different pricing models, and then you can decide for yourself if it's a good deal. 

 

1. Subscription Management

 

This is when you pay someone maybe $500/month to manage a small budget (maybe $4,000), so how much you pay isn't related to how well your ads do (which is both good and bad). 

 

Basically if you do this, then you provide little or no incentive for performance, but you are getting the benefit of PPC management without having to hire someone to do it.

 

2. PPA - Pay Per Action

 

With clients of mine, a lot of it is about getting phone calls and enquiries online - and in some cases I'll charge for every enquiry I generate for them. 

 

This works in two ways: either you manage the budget of a company for them and get paid based on the return you generate, or you charge a bit more for actions and use your own money to run the campaign.

 

This is good because there's an incentive (e.g. $10 for a lead or 8% commission) but it means that your agency can bid on your brand and get conversions that would have come in anyway.

 

What you describe is a little odd though - it sounds like the third option:

 

3. % Budget

 

So if you budget $100 a day, and I say that'll cost 10% of your budget, then you spend $110 - $100 goes to AdWords and $10 goes to me for managing your campaigns.

 

The benefits here are that you have a lot more control over your agent because you're paying them by the day, and you can qualify their earnings by performance, etc.

 

What you described sounds pretty crazy to me - I think you should part from any agreements with that company and start doing your own campaigns!

Re: Are we being overcharged by our SEM?

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

The account agreement seems to be a hybrid of 1 & 3. we pay a set amount each month, and they (the advertising agency) take part of it as they're account managment fee and the rest is used as an advertising budget on adwords.

They are one of the big companies listed under the premier smb, which is why my company started using them in the first place.

I have tons of reports, which as I'm a newb to this, I'm still learning how to sort fact from fiction. I can share any reports you're looking for on google docs with redacted info so as not to share private info.

We've been advertising with them for over a year now, and they just signed a new contract back in february, right before I came on. I started asking questions about their usage, and next thing I know, I was volunteered to find out what they're doing with our funds. But it's good to learn this stuff.

I feel very limited because I don't know what reports I'm looking for and even if I did, I don't know what to look for in them. I've done a lot of reading, but none of it seems to pertain to my situation quite yet since I'm not in actual control of the account itself.

My company wants sales, that's our goal of the account, to drive traffic to our website or make calls, etc to generate sales.

Are there certain types of conversion reports I should be looking at more?

It's the cost and the performance of the agency that is in question, we're just not sure if they're doing there job. With Yelp, we can see immediate results, with goog analytics, we can see where our traffic is coming from (althought the ad agency we use tells us that the data from Goog Analytics is not going to match theirs.. I'm not sure why..)

So I guess I need to look at what reports or invoices I need to learn, and how to decipher them.

Again, I'd be happy to share redacted reports with you guys if you think it could help.BTW, our business is a high end dog boarding facility in los angeles.

Re: Are we being overcharged by our SEM?

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 9
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆

You've got your business hat on and that's ideal for this situation. Clicks are good, but what's the added value in having the agency?

 

If you are able to run your own campaigns and not have to pay the agency for conversions or for running it or for anything, then go for it! That way you're taking away the cost of what could be (and should be) easy conversions and what's left will be the added value they bring.

 

Check the contract and see if you can do that. I expect they'll ask a few questions, but your rebuttal can always be "well I managed to get these results very easily - so what is it that you are doing that we can't do ourselves?"

 

 

Re: Are we being overcharged by our SEM?

Top Contributor
# 10
Top Contributor

Hi,

 

Conversions are tracked by placing a bit of code on a web page that follows a set action (visit, call, purchase, form submission etc.) often on a webpage aka a conversion.  For some, this is the 'Thank You' page that follows a lead form, it confirms that a lead form has been submitted and counts one conversion.  For others it could be on a receipt page that follows an e-commerce sale, these conversions can often include a price value when the price of the sale/product is known. There are numerous conversions that can be tracked. If they are being tracked, you should be able to find them somewhere in your status/progress reports.

 

Are there currently any measures in place to determine if a new customer was generated through the Adwords campaign?  If your campaign/account happens to be set up to only direct users to the homepage of your website, there are probably no conversions being tacked beyond visits to the site.  If there is no special phone numbers or call tracking set up, it becomes very difficult to track calls as conversions too.  If your case is similar and there is no specific action based conversion tracking set up on this account, you will only have traffic reports to determine the success/failure of the campaigns.

 

If you're looking to learn more about Adwords, I would suggest that you definitely do some searching here on the community.  There are many very detailed posts directed toward new users.

 

In the meantime, here are a few resources you may find helpful.

 

Intro to AdWords

Adwords Help Center

Learn with Google

How can I start learning about AdWords and it's benefits for my business?

AdWords Help videos on YouTube

Adwords Glossary

 

You can post reports here if you'd like, it does not mean we'll be able to determine any more than you can.

 

Hope this helps!

 

-Tom

 

 

Tommy Sands, AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’