Most Marketing Leaders I work with outsource (part of) their digital advertising execution. Here are a few questions to ask when you either manage or select an agency and want to drive accountability for results:
Do they focus on your Google Quality Score?
Can they take responsibility for moving it up a few points? This will help you win more "keyword auctions" or better prices and create instant ROI impact. It also separates good agencies from the rest. To drive this they should provide monthly recommendations for your team regarding ad creative and content for landing pages.
Are they constantly pruning traffic and clicks?
One of the most important areas of focus to increase SEM impact and ROI is to weed out the traffic that is either not converting, not driving value or lowering your quality score. Adding negative keywords should be a constant discipline to improve the quality of your clicks.
Do you get long TAIL recommendations?
What should you do beyond the obvious recommendations you get from Google (that are often self-serving by the way)? Is your agency doing competitive research based on organic results? Are they constantly trying to learn more about what your audience is trying to do? Every digital marketer understands the value of finding the right longtail opportunities. This is time-consuming work and could be something your agency should spend more time on.
Is your agency applying an integrated approach?
All clicks that you pay for should be part of the constant optimization of spend. Is your agency benchmarking across all channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Adwords, Dstillery, retargeting, buying lists etc.)? To be clear, an agency does not have to be an expert in all, but when reporting ROI, it's critical to take a holistic view.
Are you provided a useful weekly report?
A good report from your Digital Agency should be across all channels; even if your agency is just doing paid search, they should be keeping an eye on organic traffic. Ask to include meaningful benchmarks for both Conversions (to clicks, leads, and wins) and ROI (various "Cost per" metrics) over time (by day, week, month), by channel (Adwords, Facebook Ads etc.), by medium (image, video, text) and by type of content on the landing pages. Here is an example.
Does your agency give you more than you pay for?
The insight an agency gets into the relevance of your value proposition, the behavior of your audience and the performance of your online properties is invaluable. A good agency is able to constantly turn this into high-value advice in the form of campaign ideas, your product, customer service, and insights.