By Mateen Agha, SEO Lead at ForwardPMX
Paid search marketing enables businesses to advertise their products and services by sponsoring listings on a search engine or websites like Google. It is known as PPC (pay-per-click) because the advertiser pays every time their ad is clicked. More and more brands are beginning to recognize the importance and see it as a sure-fire way of quickly generating quality leads.
According to Statista, in 2017, it was predicted that $92.4 billion would be spent globally on paid search. In 2018, paid search spending reached $124 billion globally and was forecasted to reach $136 billion in 2019. As the paid search industry becomes more and more competitive, transparency between brands and agencies becomes an increasingly fundamental selling point.
Establishing transparent communication can be a key factor in the success of an ad campaign. This is because insights and feedback from clients can steer campaigns in the right direction if they are not performing well. It can also yield better results as transparency is key to richer and enhanced communication.
For agencies, establishing transparency with their clients builds trust and a genuine partnership. This helps them not only retain their clients but also improves their reputation in the market.
Despite that, transparency remains a challenge, because agencies wouldn’t want to divulge all their methods. With tight deadlines and high KPIs, it can also be time-consuming to explain or share everything about a campaign.
So, how can we ensure that there is established transparency between agencies and clients?
Establish accessible, open data
Instead of waiting to receive performance reports through email, clients should be able to access these reports at any given time. Hence, there should be a medium for clients to access the same data that the agency can access.
This helps agencies and clients work together in real-time to ensure that the ads are optimized daily. This also helps them outweigh the competition, as many agencies still only send traditional monthly reports. With fixed office timings, clients may find it difficult to access updated documents at any time they wish. This also helps improve ad performance, as clients can weigh in with suggestions or inform advertisers on seasonal trends within their industries.
Clients can access this data on any general platform, such as Google Sheets, or any advertising/analytics platform that generates auto-updating reports.
Discuss emerging trends
Transparency can be as simple as working across teams to discuss emerging trends in the market. A simple conversation with experts from different backgrounds, about emerging technology can lead to some innovative and profitable outcomes, which could set you ahead of the competition.
For example, there remains little talk about the impact of voice search on the activity of paid campaigns. Because of this, there is little information for analysts on how to optimize their campaigns for conversational long-tail and question-based search queries.
Therefore, to optimize for voice search (Siri or Alexa, etc.), it would be a good idea to test campaigns in these areas. This helps clients stay ahead of their competition, as they delve into emerging trends early-on and find strategies that best fit their market niche.
Be clear on the attribution method
Numbers can be misleading, even when they are true. Advertisers often attribute their results through different models. When it comes to communicating this with clients, it’s better to be transparent about taking a multi-channel approach, as it is much more beneficial than just looking at the impact of paid search.
An intra-channel model views which paths users take within paid search, such as it is found in AdWords. This type of model helps locate the values of the campaign and assists analytics to identify where they should focus their budget. However, it could result in some duplication of the numbers reported; hence, it can be unintentionally misleading.
A multi-channel model follows a holistic approach to results. It offers more transparency on each channel’s value and helps to identify which areas need added investment. Higher investment across digital areas that prove to be of value, leads to increased efficiency and higher profitability.
When it comes to establishing transparency, it can be beneficial for clients to know the impact of automation in running and managing paid search campaigns. However, transparency in automation and innovation can be a sensitive subject.
Despite that, there are benefits of sharing data when it becomes available, since it’s not the data that will allow for innovation, but what is done with it, that will provide the real change. The strategy, optimization, and testing remain significantly important.
Keeping clients aware of the value-added by machine learning and automation, and the cost associated with it, can be very beneficial for both parties. This is especially important because it emphasizes the need for an analyst in utilizing these tools.
Today, automation enables advertisers to focus their efforts on strategy rather than administration. Year by year, automation continues to play a more central role across all industries. In the advertising industry, it is helping experts execute and test strategies that work better for clients.
All in all, open communication and transparency pave the way for building stronger partnerships and can ultimately be the key to developing better insights and results to bring value to the client.
Opinions expressed in this piece belong to the author.