“Jar Jar Binks” PPC agencies sow FUD


adwords-fudSometimes I come across SEO/PPC agencies that have turned completely to the dark side, while others have business practices that make them more like Jar Jar Binks from the later Star Wars films. You know: irritating and hard to understand.

I often hear of Pay-Per-Click agencies approaching my clients using FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt) as their sales weapon of choice – the “We notice that your PPC campaign is being poorly managed and costing you too much…let us take over for free for 30-days’ tactic.

Fortunately, I have very good, long-term relationships with my clients and they trust my advice and the services I provide. But anything that rocks the boat will unsettle the passengers (even if they do think I’m a good skipper…)

So let’s address the most common FUD fodder raised by these agencies and a hypothetical conversation with their sales rep if only I had the chance:

Jar Jar PPC salesperson: Your PPC adverts are not showing for the search term ‘Blue Widget’ – this is BAD as I understand your business completely and know you sell blue widgets (because I just spent 5 mins speed-reading your website before I called you).

Me: Did you notice if I had ad scheduling switched on and if the ads were off when you checked? I thought not because you can’t see that. Maybe I paused ‘Blue Widget’ as a bid keyword due to poor Return On Ad Spend (ROAS). How’s the ROAS looking to you? Oh, I forgot, you can’t see that either. Did you speak to my client to see if they have a Blue Widget supply issue that means I may be throttling demand? Nope. I thought not.

Jar Jar PPC salesperson: OK but your PPC adverts don’t have the search term ‘Blue Widget’ in the display url – this is BAD as Click Through Rate (CTR) is much higher when keywords are inserted.

Me: You should stop reading ’10 killer ways to…’ e-books on AdWords: sometimes this technique works to improve click-throughs on the advert, other times it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, I pull that version of the advert.

Jar Jar PPC salesperson: Hmm. Wait (rustling of paper) I notice that your PPC adverts are not showing for the search term ‘Best Blue Widget’ – this is BAD because this is a very popular search query.

Me: How well does it convert and at what cost?

Jar Jar PPC salesperson (now with trembling voice): You’re going to mention return on ad spend again…aren’t you?

Me: Are you a betting man?

Jar Jar PPC salesperson: OK but I’m sure we can improve something in your AdWords campaign! Did I say it’s free for 30 days and no obligation so ‘there’s absolutely no risk at all’™?

Me: Yes, you did. But there are actually three very obvious risks:

  1. You could screw up the campaign beyond all recognition inc structure, ads, keywords (+ve and -ve) and bids that have taken months to develop and optimise
  2. You may increase PPC costs
  3. 30-days is a long time to be losing business if things go wrong…

Nuff said. Dream on.

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