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How to Choose the Best PPC Marketing Agency

Updated 2/26/24

When it comes to boosting your audience and increasing your reach, there are many digital marketing methods that produce results. PPC marketing is one aspect of digital marketing that many companies don’t know a lot about. If you are looking to up your game, adding PPC to your strategy can really help pinpoint qualified leads.

What Is PPC Marketing?

Pay per click (PPC) marketing means you place an ad on a search engine or website and pay for every click that leads to your landing page. You will establish the parameters of the campaign, agreeing to the cost-per-click (CPC). In order to be effective, you will want to track how high your conversion rates are with various ads or platforms, measuring the cost-per-acquisition (CPA). The lower the CPA, as long as the quality of traffic and conversions are there, the better.

Every time you complete a Google search, those first few results that start with Ad are PPC campaigns.

And if you’ve ever noticed a banner ad on a website or social media feed that is offering you the supplement, shoes, or book you just looked at, then you’ve seen another type of PPC ad.

There are both flat-rate PPC and bid-based PPC. While many websites offer flat-rate, search engines often turn to bid-based PPC. Google and Bing let brands battle out who will land in the top paid results for the hottest keywords. This can make it pricy to aim for highly popular search terms and much more cost-effective to aim for local or niche terms.

What is flat-rate PPC?

Flat-rate PPC bidding is when advertisers pay an established, agreed-upon rate for an ad click on a publisher's website or platform. These rates are keyword terms that are based on the level of competition that exists for each specific term on that publisher's website or platform.

What is bid-rate PPC?

Bid-rate PPC bidding is an advertising network where advertisers compete with each other for top ad positioning in organic search results on engines like Google and Bing. These bid-rates are based on the demand for placement for the keywords or searches which advertisers are bidding on.

In both cases, the higher the competition, the higher the rate for a click on your ad.

When Did PPC Marketing Start?

The earliest PPC ads started in the mid-'90s. By 1997, more than 400 big brands were paying $.05 to $.25 for every click. Google started offering PPC on its search engine in 1999 and had established AdWords by the end of 2000. In July 2018, Google rebranded Google AdWords to Google Ads.

Examples of PPC Marketing

Here is a list of the popular places that companies will put their PPC ads.

Paid Search

The most popular kinds of PPC ads are on search engines (mainly Google). These ads include a key link or landing page that is tied to a certain search term. If the user enters the right search query, then the link is listed in the top Ad results. Since the vast majority of search engine users won’t look past the first page, this is a more direct way to ensure you are landing in the top results for relevant searches. Companies can create paid search campaigns through Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising (used for Bing and Yahoo!).

Display Advertising

The flashy bars and boxes you might see within a website page or blog post are display advertising. These are popular methods for increasing brand awareness or retargeting customers who have already explored your site. Effective display ads will be placed on the right sites and target ideal leads.

Social Media Advertising

With billions of people active on social media, brands are popping up in front of their audiences with social media ads on popular platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Users provide the platforms with a lot of information that makes it easier to target qualified leads with social PPC ads.


Visitors that have been to your site, searched for products you offer, made previous purchases, or interacted with your brand in any way can be retargeted for effective marketing. Through social media, websites, and search engines, you can refine your audience parameters to target users that are already familiar with your brand in some way.

Programmatic Advertising

You can effectively display your ads over a number of paid media channels with the automated management elements of programmatic advertising. This PPC method will spread your ad over a network of websites with an automated bidding system. You can use programmatic advertising to target across platforms and channels for a wide reach.

YouTube Advertising

Two billion users are currently active on YouTube every month with 15% from the US. Your ads on YouTube can target audiences that are watching content related to your industry or base the ads off specific behaviors (like retargeting users that have visited your site in the past). YouTube PPC ads can be placed in the search results, within the content, in the discovery areas, and more.

Amazon Marketing

If Amazon was growing at an astronomical rate before (and it was), then 2020 knocked it out of the park with a higher e-commerce surge that came with stay-at-home orders across the country. Amazon made up 38% of all US eCommerce sales for 2020. Amazon's marketing strategies should include optimized storefronts and audience targeting on the platform. There is a wide range of Amazon ad types, including sponsoring products, brands, and stores or creating video and display ads.

What Makes the Best PPC Agency?

Every platform is going to have its own set of rules and best practices for an efficient PPC strategy. Outsourcing your advertising to a top PPC agency will allow you to get the best results and save a lot of time and resources in the process. A good PPC agency is going to remove the guesswork and bring expertise to the table.


An experienced PPC agency lies in its unwavering commitment to transparency. This encompasses clear, data-driven communication about campaign strategies and performance, the assurance of in-house management for consistency and control, and an upfront approach to pricing without hidden fees. Such transparency not only sets the stage for a trusting partnership but also aligns both parties towards common goals, ensuring that your PPC campaigns are strategically poised for success.

Open Communication and Data-Driven Decisions

A successful PPC agency prioritizes transparent communication, ensuring clients are fully informed about the strategies employed and the rationale behind each decision. This involves presenting data in a clear, accessible manner, allowing clients to understand how specific actions drive campaign results. Regular updates and open lines of communication foster a collaborative environment where insights are shared, and strategies are adjusted in alignment with campaign performance.

Direct Campaign Management

Agencies that manage campaigns internally can offer a more cohesive and integrated approach, reducing the risk of miscommunication and ensuring a unified strategy. Being upfront about the agency's capabilities and potential limitations sets realistic expectations, helping to build a foundation of trust between the agency and the client.

Clear Pricing Structure

Transparency in pricing is crucial to building a trusting relationship. Agencies should clearly outline their billing practices, ensuring clients understand what they are paying for. Discussing the approach to cost-per-click (CPC) pricing without hidden margins or unexpected fees is essential. This transparency allows clients to budget effectively and ensures that the focus remains on maximizing campaign performance and ROI.

Reporting Capabilities

A pivotal aspect of a PPC partnership is how an agency integrates data from PPC platforms into a comprehensive reporting system, utilizing tools like Google Analytics and Looker Studio. This integration allows for tailored reports that focus on actionable insights rather than just surface-level metrics. The key lies in understanding the implications of this data—how it informs strategy adjustments and ongoing optimization efforts to drive better campaign outcomes.

Leveraging Analytics for Insightful Campaign Tracking

Effective PPC management hinges on the ability to track performance meticulously. Utilize analytics platforms to set up conversion tracking, enabling a deep dive into how users interact with your ads and website. This data forms the backbone of campaign evaluation, providing insights into which aspects are performing well and which require optimization.

Understanding and Acting on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Identify and monitor KPIs such as click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and cost per acquisition (CPA). These metrics offer a clear view of campaign effectiveness and ROI. Regular analysis allows for data-driven adjustments, ensuring your PPC campaigns are continually refined for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

Transparent Reporting for Informed Decision-Making

Transparency extends into reporting, with comprehensive reports that break down campaign performance in an understandable format. These reports should not only highlight successes but also areas for improvement, fostering an environment of continuous growth and optimization in your PPC strategy.

Questions to Ask Your PPC Agency

There are many options for PPC agencies out there. After sorting through the top PPC firms and agencies, you will want to set up consultations to see what they offer. After they provide a pitch and overview their process, you will want to make sure all of your questions are answered:

  • What PPC certifications does your agency and team have?
  • What PPC channels are you most proficient in?
  • Do you have case studies or results to show me in my specific industry?
  • Are PPC campaigns customized to my specific business? How?
  • What's your minimum monthly spend?
  • How do you choose the keywords and searches before bidding?
  • How often do you report on PPC performance?
  • What platform do you use for reporting?
  • Are reports customized?
  • Do we have a point of contact?
  • How are your management fees structured?
  • Do you do A/B testing for ad copy?
  • Do you write the ad copy? Do we? What about ad design?
  • Can you explain your process, A to Z, and our responsibilities in it?

What Makes the Best PPC Marketing Agency for Me?

Find the best PPC agency for your brand by pinpointing these key traits.

Brand Alignment

A top agency will take the time to learn your business, your goals, your industry, your competition, and the channels that will show true ROI. They will become an extension of your business and not just a vendor.

Budget Management in PPC Campaigns

Navigating the financial intricacies of PPC campaigns is crucial for maximizing their effectiveness. Understanding the nuances of bid optimization, and the agility required in budget allocation based on real-time analytics is important for a PPC agency.

Strategic Financial Planning for PPC

Crafting a budget for PPC campaigns requires a balance between ambitious marketing goals and financial pragmatism. Start by defining your financial boundaries based on historical data and expected returns. This initial step ensures your PPC investment is both aggressive enough to capture market opportunities and conservative enough to mitigate risk.

Bid Optimization for Cost-Efficiency

Leverage automated bid management tools and strategies to get the most out of every dollar spent. These strategies, powered by sophisticated algorithms and machine learning, continuously analyze data to adjust bids in real-time. This ensures that campaigns capitalize on the most lucrative opportunities by targeting the right audience at the optimal bid price..This dynamic approach to bidding helps in reducing wasted spend on underperforming ads and reallocating budget to high-performing areas.

Adaptive Budgeting Based on Performance Analytics

Stay agile with your budgeting. Regularly review campaign analytics to understand which strategies are delivering the best ROI. Be prepared to shift your budget allocation in response to these insights, whether it means scaling up successful campaigns or pausing those that are not meeting performance benchmarks.

Excellent Communication

You should have regular ongoing meetings with your PPC agency where they show you how your PPC campaigns are performing, as well as how that performance affects strategy. A solid PPC partner will keep you updated on industry trends, content needs, and any changes in your business.

Your PPC team should listen when you talk, acting as a thought partner.

Valuable Reporting

The best PPC agency will leverage the best tools to show campaign performance. They will integrate their PPC platforms into your Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager so you have access at any time to the data. They will also build reporting dashboards that tell your team what they need to know, not highlighting vanity metrics that aren’t valuable to your goals.

They won’t just report performance, but also how your strategy is impacted by that performance. They will always look to adapt campaigns, content, and messaging to get better results with each campaign. If something falls flat, they will understand how to adjust moving forward.

Stellar Customer Service

Don’t settle for a team that is anything less than a true partner. Your PPC agency should answer your calls, emails, and questions quickly. They should and will check-in - they will never go MIA or off the grid because they have customers - like you - counting on them.

If your point person is out, you should be contacted so you know how to get ahold of the temporary stand-in or replacement. You should always have a direct line where you can send questions or comments to a person you are familiar with on the team. Their communication should be clear, concise, and professional.

  • Paid Media

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About the author

Morgan Oakes

Morgan is the Paid Media Director at Marcel Digital, specializing in creative ways to provide solutions in paid advertising platforms for all types of goals.