How to Audit Your Ad Agency:

Top 10 Questions

Today I’m going to tell you what questions you should be thinking about when you audit your current ad agency or are looking for a new one.

Let’s dive right in.

Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising isn’t your expertise. It makes perfect sense to outsource PPC management for apartment communities to a skilled agency who can bring in leads at the lowest possible cost per move-in.

But it doesn’t make sense to not watch over their work.

Are you uncertain about your PPC agency?
Are you looking to hire a new agency and want to know what to look out for?

Whether you’re auditing your current agency or looking to hire a new one, this checklist will help you vet the external marketers tasked with running ads to your portfolio of communities.

The Agency Audit Checklist

I own the AdWords and Search Console account

Make sure you are the owner of the AdWords account and Google Search Console account.  If you ever decide to leave your agency you may not be able to easily take your historical data and account reputation with you.

Click here to see what others have to say about this subject.

Are my Brand Campaigns running all the time

Unless you have a new brand or rebranded recently, or your brand is being hijacked by a competitor, you most likely do not need to be running a brand campaign.

It could spending more money than you need to.

My business goals are aligned with my agency’s goals

Unless your agency has a wealth of experience in multifamily, they may not understand the business goals for a property manager. Which is why it’s important to define and set business goals as soon as possible.

Depending on how you set your business goals, this could also determine how you set up your campaign and ad group account structure.  Not every campaign will have the same goal.

The reporting is uncomplicated

If you only get a slew of reports with metrics and charts and graphs, then the agency may be hiding behind complicated reporting?  This doesn't mean you should not get those reports.

But reporting should answer these questions:

  • How is PPC contributing to your business goals?
  • What was learned from adjustments and testing in past PPC campaigns?
  • What can be done to make all the stages of the sales funnel successful?

The reporting is robust

You are not always going to have time to get into the weeds, but when you do here are some items you should be aware of. The reporting from your agency should make it easy to determine the following:

  • Wasted Spend - Learning what keywords are targeting the wrong audience.
  • Quality Score - Learning how your quality score is changing over time. High-quality scores mean higher rankings and lower cost per click.  
  • Landing Page Optimization – Learning what landing pages are converting better than others. Generally, the more landing pages you have, the more targeted your messaging can be.
  • Long-Tail Keyword Optimization – Learning what keywords are generating clicks (i.e. clicks that engage with your landing pages). These keywords are longer, more targeted keywords and they are absolutely key in developing high-performing PPC campaigns -- and generating high-quality leads.

My agency is actively maintaining my AdWords account

A healthy AdWords account should be maintained at least once a week.  The good thing is that AdWords registers every single change that has been made in a log.  You can access this log and see all the optimizations made to your account in a particular timeframe.

Depending on how involved you want to be, this change log is a great way to review what is happening with your account.

My agency runs remarketing campaigns

Remarketing is a powerful tool that allows you to reach prospects after they visit your website.

A prospect comes to your site, looks around, but doesn’t lease. Instead of leaving a return visit to chance, bring that customer back to your site with remarketing.

By showing your ads to customers who have already visited your site, you can promote your brand and increase branded searches that ultimately will lead to more leases.  A branded search is one of the best leads you can get.

My agency is involved in post-click metrics

While the agency may not be responsible for what happens after a click, they should be a vocal team member if they have concerns or recommendations on what could be changed to improve the entire sales funnel.

For example, they most likely have no control over the landing page experience, but because they care about all the stages of the sales funnel (we should hope), then they should be the first to speak up when they see the overall performance of the campaign suffering.

My agency has never said the following

"Quality Score is not important, what matters is that we are ranking well"

"We need to increase bid to get more impressions and improve click through rate"

"We can get you ‘the click’, but it's up to you to convert"

My agency runs non-branded traffic to regional landing pages

If your portfolio has more than one community in a market or submarket, then sending your non-branded traffic to a regional landing page is a powerful PPC strategy.  

For example, a search query of “Atlanta apartments with electric car charging stations” would send to traffic to a landing page that clearly showed the prospect apartments the user's search intent. A corporate portfolio or fee manager portfolio might have four or five apartments that fit the bill. Each property would be showcased on the page so the searcher can pick which they like best.

Regional landing pages show the searcher exactly what they searched for, and include all the communities that satisfy their request. Regional landing pages increase time on site and decrease cost per click because searchers love them, and Google rewards a positive website experience.

However, agencies that charge a percentage of ad spend advise against this strategy.    Agencies that charge a flat fee, seem to love this strategy -- because it makes them look like rock stars.

Did your agency pass the test?

If not, maybe we can help

First of all, we are not an agency.  

But we understand the challenges of managing multifamily PPC campaigns. To help with some of these challenges, we create regional landing pages for all your PPC ads.  

These landing pages will have an immediate impact on the performance of your advertising by:

  • Increasing your Quality Score (which leads to more impressions and lower cost per click),
  • Reducing your marketing spend by consolidating budgets at a regional level, and
  • Improving the customer experience by giving prospects a webpage that actually answers their question.
How can we help?

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