50 Questions to Ask in a PPC Interview

If your business is getting ready to hire a PPC company, it’s important to ask the right questions so you know whether they’ll be a good fit for your company.

Each dollar you spend on Google PPC is important. iSpionage audited over 2,000 ad accounts and found that 76% of budgets were wasted on the wrong keywords. You don’t want to waste time and money with an inefficient strategy, which is ultimately the responsibility of the PPC company you will be hiring.

**Note: Many of the same questions below can be asked to someone you are looking to hire in-house. 

We listed out over 50 questions you can ask a PPC company before hiring them. Each section below has its own unique questions: 

  • Contract 
  • Competitive Landscape 
  • Account Management 
  • Account Structure 
  • Tactical & Strategy 
  • Additional Service Offerings 
  • Reporting & Client Communication 

We also recorded a video on the top questions to ask a PPC company or individual prior to hiring them. 

OUR AUTHORITY

We’ve worked with hundreds of businesses in setting up and managing their Google PPC campaigns. We’ve helped businesses transition their PPC efforts in-house. We were also awarded the “Best PPC Campaign” in 2019 in the U.S. by DashThis. We know what it takes to successfully manage PPC campaigns, which is how we were able to come up with such a comprehensive list. 

CONTRACT QUESTIONS

  • Do you have other clients in a similar vertical that would represent a conflict of interest?
    • If you are concerned about an agency working with your closest competitor, this question needs to be asked right out of the gate. If you want to make sure the company you are going to hire is exclusive to your industry in your market, you should get this in writing. 
  • How do you charge for your services? 
    • Is the agency you’re looking to hire going to charge based on a percentage of overall ad spend? Is it a flat fee? Do they take a percentage of revenue? (hopefully not!) This is very important to know out of the gate. If you spend a lot of money on advertising, hiring an agency that charges based on a percentage of ad spend likely isn’t going to be the best solution. Fully understand the contract so you know how the pricing structure works. 
      • It is also important to understand how the opt-out of an agreement works. We don’t recommend getting locked into a 12-month contract. If the trajectory of your business changes or you aren’t seeing desired results, you shouldn’t be locked into a long term commitment.
  • Do I have full admin access to my Google Ads account and all of the data within the account? 
    • Your business needs to have ownership of its Google Ads account. The last thing you want to happen when splitting with another company is to realize you don’t have ownership. You’ve built up historical data with conversions and quality score and click data and you don’t want to lose this. Make sure your agency you are an admin of your Google Ads account. Get this in writing! 

COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE QUESTIONS

  • What’s your experience working in our vertical? 
    • It’s good to know if the agency you are working with has experience in your space. For example, if you are an eCommerce company, Google Shopping knowledge is going to be a must. If you are an immigration lawyer and the agency has experience with personal injury lawyers, that’s not make or break, as they can learn by asking the right questions
  • What’s your analysis of the competitiveness of our space? 
    • It’ll be good for the agency to dig into how much the anticipated average cost per click is based on the keywords you’ll be bidding on. It’ll be good to do research on overall local competitiveness. This will force the agency to provide you with insight, which can help you determine whether or not they’re the right fit.
  • What would you consider success with our campaign? 
    • If the prospective agency you are looking to hire is just talking about clicks and impressions and is not asking questions about your average order value, profitability, average cost of a service offered, etc., they may not be as focused on ROI as you need.
  • What is the monthly spend of your 3 largest clients? What’s the monthly ad spend of your average client? 
    • This will give you an idea of the type of accounts the company you are looking to hire works on. If the average account they manage is over $100,000 per month and you are spending $500/month, they likely aren’t going to be a good fit as you’ll want someone more focused in small business PPC.
  • What type of client is not a good fit for your agency? 
    • Every agency should have an answer for this. For example, a lot of agencies aren’t fond of working with startups because the business is not yet established, which means there is no backing of the product or service. There are other PPC agencies that focus solely on startups. It’s good to know what’s a good fit before getting into a relationship. Would you marry someone who hates flying when traveling is your passion? Possibly, but it’d be good to know that question before getting to the altar! 

ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT

  • Will we have a dedicated account manager? 
    • It’ll be good to know if you have a point of contact that will be overseeing your account.
  • Is our account manager certified in Google Ads and Google Analytics? 
    • Oftentimes, the account manager might take good notes and hand it off to someone else to execute. It’s more streamlined if your account manager is the one actually making the changes. Some businesses are fine with an account manager not making the tactical changes. Others want to deal directly with the person in charge of making account changes. 
  • How often will we have meetings? 
    • It’s good to know if you’ll be meeting weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Each business is unique and operates differently. The frequency of meetings should be a collaboration between the Agency and Client based on the level of support needed. 
  • Does my account manager have backup support? 
    • What if your account manager is on vacation? What if he/she leaves for another job? It’s important to know there are additional resources available at the company you’ll be hiring who can provide backup support and answer your questions. 
  • How often are changes made within my account? 
    • Did you know there’s a “Change History” section within Google Ads where you can see the amount of changes per month? How often will your account manager be going into your account to make changes? 
      • It should be noted it’s not always necessary to make a lot of changes. When a campaign is well structured, it could mean not as many changes are needed. There should be substantial activity within your account. Understanding how many changes will be taking place is good to know. 
  • What type of support will you need from me? 
    • The business owner or in-house marketer is crucial to the success of any PPC campaign. They know the business better than any PPC manager so there should be strategy and communication between both parties. This will help the PPC company acquire the necessary information to ensure PPC success.
  • How does the approval process work for PPC Ad Copy, Keywords, etc? 
    • Do you have enough trust in a new company to write all of your PPC copy? It’s important to understand how they’ll present you with all this information so you can approve. The last thing you want is an advertisement to populate with information that isn’t accurate. 

ACCOUNT STRUCTURE QUESTIONS 

  • What’s your process for understanding our business metrics? 
    • If the PPC company you are looking to hire doesn’t ask questions pertaining to your actual business, they likely aren’t going to be a good fit. Ad spend should be allocated based on your most profitable services and products along with areas of your business that generates the most revenue.
      • Note: When we recently took over an account for a personal injury lawyer, we realized the majority of ad spend was being allocated towards worker’s compensation when that practice area only generated 10% of revenue. When I asked their past agency why this was the case, they responded with, “Workers comp had a much lower cost per click of less than $10 compared to over $60 for Personal Injury related keywords.” The new attorney-client of ours was irate when he discovered this. He didn’t care about the cost per click, he wanted to convert for the services that were most important and most profitable to his business!
  • What’s your strategy for building campaigns during the onboarding process? Please include these tactics within your answer. 
    • It’s important to understand the critical thinking process behind how this new PPC company will build a campaign. Once again, there should be a direct link between account structure and your business metrics.
  • How do you select the right keywords to target for my business?
    • Picking the right keywords can’t be done for all businesses utilizing Google’s keyword tool. Some businesses are harder to understand. It’s important to know how the PPC company will go about finding the right keywords and taking the time to get to know your business. 
      • Note: We work for a company that does aerospace heat treatment. This was a very niche B2B industry that required several meetings between key stakeholders of their team and our team. There was information in the tools we have access to but the best keywords came from back and forth brainstorming sessions.
  • What’s your process for tracking conversions? 
    • Before any PPC campaign, there should be a checklist of conversions mapped out. There should also be a conversation between the PPC company and your business to make sure both parties are aligned on the conversions being tracked. 
  • Do you need any reports or information to improve the set-up of our campaign? 
    • This should be a proactive item on the agency’s behalf where they are asking you for this piece of information during initial communication. Another initial question your PPC company should ask is the following: “Will we have access to your Google Ads account?” They should know off the bat whether they’ll be taking over an existing account or building it from scratch, as we mentioned previously. 

TACTICAL & STRATEGY QUESTIONS

Once you start getting into the day-to-day management, it’ll be good to know more about the tactical execution, which is listed below. This might be a bit over your head if you’re an owner of a company not proficient in PPC company. Regardless, they should be able to answer this information for you. 

  • How do you rank the following elements of paid search in importance? Please rank in order of importance.
    • Account Structure 
    • Keywords 
    • Ad Copy 
    • Landing Pages 
    • Bidding 
    • Data Analysis 
    • Match Types 
    • Negative Keywords 
    • Quality Score 

**Note: We got asked this same question by a company looking to hire us and it definitely made us do some critical thinking. While there is no right answer for this, the order above is how we ranked from the most important elements. 

  • How do you go about monitoring the search terms? 
    • Search terms are one of the most important components of a PPC campaign [read our blog about search terms]. The right search terms will ultimately lead to higher quality traffic and more conversions. Often, the search terms require industry knowledge. It’ll be good to know whether the agency you are working with has a process in place to monitor the search terms.
  • Do you bid for maximized conversions on most of your campaigns or manual PPC? 
    • This is a bit of a trick question. You should not switch to maximized conversions until you have a certain amount of conversions. Most campaigns should start utilizing manual PPC or maximized clicks versus maximized conversions. Once you have enough conversion date, you can make the switch to maximized conversions. 
  • How do you go about deciding on match types (broad vs. phrase vs. broad match modifier vs. exact?) 
    • It’ll be important to know how the agency values the different match types. If you are in an industry where there is very little search volume, you might have to go long-tail broad match to generate any clicks. Once again, this will showcase critical thinking from the PPC company you are looking to hire.
  • Based on our business, how would you approach targeting? 
    • A dry cleaner is going to be very localized to the suburb they are serving. A lawyer could serve the entire state. An eCommerce company would likely serve the entire United States. It’ll be important to know how the agency plans on approaching targeting for your business.
  • A month into our campaign, what would be results that would raise a red flag? 
    • If you own an eCommerce company and a month into the PPC campaign there were no sales, this should raise a red flag. If you spent a thousand dollars and you’re a landscaping company and no leads were generated, that should raise a red flag as well. The PPC company you’re looking to hire should be able to answer this honestly so you have guidance. 

ADDITIONAL SERVICE QUESTIONS

  • Does your team manage display retargeting for paid ads? If yes, do you have designers in-house who can help with the design of retargeting ads? 
    • If the company you are working with doesn’t have in-house designers, you might have extra expenses when creating display advertisements. It’s good to know if they have design resources in-house. 
  • Do you have developers in-house? 
    • Most PPC companies have to touch the website at one point or another. Whether it’s for design enhancements or for tracking purposes. Does the PPC company you’ll hiring handle your website changes or will they be working with another webmaster?  It’s important to know this sooner rather than later. 
  • Do you have the capability to design landing pages?
  • Are you familiar with pixel placement and tag manager? 
    • You want to make sure there aren’t hidden surprises and that the PPC company isn’t relying on a developer of yours to implement pixels and tag manager. This question will help you get a better understanding of their technical ability. 
  • Do you have staff members that have journalism and copywriting experience? 
    • Good writing is important for PPC yet not a requirement by any means. It’s good to know the writing skills of the team you’ll be hiring.
  • Do you have Paid Social Media skills? 
    • Social media advertisements can be the perfect complement to PPC ads. For example, we always run display retargeting ads on the major social channels when we’re running PPC. Knowing whether the company has this skill is important. 

REPORTING QUESTIONS

  • Do you provide real-time reporting? 
    • It’s important for a business owner to have access to a report in real-time that shows how much money has been spent, conversions accumulated, cost per conversion (to name a few). It’s nice when a real-time report is provided. It avoids unnecessary back and forth questions like, “how much money have I spent this month”  when there is a simple solution. 
  • How do you monitor budgets and conversion trends? 
    • What happens if your credit card gets compromised and your ads get turned off? What if conversions are dropping and your cost per conversion is trending upward? There are tools that can help monitor this. It’s important to know whether or not the company you are hiring will be investing in these tools as it avoids downtime and surprises. 
  • What’s your typical turnaround time on a question I may have pertaining to your report? 
    • Will the PPC company you hire get back to you within 24-hours? Hopefully, the answer is yes. It’s good to set clear guidelines on the amount of communication that will be taking place from the Client and an average response time from the Agency.