Biz Ladies: How to Evaluate Google and AdWords

Today’s Biz Ladies post comes from Veronica Stenberg, a graphic designer, online marketer, digital consultant and previous Biz Ladies contributor. In this post, Veronica shares some insights on how to choose and evaluate your AdWords provider. Thanks, Veronica, for such a helpful post! — Stephanie

Read the full post after the jump . . .

Google AdWords is a great way to drive traffic and sales to and from your website. You have probably heard all that before, so let’s get straight to the point:

There is a multitude of AdWord agencies and consultants. It can be hard for someone not working within the digital marketing field to know how to choose the right supplier. Therefore, I’ve created a list of items to consider before approaching agencies, how to prepare and, most importantly, what questions to ask when looking for someone to manage your AdWord campaigns.

When contacting an agency, this is what you need to prepare:

  • Purpose of campaign — Why do you want to do this? Branding purposes? Generating more sales in your online shop?
  • An available budget to spend per month/year on AdWords
  • An available budget on top of the budget to pay the agency for their work (for your own reference)
  • Something that measures success — a lead, a sale, a phone call, a download of a PDF (the consultant or agency can also help you with this point)
  • Indicate whether you have any peak periods, or periods that are more important for you (this will help the agency allocate your budget appropriately throughout the year)


If you already have an AdWords account:

  • Give the agency the C-ID so that they can investigate the contents and suggest what they would do differently.
  • Never give out your username and password outside your organization. Never ever! All you need to do is supply your C-ID number and the agency will have read-only access to your account. (Found in the top left corner when logging into your account.)


Questions to Ask a Potential Agency

A quick list of what to talk about with any potential AdWords agency or consultant:


  • Why do you charge a set-up fee?
  • What is included in the set-up fee (if there is one)?
  • What is included in the monthly fee? How many hours of work? What is the optimization plan?



  • Ask how long they have been working with Google AdWords.
  • Ask if they have any similar clients or experience working with clients in your field.
  • Ask about AdSense and what sites they would recommend to include your ads.
  • Are they a Google AdWords Qualified company or do they have a Certified Google AdWords professional working on their team? (I would suggest favoring them because they have someone who has gone through the Google training for their products.)



  • Ask how deep their reporting level is. Down to basket is ideal.
  • Ask how often they will give you reports.
  • Ask how often or how they work with optimizing and improving the campaigns, preferably so that you get a higher quality score and pay a lower bid for your keywords!



  • If you are unhappy with the results or the service, how easy is it to cancel?
  • Is there a contract termination time? Are you bound to the contract for a certain calendar period when signing up? If so, why?


Skills & Knowledge

  • Ask about the skills of the account handler.
  • Some agencies have a monthly fee. Ask what you get for this. Sometimes it’s worth it because an account manager is assigned to you, and he/she will keep track of your campaigns.



  • Contact current clients, and ask how they experience working with the agency or consultant in question.
  • Read some case studies on the website, particularly those that relate to your sector and what the agency did for them.


Do Your Own Homework

  • Google them, or Google key members of their organization.
  • Go on LinkedIn and review any profiles.


Not crucial, but a plus:

  • Has the agency won any awards?
  • Does the agency have any educational materials on its website that you can look at?
  • Does the agency speak at seminars?


If you want a head start finding a Google AdWords consultant or agency, you can use Google’s own search service for locating certified AdWords professionals:

  1. Anni says:

    This is really helpful, thanks! I’ve had no success with Google Adwords when I was doing it myself (only spent the free trial amount) – may have to give an agency a try.

  2. Monica says:

    I didn’t know about this information, this may be worth looking into. Thank you!

  3. I am printing this out right now– such great information! Thank you.

  4. Rachel B says:

    I work for an agency, specializing in paid search. I think Veronica’s advice is right on. It is so helpful when a small business client approaches me with a budget and goals in mind (brand awareness versus sales).

  5. Rose Duggan says:

    @ RACHEL B Thanks for your input! It’s always great to have someone who works in AdWords contribute!

  6. Jenni says:

    I’ve been pondering this lately. Thanks for the advice!

  7. Eleanor says:

    I might add that industry knowledge is very important. I had a small (all male) agency start a campaign for my wedding products and they weren’t very good with coming up with long tail key word phrases, and didn’t really get how competitive wedding industry keywords are. It would have been great to have someone be able to consult me on the content of the campaign, and provide realistic expectations on what one could do with a limited budget in a crowded niche rather than just work the mechanics of AdWords.

  8. Jill Simpson says:

    This is incredibly helpful, thank you! I wish I’d known all this before I hired an agency. It gives me a good framework for judging their work, and knowing what to ask the next time I hire. Great details. I think Eleanor’s comment makes a really important point as well.

  9. I’m so happy to hear and read that you found this article useful. I hope this will help you find a good agency or consultant to help you boost your sales.

    And hopefully we will see more females on the paid search arena soon that can help female businesses bloom :)

    Best of luck with your camapigns ladies.


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