We, at Nettl of Gloucester, manage and maintain Google AdWords (also known as ‘pay per click’) campaigns for a number of our customers. This is done by two of our in-house, Google-qualified campaign specialists – who, together, have allowed us to achieve Google certified Partner status.

The reason we are mentioning this is because Google have set out some clear guidelines in their ‘third-party policy’ to make sure that we disclose the necessary information to prospective clients. This is so they can make an informed decision when it comes to choosing the right agency to run their Google AdWords account.

We are pleased to report that we do everything Google recommends, and we do not violate any terms or engage in prohibited practices. We will summarise each of the main points in the AdWords ‘third-party policy’ to help you understand how Google – and Nettl of Gloucester – help to protect your interests when advertising online.

Google and third-party partners

Google understands that a lot of businesses – small, medium and large – may not have the time or resources to allow them to run efficient and successful advertising campaigns. Therefore, it’s increasingly likely that these businesses will look to an agency – preferably a Google certified partner – in order to help get the most out of their chosen budget.

The Partners program was set up by Google as one method of separating trusted and dedicated agencies from those who are rogue. To be part of the Partners program, agencies must do the following:

Complete a company profile: this part we found was the easiest, for obvious reasons.
Get Google certified: at least one member of staff at the advertising agency should have passed the ‘Fundamentals’ exam, and at least one other (we have two members of staff who have done just that!).
Meet the spend requirement: your total advertising spend, for all clients, must be at least $10,000 per month (which is roughly £7,000 at today’s rates).
Follow Google’s best practices: agencies must demonstrate to Google that they are following their best practices and maximising their AdWords performance at every opportunity.

The important badge you’ll want to see, when choosing a Google certified partner, is this one:

Working with a third-party partner

As a third-party partner, we will take control of your campaigns and get the most out of them for you – but we don’t want to exclude you from seeing or understanding the results and data.

You may have an in-house marketing employee, or another representative of the business, who would like to keep track of the campaigns, and we are happy to give you access. Google AdWords offers the option to provide an agency’s clients with read-only access to their campaigns, and we do just that. However, if the interface is a little confusing, fear not, because we consolidate all the important information into a handy report at the end of each month. This will help you understand your campaign’s month-on-month performance, as well as your total AdWords advertising spend, so you can be certain that you’re making a return on your investment.

Here are a few things that we suggest when choosing a third-party agency:

1. Be selective

First and foremost, we suggest you choose a Google-certified Partner. That way, you can trust that the agency engages in the program, has the necessary experience, understands Google’s best practices and has done the lengthy examinations to prove it.

Google certified Partners can be different – with some specialising in specific areas of online advertising. You want to choose the agency that can run the type of campaigns that you want.

Say, for example, you have a clothing website that displays items from various brands. You may want to target certain keywords on the Google search engine to drive people to your website; use rich-media adverts to provide an interactive display of your stock on third-party websites; and feature your clothing in Google’s Shopping section. If this is the case, you will need to find an agency who is experienced with Search and Display advertising, as well as Product Listing adverts.

If you do you want engage in more interactive forms of advertising through Google, such as rich-media adverts and videos, you’ll want to choose an agency who is capable of creating and setting those up for you.

You also want to choose an agency who clearly set out their plans in a well-presented proposal, prior to starting your campaigns. You want to ensure that the agency understands your business objectives, and has a viable means of achieving your goals.

2. Pick one partner

If you’re tempted to pit agencies against each other at the same time to see who gets the best results for your campaigns, we would advise against this. Campaign activity from each agency will come into conflict and you won’t be able to get a clear understanding of your performance.

We recommend opting for the agency that gives the best first impression.

3. Educate yourself

Learning AdWords to an advanced level can take a while (as we have learned), but you can benefit by understanding some of the basics. That way, you will be able to make sense of some of the jargon you hear and see, relating to Google AdWords.

4. Trust experience

Experienced agencies will be straight up with clients right from the beginning. They’ll know what the most competitive industries are, what budget you’ll need to achieve your goals and the best campaign types for the products and services your business offers.

You can trust experienced advertising agencies to be proactive to help improve performance, rather than setting up an account and letting it run.

5. Evaluate your performance

Although the advertising agency will be taking full control of the management of your AdWords account, you will want to know that their work is paying off. As a client, you have a right to know – as Google have said in the past – ‘at a minimum, the number of clicks, impressions, and cost of your AdWords advertising’. At Nettl of Gloucester, we provide all of that information, and more.

What other activities should you watch out for when using a third-party agency?

Guarantee of placement on specific channels, or a certain position: your agency does not dictate where your adverts will show, Google does. There are many factors that Google considers, which it lists in this support article.
Claiming to be a Google representative: you should always be sceptical if someone purports to be from Google. We would claim to be a Google Partner, but to suggest we are employed or sub-contracted by Google to manage your account would be entirely false.
Deceptive pricing: Google recommends to get written confirmation of the agreed budget to make sure there is no overspend over the course of any month.
Claiming that AdWords helps your SEO (search engine optimisation) efforts: this is another false claim, as Google insists that paid advertising has no impact on your organic search listing.

Advertising agencies, ourselves included, will often use a number of terms when talking about Google AdWords. We recommend you familiarise yourself with the following:

Keywords: these are words or phrases that you will be targeting with AdWords. When a searcher uses one of these terms, your adverts will appear.
Clicks: The number of times users clicked your advert.
Impressions: The number of times people have seen your advert.
Clickthrough Rate (CTR): The number of clicks divided by the number of impressions, shown as a percentage. A good CTR can help reduce your cost-per-click, and improve your average position.
Average Position: The average position that an ad appears in when it’s triggered.
Cost: The total amount you spend with AdWords.
Conversion: The action that your advertising results in, such as a phone call, lead, or sale. This is usually a good metric to use to measure the success of your advertising. We can help install some tracking code on your website to help measure these accurately.

If you’re interested in advertising on Google, and its partner websites, get in touch with Nettl of Gloucester. As a Google certified partner, we are well equipped to help you get the most from search engine advertising.