5 mistakes to avoid when hiring your digital marketing agency

Let’s face it, most businesses in the world (from micro to large and everything in between) need to have an online presence, be it on some social platform or a full 360 digital presence but it is not a luxury or something that is “nice to have”.
In many cases you – as a business owner or manager – would assign this task to an agency who will work on your digital marketing global plan as well as your everyday’s tasks.
You will start recruiting for agencies to come and pitch their plan. Here are some of the fatal mistakes that you need to avoid in the agency you are hiring:

1- ATL Focused Agencies

While it looks so tempting to hire some shiny agency who can easily brag about how big are there clients and how much they have spent in the last year in billboards and TV ads and all the ATL (Above The Line) media, these types of agencies are generally more focused and oriented with such kind of media that are only about massive reach, no concrete results and not tangible results or thorough reports.

Media-buying oriented agencies don’t necessarily understand the tiny details of digital marketing that make the big difference in your campaign ROI.

2-Percentage of Ad-spent Business Model

Back in the days, advertising agencies business model was mainly a percentage of the campaign ad spent. Again, that may work well on TV or Billboards as the rate cards were relatively know and defined. However on digital platforms things tend to be different, as for the same campaign you may spend $100 or $100,000. The decision here is based on the effectiveness and best return you will get from your campaign. The agency decision to increase the budget spending should only come from the actual benefits from the campaign.

Including a variable parameter in the equation, in this case a percentage from the ad spent will always trigger the question of whether this is due to the real need for the campaign performance or because it will add more $$ to the agency pay-slip.

This is a parameter that should be completely eliminated from the equation.

3- Packages – Business Model

Some agencies will come to you with the “Packages” model

Gold, silver, platinum,…etc.

Bluntly, how much you pay should not be a parameter in the equation of whether you get what is needed or not. The agency work should be based on the best efforts to follow the required strategy and hence the anticipated results.

Unless you are in a business or your entity doesn’t really have KPIs then this model doesn’t work for you.

4- CPA, CPL, CPR,…etc.

Cost Per Acquisition or Cost Per Lead. This one might be so tempting to you. So the agency come to you with a model that you can’t refuse. You pay an X amount for each lead. Easy and looks fair.

But let’s analyze this situation. If the agency is selling you leads for $20/ lead. What would make it refrain to bring quantity to the favor of quality. After all, if the less the actual cost / lead, the more the agency is making profit.

Some agreements may include a quality parameter in the equation, for example qualified leads should be 25% or more. Again, imagine that the agency is getting you 200 leads so charging you $4,000. The 25% quality ratio is 50 leads whom the agency got them for $30 each, the total cost of the qualified leads is $1,500. The rest of the leads would cost the agency $10/ leads, so the total cost of the unqualified leads is $1,500. The total cost of leads is $3,000 thus the agency will be making $1,000. Which is fine for both parties, however, this way you will be deliberately loosing money down the drain.

5- Using agency’s ads accounts

So you want to run website traffic campaign, leads campaign, video views campaign,…etc. you set a budget for example $10,000. The agency will get the ads amount and start spending from their own ads accounts whether on social or google search.

The marketing integration codes (this is a bit of a technical subject) will be generated from the agency’s ads account. The main issue is that these codes are mainly aggregating your best audience for remarketing purposes.

So the $10,000 is well spent and you decided to change the agency or start your own in-house marketing department. Do you think the agency will give you their own ads account?

You will then be starting from almost a scratch and trying to build up your new audience base. The audience that you can easily use to generate similar audience in terms of interest and affinity.

In summary, your digital marketing agency is a very important arm (and in some cases the main) in your marketing efforts. You should choose wisely.

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