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Top Questions to Ask a Potential Paid Search Vendor

by / Wednesday, 07 March 2007 / Published in Paid Search, Search, Vendors / Agencies
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There are hundreds of blog posts, sites, and articles about questions to ask an SEO vendor:

Heck, see for yourself
I’ve even taken a stab at the top 10 questions to ask an SEO Consultant

There are far fewer lists about paid search; arguably, a much more complex opportunity and certainly, one with greater risk as you are paying for placement as well as support.

Let’s give it a shot:

  • What is your knowledge of and experience with our brand, website, products and services, and marketing campaigns?
  • How long has your company been managing search? How many programs and total $ value do you support?
  • What measurement criteria or metrics does your company have in place to track performance?
  • How do you provide online real time reporting and tracking? What tools do you use? Are any of these tools proprietary?
  • How would you measure and track ROI for campaigns?
  • How do you think that search industry is going to evolve in the next 12/24 months?
  • Characterize the purpose of search engine marketing; how do you define its role in an integrated marketing plan? What benefits does search provide beyond supporting a brand and driving awareness and business?
  • How do other online marketing or website opportunities and considerations (i.e. affiliates, landing page design, natural search, datafeeds, advertising) play a role or contribute to paid search management?
  • How is the company organized to support advanced search strategies and development? How many permanent search experts are there in your company?
  • What is your company’s Account Management level annual attrition rate, as a percentage?
  • Describe skill sets, related experiences, and project roles of the staffing you would provide to perform these services.
  • Do you subcontract or outsource any of these services that cannot be accomplished in house?
  • Is your company a leader in the search industry? How so?
  • How do you stay ahead of the competition (e.g., in technology, tools, training, processes, etc.)?
  • What are your strategic relationships or partnerships (search engine, technology, or tracking)? How will they help us?
  • List the search engines your toolset automatically links to for the purpose of automated bidding, campaign management and reporting.
  • What type of bid management system do you have for keyword buys?
  • What are your company’s top 5 core competencies? List in priority order and describe them.
  • What are your expectations of the advertiser? What do you need from us?
  • What is your typical turnaround for new programs and how do you ensure programs are delivered on the agreed time line?
  • How do you work and coordinate with other agencies?
  • How do you track/manage agreed upon budgets for projects?
  • How and when do you report changes in budgets?
  • Over the last year, how many times did you exceed the approved or revised, agreed budget on a project?
  • What is your total fee / commission for services?
Anything to add?

4 Responses to “Top Questions to Ask a Potential Paid Search Vendor”

  1. David says :

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  2. SEObrien.com? Brilliant Paul! :) You’re now in my Reader.

  3. Paul says :

    Thanks guys
    David, I’ll check it out

  4. [...] think PPCRodnitzky rolls off the tongue quite as well) that listed off an impressive collection of questions to ask a potential PPC vendor prior to signing a contract. A few of my favorites from the list [...]

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