Over on a Google AdWords Community forum we were having a discussion about certified AdWords re-sellers in general and BrandRep in particular and Jon Gritton gave a response that was so good I thought I’d reprint the whole thing here:
OK, let’s call a halt to the slanging match with some cold, hard facts:
1. Being a Google Certified Partner, on its own, means virtually nothing. Someone could start from scratch, have one of these badges within 4 months and be the worst AdWords consultant on the planet. The badge is a token of spend and exam qualification, exams that anyone with a good memory could pass after a week of study, it says absolutely nothing about how a company works or their operating policies. The GCP badge also only requires that one person in that company has passed these exams. So, if a company has 100 employees it could be that 99 of them have never sat an AdWords exam.
2. “Satisfied Customers” are largely irrelevant as well. If you need to employ someone to run your AdWords on your behalf you’re probably not in a good position to judge whether they are providing the best possible service. With the right business it’s relatively easy to return some profit and it’s very easy to get Ads showing on page #1 for such precise terms as “bradenton car stereos” – how can that term not be #1 for an Ad? There’s probably only one business on the entire planet for whom that search applies. The problem is that while these satisfied customers may be happy they’re being found, or even that their business has increased, that still doesn’t mean they’re being given good service.
If I ran your AdWords Account for you and gave you $5000 every month as net profit, you’d be happy, right? How happy would you be if you found out that a properly run Account could give you $20000 for the same monthly spend? $50000?
Throwing a handful of very specific terms into an Account is a common trick by agencies looking to make a fast buck. The client is happy because they can carry out searches – on search terms specified by the advertising company, of course – where their Ad appears high in the results. These “brand” terms are the easiest to get #1 and usually convert well with good click rates but they’re only a tiny fraction of what’s possible with a well-run Account.
3. As I – and many others – have said before, this sort of charging model is very inefficient for AdWords and is clearly designed to present the minimum workload for the company with maximum income. I could run this sort of company standing on my head with my eyes shut. Tell me your website and I’ll have 10 Keywords up and running in less than an hour and you’ll see your Ads in the #1 position – for the search terms I specify, of course. Can I have my $200 now please? I’m laughing because I now walk away. You’re paying me $200 a month to do nothing. All the reports I send you are automated, I never change the Keywords unless I’m really bored and because the terms I’ve used as Keywords are so rarely searched – I’m actually spending only a fraction of that $200, the rest is clear profit. I can cover my website with claims of “unlimited views” because I insist on only using CPC, which doesn’t charge for views (impressions) so I’m touting my own lack of tailored service – what if your company would benefit more from CPM advertising? – as a feature.
I would always, always, always, recommend that anyone looking for help with online advertising seek a professional who will give them a proper Account management service. Yes, I’ve said it already, these “flat-fee”, quick-fix agencies will put you on the map and you may even make a profit, but they’re never going to work hard for you or give you the results that are possible with a well-run, properly managed advertising strategy. If your approach to your business is that this is “good enough” then I’m sure it will be, others who want to make the best business they can will look a little harder.