What Should You Look For in a Google AdWords Agency?

Analyst looking at Google Adwords

Even if your university hasn’t quite figured out the ins and outs of Google AdWords, you shouldn’t hire an agency until you have a base of knowledge from which to evaluate it. Do you? These are 5 of the basics you need to consider when you’re looking at AdWords Experts, because many of the agencies out there are anything but:


  • They know your institution. As simplistic as that sounds, it’s often the beginning of the end when it comes to university-agency relationships. Unless your agency fully understands what you do, who you serve, and, most importantly of all, why you do it, you’ll never have the relationship or get the results your institution deserves.


  • They understand that keywords are critical. Without proper research and targeting, it’s easy to rack up expensive pay-per-click (PPC) costs without good results. Efficient AdWords spend is crucial. For example, if your efforts to enroll students in a BS to MSN program are falling short because your agency can’t find their way around the costly keywords, you need to make certain they’re doing all they can. Ask whether they:
    • Build effective account structure with specific keyword targeting
    • Take proactive steps to increase and maintain your Google quality score
    • Couple PPC with search engine optimization to rank for high cost keywords organically
    • Use negative keywords to reduce irrelevant search queries
    • Optimize landing pages to increase the likelihood of conversion
    • Check search query reports regularly for keywords you may be missing or those coming from irrelevant queries


  • They know testing isn’t optional. Even if your AdWords campaigns seem to be hitting their marks and bringing in some solid conversions, your agency shouldn’t ever be satisfied with good enough. Digital marketing is ever-evolving and for AdWords to be most effective, you need to test, test, test.


  • They integrate across media. It’s not enough for your ads to match your landing pages. The voice of your institution needs to be consistent across media. That means a common theme from those glossy brochures you mail out to social media engagement to blog posts highlighting students and alumni.


  • They have an adapt-or-die philosophy. Google tweaks its algorithm every day. If your AdWords agency thinks it can ever coast, it’s time to find another agency.


If you’d like to learn even more about what works and what doesn’t in AdWords, contact the experts at ESM Digital. We don’t just know Google; we know higher education!

~Linda Emma