The Top 4 Values to Look for When Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

So you’ve decided to hire a digital marketing agency to help grow your business. Great decision! But let’s face it: Hiring interviews are much like first dates. At first glance, anyone can make a great impression. A whole lot of sweet talking, persuasive references, strong case studies, and you are ready to sign a deal. But even if everything sounded so promising at first, the wrong agency can end up burning your budget without getting you anywhere. So how can you look through the mist and pick a digital marketing agency that knows its stuff, believes in your business and works hard to give it the growth it deserves?

Here are the most important values to look for in an agency to ensure a successful collaboration:


Pick an agency that is real with you. Anyone can make promises of turning your website into a lead-generating machine, but after your account is signed, will they really deliver?

  • Establishing clear goals is essential, but they must also be realistic. A good agency will tell you what an achievable goal and timeframe for your business is, even if it might not sound as exciting as a fantasy number.
  • They should be transparent with their processes and let you know if they expect any challenges that could slow down performance.
  • A good agency should teach you the necessary skills to understand your data. Otherwise, how will you monitor their work and know whether they are delivering quality work or not?

Tip: If an agency charges steep set-up fees, consider it an immediate red flag. It’s another way of saying they don’t believe in your business, but are happy to walk away from your failed account with the money they already snatched.


Let’s say you went on a business trip and hired a nanny to take care of your baby. Chances are you would want frequent updates on how your little one is doing. Easy as that, an agency should follow the same principle.

  • Providing you with consistent updates on how your campaigns are doing, what changes have been made and why is a must.
  • You should receive scheduled reports, be provided with the skillset to understand them and have plenty of opportunities to ask questions or give feedback.
  • Can your agency explain why performance has dropped or spiked, and what can you learn from it? What will they do next, and why? There should be no mystery zones with your agency’s work.

Tip: Have your agency provide you with a contact person that is available for emergencies and out-of-office-hour situations. PPC is a very dynamic environment in which time is money, the last thing you want is having to watch a failing campaign burn your budget over the weekend.


Too many agencies half-heartedly set up ad campaigns just to sit back and wait for the monthly payments to come in. Don’t fall for that.

  • Your agency should constantly be making an effort to read your analytics, test new ad concepts and optimize your campaigns.
  • Don’t jump the gun and fire them if you aren’t seeing the numbers you want right away, testing is a lengthy process and it can take 1-3 months to get solid results.
  • The goal is to be effective enough get there as soon as possible. Make sure your agency is constantly improving your results by tweaking your campaigns, as well as testing and refreshing ad creative consistently on paid social.

Tip: You can see how much work your agency is really doing by checking your account’s activity history. If no one seems to have touched your account in weeks, or if you aren’t given access to this information, something isn’t right.


You, as the client, should always own your account. Your data is incredibly valuable – it’s the key to understanding your audience and optimizing your business strategies. Therefore, your agency must do everything to keep it safe and available to you. We’ve heard too many stories of agencies locking their clients out of their accounts and even sharing their data with other businesses. Agencies holding accounts hostage happens all the time, so be wary of this.

Tip: Whoever pays for an AdWords account owns it. So it’s extremely important that you are paying Google directly, instead of running it through your agency. Otherwise, you don’t own your data, and your agency can leave with it anytime.

Digital marketing can be very stressful, especially if you don’t have enough expertise to master all it entails yet. While hiring the wrong one can have many pitfalls, hiring the right one can not only save you a considerable amount of money over building an in-house team, it is also the fastest way to give your business the boost it deserves.

Need help with your digital marketing? Search & Gather is a digital marketing agency that specializes in PPC. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you are looking for affordable help with Paid Search, Paid Social, or Online Conversion.

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