Key Criteria for Choosing and Evaluating an Internet Promotion Agency

Every client knows firsthand that the Internet leads customers. The more attractive the face of the online business, the higher the chances of success and the wider the development prospects. It is obvious! But how exactly do promotion tools work on the Internet, how effective and profitable are they?

Most advertisers have a vague idea of ​​all these mechanisms, which means that there is no and cannot be confidence in a positive result of work. Doubts increase at times when the direction of Internet development is outsourced. The distrust is aggravated by the fact that any data can be presented in a favorable light, juggling them and interpreting in a way that is beneficial to the contractor.

And yet, how to choose “your own” among such a variety of agencies and the services they offer, and be 100% sure of the effectiveness of its work and the effectiveness of the advertising campaign?

Our belonging to the "service providers" has its own advantage: we see how customers select contractors and what requirements they make. Some of them are quite controversial, and some are not taken into account at all. Therefore, we offer you our point of view.

To begin with, there are both conditional and critically important criteria for choosing and evaluating an agency. We consider conditional: certificates, places in ratings, the number of active projects, the number of employees in the staff, experience in a particular industry, automation.

Let us explain briefly and to the point.

Certification- a specific set of parameters and requirements, a “single comb”, under which equal all the players in the market. It is objective to a certain extent: large players monitor certification and regularly confirm it. But the presence of an icon on the site does not guarantee the relevance of certification (with the current list of certified agencies you need to check on Yandex and Google sites) and the quality of the agency (you can meet the required parameters and at the same time not work equally well with all campaigns).

Ratings- It’s very cool that they are on the market in principle. But a number of questions arise for the methodology of their implementation. Often they take into account such moments as the number of certified specialists, active projects, turnovers and other parameters that are not related to the quality of work. Sometimes information is provided by rating participants and is not checked by the organizers for reliability. So, you shouldn’t fully rely on the results of certification and ratings.

The number of active projects and the presence of large advertisers in the client portfolio is also a controversial issue. Firstly, you are unlikely to be able to verify their relevance and reliability. Secondly, agencies, like any other business, mention everything in the list of clients: both ongoing and completed projects, transactions of various sizes. You will not collect the full picture.

It is worth paying attention to whether the contractor has experience in your industry.. And this will be the next conditional criterion. Not always the customer needs the services of a highly specialized agency. Expertise in a narrow industry is important if you are in a highly competitive market and yourself are one of the key players with multi-million budgets. In the struggle for fractions of percent, expert experience is needed. In other cases, specialization does not play any role. It is important to be sure: the agency is able to do what it offers at a professional level. When the agency’s clients are persistently interested in experience in their industry, we give a simple analogy: no one asks a dentist if he knows how to treat caries, for example, lawyers have the same methods of dental treatment for everyone. An internet marketer needs to know how the tools work and have the experience to set up an advertising campaign well. Both for a medical company and for industrial production. But for efficiency this is not enough. It is important to understand the details and look at the advertising campaign through the eyes of the target audience.

Customers are often interested in automation, although a rare advertiser is critically needed. When choosing a contractor for most customers, the presence or absence of automation does not play a significant role. Rather, it is a tool that simplifies the life of the online agency itself.

Having considered the conditional criteria for choosing an online agency, we turn to the really important and deserving of close attention from the advertiser.

Agency specialization in certain types of promotion
At first glance, it’s great when the agency knows everything: from creating a site to promoting it on social networks. The dream of any customer: one contract, a full range of services, it remains to rejoice at the results - consider the customers brought. In the real world, there are rarely Internet agencies offering diverse services to customers without compromising quality in one direction or another. We do not undertake to assert that they do not exist at all, but it is worth treating such a proposal with a fair amount of skepticism.

A more reliable option is agencies specializing in a certain type of promotion. The constant development of promotion tools as a result gives expert experience - a "plus" in the piggy bank of your guarantees. This is in theory, in practice, you will have to evaluate the expert experience of the contractor. How to do this before starting cooperation - we understand further.

Frankly, “at first glance” it is almost impossible to objectively and fully evaluate the expertise. Therefore, we pay attention to the quality of communication and the comfort of interaction with the contractor.

Response speed
Note for yourself how soon the agency will contact you in response to the first request. How constructive will the first acquaintance be? How will the manager collect information about your business and how to record it?

Ability to answer questions. You ask - they answer you. In some cases, immediately, in some - they take a timeout to work out the issue. But always clearly and reasonably.
Openness and transparency of work. They write a lot about accesses, but there were questions, there are and remain. The entire process of conducting advertising campaigns can be seen in the personal accounts of Yandex.Direct and Google AdWords systems. You, as a customer, have the right to log in with guest access to any of the systems and see firsthand how things are going: how much money is left on the account, dynamics and number of clicks, statistics on expenses, etc. An honest and confident professional contractor has nothing to hide from you.

Project team
It is worth asking how a team is formed to work on a project. The agency does not work with one or two clients, it is a built-in system. The clearer it works, the more organically your project fits in and your interaction with the contractor is more effective. For what you, in fact, pay.

Everyone talks about the need to analyze data, but what specific actions does your future contractor mean by “analytics”? We give an example. Once, an interviewer came to us for an interview with experience working with contextual advertising in an advertising agency. Of course, based on web analytics. Upon further questioning, it turned out: the whole skill was to take screenshots from Yandex.Metrica for reporting to customers. Therefore, do not rush to check the box when you hear that they are engaged in analytics when choosing a contractor. Ask for an action plan, what exactly and in what order they offer. It is also important that for you, “analytics” is a clearly recognized need, no matter what stage of the project you are at right now. For someone, correctly configured goals in Metric,

The presence of cases with the contractor is one small plus in karma. Small, because we understand that cases are written about successful cases, and not about fakapy. In cases you can keep silent about the difficulties and disadvantageous details, focus on the right moments. But, firstly, the fact of their presence indicates that the agency is ready to present the results of its work and answer questions. And secondly, the quality and depth of the case study will give an approximate understanding of the approach to work.

You are heard and you are heard. In this case, you get productive communication. Together you will solve a common problem. Internet marketing is just part of the work built into your sales model. The effectiveness of the entire chain depends on the degree of your inclusion in the process - from attracting traffic to your revenue. If the agency pulls you already at the stage of negotiations, clarifies the picture in detail, asks for access, statistics, contacts of responsible persons - this is a very correct approach. You should catch this wave and together build a transparent and convenient system of advertising and analytics for all.

No empty promises
Filter everything that a potential contractor tells you. A special reason to doubt if you are promised the golden mountains. For example, they promise to increase the conversion three times, because there was such an experience. There is no guarantee that this experience will apply to you, and that it was generally and was adequately evaluated (there was 1 sale, 3 became). If they start to promise - demand a guarantee with liability, usually it is sobering. If they don’t promise anything concrete at the dawn of negotiations, they’ll do it right. They have not worked with you yet; they don’t know your conversion and features. Specialists will not subscribe to any guarantees and will be right.
The agency at the entrance adequately assesses the situation, asks a lot of questions, analyzes, offers solutions. Reasonedly. And in a language that is understandable to you. If they continue to behave in the same way, it’s more likely that you will have effective cooperation.

Price tag
If the services of the contractor are of value to you, you can and should amicably agree on the cost of services. There is one interesting thing in online advertising: it’s very difficult to bring down the price and do it at a loss to yourself. You do not have sufficient expertise to understand exactly what volume contractor A will make in comparison with contractor B or freelancer Vasya, whose price tag is three times less. Moreover, you will not speculatively evaluate what result you will get in each of the cases. Therefore, our advice: look at the criteria above, and agree on the price with the one you like the most.

Check Point
We believe that the key criterion is the focus on long-term interaction, on both sides. How to understand the parties' interest in long-term cooperation? The contractor pays attention to the analysis of the current situation - the customer provides data for analysis. The contractor offers strategies, an action plan, solutions; the customer carefully considers and makes adjustments. The contractor substantiates its actions and the proposed budget - the customer conducts a constructive dialogue, does not set ultimatums and does not drive into deadlock requirements.

This is how confidence is born and built. Without it, you will not build effective communication in future work.

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