7 Essential Tips for Avoiding a Nightmare PPC Agency

You’ve probably dabbled in PPC before, and it probably wasn’t pretty. Results might have been catastrophic. Communication was probably non-existent. And the usage of your money was most likely as transparent as the last legal document you’ve read.

Pay-per-click marketing is not as simple as a lot of fly-by-night providers promise, you’ve come to realize that, and that’s the first step to recovery.

You know that PPC is important, that it might be your greatest source of business, but you also know you need dedicated specialists. You need them to spare you the headache of learning the ins and outs of, what you should consider, a profession. Now you’re ready to research PPC agencies, and, hopefully, find the one that fits your needs.

Choosing a PPC agency is serious. But how do you know which PPC agency is right for you? Let’s take a look at the main points you should consider:
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Vantage team member, Kevin Clark, at HeroConf 2015 by PPC hero

My Trip to HeroConf 2015: PPC in Portland

It has been a week since my journey to Portland for the 2015 Hero Conference. If you don’t know, no, it’s not a celebration of the best and brightest Marvel or DC superheroes. It’s actually a celebration of the best and brightest PPC heroes, taking its name from the PPC resource repository, ppchero.com. The self-proclaimed “unapologetically PPC conference series” is a three-year-running event dedicated to discussion and innovation in the PPC industry.

Last year, Steve and I attended HeroConf 2014 in Austin, Texas. I’d be without my partner in crime this time around, but I had his full blessing, and was looking forward to HeroConf 2015.
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Google Ads Enhanced Campaigns-What you need to know

Google has made the one of the largest updates to Google Ads in its recent history. The update will allow advertisers to target multiple devices and locations from a single “enhanced” campaign much more easily. This is all part of Google’s long term initiative to make Google Ads easier to use for small businesses. The only problem with simplifying Google Ads is that it usually comes at the expense of control. A loss of control is bad for agencies and also for the user because it becomes more difficult to show the most relevant adcopy possible. Below I will outline the changes and what the implications will be.

What Are Enhanced Campaigns

Enhanced campaigns will allow a single campaign to target users by device, location and time of day differently. For example, the same adgroup could serve you a desktop ad when you are on your computer at work and then serve you a mobile specific ad when you’re on your iPhone during your lunch break. In theory, this should prevent people from having to build out campaigns for each device and location.

One of the biggest changes will be the use of bid multipliers to set your bid. Bid multipliers will allow you to bid differently based on device, location and time of day. All starting bids will be based off of your desktop bid, which means you must run ads on desktop.

Another smaller change is that they are going to lump Desktop and Tablet users together.

Why Are Enhanced Campaigns Coming Out

From the mobile side of things, Google reported the following reason for moving to Enhanced Campaigns:

“People are constantly connected and moving from one device to another to communicate, shop and stay entertained. In fact, a recent study of multi-device consumers found that 90% move sequentially between several screens to accomplish a task.”

What this really means is that advertisers need to run both mobile and desktop ads because it is the same user trying to accomplish the same task. The problem before, was that small businesses didn’t have time to create mobile only adcopy, so they just ended up running the same adcopy for both mobile and desktop users. This provided a bad user experience for people searching on mobile devices and a bad conversion rate for businesses. So Google set off to fix this by making it easier to create mobile adcopy from within the same campaigns as desktops and thus the Enhanced Campaign was created.

Another less obvious reason that Google may be trying to make mobile more accessible is for financial reasons. Over the past few years, the average CPC has been decreasing because of the increase in mobile device clicks. Mobile device CPCs are typically a lot lower than desktop due to a lack of competition. By making mobile more accessible to small businesses it will create more competition and drive up the CPC.

What Problems Do Enhanced Campaigns Create?

Here are just a few of the major issues we see with the new Enhanced Campaigns:

  • Desktop and tablets are grouped together: You will not be able to target these users differently. This will be brutal for mobile app makers that want to target tablet and mobile phone users but do not want to target desktop users.
  • Search partners and Google search are grouped together: Search partners are Google search engines that run on other people’s websites. The click-through rates and conversion rates on search partners is considerably lower than regular Google Search.
  • No more mobile only campaigns: Mobile is now only available to targeted inside a campaign that is also targeting desktop and tablet.
  • Mobile bid is based off of desktop bid: This is bad because PPC bidding best practices for mobile and desktop are very different; When targeting mobile devices it is good to bid higher on head terms because people tend to use shorter search queries on mobile. On desktop if you bid high on head terms the ROI is going to be really bad because there is a lot of competition and the user is showing less intent.
  • Bid multiplier is set at the campaign level: They could of easily done a multiplier at the adgroup level and avoided the above mentioned issue, but they chose not to. So when you need to set a different bid multiplier you will now have to create a separate campaign.
  • Enhanced campaigns are not optional: In June all campaigns will be migrated over to Enhanced Campaigns.
  • Call forwarding is not available in Canada: One of the coolest features with Enhanced Campaigns is the ability to track call metrics for free.


Start testing Enhanced Campaigns by only switching over 1 campaign at a time. Then once you get the hang of things switch all campaigns over.

Vancouver PPC Becomes Vantage Search Marketing

We are happy to announce that the re-branding of Vancouver PPC is almost complete. Over the next few weeks Vantage Search Marketing will be replacing the Vancouver PPC brand. The new brand fits our core values of being “innovative, progressive and honest” better than Vancouver PPC did. Plus now that more and more of our clients are located outside of Vancouver, we felt it was time to remove Vancouver from our name.

vppc to vantage


Let us know what you think of the new website and brand.




Nobody Clicks On PPC Ads Right? Wrong!

There is a common misconception that nobody ever clicks on PPC ads. Well if that were true then Google wouldn’t be making billions of dollars each year. Plus we wouldn’t be in business…


  • The top 3 spots get 41.1% of clicks.
  • Organic results only account for 14.8%  of pixels above the fold (the fold is the screen real-estate that you don’t have to scroll to see).
  • PPC Ads take up 85.2% of pixels above the fold on highly commercial intent keywords.

Check out this great infograph by WordStream:

Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) vs. Organic Search Listings (SEO)

© WordStream, provider of a Google Keyword Tool for Search Marketing.

Google Engage Seattle

The Vancouver PPC team just got back from the Google Engage event in Seattle. Google Engage is a program for Google Certified Partners, that helps agencies stay up to date on the ever changing Adwords platform. This event was geared towards advanced PPC strategies and client relations. Overall the event was a huge success and we got to meet a lot of cool people.

If  you need help implementing Advanced Adwords strategies please contact us.


SMX Advanced Seattle 2012

The Vancouver PPC team just got back from SMX Advanced in Seattle. For those of you who don’t know, SMX Advanced is one of the premier search engine marketing conference in North America. We had an amazing time and met some pretty cool people.

PPC Hero Conference

I just got back from the first ever PPC Hero Conference in Indianapolis and it was absolutely amazing.

While at the conference I had the opportunity to meet most of the staff at Hanapin Marketing. They were extremely friendly and very gracious hosts. I was actually surprised to hear that they had stopped offering other online marketing services eg, SEO. They were very adamant about specializing in PPC and how offering other services just distracted them from their PPC clients. I agree 100%, as specialization has always been the key to Vancouver PPC’s success. Although we still have SEO clients, we are not taking on any new SEO or Website Design clients in the future.

One of the best seminars was the real time landing page optimization. There was a panel of speakers, including Brad Geddes, who reviewed a hand full of landing pages right in front of our eyes. The interesting thing was that all the pages needed work. Some more than others, but the moral was that landing page testing should never stop.

Probably the funnest part of the seminar were the drinks at the end of the day. It was a good chance to meet a lot of cool PPC geeks. There were a few guys from Amsterdam, who had made the jump over the ocean just to be at the conference. Their agency was massive and had some pretty big banks on their client list. Then there were the team members from an online education company, who were awesome to have drinks with. One of their roadblocks was finding “good” PPC managers. I think this is a real problem in the industry because there isn’t enough formal training.

Even on the flights back from the conference I got to talk PPC. I met a guy from an agency in Utah, who’s agency was on the smaller side of things, but was still getting big results for his clients.

All in all it was a very good conference and I look forward to next year’s event in Texas.


Stop SOPA!

The big thing about SOPA is that it opens up the flood gates for mass copyright infringement, which would cripple the internet. On the surface it just seems like recording studios want to protect their property. However, due to the SOPA bill’s ambiguity it would allow any site to be shut down if it contains any user generated copyrighted material.

For example say you upload a video to YouTube and it contains the latest Justin Bieber song in it. Well according to the new bill that would be copyright infringement and allow all of YouTube to be shut down. I can’t imagine an internet without YouTube.

Check out the video below for a better explanation of the bill.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.