Ilana Wechsler of Teach Traffic boasts years of expertise in paid traffic techniques and a background in different advertising platforms. And today James calls on that expertise to explore the pitfalls of hiring the wrong paid traffic agency.
He and Ilana will talk about a common mistake business owners make with ad accounts when engaging an agency.
They’ll discuss how a basic foundation in traffic can let you ask better questions and make informed decisions about your campaigns.
And they’ll look at the benefits of hiring paid traffic management that actually want your success.
Table of contents
1. Do you own this valuable asset?
2. Owning your analytics
3. The matter of the ad bill
4. Beware of purely vanity metrics
5. Be able to ask better questions
6. Understanding where you’re at
7. Does anyone ever have everything in order?
8. The various approaches you can take
9. The best place to start
10. The benefits of engaging experts
Do you own this valuable asset?
There’s a common mistake businesses make, says Ilana: that of not owning their own ad account. Many of them, seeking an easy, done-for-you ad solution, hire agencies to manage their advertising, often allowing these agencies to set up ad accounts on their behalf.
These accounts are usually set up under the agency’s banner, meaning that if a business decides to part ways with the agency, they lose access to that account and the valuable data it contains. This data, which includes search terms and successful campaigns, is a crucial asset.
While businesses can still hire agencies for support, Ilana stresses the account should be under the business’s ownership. This ensures that they can retain control, maintain access to data, and have the freedom to revoke the agency’s access when needed without losing valuable information.
Owning your analytics
Ilana shares a concerning trend she observed while teaching at Sydney University: businesses not owning their Google Analytics accounts. This means they relinquish control over their website data, from organic traffic to email metrics. When businesses try to reclaim access, they’re often denied because these accounts were set up under the agency’s email.
Agencies often offer to set everything up on behalf of the client. This seemingly helpful gesture, however, puts the business at a disadvantage, as they’re essentially “renting” their own data. If a business chooses to leave an agency, as mentioned, they have to start from scratch without any of their previous data.
Ilana says that while some clients might knowingly take this easier route, most are unaware of the repercussions. Agencies rarely provide full disclosure about the consequences.
The matter of the ad bill
James and Ilana delve into the financial aspects of working with ad agencies. Ilana says that while clients typically cover the ad bill, there are instances where agencies manage these expenses without disclosing exact amounts to the client. Ideally, a business should pay for its advertisements directly to platforms like Google or Facebook and treat agency fees as a separate entity.
James elaborates on the typical billing structure of traffic agencies. They might charge an initial setup fee followed by a monthly retainer. The retainer’s amount could depend on various factors, such as the client’s size or ad spending bracket.
Ilana highlights a key concern: hiring a competent agency can be expensive. Given the high costs, businesses often end up paying as much (or more) to the agency as they do for the actual advertisements.
Ilana further points out that some agencies, in an attempt to retain clients, might curtail the client’s ad spend, thus stretching their budget over several months. James notes that in this scenario, businesses might spend more on agency fees than on actual advertising. Worse, they may not even get to access or own their ad data.
Beware of purely vanity metrics
Some advertising agencies, says Ilana, rely on misleading vanity metrics when reporting performance. These agencies highlight non-essential figures like impressions, suggesting they’ve achieved broad exposure for the client, even if it may not have resulted in meaningful engagement or conversions. Vanity metrics, while appearing impressive, don’t necessarily translate to genuine business outcomes.
James notes that enterprise clients can be particularly prone to focusing on these metrics, such as the number of video views, rather than conversions or sales. He finds it baffling that some large businesses prioritize these numbers, not considering their actual impact on the bottom line.
James also shares a personal experience: an ad agency claimed attribution for a sale that resulted not from their advertisement, but from word-of-mouth referral. This highlights the importance of clarity in tracking sources, helping businesses identify the genuine origins of their conversions and preventing agencies from claiming undue credit.
Be able to ask better questions
Ilana emphasizes the importance of business owners having a basic understanding of paid traffic. This knowledge equips them to ask insightful questions of their advertising agencies, and lets them discern the effectiveness of certain metrics while challenging potentially misleading claims.
Being well-informed can help business owners ensure that they’re getting genuine value from their agency, instead of blindly trusting possibly ineffective strategies.
Many people have come to Ilana confused as to what their advertising agency is actually doing for them. By understanding fundamental metrics and their significance, business owners can more effectively assess agency reports. This understanding helps them press the agency for real results that benefit their business, rather than being swayed by unimportant figures.
Understanding where you’re at
James asks if Ilana’s platform, Teach Traffic, offers a diagnostic review of members’ advertising setups. Ilana confirms that she provides a free audit of members’ ad accounts, helping them understand the performance of their campaigns. The aim is to emphasize effective strategies and identify wasteful spending.
Due to her continued involvement with her own small ad agency, Ilana has a distinct advantage, sharing with Teach Traffic members the most successful campaign types she’s currently implementing for her agency’s clients.
James identifies with Ilana’s approach. He also observes the strategies that work best for his clientele and shares these insights across the board. By constantly monitoring the industry’s best practices, he can quickly adapt and provide his clients with the most efficient techniques.
James acknowledges some especially astute clients – special mention to Brenton Ford, who frequently checks in for the latest effective strategies. By consistently implementing these suggestions, Brenton has achieved significant success.
Does anyone ever have everything in order?
How often, James asks, does Ilana come across clients who’ve worked with an agency and find that everything is perfectly set up?
It’s rare, says Ilana. She observes, however, that as business owners gain a deeper understanding of paid traffic, they often come up with innovative ideas tailored to their unique business needs, as they have the most in-depth knowledge of their operations.
One of Ilana’s clients in the education sector, for instance, noticed from search term reports that there was a demand for workshops related to her niche. Recognizing this demand, she decided to advertise her existing workshop, which in turn opened up new avenues and opportunities for her business.
This analytical approach to paid traffic doesn’t just impact advertising; it can also inform SEO strategies. For example, recognizing which search terms lead to conversions can guide a company’s SEO team to focus on those specific keywords, even if they’re lower in traffic. Combining these insights with the business’s inherent understanding results in a strategy more potent than what an external agency might devise.
The various approaches you can take
James touches on the different approaches people can take towards paid traffic – some individuals prefer a hands-off approach, while others seek more direct involvement. He mentions there are also agencies that, despite good intentions, may not be getting quality information, and wonders if Ilana offers coaching for such agencies.
Ilana confirms that she does provide coaching for agencies, helping them refine their strategies and select the right clients and niches. She reflects on her decade-long experience in agency work, emphasizing the importance of consistency and integrity in the field.
James can vouch for her expertise and dedication, noting that they’ve both witnessed numerous trends and shifts in the industry.
Ilana offers various membership levels in her agency. The base tier provides access to her training courses and Q&A sessions, while a more intensive level includes weekly calls in a small group setting where she reviews clients’ campaigns. This intensive level allows participants to learn not only from Ilana but also from observing the campaigns of their peers.
Lastly, Ilana mentions a one-on-one coaching service designed to assist individuals or agencies looking for personalized guidance in optimizing their campaigns or growing their agency. This service includes direct calls with her for tailored assistance.
The best place to start
What’s the ideal starting point, James asks, for someone uncertain about their agency’s efficiency? While suggesting that joining Teach Traffic could provide insight into the agency’s performance, he wonders if one can still retain their agency while seeking secondary opinions or guidance through Ilana’s platform.
Ilana has actually assisted clients in such situations, helping them interpret their agency’s actions and determine if they’re receiving quality service.
James likens the role of Teach Traffic to an insurance policy, providing valuable feedback for a fraction of what they’d pay an agency. This additional oversight ensures clients make informed decisions based on expert input.
Both James and Ilana stress the benefit of getting diverse opinions, much like seeking a second medical opinion, and believe in the value of multiple perspectives to ensure the best outcomes.
The benefits of engaging experts
Engaging with experts, says James, as opposed to just going through self-paced courses, offers a dynamic learning experience. Having direct access to professionals allows for tailored advice and context-specific guidance, making it easier to apply knowledge gained to one’s unique situation.
Ilana shares that her agency background lets her and her team efficiently build and manage campaigns for clients. This efficiency means clients can have campaigns set up in hours rather than the weeks it might take someone inexperienced.
James knows Ilana is skilled in using emerging AI tech to enhance ad management, highlighting the potential for AI to save time and improve decision-making processes.
Ilana combines a data analyst background with the leverage of powerful tools, and an understanding the right procedures to get the desired paid traffic outcomes. If you are interested in engaging her expertise, you can find her at TeachTraffic.com. You can also check out her analytics training at TeachTraffic.com/training.
Enjoyed the show? Leave us a review on iTunes