Top Paid Media & PPC (Pay Per Click) Marketing Companies

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Top Value Propositions and Differentiating Factors of the Best Paid Media and Pay-Per-Click Companies


When it comes to driving traffic quickly and reaching customers who have already expressed a level of interest or need in a product or service your company sells, nothing beats paid search. Paid search (also referred to as search engine marketing and Pay-Per-Click, or PPC) is the process of showing ads in search engine results pages for relevant and desirable keywords.

Paid search management is a highly skilled field -- deep understanding of the inner workings of ad platforms is essential to success in the channel. Though some companies choose to manage paid search in-house, many simply don’t have the infrastructure to appropriately support such a position. They rely instead on media agencies who specialize in paid search and display. These agencies have the skills necessary to effectively manage PPC campaigns. By working in teams as opposed to in isolation, agencies are also able to take a more thorough and comprehensive approach to campaigns.

As with all digital marketing channels, there are many different varieties of paid media companies in operation. Some are highly skilled, efficient, and trustworthy. Others may talk a big game, but ultimately can’t generate results. Identifying the best PPC company to partner with your brand is a matter of understanding how your values and theirs align. Taking stock of each agency’s key differentiators will help your company pinpoint which ones will be strong partners, and which will not.

Top paid media companies are powered by people

There’s a lot of technical talk that goes into any paid media pitch. Comprehensive understanding of the technology required to run paid media campaigns on different ad networks is absolutely essential, but it’s the people that engage that technology that really matter. Don’t get sucked in by all that technical jargon -- at the end of the day, the best PPC companies live and die by the quality and skill of the people who work there. Look for a partner who has the bases covered when it comes to technology and automation, but ultimately positions themselves based on talent. The people working at the agency are the ones who are going to be responsible for managing and optimizing your account, after all. Their insight and abilities are what your pay-per-click campaign success is riding on.

Leading paid media companies value transparency

When paid media is being run on your behalf, you’re entitled to a full and comprehensive overview of the approach, tactics, and creative. Top paid media companies are open and transparent when it comes to briefing clients on their campaigns. They’ll offer to walk you through their approach to campaign setup, including keyword targeting and ad messaging. They’ll sell themselves based on regular reporting on key metrics (click-through rate, conversion rates, cost-per-click, quality score, and return on ad spend [ROAS]) and open lines of communication. Steer clear of agencies that are vague or guarded about how your campaign will be managed.

Effective paid media companies are strong collaborators

In order to be effective in advertising on a client’s behalf, the media agency has to have a strong understand of their business. Collaboration is key to success. The best paid media companies position themselves on their ability to partner closely with your internal internet marketing teams. This is important to ensuring good outcomes from your paid media campaigns, but it also helps guarantee that all marketing disciplines are working in tandem towards a unified goal. Media companies that are not able to effectively collaborate end up operating in silos, which can result in communication breakdowns, missed opportunities, and outright marketing disasters.

Trustworthy paid media companies won’t hold you hostage

Obviously staying with a single PPC partner long term is the ideal outcome of any engagement. Long term partnership ensure consistency and more efficient optimization, plus it avoids the cost and time associated with switching agencies. Still, it’s wise to keep your options open in case you do need to make a change at some point, whether that means bringing account management in-house or switching to a different vendor. If that time comes, you want to be sure that your data belongs to you, and not to your agency. Top paid media companies will never hold your campaigns hostage -- they’ll turn the reins over to you if and when you ask them to. The best pay per click agencies will also provide hand-off documentation for all managed ad networks and even training for in-house teams to ensure the smoothest possible transition.

Serious paid media companies are credentialed

PPC management requires skill, experience, and technical ability. If an agency is serious about offering a high level of expertise and service to their clients, they will take the time to become credentialed. For example, Google Partner and Premier Partner status indicate that an agency has met certain requirements set forth by Google to certify Adwords proficiency. According to Google: “Achieving Partner status means that your company has demonstrated AdWords skill and expertise, met Google ad spend requirements, delivered company agency and client revenue growth, and sustained and grown its client base.” This is a good indication to potential clients that their paid media company has a proven track record of success.

Reliable paid media companies are adaptable

Digital technologies change and evolve at a rapid pace. You need an agency partner that stays on top of changes in the online marketing world so your campaigns never fall out of date. Google and other search engines roll out improvements and new features constantly, and top paid media agencies position themselves on their ability to integrate changes into their client campaigns quickly. In a field as competitive as paid search and display, it’s critical that your brand is able to take advantage of every opportunity.

Service offerings of top paid media companies

Top paid media companies can handle the pay-per-click advertising needs of companies of all sizes. Regardless of whether you’re a small local business, an enterprise B2B company, or an ecommerce retailer, there are plenty of agencies that can meet your needs.

The core services of paid media agencies include:

●     Paid Media Audit - A comprehensive review of the client’s paid media efforts and PPC management to date. The audit will identify where the client’s campaigns have been successful and where they have failed to deliver, setting up a clear path for future improvements. The audit will also often include assessment of other media channels, like paid social media.

●     Paid Media Strategy - There’s no small amount of research that goes into setting up a new pay per click campaign or rebuilding an existing one. During the strategy phase the agency will identify sets of target keywords and assess the competition for those terms. They’ll also devise a messaging strategy and determine landing page needs to appeal to the client’s target audience.

●     Campaign Build - With the research in place, the team can start building the campaign. The build process is where the ads are created: copy is written, bids are set, banners are designed, and all the pieces are put in place. It’s a big job, so expect it to take a few weeks minimum, depending on complexity. Graphic design services may be included, or advertisers may wish to provide their own creative.

●     Pay Per Click Campaign Management - The ongoing day-to-day management of campaigns. The campaign manager should be checking campaigns daily to ensure everything is running smoothly. Optimizations will happen on an ongoing basis, but especially during the first few months when the initial results are coming in and data is being accumulated.

How the best paid media companies market themselves

Paid media companies know a thing or two about paid search and display, and often rely heavily on these channels to promote their own services. In tandem with pay per click marketing, they’re likely to invest in search engine optimization (SEO) to boost their ability to rank for top terms organically.

Content marketing and thought leadership are other common tactics for paid media companies that have rich experience to draw on in order to create thoughtful and engaging content pieces. These are shared through social media marketing channels, another top marketing channel for media agencies.


Paid search and display is an essential component of many digital marketing campaigns as it  can quickly drive qualified traffic within a relatively short time frame. However, high levels of skill are required to properly manage paid media campaigns and most companies do not have the requisite expertise in-house.

Paid media companies can help manage paid search and display campaigns from concepting straight through to optimization and analysis. Key differentiators of the best paid media companies include:

●     Powered by people - What kinds of people does the agency employ? Are campaign managers and strategists strategic thinkers committed to a process of testing and analysis?

●     Transparent - How much will the agency share about their approach to your campaign? Will you have full oversight over campaign concepts, copy, and keyword targeting? How and when will reporting take place?

●     Collaborative - Is the agency open and committed to collaboration? What will their relationship with you (the client) look like? Can they liaise with third parties if necessary?

●     Fair - Who will own your campaigns if ever your company decides to part ways with the agency? What is the process that dictates how accounts will be turned back over to you?

●     Credentialed - Has the agency made the investment in getting credentialed by leading search engine ad platforms? Will a credentialed employee be leading your campaign?

●     Adaptable - How does the agency stay on top of changes in the industry? How quick are they to incorporate new technologies or features into client campaigns? Do they demonstrate a commitment to ongoing employee training and development?

Top Qualities of the Best Paid Media & Pay Per Click Companies


Before paid media and PPC campaigns can be created, a strategy must be in place that will guide campaign creation and optimization. Top paid media companies will always take the time at the beginning of the project to do discovery that informs their understanding of the client’s industry and aligns the entire team to the client’s business objectives. During the strategy phase, the agency will investigate the competitive landscape to determine optimal budgets in order to obtain visibility and clicks. They will do keyword research and come back to the client with recommendations on what the keyword strategy should be. The strategy will outline which channels the agency recommends, and detail asset requirements such as landing pages, and ad creative and copy. If an existing paid media campaign is in place, the agency will likely want to do an audit to identify any issues and make sure that tactics that are working are carried over to subsequent initiatives.

Campaign Setup

The campaign setup phase is where the agency begins to put the strategy to work. Top paid media agencies are transparent about how campaigns are constructed and upfront about how long the client can expect the setup process to take. During this time the agency should work closely with the client to develop any new landing pages that must be created, or to tailor existing content and website creative to match the campaigns that are being created. Look for an agency whose approach to campaign setup is a holistic one. They should consider the campaign from start to finish and make sure that the customer’s experience is a positive one, with the website fulfilling the promise laid out by the paid media campaigns.

Analysis and Optimization

Paid media campaigns need constant care and attention. If they’re left to run on their own without tending, there’s a very real risk of throwing away ad spend on efforts that generate little or no return. Top paid media companies assign dedicated paid media specialists to monitor and optimize client campaigns on an ongoing basis. It’s important to have a team assigned to your campaign because over time they’ll learn what works best for your business, and they can use the knowledge they accrue to meet your goals more quickly and efficiently. The more efficient your team is, the more judiciously your budget can be spent. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about who will be assigned to your account, and how often you can expect them to be monitoring and optimizing your campaigns. High quality agencies will expect and welcome these types of questions.

Reporting and Communication

When your company’s marketing budget is being spent on paid media initiatives, it’s imperative to have a clear understanding of whether that money is generating solid returns. Top paid media companies set regular check-in meetings where they share results and analyze both campaign successes and areas for improvement. Communication should be predictable, and clients should never be unsure of the status of their campaigns. Look for an agency that values transparency and commits to regular reporting.