Black Lab Digital

How to choose a PPC expert

Google Ads and Microsoft Ads are well-established platforms for driving traffic to your website. While it is possible to spend a significant monthly budget on PPC, it is possible to start small. Over the years we have gained a wealth of experience managing campaigns with varying budgets, from approximately £200 per month media spend up to £100,000 per month across a multitude of industries.

Along the way, we have audited many existing accounts, often set up by business owners or marketing managers, who have missed some basic setup best practices. As a result, they’ve concluded that either PPC doesn’t work or that they need to speak to an expert to drive things forward. This is entirely understandable as the platforms for Google Ads, and Microsoft Advertising are feature-rich, and if you don’t know your way around them, it’s easy to set up in-efficient campaigns.

A common misconception we see from clients is “PPC is too expensive” or “Isn’t it just for the larger companies with bigger budgets?”. While it is possible to spend significant budgets, PPC can work very well for smaller businesses. 

You’ve set up an account, and it’s not working

This can be demonstrated based on the experiences of one of our smaller PPC clients – a third-generation family-run fabrication company. As a successful business, they had identified workshop capacity that could be profitable if filled. Initially, they tried creating their own PPC account, after spending more than they’re budgeted and seeing no results, they started the search for a partner and found Black Lab. Working together, we began the process of understanding their goals and the value of this potential extra work to create a model to test the validity of a PPC campaign. With careful keyword identification and clear ad messaging, a small test campaign began. This approach limited the client’s financial exposure for this new activity. After a successful first month with a media spend of just £150, optimisation of the campaign helped to refine the activity further. Estimated results were exceeded in the following period. 


Strong ROI on the account helped prove the value of PPC activity, so much so that each quarter the client increased the PPC budget to a current media spend of £250. While still a relatively modest spend, the PPC campaigns have driven real value for this client, generating between 10 and 15 relevant leads per month, demonstrating that PPC doesn’t have to be limited to businesses with big pockets.

What to look for in a PPC partner

When looking for a PPC agency to manage your campaigns, it is crucial to understand how much you are paying for their service. Some agencies hide the management fee, combining it with a total bill that includes your media spend. With this approach, it’s not clear where the money is being spent. At Black Lab, we don’t like this approach as it lacks transparency; we have seen some suppliers take huge fees leaving a small amount for actual media spend.

Our preferred charging model is to recommend a media budget then develop a management fee based on the time we believe will be needed to service the account. This approach is not only wholly transparent; often the client pays the media spend directly to the provider, it also allows us to work up models that show a clear return on investment. 

Google Partners

The most common accreditation to show competence in managing Google Ads campaigns is the Google Partners accreditation. More established and experienced agencies will likely be Google Partners which indicates they have maintained PPC account management over a period of time and at a level of spend to show competence. 

Reporting and next steps

PPC agencies should provide you with a monthly (if not more regular) reports. In our experience, many offer a minimal amount of detail, demonstrating top level stats – this seems particularly prevalent with the larger suppliers. Ideally, as a client, you should have a degree of commentary on the reports. This should detail the steps taken over the month to optimise the campaign and additionally next steps for the following month. These next steps may not be solely related to PPC and may form recommendations for a landing page or website optimisations. 

By working with a supplier that is prepared to develop and evolve your account, you’re likely to have an experience that enforces not only your confidence in the supplier but also a fruitful one that produces tangible results. 

PPC provides the opportunity for you to capitalise on search without waiting for SEO activity to take effect (although this should not be ignored) or risking too much capital. If you’re looking to start your journey into the world of PPC or are looking to change up your activity, why not get in touch with us here at Black Lab. 

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