Evaluating Your Performance Marketing Agency's Work: 6 Tips For Heads of Performance Marketing
If you are a marketing director, you know it’s crucial to assess the work produced by your performance marketing agency to ensure it aligns with your goals and drives optimal results.
This is often a lot easier said than done.
Performance Marketing is a fairly complex thing to evaluate. There are hundreds of reasons why your return on investment might fluctuate day on day, week on week, or even year on year. How you evaluate whether your performance marketing agency is behind the success or failure of your marketing campaigns is certainly not black and white.
Yet, it’s still crucial to be able to cut the wheat from the chaff.
Working with a good performance marketing agency allows you to understand the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, rather than the effectiveness of their capabilities
Let’s take a look at some evaluation criteria you should consider to ultimately understand the capabilities of your partners.
Are they hitting agreed performance KPIs
Before assessing the work of your performance marketing agency, it’s vital to establish clear and measurable KPIs in collaboration with the agency. These KPIs should be aligned with your overall business objectives and reflect the goals you want to achieve through marketing efforts. Whether this is ROAS, POAS, LTV/CAC, Traffic or Impressions, make sure everyone knows what is needed, and why. If your agency aren’t hitting the expectations over an agreed period of time then you need to have a chat with them.
Are they providing transparent analysis and reporting?
A reliable performance marketing agency will provide you with regular reports that detail the progress and performance of your campaigns. These reports should contain relevant data, such as key metrics, campaign insights, and actionable recommendations. Assess the reports to determine if the agency is providing comprehensive and transparent information. Don’t settle for just seeing the data - the agency should have good analysts that can evaluate the data, summarise it, and then question if they’re doing point 3.
Are they providing data-driven recommendations?
This one is gold! Once your agency has analysed your campaigns, and has scoped out what is working with their wider client set / in the general market, then they should be constantly providing you with a list of actions that need to be taken. These may be actions they will take themselves, or it may be actions that you need to do. If you’re not getting a constant list of actions in a status sheet or similar, then it may mean your agency is struggling to visualise the way forward, and at this point the account is going to plateau.
Are they balancing short term and long term growth strategies?
Most performance agencies will focus on the short term opportunities. They are more easily measured, and they are easier to implement. But if there is no long term focus for the business then you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul. The short term methods of performance marketing will plateau and you will find it very difficult to scale any further. A good performance marketing strategy will encompass both short term and long term techniques to help you get balanced scaling.
Are they able to provide you with a checklist/audit document?
Your agency needs to know why things are good or bad. For this, they should be able to reel off a checklist of important areas of the account. Don’t be fooled by a high number of actions. Some actions are much more important than others, and it’s crucial that your agency knows what these are and can articulate why they are important.
Is there a good level of communication and collaboration?
A good agency will take the time to understand your business, listen to your needs, and provide valuable insights and recommendations. Regular meetings or check-ins should be scheduled to discuss performance, upcoming campaigns, and strategic initiatives. Don’t settle for an unresponsive or faceless agency.
While this is not an exhaustive list, the points below will help you make a decision on the output of your agency:
- You should feel comfortable that the agency is capable of hitting targets.
- They should be providing transparency on their actions and the output of them.
- You shouldn't be the one driving all of the recommendations.
- A great performance marketing agency will encourage a balanced view across the marketing funnel.
- Your agency should be able to provide you with a checklist from each channel, showing knowledge of the areas that impact performance.
- Clear communications are absolutely vital; your agency should be communicating results as clearly as possible.
Evaluating the work of your performance marketing agency is vital to ensure their efforts align with your goals and generate optimal results. Follow the points above and you’ll quickly be able to figure out the good, the bad, and the outright ugly.