3 Secrets Your Digital Marketing Agency Is Hiding

September 11, 2015

Stuck with a shady digital marketing agency in Singapore?

Businesses are heavily invested in digital marketing today. But in Singapore, many SMEs and start-ups don’t have the capacity for an in-house digital marketing team. Are you also a local business that outsources to a digital marketing agency in Singapore?

If so, you’re probably wondering what your digital marketer is doing and if your money is well spent.

The truth is, your digital marketing agency is probably hiding 3 important metrics from you. Although this makes their job easier, it also means you lose a few customers.

Secret #1: There’s only ONE champion

We all know that the #1 spot gets the most clicks on Google (caveat: but not always the most cost-effective). So if you’re in a competitive niche industry, where clicks are hard to come by, why is your ad not always at #1?

Imagine yourself as a digital marketing agency in Singapore. You serve 5 heart specialists in Singapore. All of them want #1 for “heart doctor Singapore”. What do you do?

The truth is, you’re stuck. There is no solution because only 1 of your 5 clients will get the #1 spot. As a digital marketing agency in Singapore serving multiple clients, you will have to rotate between who gets #1.

However, as a business owner, the above is not in your best interest. To solve this, you must find out how many of your competitors have contracts with your digital marketing agency.

One quick test you can try is to request the #1 spot on Google. If they are unable to do so, they might be serving many of your competitors. In such a case, it is advisable to re-evaluate your digital marketing contract. After all, there will be a conflict of interest if your digital marketing agency also works for competitors.

Solution: Scout around for a digital marketing agency in Singapore that works exclusively with you in your industry.

Secret #2: Your Ads Are Not Appearing

Do you sometimes type keywords into Google but not see your ads?

You might’ve been told that this is due to Google’s algorithm or budget issues (a clever way to get you to spend more).

That’s not true. It’s the digital marketing agency’s job to figure out the most cost-effective marketing methods for you regardless of the budget.

A good digital marketing agency makes recommendations on what a good budget is, but will never use it as an excuse. So don’t let your sem agency blame your budget for the lack of customers.

Now let’s get back to why your ads don’t always appear. You can see how often your ads are showing up in a metric called “Impression Share”. You can contact your digital marketing agency and request for an “Impression Share Report”.

Nate Impression Share Report

Here are a few snapshots from my client’s accounts. Notice the red circles on the left. They indicate my clients’ ads showing up around 98% of the time. 

Solution: Demand at least 90% impression share for all your important keywords.

Secret #3: You’re Paying Extra for Every Click

This one will surprise you.

Do you know you’re paying 50% to 100% extra per click for your Google ads?

Let’s start off by explaining a very common term in the online advertising industry – Click-Through-Rate (CTR). In Google’s terms, CTR is the number of clicks that your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown, expressed as a percentage.

Simply put, if your ad shows up 100 times and gets 1 click, your CTR is 1%.

This is important because if we look at it another way, CTR can also be seen as “the probability that your ad is going to get a click”. You only pay Google when your ad is clicked. Google can only show your ad if your keyword is searched. So if you’re Google, how will you maximize your own profits? Of course, you’d come up with the system that gives you the highest probability of earning the maximum amount, right?!

The formula Google uses in its AdWords bidding system is CTR * Bid Amount. With a high CTR, you’re likely to get a much higher spot, while paying a lot less.

In general, CTR close to 1% is bad. CTR above 3% is good. (Caveat: positions do make a difference)

Using a real-life example, data from Google Keyword Planner shows that most advertisers pay around $19.60 per click (very expensive!) for a keyword my client wants.

High CTR

What can you expect if you increase CTR?

The following screenshot is taken from one of my client’s accounts. By boosting his CTR all the way to 6.51%, he now only pays $7.83 instead of $19.60 for the exact same keyword! My client saves around 60% while getting the #1 spot!

Save CTR

Solution: Ask your digital marketing agency in Singapore to give you a full keyword report. Look out for the field that says “CTR”. Make sure your CTR is at least 3% for all your keywords.

If most of your keyword CTRs are below 3%, you’re overpaying, and you should ask your digital marketing agency what they can do to improve this.

If your keyword report shows CTRs below 1.5%, schedule an emergency meeting with your digital marketing agency and request an explanation!


To recap:

  1. There’s only 1 top spot on Google. If your digital marketing agency gives multiple reasons why they can’t promise you this, they might be working for your competitors too. Look around for an agency that works exclusively with you to avoid conflicts of interest.
  2. Make sure your Google ads show up at least 90% of the time for all keywords. Request for an “Impression Share Report” for all your keywords. Demand 90% and above impression share and let your digital marketer figure out the best solution for you.
  3. Avoid overpaying for Google ads. Ask for a “keyword report” from your digital agency. Check and make sure all your keywords perform at least 3% CTR or better. Call for an emergency meeting if you notice most of your keywords sitting at 1.5% CTR or lower.

Digital marketing is an investment in your business. Make sure you’re getting the best returns on your investments. Need expert help on this? Ask me.

By Nate Wang

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