4 Questions for Your Next Agency Interview


I like to dream of a world where everyone did their jobs as well as Prince did his. Too bad it just ain’t so.

Here are a few questions you can ask potential ad agencies, so you can figure out whether or not you are dealing with what you deserve: a virtuoso!


1) Can you provide a sample of your ad copy and keyword words via spreadsheet?

They should strip-out their customer’s names for privacy and not hesitate to deliver. Don’t offer too much guidance around what you are looking for.

Answer: This should be a no-brainer for a good ad agency. If they hesitate – something is fishy. Period. They might be new at what they do, or do not have a build that they are proud of, yet.

The keyword spreadsheet should somewhat resemble the above. You want to see column after column of tightly-themed keywords. Each theme should represent a single product feature. The list of keywords you launch with should be fairly comprehensive. An agency should deliver this at launch and not lean heavily on adding the majority of terms later.

If you see a spreadsheet that is lacking volume, or if it is not well-organized, it’s time to move on. Quickly.

Ad copy should be written out for each theme. Ad copy should contain the search terms so that a customer would see the ad as relevant. You should launch with 3 variations of ad copy for every single theme in your keyword spreadsheet. Look for a robust build-out of ad copy.

2) In which ad platforms do you specialize?

Answer: Not all of them. How can you specialize if you do everything? In general, you want to hear the majors: Google, FB, Insta, and LinkedInMaybe a programmatic platform like DoubleClick (now called Ads 360). If they start going on and on about Pinterest, Twitter, etc…you may want to ask a follow-up question like — Who manages the optimizations of each platform?

It will take several people to properly manage all of these different platforms for multiple clients. Likely, a Search and LinkedIn manager, and then a social media manager. You deserve to have an agency that checks your account multiple times per week. Like an active stock broker, they need to keep a sharp eye on the market.

3) How many accounts does each person at your agency have?

Answer: Less than ten. Ten accounts done right by a savvy account manager is a lot of work. In addition to your primary point of contact, you will want strategic staffing from a senior member of the team as well as some junior folks who can do quality checks and provide additional support to tasks such as writing refreshed ad copy or updating bidding strategies. Overall, your main POC should not be slammed with 20-30 accounts. This is a very common agency practice.

4) How do you bill? Do you charge any fees for technology or media mark-up? What about audience data?

Make sure your next agency has a clear approach when billing you!

Agencies should out-right say “I charge X% of spend or $X flat rate.” Overall, the industry range is 10%-20% of ad spend. If you are paying more, you should be getting more – like daily account health check-ups or larger comprehensive builds at launch. Then, as a business spends more, agency fees gradually get lower. Ask for their rate card.

Common ways people get ripped-off in this business: Media mark-ups, technology fees, & audience fees.

I have seen agencies mark-up YouTube ads by up to 100%! That means a marketer could be paying $50,000 for YouTube ads when they could be paying $25,000. Where did the additional money go? The agency. Agencies cannot build 1,000 employee empires without pocketing serious profits.

Transparency is so important in the advertising world. We hope to push the industry to always do what’s best for advertisers. Connect with us today to discuss our specializations and approach to advertising.

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