Is White-Label PPC A Fit For Your Agency?

If you had to decide between dining with Warren Buffet or Bill Gates for personal coaching on business success, who would you choose? What if you could get some advice from both of them at the same time? There’s no checking your calendar on this one… you’d RSVP for an opportunity like that in a heartbeat. Well it turns out that Bill Gates’s father had the privilege of sitting down with both of them and here is Mr. Buffet’s account of the occasion: 

“Shortly after I met Bill Gates, Bill’s dad asked each of us to write down on a piece of paper one word that would best describe what had helped us the most.  Bill and I, without any collaboration at all, each wrote the word…”

I know, cruel right? Well, I’m not one to leave someone hanging, so I’m going to finish the quote for you but what do you suppose the next word is? Hey, no Googling–that’s cheating! Just think for a second. What do you think the next word is? Okay, now that I’ve got your wheels turning, the proper insert to this invaluable adlib is this: “focus.” If there was ever a term in which you wanted to marinate your business brain, this is it. 

The reason white label PPC matters in our industry is because focus matters. And it turns out that focus isn’t simply important… it’s paramount. Whether you went to business school, enrolled in a masterclass or are simply an avid reader you know that one of the keys to succeeding in business is, as Jim Collins put it, “focusing solely on what you can potentially do better than any other organization.” If you run a digital marketing agency, have not concluded that PPC is what you should be solely focused on, and know you have limited resources, then I believe you should build a strategic partnership with a reputable white label PPC provider. Allow me to elaborate.

Chasing Two Rabbits

How many rabbits will you end up with if you chase two at the same time? According to the old Russian proverb… none. My initial priority is to ensure that there are no question marks in your thinking regarding the mission critical nature of being focused. While you probably don’t need more than two of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in the world to persuade you of this, I’ll throw in a couple more compelling examples. The first is drawn from the infamous world of sports. Ever heard of Vince Lombardi? This emblem of success was a firm believer in the truism that success and focus are inextricably linked. For those of you not familiar with Mr. Lombardi, he was a Hall of Fame football coach, an NFL executive and the head coach of the Green Bay Packers during the 1960s. He led the Packers to three straight NFL Championships and five total within a mere seven year span. NFL executives were so impressed by this legendary performance that they decided that his namesake, the Vince Lombardi Trophy should be awarded to the winner of the Super Bowl each year. My point? When Mr. Lombardi starts talking about success, we would do well to listen, and according to him, “success demands singleness of purpose.”

Now for the final nail in the coffin if you have any potential lingering doubts. Jeff Bezos. I felt like dropping a microphone just now, but I’m actually typing on a laptop. I know what you’re thinking: What does the most successful man on the planet know about succeeding in business? Just humor me. According to Mr. Bezos, “The most important single thing is to focus obsessively on the customer.” Making a similar comment he stated, “If there’s one reason we have done better than our peers in the internet space over the last six years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience.” What should be obvious here is the kinship between the success of Amazon and singleness of purpose. They “focus obsessively” and were “focused like a laser.

So there you have it, authoritative figures from numerous industries each signaling that success swings on the hinges of focus. You’re probably not surprised to know I could pull from many other compelling sources as well. Do your own research and you’ll find reputable influencers, speakers and authors calling focus “the number one element,” “the gateway,” and “the big league secret” for success in business. I share these examples at the risk of belaboring this point because it is so fundamental to understanding how important white label PPC is in the agency world.

A Refresher In Economics

So what does the undeniable correlation between focus and success have to do with white label PPC?  Short answer: Everything. Alternative short answer: Opportunity cost. “Simply stated, an opportunity cost is the cost of a missed opportunity.” – This key economic principle is particularly significant in environments where scarcity is a reality. Once an agency gets to the point where they have millions in annual revenue, scarcity becomes less of an issue; however, for most of us this is an inescapable reality. We need to respect and factor in the existence of opportunity cost when making strategic decisions. This means acknowledging that anytime we choose to invest into secondary priorities, we are missing out on opportunities to focus on that central strength that has the highest probability of contributing to our success. 

Therein lies the link between the necessity of focus and the existence of white label PPC. White labeling pay-per-click advertising mitigates opportunity cost by enabling the reallocation of precious, limited resources from secondary priorities (PPC) and into flagship offerings. In other words your focus, thus your probability of success, will be limited insofar as you choose to manage PPC in-house, be it with a full time employee or freelancer. Again this assumes limited resources are at play.  So if this is the case why not just avoid offering PPC altogether? I’m glad you asked!

How Important Is PPC Anyway?

In order to appreciate the significance of the logic above it is important to acknowledge the elephant in the room here, and I’m not referring to my bias.  I’m referring to the underlying presupposition that pay per click advertising is an essential facet of digital marketing. It’s likely that you are already persuaded about the importance of offering PPC to your clients, or you wouldn’t be conducting this type of research. If that is the case, then I trust this section will provide you with some helpful affirmation. It’s also possible that you’re wavering in the face of the conclusion that you should not be allocating your limited resources into a channel that isn’t your wheelhouse. Let us consider the following two variables: 1) the importance of a PPC offering for digital marketing agencies, and 2) what it takes to offer a truly impressive PPC management service.

In order to stress the importance of PPC, I’ve listed some need-to-know facts that underscore those key attributes that make this channel so strategic. One important clarification that I trust will become evident below is this: PPC isn’t merely important; rather, it is arguably one of the most important tools in the digital marketing space. Ok, let’s get this party started.

  • Volume. Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Facebook are the two largest online publishers in the US, both with more than 200MM internet users. Given the voluminous nature of these publishers and their obvious emphasis on sponsored results, it simply doesn’t make sense to ignore PPC.
  • Intent. PPC visitors are 50% more likely to buy than organic visitors. When someone clicks on an organic result they are expecting an education. When they click on an ad, they are expecting a CTA and a handshake. 
  • Control. There is no venue that offers a greater level of control over marketing dollars. An entire article could be written about this one point alone, and it is one of the most compelling reasons to invest into PPC.   
  • Visibility. There is no channel that offers a greater amount of visibility into how marketing dollars are being spent. Nail it then scale it, right? Well, the clearer the runway the smoother the landing. 
  • Immediacy.  PPC advertising can produce results as soon as the ads go livepractically overnight (though it takes time to optimize them).
  • Insight. There is a wealth of real-time data about their respective markets that is available to businesses utilizing PPC.
  • Success.  According to Wolfgang Digital’s impressively comprehensive 2020 KPI report, paid search recently overtook organic search as the top revenue driver. Similarly, social ads are the fastest growing driver of ecommerce sales; this is no surprise given the preceding characteristics.

It's Not Rocket Science, But...

In light of these compelling features, the burden of proof is not on those making a case for PPC, but on anyone who would beg to differ. Given that pay-per-click advertising is unquestionably paramount to any brand’s digital marketing strategy, it should go without saying that agencies need a high-caliber means of fulfillment. As mentioned above, delivering such a valuable PPC strategy demands a daunting amount of resources. In order to provide a realistic picture of what this takes, I’ve taken a similar approach to the above by bullet-pointing a number of variables that should be considered:

  • Genuine talent. Let’s be honest with ourselves here: getting what you pay for applies with crystal clarity when it comes to who you hire to manage paid search and paid social campaigns. Offshoring, freelancers and interns can be very tempting, but there is no substitute for US-based, experienced PPC specialists. Between payroll and taxes, you’re easily looking at $55-60K a year per paid media channel.     
  • Specialized Talent. I have been running a white-label PPC agency long enough to understand the importance of channel-specific expertise in order to produce a higher caliber offering. There is no denying that a multi-channel specialist is going to lack the expertise that distinctive publishers like Google and Facebook demand with their uniquely sophisticated interfaces, strategies and tactics. Let’s not forget other publishers like Microsoft and LinkedIn.
  • Staffing. Keeping your team properly staffed with adequate talent requires recruiting and, of course, dealing with terminations when necessary.
  • Infrastructure. Our Director of Operations could write for hours about the intricate and robust network of automation, integrations, standard operating procedures and project management required to support a streamlined and efficient PPC solution.
  • Attribution. Conversion tracking is one of the more technical aspects of managing PPC, and it is challenging to identify talent that is proficient in this area along with the other key characteristics required for the position e.g. analytical, attention to detail, creative, conversationalist, etc. Providing adequate coverage on this front is typically the result of managing campaigns for years across multiple channels and with different specialists. That’s because it literally takes a year before you’ll come across and resolve the variety of unique implementation and diagnostic scenarios that proper attribution will present.
  • Software / tools. It is easy to overlook the sheer number of tools and software required to execute on the various demands of PPC advertising e.g. debriefs, onboarding, landing pages, creative, copywriting, ad reviews, media, and reporting—just to name a few.

So What?

Here is what we’ve established thus far: 1) focus is the handmaiden to success, 2) successful businesses are those that have identified what they can be the best at, 3) unless you are a multi-million-dollar agency, opportunity cost needs to weigh into your decision making, 4) investing into an offering that is not your flagship service is a missed opportunity to invest into what you’re best at, 5) PPC advertising is one of the most important digital strategies available to your clients’ brands, and 6) delivering high-caliber PPC fulfillment requires a marked level of talent, time, and tools.  I’ve attempted to summarize this into a concise, meaningful conclusion:

Everyone who runs an agency knows they need to have an impressive PPC offering in order to attract and retain the right clients. The problem is that offering high-quality PPC management demands a daunting amount of resources that could otherwise be invested into what they do best. This is why our team at oxbird strives to be the ultimate turnkey solution for white label PPC in the US: so that agencies can stay focused on their areas of expertise. Partnering with a white label PPC vendor like oxbird enables agencies to strengthen their competitive advantage by revolutionizing their PPC offering.  The end result is scaling more effectively, and the alternative is to continue blowing through resources only to produce subpar PPC management… resources that could otherwise be invested into higher priorities.

So, if you are wondering if white label PPC is a fit for your agency the answer is yes, assuming the following: 1) you want to grow, 2) PPC is not your area of expertise, and 3) you have limited resources.