I managed my program for years on my own but the effectiveness is declining and I'm being approached by 'experts' who want to take care of it for a monthly fee. What is reasonable and what should I look out for?
Since you have experience managing the account, you have a general idea of how much time you spend on it. Hiring an expert may or may not need more hours, than what you have been investing, but that is something you can suss out in a conversation and after they review the account.
Once you know how much time they'll spend then you just need to determine an amount that offers them fair value for their time based on their level of experience. You can either choose to pay them by the hour or you can do a percentage model.
As an agency, we charge a percentage of ad spend. In general, every thousand dollars of ad spend requires an hour's worth of work. This is non-exact as it also depends on how much testing and landing page optimization is being done, but it's a good rule of thumb.
The percentage, however gives us incentive to keep the spend profitable and ensure the client sees a solid ROI. The better the ROI the more they are likely to spend, which increases our income and gives us more hours to optimize the campaign for better performance.
The trick is to never increase your budget if you're not getting good ROI out of it.
Of course, campaigns that start on small budgets are trickier because they need time and data in order to be optimized. If your ad spend is low then consider paying hourly until the campaign is improved enough to increase your spend and move to a percentage model.
Here's an article on pay-for-performance models: http://marketingland.com/love-pay-performance-seo-wont-heres-209555. It focuses on SEO, but many of the same principles apply to PPC.
It all depends on the budget. It can go from a 20% to 35% of your paid media cost. The percentage might vary depending on the budget, if the campaign needs to be built from scratch (which is not your case), if it needs a major optimization or you are not using latest Google/Bing trends.
Feel free to contact me if you need a free audit and quote.
Honestly, it depends on the quality/depth of service you're looking for and how extensive your AdWords program is.
I've written this up in detail on Quora: https://www.quora.com/How-much-does-a-good-Adwords-consultant-cost/answer/Igor-Belogolovsky-1
But I'll give you the highlights:
- You can probably get someone mediocre for a few hundred bucks a month, but it may not be much better than optimizing on your own
- You can hire a variety of skilled agencies or hourly consultants for a few grand a month
- If you want top talent and have a significant budget, expect to pay as much as $5k to $30k per month