Kristen McCormick, content marketing manager at ThriveHive, states in her report on Wordstream, that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing so many shifts, it’s more important than ever for agencies to have visibility into the larger pay-per-click (PPC) and digital marketing landscape.

This year, they opened the survey up to even more agencies for even stronger results. They also asked some new questions beyond PPC to explore agency business practices and sales processes.

A note on COVID-19

This survey was conducted prior to COVID-19 becoming a pandemic. While the outbreak has created many new challenges for agencies in 2020, it has also come to magnify many of the key takeaways you’ll read in this report.

  • Acquiring new clients will continue to be a top challenge for agencies, with many needing to narrow their new client targeting to industries that are in high demand, such as health and medical, on-demand media and ecommerce businesses.
  • Retaining clients, which was already a growing challenge area, will now become a top priority for agencies. What will be important here is helping clients adapt ad copy to COVID-19 and suggesting more pandemic-appropriate strategies.
  • Having the right technology will be crucial in accommodating shifts to online models and remote work and reporting tools will be essential for informing your pandemic-adjusted strategies

Overall agency management

Parts of the report is aimed at overall internet marketing agency patterns. This includes size, acquisition strategies, services offered, tools used and general challenges.

State of the Agency 2020 key points

  • Efficiency is not enough. Last year, agencies grew in PPC spend with fewer full-time employees dedicated to paid search. This year, agencies grew both in spend and in time and staff dedicated to paid search. While efficiency was the solution last year, prioritising PPC may be the trend this year, as evidenced by the decline in previously popular services (SEO and web development) and the lead taken by paid search and social.
  • Training is in demand. With agencies spending more time on, and not outsourcing, paid search and social, the demand for full-time PPC employees is increasing. Adequate training is needed to scale up and retain both clients and employees.
  • Agencies are getting it done. With most agencies staying under 25 employees and using all hands on deck, we can see that bandwidth is somewhat limited. However, customer lifespans are long and healthy, indicating that resources, automation and reporting tools are helping agencies to adequately meet their clients’ expectations.
  • PPC is a moving target. While getting new clients is an ongoing challenge, keeping PPC changes and trends is a full-time job. New networks are emerging, existing platforms are evolving, and most agencies are using a cross-platform strategy. This means convenient, high-quality training to help agencies and their employees stay competitive is essential.
  • Digital is survival. Digital methods of marketing and operating have always been key, but with COVID-19 they have become crucial: reporting tools and online resources are essential for quickly adapting strategies; a solid tech stack is needed to keep remote teams running smoothly and online marketing is in higher demand now than ever.

To download the Wordstream report, click here

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