You’ve decided you need external support to manage your AdWords account. Now what?

AdWords management services come in all shapes and sizes and depending on how big your company is, your overall strategy, your budget and your goals, you will need a specific level of support from your paid media partner.

We’ve rounded up a quite comprehensive list of things you need to know, together with questions you should be asking to figure out if who you’re speaking to is the right fit for your business.

What is Google AdWords?

Google AdWords is the former name of Google Ads. It’s an online pay-per-click platform owned by Google where businesses can bid to advertise their products or services specifically to the people more likely to buy them.

Back in the day, the name AdWords reflected the fact that most ads were text-based ads, which were shown as a result of you searching for something (otherwise called SERPs, Search Engine Result Pages).

But as Display campaigns, YouTube campaigns, App campaigns have gained ground over the last few years, the name has changed in July 2018 to represent the full range of campaign types available.

As the platform moves more and more towards automation and AI-led optimization with new campaign types such as Performance Max, this has clearly been a change in the right direction.

How does Google AdWords work?

Without going into too much unnecessary detail, Google Ads is a giant auction open 24/7. You, the advertiser, choose which keywords you’d like to put a bid on, and in some cases, the maximum amount you’re willing to pay every time a user clicks on your ad.

Now, how much you’re willing to pay for a click isn’t the only factor that Google considers. If that was the case, the one who pays the most would always win, making impossible for the small businesses to compete.

Google also takes into consideration several additional factors, which include but are not limited to:

  • The relevance of the ad copy to the keyword(s) you chose
  • The relevance of the ads to the page you’re sending people to
  • The likelihood that people will click on the ad (this is based mostly on historical performance)
  • Context of the search (such as intent, location, device, time of day, etc.)
  • How competitive that auction is

All the above and more, combined, makes up the Ad Rank, which Google uses to calculate if and where your ad will show for a specific search.

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Do I need an AdWords agency or a freelancer?

There are pros and cons of going for one option or the other. Having said that, there are also some broad guidelines that should guide you in the decision of going down one route as opposed to the other.

AdWords agency pros and cons


  • It’s likely that more than one person will be working on your account, with different backgrounds and levels of seniority.
  • It’s the agency’s job to manage businesses’ accounts, so it’s in their interest to find and retain top talent.
  • Agencies can usually afford more expensive tools and systems that freelancer might find hard to justify cost-wise.
  • The bigger your account is, the more time it takes to manage. If you think that even for the small account, you’re looking at minimum 1 day a month worth of work, you’ll see that a freelancer will run out of time quite fast.


  • Everything we said above depends on size of the agency, and how much money you’re going to be spending with them.

Let’s run a few scenarios.

Small size agency (less than 10 people). This means a much more personal service, but not as many resources or time, unless the agency willingly limits the number of clients.

Medium size agency (up to 35 people). This seems to be the sweet spot between still being able to give a personalized service to clients, and having the resources, time and experience to take on more complex or bigger account. It’s likely this type of agency will offer a variety of services.

Large agency (35+ people). If you decide to work with a large agency but you don’t have a large budget (in the order of tens of thousands per month), you will likely be considered a small fish, and your account likely given to a junior to manage. This is not always the case, mind you, but it’s always worth double checking.

AdWords freelancer pros and cons


  • The person you talk to and sign up with manages your account.
  • It’s a fully personalised service.


  • Some freelancers, to free up their time and get more clients on board, outsource account management to cheaper white label companies. This is not wrong per se, but you should be aware of this before you sign up.
  • Freelancers are usually specialists – so if you’re looking to not just run Google AdWords, but paid social as well, a freelancer might not be your best option.
  • The more clients they get on board, the harder it will be for them to be available. We all have a limited number of hours in a day!

What’s the minimum budget to run Google AdWords campaigns?

There isn’t a minimum budget as such, however, in our experience, running ads with less than £20 per day at the very minimum will make it extremely hard for you to see any results in the short term. The more expensive the industry is, the longer it will take.

For example:

Say you’re an accounting business and your average cost per click is £1.50. This means in your very best scenario you will get 13 clicks per day.

Say also that your current conversion rate on the website is a very average 1%. This means in order to get an enquiry, you need 100 clicks, which will take you a week to get.

This means 4 enquiries a month.

But what if your conversion to sale ratio requires 5, 7 or 10 enquiries before one becomes a customer? In that case, it can take you 2 or 3 months in order to get a customer, and therefore, a long time for you to find out if your campaign is working the way it should, or if you need to make any changes.

During that time, most businesses get fed up and conclude Google Ads don’t work, so they stop advertising completely.

See where the problem lies?

Starting budget if you DIY your Google Ads

Whatever you’re comfortable spending, but bear in mind the example we’ve just given above.

Starting budget for a Google Ads freelancer

On average, a freelancer could be happy to run ads for you from as little as £500 ad spend. Bear in mind you have to add the freelancer’s fees on top of this.

Starting budget for a Google AdWords agency

Considering there are lots more costs for an agency to run, first of all overheads, an AdWords agency is likely to start from a much higher entry point, around £1,500 in advertising spend per month. Bear in mind you have to add the agency’s fees on top of this.

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How much do Google AdWords agencies usually charge?

There are a few different way agencies can structure their fee, which is usually called a management fee. There isn’t a right or wrong way to do it, it just depends on what has worked for the agency in the past.

Percentage of advertising spend

This method is quite common. The percentage usually tends to reduce as the budget increases to make it worthwhile to the client as well. It can start from as much as 20% when you spend £1,500, going down to 5% when you spend tens of thousands.


With this way of charging, the agency works out how long it will take to manage your account based on similar accounts they’ve managed in the past. It is by far the most accurate way of charging, as the agency can’t do that without first reviewing your account in detail and extensively discussing with you what you’re trying to achieve. Many agencies sit in the £90-£120 per hour bracket.


Some agencies operate on a results-only model and negotiate with you a percentage of every sale made through Google Ads. This is more common with e-commerce brands, where the sale cycle is shorter and it’s easier to directly attribute it to paid advertising. Depending on the industry, the percentage differ wildly, so it’s impossible to give an average here.

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What questions should you ask a Google AdWords agency?

  • What’s your minimum ad spend?
  • How is your management fee structured?
  • What work does your management fee cover?
  • What have we done well so far, and what are the areas we need to improve on?
  • What is your recommended strategy for my account over the next 6 months?
  • What reporting do you offer, and is it included in the management fee?
  • Have you got any case studies you can show us?
  • Can you tell us what we can expect to get for the money we spend?
  • When is it realistic to start seeing results?
  • How will we know if the strategy isn’t working?

Key takeaways

AdWords management services come in all shapes, sizes and budgets, so choosing the right option for you will make all the difference. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, and that’s definitely a good thing!

Pay attention to the minimum ad spend required; how their management fee is structured; and ask the tough questions before you sign on the dotted line. Only go ahead if you’re satisfied these people understand you, your business, and what you’re trying to achieve.

Looking for AdWords management services?

We are Adido, a PPC agency in Bournemouth offering PPC services in Dorset and beyond. We help commercially focused businesses to evolve and get the most out of their paid advertising campaigns. Take a look at the PPC services  we offer or contact us  today to find out how our PPC team can help your business to evolve.

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Meet the author ...

Silvia Coletto

Senior PPC Manager

Silvia Coletto has been geeking out on paid advertising since 2015, and managed a few million in advertising spend across small, medium and big clients across multiple ...