Deeper Review of the Template-Built Website
The template-driven website they created for his company was adequate.
It was mobile friendly but scored low for mobile performance in Google's Lighthouse tool.
The website severely lacked content.
Every page was identical except for a title change.
There was very little text, which made it keyword light.
Alright, let's take a look at the ads they created.
Review of the Template-Built Ad Creative
These ads were built using a template system and were not designed for my friend's business.
The ads lack a clear call to action. The main text is small and difficult to read.
The real tell will be the performance. Let's check out the reports.
Banner Click Activity
The data shows a majority of his ads were served on mobile devices.
Mobile ads can target specific types of applications or websites where accidental clicks are the majority of the interactions.
Directing ads to high click mediums is a common practice that evil marketing companies use to burn through your advertising budget.
Another alarming fact about this report is that Google does not appear.
The one Yahoo click he received cost him $25.67.
Notice there is only one click.
The marketing company doesn't get that money as it's not running on their network. Same with Facebook clicks.
It's in their best interest to serve most of the marketing budget to their internal ad networks and keep most of your money for themselves.
We should look at the website traffic they're reporting.
Web Traffic Report
It's frustrating that they're not using Google Analytics.
Most of his website traffic is coming from the direct channel. This means someone typed his URL into their browser.
The source column tells us which interactions were "Display" or "Organic."
"Organic" is a free, no-cost channel. "Display" is a paid channel that originated from an ad network.
The only Google traffic he got was "organic." or someone searching for his business in Google.
Not running any ads on Google is a huge red flag.
So, where did his ads "actually" run?
We see a few "Display" clicks from Facebook.
But the rest are from searchalgo.com, mosthappy.com, and the list goes on with these bogus websites owned and operated by the marketing company he hired.
The numbers don't tie together with the other report.
My friend trusted this agency to grow his business, and they failed.
Their entire business model is designed to take advantage of small business owners.
By avoiding Google and spending very little on Facebook or other reputable networks, they funneled all his ad spend into their network.
He told me he called them and asked, "What is going on? Why am I not seeing any traffic?"
They assured him that the marketing performance they see in these reports is excellent.
They made him feel like it's something he's doing wrong on his business side, and they kept directing him to the click report showing hundreds of clicks to his website.
Let Us Help You
If, like my friend, you've also been the victim of one of these crooked online marketing companies, know you are not alone.
If you're concerned because you think you may be working with one of these corrupt companies, and you'd like help, please contact me.
I'd be happy to talk to you about any marketing challenges you're facing and give you solid advice to grow your company using online marketing.
Let us audit your online agency for you. We'd be happy to help you.
We can determine if they are providing the services they promised or taking your business for a ride.