The average PPC management price is between $1,500 and $10,000 per month as a flat-fee model, or 10%-20% of your budget as a percentage of ad spend model.

Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns put your products and services on top of the search engine results page (SERP), and right in front of your target audience.

However, many brands find that keyword research, campaign management, bid adjustments, and performance analysis take too much time to execute PPC campaigns properly.

That’s where a PPC agency comes in to handle all the heavy lifting, so you can kick back and enjoy the ROI.

So, what do PPC management prices look like? In this guide, HawkSEM CEO Sam Yadegar helps us break down common PPC management pricing models, what’s included, why it’s a worthy investment and what’s fair to pay.

How much does PPC management pricing cost?

Clients typically invest $1,500 to $10,000 monthly on PPC management, with larger enterprise businesses spending as much as $10,000 or more. From our first-hand experience, this is a fair range to pay.

Nail it, and you could see massive returns like our clients do (an average ROI of 4.5X).

When it comes to the actual media ad spend, on average, PPC cost per click (CPC) ranges from $2 to $5.

WordStream reports that businesses typically dedicate 10-20% of their ad spend to management fees, which can reach around $9,000–$10,000 a month in total (ad spend plus PPC management fees).

That said, it’s hard to take these rates at face value, considering how many factors we must consider.

Curious about the pricing breakdown? Let’s look at common PPC pricing models next.

4 PPC management pricing models

There are several ways to slice PPC management fees, as seen with these four common agency pricing models:

  1. Flat fee
  2. Percentage of ad spend
  3. Performance-based
  4. Hybrid model

We’ll break down each pricing model, pros and cons, and how HawkSEM structures the cost of PPC management services.

HawkSEM blog: PPC Management Price

Understanding the different pricing models and services you can expert will help you find the right PPC management team for your needs. (Image: Unsplash)

1. Flat fee

The flat fee model means you pay a one-time fee per month. Aside from a potential setup fee in your first month, flat fees offer a level of predictability in your budget.

Some PPC experts may use a tiered flat fee model. For example, if your PPC budget is $5000, their flat fee may be $500. However, if your budget is $10,000, their fee may be $1000.

Yadegar says HawkSEM prefers a flat fee to give clients transparency:

“We actually charge a flat monthly management fee, which helps keep costs properly managed,” says Yadegar.

“Flat-fee pricing also comes with fully dedicated support, like having an extension of your team.”

The benefits? No surprise costs, transparent billing, and easy budgeting and planning.

However, Yadegar points out that flat fees might increase with more campaign complexities and higher budgets, among other factors:

“Needing help to manage multiple platforms does add scope and increase management fees,” Yadegar says.

“However, when considering your overall marketing goals, a service provider should factor everything into the marketing plan and provide a simple fee.”

2. Percentage of ad spend

Percentage of ad spend is an agency pricing model that works on a commission basis. In this model, agencies receive a percentage of your monthly ad budget.

This percentage can range from 10-20%, according to WordStream. However, some high-level PPC experts can charge around 30%.

This model might not be the best fit for small businesses just starting out with PPC ads. If you don’t have sufficient ad spend to work with, you might not meet the minimum management cost requirement for an agency to work with you.

3. Performance-based fees

Performance-based pricing models charge commissions or flat fees for new leads, like:

  • Demo requests
  • Lead form submissions
  • Inbound calls
  • Free trial signups

This aligns your payment obligation with the potential payments that new leads could bring in.

The caveat? There’s no guarantee that these leads will actually convert. This tends to happen when brands work with lower-tier agencies that may take advantage of the model and make you pay for leads that fall outside your target audience.

A better extension of performance-based pricing is milestone pricing. While similar, this model considers various metrics to assess performance over time, like:

  • Website traffic
  • Number of sales
  • Average order value (AOV)
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV)
  • Bounce rate
  • Session time

Each brand has different metrics that matter most to them, which is why milestone pricing is an excellent option. It ensures that you only pay for the results that are important to you.

Our advice? Make sure your chosen agency uses solid software to extract data and give you accurate numbers on these metrics.

For example, HawkSEM uses an exclusive marketing platform called ConversionIQ.

This tech measures campaign performance in real time across all your ad assets, PPC networks, and social media channels. Our clients can then view actionable insights from those data points in their own personal dashboards. Hello, results.

4. Hybrid model

Some agencies adapt their pricing models to each client’s unique landscape. For example, you might have an agency that charges a flat fee for newer startups with minimal ad spend.

On the other hand, that same agency might prefer a percentage of ad spend for brands with bigger budgets.

Other agencies offer add-on services on top of their standard management fees. While your monthly fee might cover ongoing management and PPC account support, you’ll pay extra for a-la-carte options like campaign setup or managing multiple channels.

Our take? It’s true that different brands have different needs, but add-ons and hybrid models aren’t as predictable (or in some cases, transparent) as a reliable, flat monthly fee.

Time to see exactly what you pay for when you invest in PPC marketing management.

What’s included in PPC management pricing?

PPC management comprises all the tasks associated with the launch, execution, and strategy of PPC campaigns. This includes:

  • Campaign development and strategy
  • Ongoing optimization
  • Performance reporting and analysis

Campaign development and strategy

Before you launch a PPC campaign, you need to inform your account structure with the right research.

Which PPC channels do your audience spend time on? 

What would they type into search engines to find your products?

These are strategic insights that will shape campaign details.

When you create a PPC strategy, you’ll need to tackle the following tasks:

  • Keyword analysis: Research on keywords and metrics like competition and volume to inform ad copy
  • Channel management: Analysis of audience activity on different PPC channels, including Google Ads, YouTube Ads, Facebook Ads, and more
  • Audience research: Surveys, social listening, and website analysis to understand who your target audience is
  • Custom audiences: Audience attributes to inform who your ads will target
  • Campaign goals: Metrics and time-based goals to guide your campaign

Once you’ve fine-tuned the strategy, your PPC management team will get to work on bringing your campaigns to life, which includes:

  • Account structure: Set up of campaigns and ad groups
  • Ad copy and assets: Elements like your ad title and creative copywriting, landing page creation, and images and videos
  • Bid management: How much you’ll bid for keywords to strike a balance between competitive advantage and budget restraints
  • Remarketing setup: Determine audience criteria and actions to personalize ads through remarketing (or retargeting)

Performance reporting and analysis

How do you know if your campaigns are effective? Performance reporting serves up key metrics on website traffic, conversion tracking, ROAS, clickthrough rate, landing page submissions, and more.

These insights help you assess how well your ad campaigns resonate with your audience. Plus, they offer helpful information to tweak and tailor your PPC campaigns for greater profitability.

Ongoing optimization

Your new ad campaigns might bring a good influx of traffic right out the gate, but how do you make sure those results don’t fizzle out?

This is where the bulk of your PPC management services come in to keep your campaigns on track. This includes:

  • Ongoing keyword research and development
  • Refreshing ad copy, assets, and ad formats
  • A/B testing keyword variations, landing pages, and assets
  • Updating negative keyword lists
  • Conversion rate optimizations (CRO)
  • Adjusting bidding strategies if needed
  • Improving Quality Score
  • Trying new match types

While this doesn’t cover everything, it gives you an idea of the heavy workload you should expect from an agency — and why the cheapest choice isn’t always your best bet.

On that note…


(Image: Unsplash)

CPC by PPC network

Most people think of Google Ads when we discuss PPC marketing. And you’ll notice different CPC for certain industries. For example, “loans”, “credit”, “donate”, and “insurance” are all keywords with some of the highest CPCs, ranging from $42-$54.

But you’ll find variations in average CPC across different PPC networks, too:

  • Google Display Ads: $2.32
  • Google Search Ads: $0.67
  • Pinterest Ads: $1.50
  • Instagram Ads: $3.56
  • Facebook Ads: $1.35
  • LinkedIn Ads: $5.26
  • Microsoft Ads: $0.84

These costs are usually separate from PPC management fees, which begs the question:

Is PPC management worth the price?

Statista predicts companies will spend over $132 billion on ads in 2027.

When so many business owners are willing to fork up the dough on PPC, you know there’s a good reason. That’s because most Google PPC campaigns generate an average of 200% in ROI. 

But you’ll see even greater returns when you know your PPC campaigns are expertly managed.

Take our client, Datadog. Thanks to smart PPC management and a deep dive into Google Analytics, Datadog saw a significant boost in high-quality leads and a stronger ROI.

More concretely, Datadog saw a 75% surge in sales demos, a 40% reduction in CPA, and its CTR skyrocketed from under 1% to over 3%.

There’s a reason our clients see an average of 4.5X ROI after partnering with us. Our seasoned PPC strategists and marketing experts are devoted to optimizing your campaigns for top-tier performance.

What factors affect PPC management pricing?

According to Yadegar, other elements that can affect your dollar amount are:

  • Industry: Some industries have a higher CPC on Google Ads, which could increase your fee.
  • Service area: If you service a larger audience that spans multiple geographic regions, you could pay more for PPC management.
  • Competition: The level of competition within your market can also sway costs.
  • Speed to goal: How soon the client is looking to achieve their goals.

However, you don’t always need to spend $9-10k a month, as WordStream suggests, to launch winning PPC campaigns.

A good PPC management agency will work with you to determine your needs and offer a one-time flat fee that covers performance and ongoing maintenance.

Yadegar believes a solid performance management system is an ideal approach to lower costs:

“Our proprietary tech, ConversionIQ, definitely helps lower costs because we focus on what’s performing, and can more quickly mitigate any potential waste,” says Yadegar.

“And while it helps keep costs down, it helps increase the return on ad spend (ROAS) in parallel.”

Ultimately, the best way to determine costs is to get a custom quote from an SEM agency. We’ll size up your business, budget, and goals to come up with a custom plan that’s perfect for you.

Different types of PPC agencies

Our industry is full of PPC agencies with different specialties. Some cast a broad net, encompassing a full suite of online marketing services, while others narrow in on one very specific marketing platform, like Google Ads campaigns.

As a business owner or marketing manager on the hunt for the right PPC management partner, you might see different terms used across agencies. The truth is it can get a little confusing.

Here’s an idea of some types of agencies you might encounter:

  • Paid social advertising agency: Offers paid advertising services for social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and TikTok, with more youthful audiences.
  • Retargeting agency: Captures third-party data and sets up segments for retargeting; best for companies with high bounce rates that crave more conversions.
  • Digital marketing agency: Uses all digital channels, such as PPC, SEO, email marketing, branding, influencer marketing, data analysis, and metaverse marketing, to foster brand awareness and scale digital growth for its clients.
  • PPC agency: Optimizes PPC ads with ad copy and keyword research, manages PPC budget, and oversees performance and analysis.
  • Search engine marketing agency: Handles all aspects of marketing related to search, including SEO and PPC, to help brands snag the top spot on the SERP.

How to choose a PPC management agency

Of course, price is a big factor; but choosing the right PPC agency is about more than just the cost.

Here are a few more qualifiers to consider for partnering with a winning PPC agency:

1. Services offered

Some agencies offer solely PPC management services, while others are full-service marketing agencies (like us). Depending on your marketing goals, you might prefer an agency that offers wider services for a more comprehensive strategy.

Plus, an agency with full industry know-how can seamlessly integrate your PPC efforts with any other marketing campaigns you have running.

2. Qualifications and experience

Did you find a super affordable agency? It’s important to ask why their rates are so low. The reasons might be a lack of experience or qualifications. Always check for proof of qualifications, experience, awards, and achievements.

When in doubt, find out:

  • How long the agency has been in business
  • What certifications they have
  • If they participate in ongoing education and training
  • If they’re Google Partners

Yadegar also recommends you look at their capacity and results:

A reputable PPC management service provider should ideally be self-financed, meaning they are worth their weight and then some, helping clients reduce waste as well as increase revenue, to offset their service fees,” he says.

Another great way to assess experience?

Dig into each agency’s case studies. Keep an eye out for satisfied clients that resemble your business in terms of industry, size, and marketing goals.

3. Communication and culture

Your future agency should match your energy and company culture. Think of them as an extension of your team: they should flow with your values and communication style.

Book a consultation and ask them questions about the agency workflow to make sure they meet your expectations regarding reporting frequency, communication methods (phone, email, video call), and result timelines.

The state of the PPC industry

PPC marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Advertising revenue from PPC campaigns is expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2027. Plus, over 60% of past PPC marketing activity came from cell phones, making mobile optimization more vital than ever.

This year we’ll see more innovation and emerging trends in the PPC world, like:

  • Voice search, which calls for more accessible and conversational as copy
  • Cross-channel strategies that leverage search engine and social media PPC
  • Hyper targeting that uses audience data and behavior to create the most conversion-focused ads

Every PPC expert should be up to speed on the above trends to make every dollar count in their PPC management services. That’s why HawkSEM is an award-winning agency with the most knowledgeable PPC strategists.

The takeaway

PPC management is an intricate undertaking that demands expertise, experience, and a sharp eye for detail.

Without careful management, your PPC advertising efforts can blow through your budget and diminish your ROI. That’s why PPC management services are so valuable to a brand’s marketing strategy.

But with the right agency experience and relevant pricing model in your corner? Your PPC campaigns will perform at their peaks.

Ready to step up your ad game with a top 3% PPC management team? Get in touch with the pros at HawkSEM.

 This article has been updated and was originally published in December 2022.

Ashley R. Cummings

Ashley R. Cummings

Ashley R. Cummings is a freelance writer specializing in SaaS, ecommerce, and marketing.