This is the newest part in our ongoing series, A Better Agency, which looks at many of the difficulties that can arise when working with an agency, and what Forthea is doing to overcome it.

As was previously covered in this series, there are several traits to look for in a responsible online marketing agency. Transparency, integrity, responsiveness, and a proficiency in the use of cutting edge tools and tactics are all indicators of an agency that could become a true partner in your business. However, all of these valuable qualities can become inconsequential without a high level of performance.

That is why performance is placed at the very top of Forthea’s core values. We call it a Drive for Measurable Results.

A Drive for Measurable Results

Some might say that performance is not something that you aim for, but rather a by-product of doing things the right way. Each aspect of internet marketing has a “right way” of being done.

There is a right way of doing keyword research. There is a right way of structuring an account. There is a right way of testing ad copy, and so on.

Online marketing is always evolving, so best practices is a moving target. Once you get settled into doing something right, the target changes and you need to adjust. Great agencies stay on top of these paradigm shifts so that they are always helping their clients with the most up to date best practices.

Tangible, quantifiable goals need to be established at the outset of the engagement. Key performance indicators should be agreed upon that will indicate progress towards achieving the established goals. Expectations need to be set and updated as data begins to roll in. Everything must be tracked and measured to the maximum extent possible. Once the project is underway, the qualities mentioned at the beginning of article begin to come into play. If the agency is transparent, savvy, and communicates well with their client, performance almost always follows.

Here are some of the types of engagements that we undertake here at Forthea and how we measure performance in each.


When the proper tracking is in place, and an experienced operator is running the project, ecommerce engagements can be the gravy train of the online marketing world. The purchase is made on the website and the exact revenue amount is recorded, everything is tracked end to end (we do love data), and marketers are able to attribute ad dollars spent to revenue generated.

Lead Generation

The performance of lead generation campaigns is measured by the quantity and quality of the leads generated. Leads may be submitting a form, calling on the phone, conducting a live chat, or walking into a business location. All leads of a particular type will be tracked back to their advertising source, but the attribution doesn’t stop there.

The quality of each lead can be analyzed further. People submit their name and phone number when submitting a form. Dynamic phone numbers can be used to track the ad source and the phone calls can be recorded and listened to later. Even the gap between online advertising and in store visits is beginning to close.


It was in 2014 that Google announced that a meta-analysis of 61 studies that it conducted alongside media research firm Ipsos MediaCT showed that paid search does have a significant impact on branding. While it is not considered a traditional branding channel, it is intuitive as to why it would be an effective branding tool. Paid search is an opportunity to show your ad to a prospect the very second that they have an active interest in it. It is speculated that branding through paid search is most effective for category type searches when the prospect is still in the research phase.

Impression volume, competitive metrics, and auction insights can be used to gain insight into the brand impact of category searches. Impressions at the top position is a quantifiable metric that can be used to measure improvements in top-of-mind awareness for particular category searches over time.

If your agency isn’t taking performance seriously, maybe it’s time that you switch to one who does. As the late business magnate Harold Geneen once said, “Performance stands out like a ton of diamonds. Nonperformance can always be explained away.”

About The Author

As a paid media and analytics veteran of 18 years, he employs creative and analytical solutions to solve clients' biggest digital problems. Outside of the office, you can find Davis running, camping/hiking, chasing his dog Hank, or trying to make the perfect cup of coffee.

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