Reach Local Alternatives

google adwordsAs many of you will know as of the 16th of December 2015 Reachlocal were put into administration !!!  I’ve had a number of people in touch with me asking me what this means for them and if there is an Alternative to Reachlocal.

We can of course step in and help you set up a PPC campaign simply get in touch with us today and we can get that sorted out for you.

Reachlocal are/were a paid search provider who set up and manage PPC campaigns, a large organisation who have plenty of clients and a massive turnover. Now do a generic Google search on them and read some of the reviews and you will get some more background on this company and what they do.

You will see many pages of information on customers who are not happy with the service they provide. In fact I’m not sure I’ve actually heard anyone say anything good about their service, I think some people have got off lightly in the best possible scenario.

And administrator is appointed with a view to trying to continue with the company until a buyer comes along, apparently Yell were in talks to buy them but not sure what is happening with that, but as it stands just now agencies who use their services are worried to continue using their services. The issue with this is that Reachlocal take your PPC budget in advance, so would you throw your PPC budget at a company in administration ? I know of a few people who have large PPC budget’s who simply could not take that risk and have to find an alternative solution.

So is there Alternatives to Reachlocal’s service ? YES, of course there is, however if you are looking for a retainer than you are going to have a problem. Many PPC specialists will either take a monthly management fee on top of the PPC campaign or the industry standard is around 10 – 20% of the overall spend for someone to manage the campaign for you. It certainly is much better than reach locals extortionate rates that’s for sure. But there is no big monthly retainer for the agency so they will be at a loss with that. But in reality it is pretty unfair to charge the client a management fee as well as pulling in a retainer from their actual PPC spend.

How do Reachlocal actually make any money ? They will tell you that they have a special deal with Google and get great rates and all of this stuff, they DONT get any special rates, infact Google are trying all they can to have their in-house teams help people with Google partners accounts to use their services rather than use the likes of Reachlocal.  They simply just take a chunk of your PPC budget and put it in their back pocket, they send a monthly report saying your budgets all spent and that’s it.

Reachlocals PPC strategy is this : Say a client puts in 1k per month

  1. Take the clients money, give the reseller a 14% retainer
  2. Keep another 40% for themselves
  3. Uses 44% of the budget which is £440 to Google AdWords
  4. Put everything on Broad Match so the adds get all sorts of clicks ( not the best way for the client )
  5. They even go sneaky and bid on the client’s name so that it converts well
  6. You get passed from pillar to post when you try and modify the bidding strategy
  7. You get some bullshit interface that makes it look like 1k has been spent ( so essentially fluffed figures )

You get promised the world and while you do actually get some paid advertising it is in theory no better than someone who hasn’t done it before setting it up for the first time. The very fact they hide all of the data is for no other reason other than they make the figures up, you get a report and interface that allows you to show the client they spent 1k when in fact you have pocketed £140 and they have taken £400.

It is also known that their sales team think that only 10% of anyone’s budget isn’t spent, but if you look closely at the figures and the small print in their terms and conditions you will find that it is actually a lot more.

It’s masked up with this fancy call recording facility that makes your client love this service, so much so that when they go bust your faced with now having to tell your client that they no longer have the ability to listen to the calls. The chances are the client probably doesn’t get time to listen to the calls anyway. It is a great feature to have, but not worth having for the sake of giving up 40% of that budget.

Worse still, you never own the data on the PPC campaign, sure you can take the keywords, but the bidding data is all made up so it really is worthless. Your ads are all done on URLS that Reachlocal own, so the paid campaign doesn’t even show up on your analytics, and doesn’t help your CTR or anything like that. These may only be small factors but can be quite important for your overall marketing strategy.

There is a reason that Reachlocal hide the PPC campaigns full data & tie you up in a contract and pay you a retainer.

If someone was to simply just do a Google adwords campaign they would get much more freedom and flexibility, aswell as transparency on their paid search campaign. You would be able to monitor the bids and keywords and provide your client value for money on PPC and this will in turn allow you to retain the client on a long term basis as you can fine tune the paid search campaign so that it works really well for the client.

The most important part of any paid search campaign is to make sure the client gets as many leads for their budget, not as many impressions or clicks. This is the bidding strategy of many people who are successful at paid search.

It can be argued that by law of averages the more clicks you get, the more conversions you will get, however if you are found for broad match search terms you can have people landing on your site that are not even searching for your product or service and that would simply be a wasted click.

So it isn’t the end of the world that Reachlocal have gone down the tubes, the client is likely to get a lot more clicks and better conversions if they get a PPC specialist to take over their PPC campaign.

If the client really wants to record calls, why don’t you get them a VoIP phone or similar and record calls for as little as £10 per month.

So there are ways around Reachlocal’s PPC campaigns, of course that recording facility was great, but was it really worth 54% of your monthly PPC spend ? They clearly offered a service that many marketing agencies used, was it used because it was a great service ? Or was it used because those marketing agencies had no idea what they were doing ?

Anyone who knows what they are doing certainly wouldn’t use Reachlocal as it is not worth having everything set up on broad matched search terms, with no real research done on the keywords. Do they manually tweak the bids ? No they are all on auto bid so that the campaign spends the daily budget on how Google see fit.

If you have a PPC campaign and you want it set up properly by all means get in touch with us and ill be more than happy to set it up properly for you. I can even pass you in the right direction of a VOIP phone provider should you want to monitor and track your calls.


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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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