Ad agencies skip buying the Google ads they love to sell

NeoAtOgilvy's Greg Smith told conference-goers earlier this month: "Search should be the first dollar spent." And, true to Smith's word, Google search for Neo client "Lenovo" and, as in the screenshot above, you'll find an ad for the company as Google's top sponsored link. But Neo does not practice what it preaches. Search for "Neo@Ogilvy" itself in Google and, as shown in the screenshot below, you won't find an ad for NeoAtOgilvy. It's typical of agencies. Of the 56 agencies AdWeek assesses with its annual Report Card evaluation, only five — AKQA, Campbell-Ewald, DraftFCB, iCrossing and JWT — purchased Google ads to appear when users searched for their agency names. This is not a sign, however, that ad agencies don't understand Google and search advertising. Rather, it shows that they do.

While they're happy to encourage clients to spend as much as possible — even, perhaps, when they don't need to — agencies' own marketers know that Google search is plenty good enough to put a brand's website at the top of its search results in most every case. Why buy the AdWords cow when you can milk Google for traffic for free?

Ad agencies skip buying the Google ads they love to sell