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What Do Google Ads Specialists Charge For Their Services?

Want to know what Google Ads specialists charge for their services? The answer is it depends. There are several factors that determine what Google Ads specialists charge, and you need to know these before you hire one.

In this article, I’m going to share with you the latest insights into how Google Ads specialists charge. And you’ll be more informed as you reach out to a Google Ads specialist to request a quote.

You see, many small to medium-sized businesses are running Google Ads campaigns now. But unfortunately, many don’t have in-house expertise to run them successfully.

In fact, many are wasting thousands of dollars each month on poor performing campaigns. And they are never able to fix them or know why this is happening.

But, working with a Google Ads specialist can make all the difference. They will analyze your business and campaigns and come up with a strategy to increase your sales or leads.

A challenge that many businesses face is finding out what Google Ads specialists charge. So, I’ve written this article to make you know what you are likely to pay as you look to hire a Google Ads specialist for your business.

12 factors that determine what Google Ads specialists charge

1. Your monthly advertising spend

Many Google Ads specialists charge rates based on your advertising budget. That ranges between 10-20% of your budget, on average, but can be higher or lower depending on a few factors. One factor is if you have a large budget like $50,000 or more per month, some Google Ads specialists will charge about 5% of that for management.

If they charge 10%, and your budget is $2000, then you can expect to pay at least $200 per month. And if it’s 20% , then you can expect to pay $400 per month for campaign management.

However, some Google Ads specialists have a minimum monthly charge. Although they charge 10% for example, they may have a minimum charge of $500 as an example, so you should take this into consideration. This will be the same whether you’re spending $200 per month or $2000 per month in your account.

2. Campaign type you want to setup

Search is the most popular campaign type in Google Ads. Most businesses running ads will start with Search and then later add other campaign types like Display, Shopping, Performance Max and so on.

But Search is also one of the hardest to manage. It requires a lot of research and extensive amount of time managing too. That’s because there are thousands and even millions of keywords to target in each niche and it can take a lot of work to choose the right one.

So, setting up and managing Search campaigns will take a lot of time. A proposal from a Google Ads specialist will include this information on the related costs.

Note: A campaign in Google Ads is where you add your ad groups. And in each ad group you’ll have closely related keywords and ads. You should aim to have between 5-15 ad groups per campaign. Contact me if you’d like to know more about how Google Ads campaigns work and for a demo.

And for the research, you can expect to pay at least $1000 as a one-off fee. But this depends of course on your niche and industry and that may include competitor research too, for very competitive industries. The research will be thorough and will also include researching your products, services and customers and will help to set up highly effective campaigns.

The actual setup work will be separate, and this varies a lot. You can expect to pay from $400 to over $1000 to set up a new Search campaign. And this will be a one-off charge.

But if you require many campaigns, then this can be discussed with a Google Ads specialist, and the fee for each campaign will be slightly lower, because of a discount.

Shopping is another campaign type that advertisers of products usually want help with. This one is usually harder to create because there are many features to work on and sometimes products can be disapproved initially.

In fact, setting up shopping ads can take 7-10 days to complete and even longer if there are many products or they have failed the review process. So, an hourly rate may be a better charging option and that can prove to be quite high.

However, you can expect to pay from $1000 to $2000 for the research. And then pay an additional amount to create the feed which will be submitted to your Google Merchant Center account.

Creating the feed is the most time-consuming part and fees can start from $1500 as a one-off. But again, this will depend on how many products you have and if they are sensitive products which take longer to approve. Sensitive products include health related products like supplements and drugs.

But, managing Shopping ads is often much easier than Search and other campaign types. That’s because there aren’t any keywords to add or manage and most of your work involves blocking search terms that are not relevant – by adding them as negative keywords.

3. Level of service you require

Are you looking for help to create a Google Ads strategy, setting goals, setting up ads, managing the ads, reviewing metrics, tracking, reporting, landing page review and much more? All this will factor into the Google Ads specialist’s fees.

So, the more help you need, the more it is likely to cost.

A full-service specialist will be able to help with all this and will include fees for each service they provide. And the benefit here is that it helps you to focus on your business, while they work on your strategy.

But, you may already have an effective Google advertising strategy and active campaigns, but all you need is just Google Ads management, to improve your performance.

As mentioned earlier, Google Ads management fees may vary. Some specialists charge a monthly retainer, that’s fixed and doesn’t change much. But some will charge based on your advertising budget and this could be anything between 10-20% as mentioned above.

4. Do you require campaign setup?

I’ve covered some of this earlier, but if it’s just campaign setup that you require, then a one-off fee may be the best option. This means the Google Ads specialist will do the keyword research and create your campaign and ads and then handover the management to you.

As mentioned, this will depend on the type of campaign that you need setting up. That can be Search, Performance Max, Video for YouTube, Display, Performance Max, and the others.

But, if it’s just setup alone without management, be prepared to pay more than setup that includes management. What I mean is, most Google Ads specialists are not interested in just one-off setup work. They prefer to work with you ongoing for a few months at least.  That allows them to provide the most value possible.

So, they will charge more for setup which does not come with management, and you can expect to pay over $1000 for the setup. On the other hand, if you sign up for management too, you’ll usually pay less than $1000 for the campaign setup alone. Contact me to discuss this if you would like to know more.

From experience, I’ve found that when a client wants a one-off service, it never works out well for them. Yes, the campaign will have been set up well enough, but there is no one competent enough to manage it effectively. So, the performance continues to drop off over a period.

In fact, I do sometimes turn away clients who I think will not benefit from just a Google Ads setup service. That’s especially if I see that they are not familiar with how Google Ads works and how to manage the ads. And I’ve had some bad experiences with clients who’ve signed up for one-off setup and so I usually turn down most of this work.

5. Do you require training and audit services?

Besides setting up and managing campaigns, Google Ads specialists also provide other related services such as training and auditing.

For Google Ads training, the costs will depend on the level of experience you have. As a complete beginner you’ll need more training to bring you up to an advanced or competent level.

This will start with an introduction to Google Ads and how it works and then go into goals, strategy, tactics, and more advanced concepts.

And for people with more experience that are already advertising, this will include areas around setting up and managing effective campaigns. And the Google Ads training will usually be tailored to your business or industry to make it more effective.

This training can be half a day or full day, or it can be one hour at a time, over several days. How many hours you’ll require will depend on a number of factors, and that will often depend on you and how quickly you can grasp the concepts and apply them.

Training costs are usually about $100 to $150 per hour and for half a day of training you can expect to pay between $450 to $700.

This is usually sufficient for many advertisers especially those with some experience in Google Ads. What is most important is that you start applying the concepts you’ve learnt to really get a firm grasp of them.

A Google Ads audit is an in-depth review of your campaigns to find opportunities to improve them. This includes reviewing many key features like text ads, image ads, keywords, search terms, conversions, bid strategies, locations and so on.

A full audit is one of the most effective ways to improve your campaigns. A Google Ads specialist will carry out this audit and send you a document with insights for the features mentioned above and how to implement them. And you can either implement these yourself or hire the Google Ads specialist to implement them.

The cost of a Google Ads audit will range from $450 for a basic account to over $1000 for a big account with multiple campaigns. And the amount of traffic and the amount you spend will affect this too, with heavily trafficked accounts requiring more time and work.

6. Will you require remarketing ads?

Remarketing, also known as retargeting, is a way to bring people back to your website, so they can complete important actions like buying, contacting and so on. This campaign type is available in Google Ads and is important for many businesses and industries.

Most people will come to your website but never return if you don’t retarget them with ads. So, you’ll need to create audiences of people that you want to reach, that are relevant for your business.

An example of an audience is people who have viewed a category or product on your website and then you can remind them as they view other pages across the Internet. You can create audiences in Google Analytics and import them into your Google Ads account. Contact me to find out more about how Remarketing works for your business.

Google Ads Remarketing
The fees for setting up a Remarketing campaign can differ slightly from other campaign types. This ranges from $750 to $1000 one-off and is dependent on how long it will take to create it.

If you create multiple audiences and then setup ad groups for each, you’ll also need responsive display ads or image ads for each of them. This will take a lot of time and the costs can sometimes go over $1000 to create the whole campaign.

But, if you only create one audience and want to start with that one only, then the costs to set this up can be between $500 to $750 to setup.

7. Is it just Google Ads you require help with?

Some advertisers need help with Google
Analytics too. This includes setting it up or optimizing it, so it tracks correctly. And one of the great things is that you can link these two for data sharing and for reporting, analysis, audience setup and much more.

There are experts who deal with Google Analytics alone. But, because you’re looking for help with Google Ads campaigns, it’s best to find a Google Ads specialist with a lot of experience in Google Analytics too.

In most cases, they’ll include the Analytics setup, tracking, reporting and analysis in the proposal they send to you. And this will list the work to be done and the related costs for that. You can expect to pay between $100 to $250 per hour depending on their experience but some specialists will include this in their costs.

What’s important to consider is how much traffic you’re getting. And if it’s a lot and is in the hundreds or thousands daily, then a lot of analysis will be required.

Other related services include reporting through the Google Data Studio program. This is a powerful reporting tool and, in most cases, will be included in the quote for the Google Ads services.

Also, some Google Ads specialists have a lot of experience with Microsoft Ads. There are many similarities between these two pay per click (PPC) platforms and their charges will be similar.

But, Microsoft Ads is basic and sometimes the tracking is not accurate. But one major benefit with launching Microsoft Ads is that you can easily transfer your Google Ads campaigns in there and start advertising instantly. This is quick and can be done in minutes.

So, you may not pay any setup costs, only just the PPC management. But if you don’t have any active Google Ads campaigns, then these will need to be set up and you can expect to pay between $300 to $1000 per campaign setup. And this is like Google Ads and the more campaigns you have, the more you’re likely to get a discount.

8. What experience does the Google Ads specialist have?

Experience counts a lot when it comes to Google Ads service charges. This includes experience in using the platform and the various campaign types and features that are in there – to experience in industries that are relevant to you.

The more experience a Google Ads specialist has, the more they can charge. And the most experienced ones usually charge over $200 per hour for their services.

That’s because they can look at your business and campaigns and let you know what success to expect and if it will work for your business or not.

They don’t just take on every prospect that comes their way. They use their years of experience to critically analyze every business and determine what the likely success rate will be. And they often work with certain types of businesses that they have lots of experience in.

Unfortunately there are many general agencies and freelancers out there that take on every job and never do a great job for their clients. And often they will have poor reviews or none, and you should always check this to ensure you’re getting the right Google Ads specialist.

Many will have a low hourly rate and low fees, but their performance could cost your business a lot – especially if you’re in a difficult or competitive industry.

9. Are they a Google Ads agency or freelancer?

The rates between agencies and freelancers can differ widely at times. Agencies will often charge twice or three times what a freelancer will charge for similar Google Ads services.

Agencies have many costs and expenses that they must factor into their prices. These include overheads like office space, staff salaries, business rates, software programs and much more.

A freelancer that’s working as a Google Ads specialist will have none of these costs, mostly. They won’t have an office and will work from home, which saves on rented space, travel costs, packed lunches, time and more.

The average Google Ads freelancer rates are about $80 per hour with some of the best charging more and many charging much less. That’s especially if they are on freelance sites like Upwork and Guru. But those with their own sites, with target clients they want to work with, will charge more per hour.

Agencies on the other hand, charge about $150 per hour on average and many charge a lot more. The benefit with working with a Google Ads agency is that you get a team with many years of experience that’s focused on your campaigns.

But one caution to take regarding agencies is that most people working on campaigns have limited advertising experience. Often the owner is the real Google Ads expert but because the agency has grown and taken on juniors, the owner or founder ceases to do any of the work.

And this is why it’s common to find the best Google Ads specialists usually work independently as freelancers and charge higher fees. And with time, some of these then go on to create their own agencies and employ others to do the work while they train them.

So, usually to get the best Google Ads service, it’s best to work with an independent Google Ads specialist that’s a freelancer. They will usually charge less than an agency but more than most freelancers, because of their experience.

Another benefit with working with a freelancer is that you can work closely together to make the campaigns effective. You won’t be communicating with an account manager as you would with an agency, but you’ll be discussing with a Google Ads specialist how to best improve your ads.

10. What is their hourly rate?

One mistake advertisers and businesses make here is to look for a Google Ads specialist with a low hourly rate. The reality is, the cheap specialists whether they are a freelancer or agency are usually not a good fit for your business.

In most cases they’ll have many clients they’re working with, to make up their income. So, they won’t give your campaigns the attention they deserve.

Many of these Google Ads freelancers or agencies will charge between $25 to $40 per hour. And that may seem great for you as a small business with a limited budget. And you’ll often find these specialists on sites like Upwork or other freelance sites.

The reality is many people who contact me for my Google Ads services, usually do so because they have hired a cheap Google Ads freelancer and it has been disastrous. They were paying about $20 per hour and within a few months they find out that they have wasted a lot of time and money. So, they need to start again. And we always have to setup new campaigns.

The warning here is that what seems cheap at the beginning usually proves costly. In very little time, you’ll discover that the campaigns are not performing and may even have gotten worse.

Of course there are some good Google Ads freelancers on freelance sites, but there are very few of them. And it will take a lot of effort to find the right one for your business. And it will cost a lot too – both financially and time wise.

The reality is that the best Google Ads specialists charge more, and you want the best only for your business. The best Google Ads specialists also have their own websites, and they will have case studies, reviews, or testimonials to show their expertise.

And you can expect to pay between $150 to $300 per hour for the best Google Ads specialists. The amount of time you require and how much you pay will depend on factors like the size of your campaigns and work to be done.

From my experience, most advertisers don’t need more than 5 hours of management work each month. And that’s true for advertisers that are spending less than $3000 per month in their Google Ads account.

But, as mentioned earlier, Search campaigns are usually harder to manage and depending on the industry, this can require more than 7 hours of management each month. The best thing is to speak to a Google Ads specialist, and they will assess this and send you a proposal and quote.

However, setting up Search campaigns is much quicker than other campaign types. So, this can take between 3-4 hours, excluding the keyword and competitor research which I mentioned earlier. So, you can expect to pay between $400 to $800 as a one-off fee for a campaign setup.

And as mentioned earlier, most Google Ads  specialists will offer a discount if you require more than one campaign setup. The discount varies too, and this could be about 15 to 25% on average. But this differs a lot with many Google Ads specialists so you could ask around.

You must really check what experience they have. Are they a Google partner and do they have reviews or case studies and a list of clients they have worked with. Without this, they cannot be a true Google Ads specialist. They should be able to demonstrate this on their website and have a proven process to onboarding new clients.

Their rate will determine what you’re likely to pay over the lifetime of your agreement. And the value they provide will easily pay and cover their costs and achieve a good return on ad spend in your campaigns.

11. Do they provide a contract?

Many good Google Ads specialists don’t provide a contract or require you to sign one. What they are more interested in is having a great relationship with you from day one and meeting and exceeding your expectations.

However, a contract or agreement may often the best thing to have in place. But be aware that with a contract, you’re likely to pay more because you’ll be committing to a certain time scale, like a one-year contract for example.

And you may not be able to just cancel or stop the work at any time. In fact, if progress is slow and you’re still not seeing a good return, you’re still bound to the contract, to see it to the end. So, consider this carefully. Maybe it is better to negotiate a shorter contract like 6 months for example.

That is usually sufficient time to see if your campaigns will perform or not. But some Google Ads specialists will charge more if you opt for a shorter contract or agreement.

On a contract, you’re likely to pay more than 50% than without a contract. So, think carefully about this and pick the best option for your business.

12. Where is the Google Ads specialist based?

Location is a big factor in determining what a Google Ads specialist will charge. For specialists based in the United States you can expect to pay more for the Google Ads services that they provide. Their hourly  rate will almost always be above $100 per hour for freelancers and agencies.

For freelancers based abroad, the rates are usually much lower because of lower wages and living costs on average. However, it’s harder to find the right Google Ads specialist for your business because they will usually have less experience in your local industry. So, you should factor this in as you search for a Google Ads specialist.

Working with a US Google Ads specialist has many benefits, and not just from a financial perspective. They have local knowledge and are within easier reach if you need to contact them to discuss your PPC campaigns.


I hope this article has helped you to understand what Google Ads specialists charge for their services. There are many factors that determine what they charge, and every specialist will have their own approach to the fees they charge.

If you would like to know more and receive a quote for my Google Ads services, contact me today to discuss.

As a Google Ads specialist I’ve worked with many small and medium-sized businesses over 15 years. And I offer affordable rates to help you run effective Google Ads campaigns.


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    Hi, Mike Ncube is a leading digital marketing consultant who blogs about the best and latest digital insights. He writes about topics such as Google Ads, digital strategy, LinkedIn Ads, Email, SEO, Google Analytics and more. Reach out to him if you have any questions and subscribe to his blog to start learning.

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Hi, Mike Ncube is a leading digital marketing consultant who blogs about the best and latest digital insights. He writes about topics such as Google Ads, digital strategy, LinkedIn Ads, Email, SEO, Google Analytics and more. Reach out to him if you have any questions and subscribe to his blog to start learning.

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