PPC Chat Streamcap – PPC Theory – A Holistic Look at PPC

This week, Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) was able to host an extremely interactive PPCChat with the theme of “PPC Theory – A Holistic Look at PPC.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: AdWords recently blogged that “Ads Are Just Answers.” Where do you stand on this philosophy?

  • I agree. People search because they have ?s or need info. Ads shld provide answers/solutions. – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
  • I see ads as sort of a teaser. It’s supposed to tell the user that you have the answer. Answers should be on the lp, in my opinion. – Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem) +
    • Too little info in the ad can be bad. They choose a different ad–one that offers at least a partial answer. – Theresa Zook
      • True. But you can only say so much in an ad. Needs to tell them you’re the right place to go. – Michelle Morgan
  • Search ads yes – display ads no. – Bassovita (@bassovita)
  • It is a fairly honest assessment of search activity, but ads are merely the gateway to the answer. – John Lee (@John_A_Lee) ++
  • Yes, ads are answers. In the context of Google’s blog these new features help enforce the answer. – Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
  • Yes, but more as well. You can use them for many things – sales, PR, awareness, different points in sales funnel. – Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
  • Answer: What is an Understatement? – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • I’m actually pleased with all of the new features within ads, helps to improve the CTR, which we’ll discuss in a future question. – Matt Umbro
  • Search ads, yes. Ads intended to be used for branding don’t really function as “answers,” they’re more recall devices. – Steve Hill (@epiclysteve)
  • Agree to an extend– Search Ads are not JUST answers, if that were true, all queries would be written in question-form. – Emily Las (@emlas)
    • that is not totally true, if someone types “used car” that is basically a question. – Adam (@adam_tvDinner)
  • Agreed. Only problem is sometimes searchers ask silly questions. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)

Q2: If you were looking to hire a PPC specialist what characteristics would you look for aside from “an understanding of PPC?”

  • That they are also an active participant in the #PPCChat. – Neil Sorenson (@iNeils) +
  • A detail orientated individual with an analytical mind. Period! – James Svoboda +
  • A strong math background – need an understanding of ROI. – Mark Kennedy
  • Needs to be very detail-oriented, analytical and creative. – Eric Farmer (@click_eric)
  • Organization, kick ass personality and proven problem solving abilities. – Nicole Mintiens
  • Problem solving. Statistics skills. Grasp of marketing basics. Creative writing skills. The list is very long. – John Lee
  • Been thinking about this a lot… Innovative, ability to stay focused(off of Twitter). – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • Loves to solve puzzles, love numbers, attention to detail, thinks outside the box! Can teach everything else. – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • Maybe not the #1 characteristic, but I absolutely want someone who is passionate about PPC. – Matt Umbro
  • They work smart before they think about working hard. – Steve Hill
  • They need to “get” audiences and write/communicate very well. They don’t even have to know ppc-if they rock @ writing & audience. – James Zolman
    • Agreed, PPC can be taught, but attitude and determination cannot. – Matt Umbro
  • Every team has it’s own approach to PPC. I look for open-minded to adapt to it + intelligent to enhance the offering. – Emily Las
  • I think attention to detail is huge. So much goes into building campaigns correctly that you can’t slack on any individual part. – Michelle Morgan
  • Really good copywriting skills. I would test them on their ability to think in 35 character blurbs. – Bassovita
  • They also have to love stats, charts, graphs and numbers. – James Svoboda
  • Works for the love, and coffee. Awesome at Analytics, stats, numbers. Can work Excel with using only their mind. – Andrew Baker (@SEOEdinburgh)
    • Yes to Excel skills! I look for them to mention things like Vlookup & Pivot Table as proof. – Emily Las
      • But I’m still gettin to grips with Excel (studied art not science) & it hasn’t held me back. Passion to learn more important. – Katie Saxon (@ksaxoninternet)
  • Copywriting skills are major as well. I assess this in how they articulate themselves and their past experience. – Emily Las
  • If they can’t tweet – you know there’s a problem. A2: I would test them on their ability to think in 35 character blurbs. – Cassie Allinger (@_CassieLee_)
  • They have to be a competitor mostly against themselves. be better tomorrow than today. – David Beltramini (@dbeltramini)
  • I have an analytical bent and the ability to see SEM as a never-ending game. People place too much emphasis on “math” component. – Theresa Zook
    • Agreed on the emphasis on the math component. After all, it’s the words that sell to the searcher. – Michelle Morgan
      • Anyone w/avg brain can be taught level of data analysis needed. What matters is what they DO w/the results. – Theresa Zook
  • I would make blogging a requirement of hiring a PPC candidate. I want you to get involved in the community. – Matt Umbro
    • Yeah, but that falls under the umbrella of creative writing skills in my book (goes for blogs, ads, LPs, etc.) – John Lee
      • True…but as long as they want to and are willing to affiliate, that works too. it’s about experience & competition. – James Zolman
    • I like the blogging idea but I’ve mostly ever been way too busy to be able to frequently blog. Everyone’s different tho. – Neil Sorenson
      • I see blogging as a great selling point, show potential clients you are involved in the industry. – Matt Umbro
        • Some potential clients might care about that. And others might think we’re just trying to build our empire. – Neil Sorenson
        • Are you paying them to manage PPC? Their “community” involvement is secondary. – Theresa Zook
          • I see where you are coming from, but even if the person blogs twice a month for the company blog thats fine. – Matt Umbro
          • True, but blogging sets them apart from competition w/real writing sample + engagement shows passion. I think it also depends what you’re looking for– a solid PPC worker bee, or a thought leader! – Emily Las
            • Can’t be a thought leader unless you’ve been a worker bee first! – Aaron Levy
  • Loving the comments about how PPC is a game. Gotta be competitive. See the core issue from the noise. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • The desire to better one’s own performance–beat what they did yesterday w/what they do today–a great characteristic. – Theresa Zook
  • Common sense. Ask some common sense questions and see what they come up with. – Joe McConellogue (@JoeMcConellogue)
  • Major props if somebody has affiliate ppc experience. When I hire again, I’ll require new employees to have affiliate interests. I’ll even prop them up w/ affiliate ad spend per month for it. Keeps them edgy. – James Zolman
    • Ya, affiliate experience is really great. Shows you have hustle. – Brennan Brooks (@brennanbrooks)
    • I would even build on that to say add’l digital experience is a major plus – gotta think holistic. – Emily Las
  • Passion for digital, and a love of tracking. Interested = a desire to understand. Same for tracking. – Paul Maddock (@paul_maddock)
  • Doesn’t have a criminal record. – Steve Hill
  • I think the community aspect (twitter, blogging) are pluses. Not necessities. I know each has helped me a lot. But not for everyone. – Michelle Morgan
    • I would argue that the industry we are in requires blogging/being social to stay ahead. – Matt Umbro
    • Agreed. Not all learn the same way, not all who read the material actively participate. – Theresa Zook

Q3: Discuss how PPC is managed at your company. Does each client get a project manager? Do you act as both specialist and PM, etc?

  • Small agency. I do all the PPC, my bs partner does the client contacts. – Theresa Zook
  • Every client has a dedicated PM for consistency & communication, but the whole team participates (through tasks, etc.) – John Lee
  • The buck stops here, for the most part. – Michelle Morgan
  • Each PPC Specialist manages their own clients. We handle everything from fulfillment to client communication mostly, but we all work as a team, especially if we get stuck and need an extra set of eyes on a problem. – PurePPCCom (@pureppccom)
  • We manage small-mid clients, so we act as specialist and PM. Clients work directly with the person doing the work. – Mark Kennedy
  • I do everything… including making the coffee, but that’s the way I like it. – Andrew Baker
  • Always been in smaller shops, multitasking those roles, & I’d say that’s made all the difference. – Emily Las
  • We are the client. – Eric Farmer
  • Hybrid. Senior account managers do everything and help with strategy for Jr. account mgnrs. who do mostly hands on. – Luke Alley
  • Always good to have PM on the team as a second set of eyes on the account. – Matt Umbro
  • We’re a smaller agency so I’m the ppc go-to-gal -seems to be a common theme. – Katie Saxon
  • It depends. Historically one person acts as PM and specialist. But lately we are moving to separate those roles. – Ryan Campbell (@_ryancampbell)
  • In house, we have a search department, and split up projects based on specialty. The company has its hands in pretty much everything, the team has its specialty based on the project (dating, pharms).- Brennan Brooks
  • I’m an in-house PPC mgr so I do everything myself here, but I know a firm in the area that has dedicated PMs for each client. – Austin Dillman (@Austin_Dillman)
  • I’m judge, jury and executioner. – Robert Brady
  • I’m the main PM and initial campaign builder. – James Svoboda
    • After the initial campaign build then you hand it off? – Luke Alley
      • Not PM, but certain tasks are assigned based on available resources. – James Svoboda
  • I feel like I’m always saying “I wear many hats…” – Anyone else? – Emily Las
  • Whatever the contract calls for. – Steve Hill
  • Depends on size. Small clients get one & Dir oversight. I manage lg client-team 9 client mgrs who also work on other clients. – Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
  • Work in house now with one other marketer, new job so still feeling out who’s going to take what. – Kiko Correa (@obiwankikobi)

Q4: How important are developers and information architects in contributing to successful PPC campaigns?

  • Very valuable for landing pages and making sure the site works well. Want to send traffic AND convert it. – Mark Kennedy
  • Developers are huge. The more nimble they are, the more we can test, the better the results. – Aaron Levy
  • Very if they are available. Not at all if not as we can fulfill most of this ourselves. – James Svoboda
  • Developers need to create a website that works & converts. The best PPC campaign & managers can’t make up for a poor site. – Neil Sorenson
  • Having a good web dev resource on hand is always a plus, but on an as-needed basis. Doesn’t make or break day-to-day. – John Lee
  • Extremely important, I focus just as much on the page / analytics as I do in AdWords, I need good/fast developers. – Andrew Baker
  • How important are good, targeted landing pages to successful PPC campaigns? – Cassie Allinger
  • Simply put – PPC fails without good development and IA. – Matt Umbro
  • Proper implementation by developers of Analytics code is crucial for tracking/reporting. – Nicole Mintiens
  • Big parts of success here. Couldn’t do it w/o them. Need the lps to work and be informative! – Michelle Morgan
  • Good website is critical but my clients aren’t large enough for “information architects” to be an issue. – Theresa Zook
  • Developers & info architects are often vital to optimizing UX for PPC traffic, but usually seem to be in short supply. – Mike Shollenberger (@webjock)
  • Devs are the ones who can turn a problem into a solution. – Laoshima (@ferkungamaboobo)
  • Concentrated landing pages with great SEO practices severely effects conversions and greatly improves QS. – Michael McEuen (@lonohead)
  • Tools like #Unbounce are making developers less essential. Designer is more important in that case w/ a mktg mind. – Luke Alley
  • PPC isn’t just about getting the click! – Matt Umbro
    • First thing I say (after hello) to a client. – Andrew Baker
  • And on this very topic Google are now shifting QS to Landing Pages, it matters! – Andrew Baker ++++
  • I used to work at web agency with developers and IA – Creating landing pages and coding them was highly efficient. With all things being equal I would hesitate to bring on a client with no budget for development/IA. – Matt Umbro
    • I could not agree more. No dev budget = crippled PPC effort. – Emily Las
  • We recommend clients to employ our devs to create landing pages specific to requested campaigns. – Nicole Mintiens
  • Addendum: How many agency folks have developers on staff? – John Lee
    • Do – Matt Umbro, James Svoboda, Cassie Allinger
    • Don’t – Ryan Campbell
    • We have developers on staff. The issue is more clients having the $$ to support add’l landing pgs to maximize PPC etc. – Emily Las
      • Do they work full time, part time, etc?
        – John Lee

        • Full time, but not on Dev. – James Svoboda
        • We out source all of our web dev work, or clients use own resources. Can’t afford full time web dev right now. – John Lee
          • Not a dev company, we’re a search agency. – Aaron Levy

Q5: How much leeway do you have within your company to test new ideas, even if they may break the conventional PPC mold?

  • We have full control of testing. Real question is how comfortable are the clients? Lucky enough to have a couple of clients willing to test just about anything. – John Lee
  • I’m lucky in that I have complete freedom to try / test anything. – Andrew Baker
    • Same. We talk w/ clients first tho. – Luke Alley
  • We are encouraged to test new ideas. Be on the leading edge. Test, test, and test again! – Nicole Mintiens
  • Wish we had more…..It depends on our client’s budget. – Stu Draper (@GetFoundFirst)
  • New ideas are more than welcome. I’m usually given freedom to test/try anything new. – Michelle Morgan
  • This is one big advantage of #inhouse PPC. I can recommend an off-the-wall test if I think it has value beyond ROI. – Mike Shollenberger
  • Lots of freedom in PPC testing, after all, that’s how we get things done! – Emily Las
  • As long as my team has fully thought it out & can present the full strategy & plan, w/expected outcomes, test it. – Crystal Anderson (@CrystalA)
  • I tend to test first, ask permission later. (But I’m reasonably cautious with their money.) – Theresa Zook
  • As long as I continue delivering results they understand the importance of change / new features. – Andrew Baker
  • From my seat, we champion breaking the mold. Leeway is abound as long as the idea has unique and profitable value. – Chris McGee (@ChrisMcG33)
  • Fortunate to have tons of leeway, how else will you know something works? – Eric Farmer
  • This loops back to Q2, but I find the best PPC specialists who’ve worked for me are the ones w/the guts to test/experiment. – Emily Las
  • If you don’t your competitors will steal a march, obviously it’s all planned w/ back-out if needed. – Andrew Baker
  • As much leeway as I need within the company. Different story with clients. – Martin Rottgerding (@bloomarty)
  • It also depends on the client, some like to know exactly what’s going on, others just want that +ROI every month. – Andrew Baker
  • Honestly though, we’ve found more success in a solid PPC build & consistent management than in testing new features. – Luke Alley
  • I find that wearing many hats, including the developers, gives great opportunities for testing everything. – Martin Rottgerding

Q6: Do you believe one person can successfully provide effective PPC and SEO services to clients or is it one or the other? Why?

  • Yes, easy (but I’m biased). TBH I’m moving away from SEO (don’t enjoy it any more) to “hopefully” specialise in PPC / Analytics / CRO. – Andrew Baker
  • Depends on the number of clients. – Stu Draper
  • For small clients/sites/campaigns, sure. – Mike Shollenberger
  • Absolutely. – Cassie Allinger
  • I used to, but not anymore. SEO is its own beast and that is a full time job. – Matt Umbro
  • Believe 1 person cld do it for 1 client–don’t see 1 person being able to do it for many. Takes extreme focus to do both. I’m saying yes, but I’m certainly not thinking of a large-sized account. – Theresa Zook
  • I would say it depends on the size of the account/client. There’s no way I could handle all of our ppc and seo stuff. – Michelle Morgan
  • That’s a lot of work for 1 person, esp. if they have multiple clients. – Eric Farmer
  • From experience, no-not as successfully as ppl who focus & become experts in 1 or the other. Way too much changing to keep up with. – Crystal Anderson
  • I like the holistic approach but specializing has it’s benefits. – Nicole Mintiens
  • Both. So many links between the PPC/SEO. The knowledge gain from doing both is exponentially advantageous. – Joe McConellogue
  • If you have been doing PPC for a long time and attended search conferences, you know enough to be dangerous with SEO. – Stu Draper
    • Yes, but I don’t believe you can do both at an extremely high level. – Matt Umbro
  • While many claim to do PPC/SEO integrated, I think people are usually stronger in 1 or the other & that shows in their work. – Emily Las
  • For basic stuff, sure. At high level – couldn’t read that much to stay up to date, think, test stuff and have time for real work. – Martin Rottgerding
  • In most cases, yes. Breadth of knowledge helps both, but sometimes depth might require someone with more specialized knowledge. – Dennis Petretti (@Denetti)
  • We split it up, but depends on size of client. A small local seo/ppc campaign can be done by the same person. Large needs more. – Mark Kennedy
  • It all depends on the size of the account and what you want to achieve as far as goals. – Austin Holverson (@AHolverson)
  • The bigger you get the more need to compartmentalize activities for productivity’s sake. Advantage in knowing both though. – Mark Jensen (@Just_Markus)
  • It’s actually proved very useful having the SEO experience before moving to PPC as you understand the bigger picture. – Andrew Baker
    • It’s actually very useful to have SEM experience before you try SEO as it grounds you in accountability & results. – Theresa Zook
      • I can pull insights from my PPC campaigns that will significantly improve SEO performance. The day I worked for my first client I was grounded in accountability & results. – Andrew Baker
        • True, though, that SEO is seen as more of a “fuzzy” field w/less measurable results. – Theresa Zook
  • Our company is about to make some big moves to be more “just ppc” focused. – Stu Draper
  • Do you think there are different skill sets involved in PPC vs. SEO? Do they translate across? – Emily Las
    • There’s some overlap for sure, but some SEO & PPC skills are different. If you’re great at 1, you can be great at the other. – Neil Sorenson
    • PPC is way more analytical, logical thinking, and white hat seo at least, is way more art and less science. – Stu Draper
    • Having previously worked in both, certainly feel that skill sets are similar and translate. But work load is very different. – John Lee
  • No doubt knowing SEO is important, but to keep being successful at PPC I focus all of my attention here. – Matt Umbro
  • But I’d say you can’t be really good with SEO or PPC without some understanding of the other. – Martin Rottgerding
    • I would also argue that as you learn about one, you inevitably learn about the other. It’s what happened to me. – Michelle Morgan
  • Integration b/t SEO and PPC is critical but having experts in both, vs expert in 1 & “dangerous” in the other sets the bar higher. – Crystal Anderson
  • Many PPC clients ask me SEO stuff, too…- Martin Rottgerding

Q7: What can adCenter do to keep up with ad innovations and targeting methods put forth by AdWords, Facebook & LinkedIn?

  • Work correctly. – Aaron Levy
  • Give up and let a 3rd party platform come in and take care of it? – James Zolman
  • They have so many basic things to get down first. MCC w/ stats anyone? – Luke Alley
  • Expand Display/Content advertising. Display is where all the fun targeting features live! – John Lee
  • What can AdCenter do to create its own identify and offerings instead of trying to keep up with the Jonses? – Theresa Zook
    • I would love if they just copied the Jonses. The Jones have got it down! – Luke Alley
  • Have more exciting ad formats. – Matt Umbro
  • They first need to work on functionality. – Austin Holverson
  • Be more like Adwords. – Nicole Mintiens
  • More segmentation is needed (granular). – lchasse (@lchasse)
  • Everyone is so down on @adcenter . Is everyone so quick to forget how bad it used to be? Or how bad YSM was?
    • I thought YSM was better imo…i actually liked YSM. both were bad, but YSM was less so. – James Zolman
    • But if we settle for “better than it used to be”, who’s pushing them to make advancements. – Michelle Morgan
      • Believe it or not, they are pushing themselves. I’ve talked to product devs and evanglists – they are working hard. – John Lee
  • Stop making band-aid fixes just to keep up. Focus on their strengths vs. being what everyone else is. – Crystal Anderson
  • Conversion rate isn’t a column. That might be an easy calculated field to add. Kinda important. – Robert Brady
  • CTD remove ridic reporting thresholds. Don’t restrict me to 28 days of data @acdenter. Excel can handle it, why cant you! – Aaron Levy
  • Problems lie in traffic; we’d all use a terrible platform if we could get significant ROI out of it, right? – Laoshima
  • A dev perspective, AdCenter needs a can’t beat um join um mentality. Playing well with others would help vs hurt. – Chris McGee
  • adCenter needs to find an innovative way to leverage the fact that they have a smaller audience. Sets them apart from Google. – Emily Las
  • Allow targeting of Yahoo and Bing separately perhaps? – Robert Brady ++
  • Become available internationally would be a nice move… the Yahoo Search Management interface must be from 1999. – Martin Rottgerding
  • I’m very hard on @adcenter – only ‘cuz i want to see them succeed & i want to spend TONS on their system to get that traffic. Right now, it’s so hard to spend on @adcenter … volume isn’t there, prices feel artificially inflated given small audience & roi. – James Zolman

Resources

Google AdWords Editor (version as of today’s PPCChat 9.5.1)

http://www.google.com/ads/answers/

PPC Jobs at SEER Interactive

Google Introduces “Bid For Calls” On The PC – James Luty (@jamesluty)

Unbounce

More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.

Also, check out the next #PPCSpeak on Tuesday Nights at 9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific.

Participants

Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

About the Author

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe, Search Manager at WebRanking in Minneapolis, MN, the guy who puts the #PPCChat Streamcap together, an sem blogger, SEO Jedi in Training, Tweeting from @PaulKragthorpe, and Google+’er.

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