PPC Chat Streamcap – PPC Education & Training

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) put together a good question set titled “PPC Education & Training.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: How did you come to learn (and excel) at PPC?

  • Internet research. Started with the basics in AdWords Learning Center, and stalked blogs & twitter. & Learned from testing. – Claire Remmetter (@cremmetter)
  • Lots of studying, managing campaigns & reading great posts from you fine people! Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
  • Had a co-op at a fortune 500 company in college. They were all “Here, you do this AdWords stuff for us.” Rest is history. – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • Thrown into an account ,AdWords exams., and MANY MANY blogs. Some training from people more involved. – Francis Shovlin (@fmshovlin)
  • I’ve learn PPC in house via a vendor the company had at the time. I also checked out the blogs, etc for tip. – Stephanie Cockerl (@StephCockerl)
  • Learn – By reading industry blog posts & attending SMX, Excel – I’ll let you know once I get there. – Dennis Petretti (@Denetti)
  • Random internships during college that led me to learn internet marketing..I then pushed myself to research blogs etc on my own. – Lance Wilson (@crestonwave)
  • Learnt from MD, training, blogs, testing and mistakes. – Richard Banks (@RichardJABanks)
  • Trial & Error, started targeting broadly with a big budget, then refined. Learned what metrics to drive and optimize for. Then out-sourced and was critical of vendors work, finally met a mentor that brought it all together. – Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
  • Took an Adv. AdWords Seminar via Brad Geddes (@bgtheory) 4+ years ago when transitioning from SEO to PPC & it opened my eyes wide. After that I started reading all I could and conducting extra tests for clients just to push myself. Then PPCChat. Rinse & repeat. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • Also, many hours of personal time spent learning the craft of what we call PPC. – Matt Umbro
  •  Web Marketing Today and Perry Marshall – plus lots of trial and error! – David Szetela (@Szetela)
  • Took an intro to adwords class when I first started. After that, lost of reading blog posts. – Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
  • Financed my education by advertising affiliate offers. – David Szetela
  • Getting your hands dirty is always the most important step. – Cassie Allinger (@CassieAllinger)
  • Interaction with people from PPCChat always a huge help. Nice to get feedback on ideas and hear what others do as well. – Michelle Morgan
  • Spending your own money on running campaigns helps you learn fastest. – Mukul Gupta (@mukulkrgupta)
  • Purely personal time learning it myself and any resources I could find on the web. – Andrew Baker (@AndrewBaker72)

Q2: What is your or your company’s process for training entry level PPC associates?

  • I’m the only one… and it was kinda like “Welcome to the team – now figure this out for us.” – Claire Remmetter
  • Send people to conferences. Other than that, it’s up to you how good you do/don’t get. Learn on your own & get your job done. – Michelle Morgan
    • Exactly – Up to each individual person to choose whether to succeed or not – training only goes so far. – Michelle Morgan
  • 1 hour of PPCChat training every Tuesday at Noon Eastern. – James Svoboda
  • I start by actually telling new PPC employees to do your own searches and see what results you get & and your observations. – Matt Umbro
  • Always under development. We have a lot of “sit and watch then go and do” type training, as well as a BIG internal wiki. – Aaron Levy
  • They just throw them to me, I sit with them for 2+ days and then conquer topics as they come. – Alma Smith (@Alma_Smith)
  • We are a relatively new agency but when we (hopefully) take on new team members we plan to train in-house. – Andrew Baker
  • My previous companies directed them straight to Google. – Cassie Allinger
  • Its huge to share information and knowledge learned. Sit down with a junior and walk through things with them, and research. – Lance Wilson
  • Ultimately, I try and tie everything we do back to how the average user will search. – Matt Umbro
  • Not here, but in the past: teach components & relationships. Review campaigns. Give theme & have kw lists produced. Write Copy. – Chris Kostecki
  • At a prior agency they had a 3 week training program learning about PPC. No real hands on exercises though. – Brian Gaspar (@BGaspar)
  • The Google Adwords exam is easier when you don’t know much, so might as well take it in the beginning to learn. – Cassie Allinger
    • Hate to disagree with you here, but I found it to be easier to take when I had the hands on experience. – Brian Gaspar
  • Keyword research for new campaigns and search query analysis for existing. Text Ads are easy to learn, but hard to master. – James Svoboda
  • Proper hands on training is what its all about i think, and a read through the AdWords learning centre. – Anisha (@dotAnisha)
  • There’s so much more to it than just learning ppc, you need to understand CRO, Analytics, Attribution, etc ie the whole picture. – Andrew Baker

Q3: What are your personal thoughts on the value of AdWords & adCenter certifications? Your company’s thoughts?

  • Personally, I don’t think they’re a big deal anymore, and my company cares less than I do. Just because you know your way around the interface and “best practices” doesn’t mean your accounts will do well. – Michelle Morgan
  • Personally, no. As a company I think these certifications are valuable to help build trust. – Matt Umbro
  • They sound cool but do they really mean anything anymore? – Richard Banks
  • We all want more clicks and impressions right!? Need I say more? – Cassie Allinger
  • These certifications are equivalent to a drivers permit. They show you know enough to get on the road & be dangerous to others. – James Svoboda
  • Purely used as a form of trust, but it means nothing when it comes to managing high performing accounts. – Andrew Baker
  • I have not taken the tests yet. I haven’t had the need to advertise myself as ‘certified.’ – Dennis Petretti
  • Agnostic. They prove an understanding of the networks & widely accepted. Hope they keep offering coupons or reduced renewals. – Chris Kostecki
  • Everyone here is certified in both. It’s definitely not a selling point though. – Aaron Levy
  • Where it could come in handy is when a potential client looks at you and your competitor and sees how many of your employees are certified vs the other company. – Matt Umbro
  • Seems to be a plus for most companies, but for those who know it, know its not neccessary, doesn’t make up for real world exp. – Lance Wilson
  • I have taken both and both have expired. Not having the current certifications does not take away from having the experience. – Stephanie Cockerl
  • Tests provide a good basics but the medium changes too quick to rely on it. Happy to be one of a few AdCenter Cert in Gulf Coast. – ferkungamabooboo (@ferkungamaboobo)
  • I’m not going to lie here. I have both an MBA & a Masters Degree. Passing the AdWords Fundamentals exam got me more excited. – Brian Gaspar
  • I’m AdWords certified but not AdCenter yet. (Not that many interested clients.) I think certifications have value. I agree they “prove” nothing but that you passed a test, but do help to prove a commitment. – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
  • I think they’re helpful when you’re first learning the ropes – passing an exam is something tangible to aim for. – Tamsin Mehew (@TamsinMehew)
  • To be honest what good are the certs anyhow – none of the exams cover the latest features… – Andrew Baker
  • The only reason I took the Adcenter certification is because I got swag for it. No adwords swag offered so I’m not certified. – Michelle Morgan
  • Final note – it is easy to get free vouchers to take the exams so the cost isn’t always the issue. – Matt Umbro

Q4: How do you integrate entry level PPC associates into client facing situations?

  • I have them shadow me for a couple weeks, then let them start handling day to day contact. Depends on the person though. Some people have more of a knack for dealing with clients than others. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • PPC newbies are on client calls from day 1. Starts w/listening & having them take the notes to then send as recap to client! – Emily Las (@emlas)
  • Slowly…let them get comfortable w/ the campaign, review their suggestions/performance, then gradual interaction w/ client. – Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
  • Dealing with clients should be part of the training. Make sure to discuss meetings after to add more weight, insights & context. – James Svoboda
  • Having new PPC associates taking call notes is great way to get them to ask more ?’s, get comfortable w/lingo, call cadence, etc. – Emily Las
  • Have them be part of the team noting to the client the add resource. Give them more to do until they are running the account. – Brian Gaspar
  • I think the best way is to be support with existing (not primary) and then build relationships fresh with new clients. – Chris Kostecki
  • So key to get them in the process early on. Client services should be at core of their training. – Emily Las
  • Attend calls as fly on the wall, write responses to client emails and have Senior manager proof first. – Matt Umbro
  • I learned PPC 1st w/ no cust contact (had separate sales/support), once I got to more trad agency, had to learn client management. – Chris Kostecki

Q5: Aside from the networking, do you believe conferences are worth the cost? Why or why not?

  • Depends on the conference. I actually get more bang for the buck from smaller more-focused conferences and events. – Mark Kennedy
  • Conferences are great for newbies – both for learning & networking. They have to be willing to ask questions though. – Melissa Mackey
  • If you get ONE tip from a conf that saves your team ONE hour a month, the conf paid for itself. – Aaron Levy
  • Conferences as a whole yes – but you have to find the good ones. Don’t have to go to all of them, or else it gets repetitive. – Chris Kostecki
  • For PPC? Only HeroConf. Even SMX Adv. is not worth it for money for training new recruits. To clarify: I’m a little jaded by the volume of SEM conferences these days with watered down tracks. Not all, just some. – James Svoboda
  • Absolutely. Learned a ton from both PubCon and HeroConf. Definitely recommend going to conferences. – Michelle Morgan
  • Each conf has its strengths. Pick based on objectives & needs. – Melissa Mackey
  • Attended my first conference last week (SMX london), enjoyed it but wasn’t blown away like I expected! – Richard Banks
  • If you pay attention you should get 2-3 nuggets from a conference and that should justify the cost. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • If you are only going to attend 1 conference, make it #heroconf! – Matt Umbro
  • PPC Conferences = great for newbies. Apart from learning, they interact w/others who do what they do. – Emily Las
  • Although I would recommend AdWords seminars by @bgtheory as a solid training solution. – James Svoboda
  • I’ve only been to one conference, but it was definitely worth the cost. Great for verifying what you know. – Dennis Petretti
    • Sometimes this alone is worth the cost: “See Boss, I told you!” – Melissa Mackey
  • Conferences can be game changers for newbies. The validation alone provides supercharge! – Emily Las
  • Conferences expose you to others tackling the same issues. No matter what, if you are novice you will learn new resources. – Chris Kostecki
  • I usually assign newbies to specific sessions at conferences & have them present their learnings. Highly recommend. – Emily Las
  • Think of money and time. But been to some free Google conference kind of things, if @avinash is speaking it worth the trip/time. – James Hume (@zerospin)

Q6: Discuss a negative client result/interaction that ultimately helped you learn more about PPC (whether it be a topic or lesson)?

  • Kw data only tells part of the story, need to understand a business to better drive their performance. – Chris Kostecki
  • No matter how well you think you’re doing (and metrics back it up), if you don’t communicate the client fires you. – Robert Brady
  • Not telling us about major events in advance (eg talk show appearances). Taught me to seek info/prep on my own. – Aaron Levy
  • Poor results led to conv showing that up-front talk about “goals” had not been detailed enough or taught the client enough. Taught me not to assume we all use the words the same way or that clients know ANYTHING abt online realities. – Theresa Zook
  • 1) Conversion tracking is an absolute must 2) If you’re not minding your search queries, all hell can break loose. – Melissa Mackey
  • So much of PPC is learning through experience. I’d even say the negative client situations are what make us. – Emily Las
  • Old campaign with higher click volume with lower conversions is not same as our lower click volume campaign that is targeted. – James Svoboda
  • Set expectations! you and the client may have different ideas of what “doing well” really means. – Aaron Levy
  • New clients pay the price as I demand more & more info abt specific “goals” and explain what’s possible over and over. – Theresa Zook
  • PPC Client Lesson: Keep an optimization log as best as you can. Save paper trail, back up the work you’re doing. – Emily Las
  • Send a follow email after every meeting clearly stating the actions items for both parties. – Matt Umbro
  • Clients who rely on last click attribution – educate them – life is easier. – Andrew Baker
  • Also, no amount of great PPC can overcome a shitty website. – Melissa Mackey
    • Totally then Challenge is telling client the site sucks! – Emily Las
  • Client had a product show up on Dr. Oz. Needless to say, we had to bulk inventory up. – Aaron Levy
  • Passionate topic for me! My line with newbies is “You have to get burned…to learn”! – Emily Las
  • All campaigns have a ramp-up, even if you are just building out new keywords and ad groups. PPC is not a switch. – James Svoboda
  • Spending too much time on education & reporting, leaving less time for implementation & performance, esp for new clients. – Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
  • mistakes & errors help teach you what to do and not to do. That is IF you learn from them. They separate the Great from the Good. – Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)


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About the Streak Streamcapper of PPC

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; WebRanking Search Optimization Manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcap Grabber, Search Marketing Blog Author. Connect with me @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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