Lessons I Wish My Younger Pay Per Click Self Had Learned Earlier

This week James Svoboda (@Realicity) guest hosted with a great question set titled “Lessons I Wish My Younger PPC Self Had Learned Earlier.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: What is the one thing that you wish you’d have known from your very 1st day and why?

  • Excel is your bread and butter, and it won’t change on you. Learn it, love it. – Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
  • It’s hard to say because Adwords was so simple when I started. I read Perry’s book and already understood copywriting & DM. – Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
  • That adwords editor existed. In the beginning, I did all the work in the interface, until I discovered editor. – Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
  • CPC is a worthless metric without Cost-Per-Conversion as a reference point. – James Svoboda
  • How to properly structure campaigns. My first account was a mess! – Andrew Bethel (@abethelga)
    • Good one. I often run across campaings that others built that have not learned this yet. – James Svoboda
    • I agree. That is one thing that drives me nuts in obtaining new accounts that have previously run. – Connor Harrison (@connorharrison)
  • To give the algorithm time – not to make quick decisions based on insufficient data. – Peter Thistle (@PeterThistle)
  • Pivot tables. Didn’t even know what they were way back then. And how different account structures help tease out efficiencies. – Max Fink (@maxfink_SEM)
  • Start with business questions, not PPC questions. Work down to the tactical implementation from a top-level understanding. – Anthony Coraggio (@AnthonyCoraggio)
  • Breathe and let changes marinate! I still struggle with this. – Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
  • How to use Excell with ppc, was so new to me at the time. – Brett Stevens (@BrettStevens1)
  • Forget about QS, it’s not as important as people say it is. – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
  • I started so long ago that there weren’t any best practices yet. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • Always look at muliple metrics so you don’t opt in the wrong direction and kill something. – Heather Cooan
  • nderstanding the basics is simple. Troubleshooting and staying up-to-date with the industry takes time and lots of reading! – Katie Martins (@KatelynMartins)
  • Search vs. search Network partners – Pay attention young skywalker! – Max Fink

Q2: What PPC Metric would you like to tell your younger self to spend MORE time analyzing? Why?

  • Cost per conversion is the most important metric. – Mark Kennedy
  • Impression Share & Avg Position – How this corresponds with profitability. Sure 1 Pos means high CTR, but not profit. – Andrew Bethel
  • Cost per conversion, or profit if you can get at it. – Melissa Mackey
  • Impression share. Becoming a huge nerd for it recently. Always focused on CPA, but would want to spend more time on IS. Not really a ppc metric, but the lead scoring process would’ve been a big benefit to me when starting out. It definitely is today. – Michelle Morgan
  • Conversion quality metrics. Lots of leads is great, lots fraudulent leads not so much. – Katie Martins
  • Most new PPCers optimize for clicks then realize they should be optimizing for convs then realize they should optimize for PROFIT. – Andrew Bethel
  • CPA of course, but with a reminder to factor in the costs and offline conversions going on client side after PPC touches. – Anthony Coraggio

Q3: What PPC Metric do you wish you’d spent LESS time obsessing on and why?

  • QS, obviously. – Max Fink
  • CPC. – Heather Cooan
    • CPC is a good one too. Not important except for identifying an increase in competition. – Michelle Morgan
  • Definitely QS. More like BS, am I right? – Michelle Morgan
  • Average position. Doesn’t matter if you’re getting conversions at a good cost. – Melissa Mackey
    • I agree for the most part. But I do find Avg Pos gaps to be a great source for scaling traffic on good performers. – Michelle Morgan
      • Agree. Avg pos is actually of value to me when looking for areas to nudge conv up a bit. – Theresa Zook
    • Top vs. Other reports have helped demystify Avg. Poistion. One of my fav segments. – James Svoboda
  • View-through conversions. Never seem accurate…at all. – Mark Kennedy
  • Quality Score. It’s to opaque of a metric to count on. CTR and CPA are more solid. – James Svoboda
  • QS The underlying mystery metric. Manipulating it is valuable, but it can drive you crazy. – Andrew Bethel
  • Avg CPC What matters is not the cost of each click, it’s the profit it generates. Also, averages are worthless. – Theresa Zook
  • Wish I could take back the countless hours spent on analyzing little things that weren’t big issues in the first place. – Max Fink
  • QS is mostly a non-issue unless it’s bad, and then it can become a downward spiral that is painfully difficult to dig yourself out. – Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
  • Bounce Rate is another old one that I’m over in ecom. – Heather Cooan

Q4: If you could go back in time, how would you approach ad creation, optimization & ad format varieties differently early on?

  • My early accts were all search only, so formats not an issue. I’d certainly do better A/B testing for messaging. – Theresa Zook
  • Would spend more time testing benefits vs features. Try to test more user intent/drivers rather than synonyms. – Michelle Morgan
  • Back in the day we could use Caps in the Display URL and we walked to school in the snow..backwards. – Mark Kennedy
  • Spend more time on unique positioning in ads instead of ad formatting. Bigger Lift to be gained. – James Svoboda
  • Now that I’ve seen huge impression numbers across a test can still have noise, I would have given more time to certain ads. – Max Fink
  • I’d be much more systematic and less random about ad testing. – Melissa Mackey
    • I’d actually ad test. – Heather Cooan
  • Research and USE persona info. – Heather Cooan
  • With more CMS options, I’d want to test more landing page options with successful ads. Easier to make them nowadays. – Mark Kennedy
  • I wish I had learned ad testing methods on small accounts to better apply that to large scale ad testing & tracking. – Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
  • Don’t worry so much about how to calculate the statistics. – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
  • Never delete or edit ads, always create new so I can see evolution. – Heather Cooan
  • If I knew about pivot tables, I would have done a bunch more aggregate testing. Would have been so much easier. – Michelle Morgan
  • Always make use of EVERY character! Even in the display URL! – Heather Cooan
  • LEN Check would have been handy back then, I was late to the game on this at first back in the excel build days. – Heather Cooan

Q5: Which PPC Ad Platform(s) do you wish you’d taken more serious earlier on?

  • Product Listing Ads pre-October 2012. – Neil Sorenson
    • No way dude, product extensions were so much more controlable! – Heather Cooan
  • I’ve gotten some good value out of Admarketplace. – Josiah Colt (@_kingjosiah_)
  • BING! – Heather Cooan
  • BingAds and Facebook Ads. For simmilar reasons, but different promotions. – James Svoboda
  • 7search hasn’t been good at all for me. – Josiah Colt
    • Good to know, they keep sending me free ad spend coupons. – Heather Cooan
  • Getting .01 clicks has been priceless for me in FB. – Josiah Colt
  • I wish I’d made better use of the original Bing platform (pre-Yahoo). – Theresa Zook
  • None, really. We tested them all. 🙂 We were an MSN Search Featured Site back in the day. – Melissa Mackey
    • Same here. Very few were useful, but tested most of the ones available. – Michelle Morgan
  • Started out in AdWords then transitioned into problem child BingAds, but now it’s my pride and joy! – Katie Martins
  • Social media marketing platforms for me. – Dave Rosborough (@daverosborough)
  • Some G betas I wish I would have not brushed off and participated in. But I was in original sitelinks beta. – Lisa Sanner

Q6: What PPC Tools do you wish you’d have found earlier and why?

  • We made tools to save time (free for anyone) – A Keyword Wrapper and a Keyword Phrase Builder. – Mark Kennedy
  • The AdWords Help Forum. (Seriously.) – Theresa Zook
  • Not exactly PPC-specific, but Pivot Tables would have been nice earlier on. Also, digging the QS tracking ability of Tenscores. – Dave Rosborough
  • Pivot tables. 100% pivot tables. – Michelle Morgan
  • PPCChat! Great tool, great community, great resource. – Lisa Sanner
  • AdWords Editor. If for only 1 day sooner it would still have bee a huge time saver. – James Svoboda
  • I’m embarrassed to say it, but pivot tables. Humongous time saver. – Melissa Mackey
  • GA tagging spreadsheet. – Heather Cooan
  • The KW tools inside editor…grouper, multiplier, dupe search. – Heather Cooan
  • FB Power Editor! – Heather Cooan

Q7: If you could start all over again, how would you approach learning about PPC differently?

  • I’d actually learn about the program before diving into account management. – Theresa Zook
  • I would have used more post click metrics. I was trained by Google so I had to re-learn when I went agency. – Heather Cooan
  • Particiapte in more communities like this (forums, blogs, conf’s). Didn’t realize how big the PPC community was. – Mark Kennedy
  • I would have sought external resources sooner. You can be as good as you want to at this job. Just have to know what to do & why. – Michelle Morgan
  • PPC as marketing is a fairly new and evolved idea. It’s always been separate. – Heather Cooan
  • Read more posts earlier on then implent small tests to see results first hand. – James Svoboda
    • Good point. Spend less, learn more, then apply what works on a larger scale. – Mark Kennedy
  • Get over myself in trying to look smart and asking more dumb questions. – Lisa Sanner
  • Consider starting my own account to truly feel the impact of each optimization. – Dave Rosborough


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.


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

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Andrew Bethel (@abethelga)
• Anthony Coraggio (@AnthonyCoraggio)
• Brett Stevens (@BrettStevens1)
• Connor Harrison (@connorharrison)
• Dave Rosborough (@daverosborough)
• Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
• Josiah Colt (@_kingjosiah_)
• Katie Martins (@KatelynMartins)
• Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
• Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
• Max Fink (@maxfink_SEM)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
• Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
• Peter Thistle (@PeterThistle)
• Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
• Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
• Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)

Still streamcapping, like my younger self did

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

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5 Responses to Lessons I Wish My Younger Pay Per Click Self Had Learned Earlier

  1. […] Lessons I Wish My Younger Pay Per Click Self Had Learned Earlier, ppcchat.co […]

  2. […] Lessons I Wish My Younger Pay Per Click Self Had Learned Earlier … […]

  3. Michael Kern says:

    I wrote an article similar to this a couple years ago and called it the top 10 mistakes in PPC. I love your title and how you got so many people involved. Lots of honest advice here! @Inform_Local

  4. […] Learn From Experts – Ever wished you could instantly know what PPC experts already know? In this #PPCchat the experts tell you the things they wish they'd learned earlier in their careers. As the saying goes, "A wise man learns from his own mistakes, but a wiser man learns from the mistakes of others." […]

  5. […] Learn From Experts – Ever wished you could instantly know what PPC experts already know? In this #PPCchat the experts tell you the things they wish they’d learned earlier in their careers. As the saying goes, “A wise man learns from his own mistakes, but a wiser man learns from the mistakes of others.” […]

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