The Life of A PPC Professional

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “The Life of A PPC Professional.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: Aside from PPCChat, how do you find your PPC information and news?

  • Blogs, emails from engines. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • All the blogs, all the twitters, all the socials, all the networkings. – Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
  • Slideshare is one neat place to find fascinating facts. – Benjamin Page (@Benjamin_Page)
  • Constantly checking the industry sites. – Matt Umbro
  • Some of the main blogs like SEL and PPCHero, but even then I see the posts in my twitter feed. – Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
  • By following blogs from AdWords, ClixMarketing, PPCHero and lots of others! – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • Blogs, Co-workers, Conferences and Account Happenings. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
  • Twitter for the most part. Also reading my colleagues on the WordSteam blog every day. – Phil Kowalski (@PhilJKowalski)
  • Twitter feeds of all you awesome people & the Search Engine Land daily emails are pretty great. – Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
  • Lots of blogs and i get tons of good info from the Clix team. – Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
  • The twitterverse, of course!..and Linkedin groups, google/bing blogs, industry blogs. – Jennifer Vickery (@JennVick)
  • Feedly for blog reading, Search Engine Land daily recap (it’s great), and conferences. – Brad Geddes (@bgtheory)
  • PC Rockstars Podcast with Brad Geddes. – Rick Galan (@RickGalan)

Q2: Does today’s PPC professional need to be active on social media channels in order to succeed? Why or why not?

  • I think you can just passively read stuff and that is fine. – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
  • It’s a HUGE help, but you can get strong support internally as well. – Mark Kennedy
  • You don’t have to post necessarily, but Twitter is the best space to have info all the time. – Julie Bacchini
  • No. Social is another channel of content. You can get that from other places as well. Assuming you’re not doing Social PPC. – Brad Geddes
  • Online stalking if they’re not going to be active. – Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
  • No, but using social media puts you in touch with other SEMs, whom have different (often correct) opinions than yours. – Leo Sussan (@lsussan)
  • Absolutely, I strongly believe if you aren’t active on Twitter or other channels you are behind in the game. – Matt Umbro
  • Honestly, I don’t think it’s a need.. Seems more like a requirement. That is, of course, if you want to stay on the leading edge. – Dave Rosborough (@daverosborough)
  • Time in accounts doing actual PPC is far more important than social media. But social is nice for learning. – Jason Manion (@JasonManion)
  • It helps if they at least pay attention. I’ve gotten tons of help from Twitter friends. – Susan Wenograd (@SusanEDub)
  • As long as he/she can keep up with trends than I guess, but interaction with other peops is pretty essential for me. – Kirk Williams
  • Not active, but it definitely helps to at least lurk and read. That’s where the important stuff hits first. – Heather Cooan
  • Definitely helps to stay in the know even if it’s just browsing what other pros are discovering & sharing. – Nicole Mintiens
  • Yes! Social media can definitely get you some honest answers compared to what you hear from support/reps. – Gil Hong (@ghong_ssm)
  • Twitter is my #1 source for industry news, LI great for sharing & hiring. – Melissa Mackey
  • Today’s PPC pros needs to be resourceful. 1 has to know when to spot the good resources, not necessarily all on social media. – Stephanie Cockerl (@StephCockerl)
  • Social is where stuff hits first, news/announcements. I like to clip screenshots and send to my reps. What’s this all about? – Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
  • My 2 cents: some people are busy at doing while others are busy talking about doing 🙂 Not that simple of course. – Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)

Q3: How do you disseminate between good and bad PPC advice, blogs, and/or comments?

  • Good question…I think I’ve developed a ppc spidy sense about BS. – Heather Cooan
  • Most is known from instinct & experience, but if I’m not sure, I ask on PPCChat or test myself. – Mark Kennedy
  • It’s ironic how a lot of the tactics we use for clients work for those in the marketing industry. – Gil Hong
  • Source matters, of course. Lots of times bad advice is either apparent in the post/article or in the comments. – Julie Bacchini
  • Depends on the sources credibility. Some blogs & online journals have impeccable reputation. – Juan Restrepo (@JUANRRESTREPO)
  • Experience. Use your own and evaluate theirs and what they are saying. Even the best get thrings wrong sometiems. – Jeremy Brown
  • “Author Credibility” encourages me to actually read it, “Intelligent & Logical Content” encourages me to believe it. – Kirk Williams
  • Source of info, believably of idea, test hypothesis myself. I never just blindly execute someone else’s strategy. – Brad Geddes
  • If PPC advice is only about QS, then ignore. If it’s about QS AND Conversions, ROI, etc, then listen. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • Logic, common sense, and experience. A healthy dose of paranoia also helps. – George Gilmer (@GeorgeGilmer)
  • As often as search marketing evolves if the advice is out of date it’s usually fairly obvious. Also, overusage of buzz words. – Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
  • If a post gets some details wrong then I’m less likely to believe the rest. – Richard Fergie
  • Peeps/blogs that make you think or inform, motivate,inspire, entertain you = good. – Lisa Sanner
  • With PPC, it’s all YMMV. Everything must be tested. But I get ideas from posts/social. – Melissa Mackey
  • I listen / take most people seriously, but I do my own very, VERY extensive research before enacting any change. – Leo Sussan
  • They have case studies to back it up – I need to see metrics! No rule will works for all accounts though. – Michael McEuen (@lonohead)
  • Any time the advice or post is backed up by data I’m more likely to take seriously. – Matt Umbro
  • If a post doesn’t mention circumstances where advice obv doesn’t apply (i.e. it depends) then distrust. – Richard Fergie
  • Hastiness. Good quality content that educates and amuses is my favorite. I steer clear away from rehashing. – Johnathan Dane (@JohnathanDane)
  • Common sense & experience. Most don’t proactively give “bad” advice but hacks or sales pitches are pretty easy to sniff out. – Susan Waldes (@suzyvirtual)
  • The design quality and appearance of the blog can affect the credibility too. – Sam Mazaheri (@sammmer)
  • FYI, with any blog post or presentation, as long as I feel I received 1 or 2 good tips, I’m happy. – Matt Umbro
  • Look for additional similar posts. If outlier, must judge if innovative & creative or crazy & terrible. – Julie Bacchini
  • I also distrust if it’s overtly pitching an agency: “PPC is so hard, you can’t do it without our QS algos” – Sam Mazaheri
  • Honestly, I base most of my judgement on the source it comes from. – Tyler Purcell (@tylerpurcell)
  • It’s hard to share the WHOLE story in a blog post…especially with client data. – Heather Cooan

Q4: Do you believe today’s client feels that his/her PPC professional should be available after hours? Why or why not?

  • Yes, although most are reasonable about it. But emergencies happen & it’s a 24/7 world. – Melissa Mackey
  • Client often believes it; but that’s why you set expectations before you take on a client. – Brad Geddes
  • In the case of emergencies, yes. Hence, a couple of rules / a script that alerts me of bad things. – Leo Sussan
  • Depends on the situation. If it truly is an emergency then yes. But clients will take advantage. Its up to you to control it. – Andrew Bethel (@AndrewPPC)
  • Don’t really care what the client feels about this. I’m available the hours we agree and they pay for. – Richard Fergie
  • Yes…especially during holiday in eCom. Definitely for emergencies. Site outages, etc. – Heather Cooan
  • It seems like it, especially for certain specials and regarding time zone difference. – Christina Hall (@Chrissie_Hall85)
  • The 9-5 ship sailed years ago. Everybody’s connected, all the time. We respond after hours in emergencies, otherwise next day. – Andrew Miller
  • I believe most clients expectations grow with their PPC budgets. – James Svoboda
  • I think we should, since PPC never sleeps. Especially for major issues. But small issues can wait, but I tend to answer any time. – Mark Kennedy
  • Depends on client & expectations laid out prior to work. I respond to emails ASAP but don’t sacrifice my life balance. – Nicole Mintiens
  • If we agree a 24 hour on call then I’ll cost that in. If they want a lower level SLA then that is fine too. – Richard Fergie
  • That also depends on the type of clients you manage and their geographic locations. But agreed its a 24/7 world. – Juan Restrepo
  • I think that’s correlated to the size of the company. Most employees working inside biz hrs don’t, most business owners do. – Jason Manion
  • “Should” is the tricky part of that ?. For product launches, site migrations – absolutely. When things are stable, not so much. – Lisa Sanner
  • For emergencies such as site outages, or important promotion times such as Labor Day/Black Friday, yes. – Michael McEuen
  • Setting expectations is a must! I would only be ok with after hours if there was a critical error or request. – Gil Hong
  • In general, no. Holiday retail is different. Having an agency is having a trusted partner. Not servant. – Jeremy Brown
  • Basically, I’m happy to do it if the money is right. But needs planning as hobbies frequently take me out of mobile reception. – Richard Fergie
  • Hopefully you’ve done a good job of explaining budget caps. Most default to panicked thinking about spending $ 24 hrs a day. – Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
  • There’s always competition on the other side of the world where it’s not “after hours” so relationship mgmt is important. – Nicole Mintiens
    • True. Plus, if you don’t answer an email/phone call after hours, chances are there’s another agency that will. – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • I’ve also found that many “emergencies” suddenly become less urgent when there is a rush fee involved. – Julie Bacchini
  • I loveloveLOVE our industry but there needs to be work/life balance. I do have many interests & hobbies in addition to search. – Cassandra McClure (@imcassy)

Q5: Hypothetically speaking, if you were to hire a PPC professional, what expectations would you have of that person?

  • Oh man, expectations from the professionals. This should be good stuff right here. Taking notes for job reqs! – Heather Cooan
  • Problem solver, analytic mind, research-oriented. – Matt Lukens (@mmlukens)
  • Willingness to be completely honest with me, tenacity, and complete transparency, even with bad days / weeks / trends. – Leo Sussan
  • I would expect them to fulfill their agreed contracted terms of work. – Gil Hong
  • Solid and growing results like ROI, Traffic, Conversions. Also Testing so that I know they are not stagnant. – James Svoboda
  • Set expectations for reporting, emergencies, performance, etc. Expectation setting goes both ways. – Brad Geddes
  • High ones. Honesty, willingness to learn, attention to detail, quantitative and qualitative thinker. – Jeremy Brown
  • Is a role with many facets. Could offer major contributions in any one area & basic competency in others.- Richard Fergie
  • The world + some. This is why it’s important to set expectations up front. Success doesn’t come overnight. – Dave Rosborough
  • Attention to detail, ability to explain complex concepts in plain English, and good at foosball/darts/NERF hoops. – Andrew Miller (@AndrewCMiller)
  • My ideal candidate would have a mind for logic, and have a back ground in strategic business planning and marketing. – Heather Cooan
  • Complete honesty, solid work ethic, loves to learn, a love for data mining, i.e. the ability to enjoy identifying opt opps. – Kirk Williams
  • That they have amazing soft and hard skills, and that any client I give them turns into gold. – Johnathan Dane
  • That everything he/she does should have an ROI-reason behind it. And a high level of passion for the industry. – Mark Kennedy
  • Would probably look for someone who is strong where I am weak. Hope they love writing loads of ads. Although having said that; would I get on well with the type of person who loves writing loads of text ads?- Richard Fergie
  • I always ask what blogs that person reads. If they can’t tell me at least 3 it’s not a good sign. – Matt Umbro
  • They would have to show that no matter how good they are at PPC, they first operate under solid business principles. – Sam Turner (@turnersam000)
  • If I was a client? I’d expect results first and foremost. Combined with expertise and being good to work with. – Jason Manion
  • Organization, honesty & integrity to do what’s best for the client. Proven history of striving for constant improvement. – Nicole Mintiens
  • Also able to work well under pressure, juggle many products, not freak out under pressure. Communicate clearly. – Heather Cooan
  • Someone who understands that under everything else we are speeding someone else’s money. – Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
  • Attention to detail, passion for learning, and an appreciation for MS Excel. – George Gilmer
  • That they feel comfortable manipulating numbers and reading the story behind it. I believe this profession isn’t for everyone. – Juan Restrepo
  • In reality, I won’t hire someone who only knows PPC. I want them to think cross channel even if don’t execute it for new ideas. – Brad Geddes
  • Analytical, organized, research-driven. Ablility to deal with losses. Able to implement quickly. Passion to continue learning. – Jesse Semchuck
  • An analytical mind, someone who questions everything, and wants to dig into mysteries. And who wants to learn. – Melissa Mackey
  • I would expect them to insist on setting clear expectations before taking the job. – Chad Summerhill (@ChadSummerhill)
  • Chrome as their default browser. – Matt Lukens
  • Since I am actually hiring… work ethic, staying current, building plans and executing on those plans. Focus on achievement. – Rick Galan
  • Someone w/ an equally creative & analytical mind w/ attention to detail & great soft skills. A problem solver. – Jennifer Vickery
  • I would also think highly of someone who mentioned subtle, yet clever tips (ie: writing long headlines). – Matt Umbro
  • Strong soft skills – client management, team player, etc. Solid tech understanding of PPC. Passion for industry and learning. – Joseph Drury (@drurytheelder)
  • I also would value a passionate personality who wants to educate. – Cassandra McClure
  • Eager to learn, adapt to new trends & flexible. Also understanding business principles, marketing & idea of the big pic. – Christina Hall
  • I would want them very interested in my customer/my goals/the fact that real people see these ads…PPC stuff is a given. – Chad Summerhill

Q6: As a PPC professional, how are you ensuring your job security for not just today, but 5 years down the line?

  • Learn. Test. Analyze. Rinse and repeat. – James Svoboda
  • Writing, writing, and more writing? Well rounded thinking…brand, mutli-channel, sales pipeline, strategic planning, etc. – Heather Cooan
  • Do the best we can do, learn all you can, don’t get complacent. – Mark Kennedy
  • Continuing to keep up with PPC news/tips even if it doesn’t apply to any industries I’m currently working with. – Gil Hong
  • Hard to predict with an ever changing industry, but providing top tier service to your customers & building strong relations. – Juan Restrepo
  • Always focus on creating more value/the customer/outcomes. If you are in PPC learning and keeping up are a given. – Chad Summerhill
  • Diversifying my skillset. Aka shifting focus away from PPC management to something new in a few months. – Jason Manion
  • Lucky for us the SERPs and landscape always changes having relationships with high level people keeps you ahead of the curve. – Andrew Bethel
  • Staying current, continue to create client value, keep writing, stay active on PPCChat. – Melissa Mackey
  • By not being a PPC professional. IMO, if Google can crack the code and make Adwords ‘out the box’, PPC pros are doomed. I’m a direct marketer, not an ‘Adwords Jockey’. To me, Adwords is just a delivery mech for a direct marketing message. – Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
  • Embracing change & naturally growing with the search industry & your client’s businesses. Take on new challenges! – Cassandra McClure
  • Short term – keep clients happy Medium – deliver results Long – diversify! Probably more towards analytics. – Richard Fergie
  • ALWAYS creating value. Building a strong network of working relationships and doing the best work day in and day out. – Dave Rosborough
  • Digital Marketing isn’t a one-trick pony. I consume EVERYTHING, whether it has to do with PPC or not. – Leo Sussan
  • Trying new things! This year alone I’ve tried 4 or 5 new platforms! – Matt Umbro
  • For myself, build tools and other resources. For most, it should be by knowing marketing and not just PPC. CRO, Analytics, etc. – Brad Geddes
  • Staying ahead of the curve by reading, learning & proving your skills on a daily basis. – Christina Hall
  • Creating stickiness and building your brand. Committing to being a life long learner. – Jennifer Vickery
  • Working with Web Devs to stay ahead of the curve, integrating PPC with SEO, pushing new PPC initiatives (like job postings). – Matt Lukens
  • Focusing on client work only is not the best security. Start building your own online businesses. – Johnathan Dane
  • Keeping up w/ things outside the PPC silo – the landscape is constantly shifting. – Julie Bacchini
  • By ensuring that I’m not just a PPC professional 🙂 Depth is great, but breadth and depth = indispensable. – Rick Galan
  • Knowing what keeps them up at night/creates stress. It shouldn’t be PPC. Help them work through the noise and figure it out. – Lisa Sanner
  • Always learning, reading, and building new skills. Testing new ideas for myself not just for clients. – George Gilmer
  • I do PPC and Analytics primarily, but I also do PR (gotten some hits, CNBC being a big one), branding, SEO, & more. – Leo Sussan
  • Acquiring skills that aid/are necessary for great ppc mgmt (scipts, all the analytics expertise!) but appicable elsewhere too. – Nicole Stormberg (@NicoleStormberg)
  • I’m a super sensitive mal content by nature. This helps. Never satisfied, there’s always more progress to be had. – Heather Cooan
  • Always be writing – there is always a place for good writers in this world. – Matt Umbro
  • If you know ‘marketing’ (analysis, plan, creative, test, data, etc) then you will always have a job. Just might not be PPC. – Brad Geddes
  • Improving problem solving skills & marketing talents to make a better tomorrow for everyone (even outside the interwebs). – Nicole Mintiens


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 (@AndrewPPC)
• Andrew Miller (@AndrewCMiller)
• Benjamin Page (@Benjamin_Page)
• Brad Geddes (@bgtheory)
• Cassandra McClure (@imcassy)
• Chad Summerhill (@ChadSummerhill)
• Christina Hall (@Chrissie_Hall85)
• Dave Rosborough (@daverosborough)
• Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
• George Gilmer (@GeorgeGilmer)
• Gil Hong (@ghong_ssm)
• Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
• Jason Manion (@JasonManion)
• Jennifer Vickery (@JennVick)
• Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
• Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
• Johnathan Dane (@JohnathanDane)
• Joseph Drury (@drurytheelder)
• Juan Restrepo (@JUANRRESTREPO)
• Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Leo Sussan (@lsussan)
• Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
• Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
• Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
• Matt Lukens (@mmlukens)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Michael McEuen (@lonohead)
• Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
• Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
• Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
• Nicole Stormberg (@NicoleStormberg)
• Phil Kowalski (@PhilJKowalski)
• Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
• Rick Galan (@RickGalan)
• Sam Mazaheri (@sammmer)
• Sam Turner (@turnersam000)
• Stephanie Cockerl (@StephCockerl)
• Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
• Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
• Susan Waldes (@suzyvirtual)
• Susan Wenograd (@SusanEDub)
• Tyler Purcell (@tylerpurcell)

The Life of a Streamcap Tamer

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

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