All About The PPCChatters

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “All About The PPCChatters.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: How did you get started in PPC?

  • Got started in PPC 2.5 years ago, I had no idea what PPC was at the time to be honest. – Brooke Townsend (@btownsend13)
  • Won an Omniture web analytics competition while I was at BYU. Started in SiteCatalyst. Then became a SearchCenter consultant. – Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
  • One of many different marketing channels I was exposed to, but the statistical background kept me here. – Leo Sussan (@lsussan)
  • Was offered a position Venn Digital to learn about SEO & PPC. Favoured PPC over SEo and then became a PPC exec. – Lawrence Jones (@HomeOfJones)
  • I uh, got told that was what I was going to learn. Took on keyword management, then our smallest campaign, then more and more. – Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
  • I took an entry level “SEM” job right out of college Pixel Media and the rest is history. I was doing both SEO and PPC and gravitated toward PPC – I hope I made the right choice. – Matt Umbro
  • Cut my teeth running an offshore (Argentina) design & development company programming ecommerce sites for North American co’s. – Max Fink (@maxfink_SEM)
  • Approached a CEO who spoke about his business in my class about an internship w/their company…Worked out. – Matthew Lloyd (@MaLloyd20)
  • Probaly like a lot of you. I was the “web guy” and some manager wanted me to give it a try. This was 8 or so years ago. – Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
  • Started out at a digital agency as a Client Services Rep. Got the itch and started learning more about the marketing side. – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • I started as a content marketer at an ecom SMB & transitioned over to build their in-house PPC program. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • I just sort of stumbled upon Hanapin after graduation and they were hiring. The rest is history! – Amy Bishop (@Hoffman8)
  • This was originally a temp job after the NHL went on lockdown in 2013. Ooops. – Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
  • I kept on seeing PPC mentioned on job descriptions after graduating, I checked it out and got hooked! – Scott Wright (@TheScright)
  • As a graduate assistant working for the marking department at my university. Started out blasting Facebook ads. – Olin Downs (@olinjdowns)
  • I was interested in the web design/digital marketing industry coming out of college and a PPC job presented itself. – John Budzynski (@Budzynski)
  • Got started on the SEO side of things 5 yrs ago, then took a job that worked in PPC. Learning quickly, still a ways to go! – Diane Kulseth (@dianekulseth)
  • I wanted to get into digital and there was an opening on the paid media team at my agency of choice. – Kimberly Wingo (@wimmiekingo)
  • Been running my own ad agency since 1995 (OMG – 20yrs ago!) and had no choice but to move online… kicking & screaming at first. – Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
  • I had a direct marketing background and, in 2006, someone suggested I looked at Adwords. It was just DM, so I took to it. – Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
  • Marketing & numbers interest > business degree > accounting position > job opening in the PPC dept at Get G5 = Me 5 yrs later. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
  • Got started at an automotive agency dealing with big budgets in small geos. Despite clientele it was a great place to learn! – Gil Hong (@Gil__Hong)
  • I got into Google’s AdCamp program, a PPC program, & fell in love with it! The all-expense-paid trip to NYC helped too. – Erika Schmidt (@erikapdx)
  • Majored in marketing. SEM was growing feverishly when I graduated. Seemed like a neat field that match my edu background. – Matt Vaillancourt (@SEM_PPC_MattV)
  • Luck of the draw 5 years ago. New guy go learn this! – JD Prater (@jdprater)
  • Started running AdWords for my own business. Realized I was clueless, and hired help. Got interested in the analytics of PPC. – Mark Hansen (@markdhansen)
  • I had a small amount of experience selling PPC & SEO. Wanted to dive in to management & analysis. 2.5 years later and here I am! – Heidi Smith (@heidinksmith)
  • Natural progression from internet mkt, web design & SEO. – Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
  • I set up an agency in London in 2000 and PPC was something we got asked to do. We winged it. – Jim Banks (@jimbanks)
  • Learned some in college. Was hired to do SEO then got asked to manage PPC. – Matt Dyer (@royaldyer)
  • I learned PPC while at BYU-Idaho. – Stuart Draper (@Stu_Draper)
  • As a special project while working in house in 2002. – Melissa Macket (@Mel66)
  • Needed a job and reached out to someone I knew from soccer. He was hiring, I had a marketing degree, & I’m still here! – Kami Essig (@kkicks20)
  • I actually took a job in customer service with a great company, and a spot opened up in PPC, got the job, LOVE IT, and here I am. – Amy Valleskey (@amy_valleskey)
  • I got started in SEM by accident. I was doing sales and met someone who needed help selling PPC and SEO. – Christi Olson (@ChristiJOlson)
  • Couldn’t find work with my landscape architect degree.Friend told me he was doing Google ads if I want a temp job. Still here 5y. – Roxana Hassel (@RoxanaHassel)
  • I got pulled into a large SEM agency right out of college by a fellow comm. studies major. – Kim Thomas (@PPCkimpossible)
  • I got started as a Search Engine “rep” back in the day for Lycos. – Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
  • Started as a Jr Account Manager for an OEM here at Mojo right out of college (JMU); going on my 7th year! – Amanda Sides (@amanda_sides)

Q2: What type of education do you have? If you have a degree, what is it in?

  • Psychology degree – teaching postgrad. – Steve Cameron
  • I have a liberal arts degree in communication…yep, glad I found PPC! – Matt Umbro
  • Finance Degree. – Matthew Lloyd
  • Bachelor of Arts degree, in Business Administration. – Brooke Townsend
  • Graduated high school with about 20 credits. Took a year or two. Decided I could learn more in the real world. – Bryant Garvin
  • Bachelor’s degrees in Telecommunication and Business, Masters in Marketing. – Melissa Mackey
  • Bachelor and M.A. in Bible/Theology. I use this constantly in PPC. – Kirk Williams
  • Math degree. – Richard Fergie
  • Masters Degree in Information Systems and Business Management. – Chris Haleua
  • Communication with an emphasis on PR & Advertising. – Amy Bishop
  • Business Marketing BS with emphasis in Entrepreneurship and Spanish. – Stuart Draper
  • Advertising Degree, didn’t fancy traditional advertising! – Scott Wright
  • Degree in business admin – marketing. Minored in music & catholic studies, which have yet to help me in PPC. – Diane Kulseth
  • Majored in Urban Studies and Planning with a minor in Music! – Gil Hong
  • BBA in Marketing, B2C concentration from JMU. – Amanda Sides
  • Marketing degree, with absolutely no emphasis on online marketing. – Kami Essig
  • Broadcasting & Electronics Communications Degree from Marquette U. – Joe Martinez
  • Biomechanics and Neuroscience double major… But really, Art maj./Economics min. – Dave Rosborough (@daverosborough)
  • Bachelors in Business Management w/ marketing & communications emphasis. – Matt Dyer
  • Marketing degree with no digital experience coming out of college. – Kimberly Wingo
  • Math/Computer Science degree. – Mark Hansen
  • Some college, no degree. I started working at startups when I was 20. – Jesse Semchuck
  • Bachelor in Philosophy and the History of Math & Science. Read ancient greek texts… At the time I rejected all tech & email! – Max Fink
  • BS in Business Administration with a Marketing focus. Always thinking about going back for my Masters. – Lauren Frankel (@frankly_lauren)
  • I have a History degree and Masters in Political Science. – JD Prater
  • Majored in Marketing, minored in Management at fancy-pants Bentley University. – Matt Vaillancourt
  • MBA in Information Systems. BBA in Information Systems with a Philosophy Minor. 1 year of lawschool. – Olin Downs
  • Media Degree. No idea what PPC was until i got a Digital marketing job out of University. – Lawrence Jones
  • BBA-Marketing – that 1 hour we discussed SEO/PPC was EXTREMELY helpful coming into this job. Set up for success here. – Amy Valleskey
  • Marketing & Sustainability BS degree. I did a LOT of clubs, networking, etc. More can be learned outside the classroom than in. – Erika Schmidt
  • I studied comm, journalism, and studio arts (and drinking/socializing). – Margot da Cunha (@ChappyMargot)

Q3: What skills that you learned in school have helped you the most in your career? Why?

  • Writing, writing, writing. Also, diplomacy theory has come in handy a few times! – Julie Bacchini
  • Good question. For me it was the “statistics for the social sciences” course – Big help with analytics and understanding the foundations of the scientific method. – Steve Cameron
  • Writing/communication skills. Critical thinking. Statistical analysis. Developing a marketing strategy. – Melissa Mackey
  • Finding the right people for your group project makes all the difference. – John Budzynski
  • I think business vocab is forgranted. Group work helped. Proving the value of ROI. Writing too. – Stuart Draper
  • Critical thinking, statical modeling and story telling. – JD Prater
  • My background in Finance and Marketing Strategy has helped me. Obviously specific to each company, but helped in general. – Brooke Townsend
  • How to write reasonably well. The ability to properly understand data/stats. Accounting. – Steve Gibson
  • Consumer Behavior – helped a lot with keyword research and digging into a persona. – Diane Kulseth
  • Writing. Especially in marketing and broadcast classes. Went from writing ads for 30s or less to ads with 35 characters or less. – Joe Martinez
  • Stakeholder research and pattern recognition! Super important for nagivating a client’s biz and sifting data. – Gil Hong
  • I think the normal culprits like logic, critical thinking, writing, deduction, etc. – Kirk Williams
  • Writing, critical thinking, and my consumer behavior class. That was eye opening to think like a consumer. – Brooke Townsend
  • Speaking skills with live client projects. Made the transition to client facing meetings a lot less awkward. – Kimberly Wingo
  • Writing and critical thinking are the two biggest skills I took away from college – I use these skills every single day. – Matt Umbro
  • Honestly, I think the couple of accounting/finance classes I took. Concept of ROI was certainly useful. – Mark Hansen
  • With Liberal Arts it was natural to combine Art with Science, which is what I think all of us do every day. – Max Fink
  • I have the confidence to have a go at problems that look hard. – Richard Fergie
  • I also got better at speaking, both by class projects and by performing in front of 75,000 people every Saturday. – Melissa Mackey
  • Logic and Organisation but the rest was just problem solving. Problems like “Holy crap what am i going to do after i leave!” – Lawrence Jones
  • Good question. For me it was the “statistics for the social sciences” course – Big help with analytics. – Steve Cameron
  • Excel and an intro to VBA. ho would have thought that I’d spend so much time in XLS. Oh also accounting for profit optimization. – Christi Olson
  • Public speaking & psychology (helps me understand customers and their motivations). – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • Underappreciated but essential skill learned is the ability to read quickly & well to keep up with all the info released on. – Kirk Williams
  • One million group projects and adapting to work with different personalities. Makes a huge difference in managing a team well. – Amanda Sides
  • Thinking. My Logic course turned out to be endlessly useful. – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
  • Ooh, another favorite was Quantitative Business Analysis…it was Excel heaven. I owe a LOT of my efficiency to that class. – Amy Valleskey
  • Took some programming classes and that has helped with site code and scripts. – Brett Stevens (@BrettStevens1)

Q4: What has been your average stint at one place during your career? Why do you think that is (for those that want to share)?

  • I’ve only been at one place, in-house for 2.5 years. I love working in-house, I can make my own decisions (with discretion). – Brooke Townsend
  • Coming up on my 8th year with Omniture/Adobe, but have had 3 careers here: consulting, product management, product marketing. – Chris Haleua
  • Currently running a 16 year average at one place in digital. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • Was at my last place almost 4 years, this one almost 2. Depends on how you’re learning & growing. – Diane Kulseth
  • Only been 2 places. In-house 2.5 years, on my own 2.5 years. – Kirk Williams
  • My average stint has been about 3 – 4 years – I feel that’s pretty common in our industry. – Matt Umbro
  • 3rd place in 5 yrs but 3 of those were at my last gig. Different things to learn from different agencies. – Amy Bishop
  • 7 years over the past 3 jobs I’ve had. Been at current one 3 years. – Melissa Mackey
  • Varied across my 3 spots, but roles changed every year or so for each. Key is to keep yourself & career fresh wherever you be. – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • My avg has been 3-4 years, but I’ve now been at Point It for more than 9. Still learning something new every day. – Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
  • 8 yrs my own agency, then 3 working in Financial Services mktg. Oh, and can’t forget 2 years running tours in South America! – Max Fink 
  • Still at my first company (in my 7th year)! Love the agency side, small enough to adapt, we’ve changed as the industry changes. – Amanda Sides
  • Have only worked WordStream and Indeed since school, but both have great young, energetic, and motivated cultures. – Margot da Cunha
  • Spent 1.5 yrs at my first job & 3+ yrs at my current. It’s about finding environ that fosters & encourages PPC growth & skillz. – Kim Thomas
  • Averaging 3 years. Last job was only a year because they hired me for PPC, but wanted to start doing SEO too. See-ya! – Joe Martinez
  • I’m newer into the industry. I’ve been here for two years now. – Amy Valleskey
  • I rotate. First role was 6 years, the last few have been 12 – 18 months. I like the variety and I want to challenege myself. – Christi Olson
  • Funny I’m seeing most folks on PPCChat stay for a long time at their roles. I’ve been at Bing for 7 years now. – John Gagnon (@jmgagnon)
  • Agency-In house-Agency-In house over 5 years. Mostly because of moving city/country. Doing more than PPC now so like it most. – Roxana Hassel
  • About 4 years on average. I’m pretty careful select companies with lots of challenges. I get bored easily. – Jesse Semchuck
  • First place 2 1/2 yrs & second 1 1/2 years – On my 3rd place now & it’s been a few month – I’m planning long term here. – Matthew Lloyd
  • About 2 years on average… Been through two layoffs And I tend to get bored easily. – Bryant Garvin
  • 3 years is average across marketing. Year 1, learn the company. Year 2: Hit your groove. Year 3, ready to do it again. – Greg Kunkel (@GAKunkel)
  • At my last job for 3+ years. Just passed 1 at my new spot, hoping to be somewhat permanent — no reason to jump around positions. – Doug Thomas

Q5: What company values/benefits (beyond salary) do you believe are most important when working at a company? Why?

  • The ability to grow your career with learning opportunities. Outside the office. – Brooke Townsend
  • That the company gives back to the world and community more than making money. – Geoffrey Colon (@djgeoffe)
  • Flexibility is huge. Also vacation time because I love to travel. I’m game to work hard but I like to play hard, too. – Amy Bishop
  • Work with smart people. – Robert Brady
  • Work/life balance. My kids are more important than my job. – Joe Martinez
  • Work ethic and work culture are the two biggest points for me personally. – Lawrence Jones
  • Autonomy. Trust in employees. Open mindedness. Flexibility. Work/life balance. – Melissa Mackey
  • For me, I’m not as concerned about company events/office culture, I just want to always challenge myself and do new things. – Matt Umbro
  • How a company values employee’s time and sets boundries/expectations for work-life balance. – Christi Olson
  • Company leadership needs to make you feel safe. – Max Fink
  • Culture fit, an org committed to your growth, willing to challenge your thinking, work/life balance. – Diane Kulseth
  • A testing culture. Upper management that gets digital and wants to devote money to testing new advertising methods. – Jesse Semchuck
  • Autonomy in role is always a plus. I need to feel I’m contributing and making an impact. – Christi Olson
  • Company culture, ability to grow skills & develop new ones, work/life balance, environment that fosters education. – Kim Thomas
  • Don’t micromanage – find the talent & delegate. Things run so, SO much smoother, efficient-er. – Matt Vaillancourt
  • Culture & new challenges. A place that lets you do what you do best & gives you it’s full support. Also a work/life balance. – Matthew Lloyd
  • Growth. Also complete understanding that they didnt hire me as someone who is an adult at all. But growth experiences help that. – Mark Irvine
  • Work/life is huge. Trust me, your kids will grow up and go off to college in a heartbeat. – Melissa Mackey
  • Autonomy. Willingness to try new things. – Greg Kunkel
  • Performance related bonuses, recognition, empowerment, autonomy, fruit and massage. – Jim Banks
  • Need to feel like I make an impact. And need to be challenges and learning. – Bryant Garvin
  • It’s also a perk to have a fast-moving culture, not afraid to try new ways of doing things. Agility. – Amy Bishop
  • Employee empowerment, transparency to upper levels, training for jobs beyond one step ahead, non-direct training. – Ira Kates (@IraKates)
  • Simply: Companies need to take care of your needs so that you can do your best work for them. Needs range, but it isn’t hard. – Max Fink
  • Opportunity for improvement and advancemen. The catered breakfast and lunch isn’t so bad when I forget to bring from home. – Amy Valleskey
  • Chances to learn & experiment. PPCers always have something to learn and test out. Conferences, mentors, tool budget, certs. – John Gagnon
  • When working at an agency hiring the right type of client & vetting them for more than media spend is an important job qualifier. – Kim thomas
  • Perks are perks, every agency is fun. But people and attitude are everything. Supportive, smart & culture of sharing are keys. – Aaron Levy
  • Freedom, mainly to experiment. That’s what I value and try to provide for employees who work for me. – Mark Hansen

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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)
• Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
• Amanda Sides (@amanda_sides)
• Amy Bishop (@Hoffman8)
• Amy Valleskey (@amy_valleskey)
• Brett Stevens (@BrettStevens1)
• Brooke Townsend (@btownsend13)
• Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
• Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
• Christi Olson (@ChristiJOlson)
• Dave Rosborough (@daverosborough)
• Diane Kulseth (@dianekulseth)
• Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
• Erika Schmidt (@erikapdx)
• Gil Hong (@Gil__Hong)
• Greg Kunkel (@GAKunkel)
• Heidi Smith (@heidinksmith)
• JD Prater (@jdprater)
• Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
• Jim Banks (@jimbanks)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• John Budzynski (@Budzynski)
• John Gagnon (@jmgagnon)
• Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
• Kami Essig (@kkicks20)
• Kim Thomas (@PPCkimpossible)
• Kimberly Wingo (@wimmiekingo)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Lauren Frankel (@frankly_lauren)
• Lawrence Jones (@HomeOfJones)
• Leo Sussan (@lsussan)
• Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
• Margot da Cunha (@ChappyMargot)
• Mark Hansen (@markdhansen)
• Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
• Matt Dyer (@royaldyer)
• Matt Vaillancourt (@SEM_PPC_MattV)
• Matthew Lloyd (@MaLloyd20)
• Max Fink (@maxfink_SEM)
• Melissa Macket (@Mel66)
• Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
• Olin Downs (@olinjdowns)
• Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
• Roxana Hassel (@RoxanaHassel)
• Scott Wright (@TheScright)
• Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
• Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
• Stuart Draper (@Stu_Draper)
• Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
• Geoffrey Colon (@djgeoffe)
• Ira Kates (@IraKates)

All About the Streamcapper

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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