On November 5, Brad Geddes, PPC Chair at Simplilearn and co-founder of AdAlysis, joined Simplilearn for a conversation, 20 Things to Know Now About PPC. He spoke about what digital marketers should know now about pay-per-click marketing to propel their career ahead in 2021.

PPC Conversations That Arise

Brad spoke of the kinds of conversations digital marketers must-have. One type is the job interview, where the marketer has to sell himself or herself to a prospective employer. Another is the sales pitch, where the digital marketer has to sell their company’s capabilities to a prospective client. In either case, the prospective employer or client wants to be sure you know what you’re doing, they want to ensure your views are compatible with their own, and they want to know you can adapt to PPC changes. To succeed in these conversations, you need to develop a personal perspective on PPC.

In these conversations, you can expect to be asked about your thoughts on technical issues like match types, search queries, and organization. The questions aren’t necessarily looking for the right answer, but rather for confirmation that you’ve given some thought to these aspects of PPC - that you know what they are, what issues they entail, and what possible approaches you can take towards each.

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  • “Should we bid on our brand terms?” Do you need an ad to appear when someone searches for your company’s name? If you do, how do you know people who click on that ad are incremental conversions that you wouldn’t have gotten anyway from the organic search?
  • “Do you understand the difference between responsive search ads (RSAs) and dynamic search ads (DSAs)?” Do you have opinions on whether and how each should be used and tested? How useful have you found them to be in generating conversions?
  • “Do you prefer equal rotation for ad testing or Google’s optimize option?” Which would you use in different situations?
  • “What kind of bidding do you prefer? Should we use Automated Bidding or Bid Modifiers?” What proprietary data do you have internally that can inform bidding decisions?
  • “Are Smart Campaigns smart?” Do we have more information and knowledge to inform our campaign management better than Google’s Smart Campaigns? Or does Google do a good enough job for us?
  • “How do you manage account goals vs. campaign goals?” How do your goals interact or conflict? For example, if you have a $30 CPA target for an account and a goal of building awareness of the company’s products, how do you balance the two?
  • “What attribution model should we use?” Which model best fits our business? Again, there is no right or wrong answer, but there may be several different answers depending on the channel.
  • “How do you manage budgets?” Should budgets be capped? Should we expand our budget indefinitely if the campaign meets its performance goals and thus self-funds? Should we spread out our budget evenly or vary it by time or product area?
  • “Do you create a campaign for each device or run consolidated campaigns?” Does it make sense to tailor your campaigns to each device type? Are there differences in user experience that should drive different approaches?
  • “How should data flow through our systems?” What data do we acquire from search providers, and how can we use it to drive our digital marketing operations (especially bidding and targeting)? What other data sources (internal and external) can we tap to add to that mix, and how should we apply it? For example, a seasonal products company might want to use weather forecasts as an input to its bidding and targeting model to promote the products that best fit the expected weather.
  • “Which reporting types and solutions do you prefer?” What measurements should be on our dashboards and reports to inform our managers and executives about our digital marketing performance? How do we make sure we have transparency into what returns we are getting on our marketing spends?
  • “Which audiences should we use, and why?” What characteristics do we use to segment our audiences? In-market or affinity? First-party or third-party? How do country rules affect how we are allowed to segment our audiences?
  • “Is remarketing worthwhile?” Are we getting good value in revenue return on ad spend when we remarket or are we just paying twice for the same conversions?
  • “How can we use custom data, such as Salesforce, weather, or other segments, to increase sales?” For example, can we use location data and knowledge about local lockdown conditions to tailor our offers by the local market?
  • “Is advertising on apps worthwhile?” How can we determine if it is?
  • “How do we design tests, from ads to settings to incremental gains?” How can we set up experiments to learn where we can find incremental value?

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Interview Topics for PPC Practitioners

Some questions pertain more to job interviews than to sales pitches.

  • “What is your daily routine?” How do you track changes? How do you manage projects?
  • “What are your Excel skills?” You should have a robust set of Excel skills that include basic filtering, views, and formulas; pivot tables; pivot table charts; data functions like VLookup.
  • “What certifications do you have?” Certifications of digital marketing skills give prospective employers assurance that you know how to work effectively in those areas.
Are you a professional who is aspiring to be a Digital Marketing Specialist? Check out the Digital Marketing Specialist certification course now.

Key Steps

The twentieth thing you should know about PPC now is the set of steps you need to take to make sure you’re positioning yourself for success. The five steps are:

  1. Know your information / get certified.  Be sure you get the training and certifications you need to demonstrate that you know how to do the work.
  2. Develop your PPC philosophy.  Consider the questions and topics in this webinar and other PPC sources and think about your preferences and values.
  3. Research the company/client.  Don’t go into the interview cold. Make sure you learn as much as you can about the company, its organization, how it conducts its digital marketing, and who the key people are (the ones you will work for and work with).
  4. Consider how your philosophy and the client/company interact.  Be conscious that you will be asked to work under the company’s philosophy and guidelines. If these directly conflict with yours, will you be able to bend to theirs? If you have a lot of experience and a good track record, how open are they to learning from you?
  5. Have a successful interview.  Be prepared, be professional, be comfortable, and be yourself.

Brad also answered many questions from the live audience of the webinar. Watch the webinar replay above to get the full experience.

For more Simplilearn digital marketing resources, including articles and ebooks, see here. And if you are ready to start gaining the specific skills and certifications for your career, check out the courses and Master’s programs Simplilearn offers in the areas of paid search and digital marketing.