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During this week’s PPCChat discussion, host Julie F Bacchini sought experts’ views on handling micromanagement in PPC, What are the most annoying or frustrating ways they have been micromanaged and more.

Q1: Have you ever been micromanaged in your PPC work? If so, who was micromanaging you?

Luckily no. @Pete_Bowen

Yes, I have. And by clients (I have never worked in-house). But those clients have been both direct clients and agencies I did work for/through…@NeptuneMoon

Absolutely – clients, bosses, and peers who thought they knew more than me. I solved it by doing the following:

  1. Clients: explain to them that they were wasting money on me by treating me like their hands vs a partner and if they were going to insist on doing that, we’d better part ways. They would then apologize and be perfect little lambs.
  2. Bosses: Managing up and starting to get those bosses to parrot my strategies
  3. Peers: those peers didn’t last long

I will admit a big reason why this approach worked is I invested in building my brand externally so when I pushed back or managed up, I had external clout to help me. @navahf

Yes.  By clients.  Often by clients who created the account originally and had outdated tactics.  Often they had a “Feeling” as to what would work better. @Realicity

After reading @navahf answer I’d like to change mine to yes. I’ve had clients try and treat me like hands instead of a brain. @Pete_Bowen

@Pete_Bowen – here’s to helping them understand how much they’re wasting by doing that. @navahf

Yes. Recently by a client. They use to run ads in-house for a while before approaching, so want to know every single detail. @alimehdimukadam

I have been having conversations about this with industry friends lately, hence this chat topic. @NeptuneMoon

@navahf My super-power is explaining Google Ads to business owners in words they can understand. So far every time I’ve had to use this power it’s worked to resolve the issue. @Pete_Bowen

Yes, I have had terrible experiences with this and I find that it comes from the same place that controlling every aspect of paid search comes from and that is a general misunderstanding of how PPC works and what marketing is…@runnerkik

Authority voice is key. @navahf

I don’t really have any recollection of having a client that was a micromanager, but I definitely had a manager that liked to micromanage what I was doing but he had zero knowledge of paid which made it extra fun. @adwordsgirl

Q2: What are the most annoying or frustrating ways in which you’ve been micromanaged in your PPC work?

When client sees optimization score and recommendations, followed by list of questions. @alimehdimukadam

Being told that I had to hurt the account or be fired. @navahf

I chose being fired. @navahf

Where to start???? Well, there are those who I call the “I’d be doing this if I had the time” clients who are in the account daily and messaging you what to do. And then there are those who say “I was looking at the change history and I don’t see much, what are you actually doing?” kind of micromanager…@NeptuneMoon

The specifics: the client wanted me to remove all keywords with QS below 5…I pushed back and said they were going to be removing conversions. They said “do it or I’ll find someone who will” @navahf

@NeptuneMoon the “I’d do this if I had time” ones are tough. @Realicity

If you do contract work for agencies, often it is being overly directed in the work to be done. Which for someone with my years of experiences is both frustrating and hilarious. Why are you paying my rates if you just want a directions follower???? @NeptuneMoon

1) Told to run campaigns that based on my experience wouldn’t work just so the person could add value. 2) Being critiqued as part of the QA process (ps if your QA process has shame, blame or a list of things to “fix in it” that everyone is CCed on you aren’t doing it right and people avoid QA because it feels less like QA and more like an open fire. 3) I have been told I don’t dm well (I am 45 so yeah I’d rather be on a call)  @runnerkik

Sometimes it is more subtle, but it is still micromanagement. For example increasing requests for “performance updates” or daily emails on what you did in the account, etc. @NeptuneMoon

I will say – I find I don’t get micromanaged as much when I’m “Nate Hopkins” @navahf

@NeptuneMoon what Julie said when it explained in so much detail that the person should have done it themselves. @runnerkik

@navahf That’s interesting. Being male I’ve never experienced this. It must be very difficult. I am sorry to hear that. @Pete_Bowen

I used to get my buddy to do calls when I suspected it was a discrimination thing and 9/10 they’d be super sweet to them where they’d fight me on everything. We’d then fire them together because my buddy was awesome. @navahf

OMG @navahf my husband and I have this long-running joke because ages ago some prospective client was trying to get me to drop my prices by 30% just because and he said to me “well if you don’t have the authority to do this…” to which I said “I am the authority.”He never became a client. And we still say “I am the authority”. @NeptuneMoon

This might sound really rude but the most micromanagement I ever experience is from jr people in a leadership role, bless their heart, I get it…managers need training though, management is a SKILL. @runnerkik

Overcompensating for their lack of wisdom with yelling. @navahf

Yes @runnerkik micromanagement can definitely come from a place of insecurity or intimidation. @NeptuneMoon

This convo is cracking me up.  I had one earlier on another platform with SEO industry friends about a SVP-splaining guy who was taking down to the team over a bad decision he made. @Realicity

@navahf Yes that and getting updates daily because they can’t explain stuff to their boss and then they will start trying to block access to their boss, it is a sad sad game but since I come from the age of “per my last email” which was worse than todays “let me bump this to the top of your inbox” more gentle I can play that game but I don’t want to at all – hence why I am on my own living my best life. @Realicity

I think this is going to be a week and it’s only Tuesday. @Realicity

@Realicity it is only the second week of July and I am out of effs to give… so I feel ya. @NeptuneMoon

So the best advice I got when I was young about not micromanaging when I was in SEO and the agency owner told me, before you ask a developer (expensive talent) to do anything pause and ask yourself how worth it that is for their time…unfortunately when the cost of PPC talent is peanuts these days that is harder to maintain…@runnerkik

I think the only reason I’m still buzzing with “on brand positivity” is there’s a puppy in my lap. @navahf

My pup is downstairs with the kid…@NeptuneMoon

For me, it was having this manager read random articles and believe them to be true. So then he expected me and basically demanded that I implement these things but when they didn’t work I would have to take all the blame. @adwordsgirl

Q3: Do you have anything in your prospecting process that helps you screen for potential micromanagers?

I always ask about the reporting and communication cadence with their previous/current provider. @NeptuneMoon

I always ask about communication preferences and anyone who asks for weekend communication, daily calls, or anything approaching that is a hard pass.I also find that folks who say they want to do work alongside me need to have very clear boundaries set. @navahf

I am also listening closely for the “if I had time I’d do this myself” chatter. Gigantic red flag of no thanks for me when that happens. @NeptuneMoon

1) They Created The Account. 2) They Still/Have Been/Will Continue to manage the account. 3) They want too frequent of updates. 4) They want to approve small or frequent changes. @Realicity

I don’t mind them creating the account @Realicity – they should own it. But if they’re going to be working alongside us, then no. @navahf

So I have made the decision in my business to teach PPC instead of doing ongoing management, I find brands with small budgets are the best served for this service so that gets around that. When it comes to agencies, this is going to sound bad, but at this point I know exactly how that looks and go into it expecting micromanagement, corrections and generally not the best experience, now that said some agencies try very very very hard and I appreciate those agencies deeply, but that is a big effort from both sides to learn to work together.  Experts are wonderful but we come with a suitcase of baggage, trauma and habits and not all agencies can deal with that… You know? @runnerkik

ASAP I have a field in my onboarding form that allows clients to share their urgency & past experience. Not always true but gives a good indication. @alimehdimukadam

@navahf 100%.  It’s just something I pay attention to as it could be a sign of too strong of an attachment to the account. @Realicity

Also, from a liability standpoint, be sure you have very clear language in your contracts about where your responsibility ends when/if the client is also working in the account! If you are both working concurrently and something goes sideways, you could be left holding the bag. And carry errors and omissions insurance if you’re freelance or an agency. Trust me on this. @NeptuneMoon

@NeptuneMoon can we talk about SEO teams micromanaging PPC. @NeptuneMoon

Because that’s a time. @navahf

@navahf yes tell me about it. RE SEO teams. @runnerkik

Yeah, maybe we will do a chat about working with all the other teams one of these weeks soon! @NeptuneMoon

@navahf is this a case of hurt people hurting others because that industry has some collective trauma on wheels RN. @Realicity

LOL kind of – there are a lot of misunderstandings between SEO and PPC and sometimes there’s an outright refusal to collaborate. @navahf

Some of my favourite work has been in partnership with SEO teams @navahf

But then there are the people who try to tell me how PMax works @navahf

Which is such a shame @navahf cause I know you know how great PPC and SEO teams can work together! @NeptuneMoon

@navahf or how to write ad copy from SEOs correcting everything that is fun too.@runnerkik

How about the particular joy that is working in a regulated industry and all copy needing legal’s approval. @NeptuneMoon

@navahf @NeptuneMoon as former SEOs (I was once better at SEO than PPC I get it). Let all our LPs need an on page SEO which is such a miss if the LP is built for PPC and not on the site itself etc.  @runnerkik

 @runnerkik Headlines:  Las Vegas Attorney | Nevada Accident LawyerSound about right? @Realicity

We actively asked some what they didn’t like about their last agency and that usually tends to give us a good idea of what type of client they would be. @adwordsgirl

Q4: How do you handle or manage it when you’re being micromanaged in your PPC work?

Long data-backed responses. They can be such a drain to word just right. @Realicity

@NeptuneMoon I reach out to you and you help me, seriously, I think our community and you helping is a massive massive gift and I am lucky you are one of my bff’s in the world and my biggest wish is someone in your life is as giving and wonderful.  @runnerkik

I also leverage chat GPT to say what I want to say and have it polish so I don’t sound crazy.@runnerkik

I try to get to the why of the micromanaging to see if that is something that can be addressed/fixed.For example, if my contact is being constantly questioned about performance and does not feel comfortable answering those questions, I will work to empower them to feel more confident. @NeptuneMoon

I outlined it in the beginning but pretty much what @Realicity said. data helps solve most problems. @navahf

Aww @runnerkik thank you so much! Supporting each other is so important. Especially for those of us who work independently. Having someone you can reach out to to say “Am I misreading this?” or “What would you do here?” is so helpful! @NeptuneMoon

@NeptuneMoon actually that is true so on the brand side when I am working with large fortune 500 companies that is exactly it, I was on the client side too, I think understanding that clients know PPC but don’t KNOW ppc and are being grilled by business lines and boards and putting together decks to get more money for the department is helpful. @runnerkik

I have a standard email template that says something like “I feel so strongly about this that if [you continue to do it] I will terminate our agreement.” I’ve only ever had to use it when the client’s people were tinkering with the account, but, it has never failed to get the point across. @Pete_Bowen

I will drop this here too…Be careful in getting on a client’s Slack (or equivalent). That can lead to being treated like an employee with regard to how you are managed. @NeptuneMoon

My recent favourite – Google’s recommendations are not always for your benefit, but most certainly for theirs. Do you want to increase your budget by 5x because Google says so? @alimehdimukadam

@alimehdimukadam Oy those Google recommendations. @NeptuneMoon

@alimehdimukadam And usually those 5x budget increases = to about 2 more conversions per week. @Realicity

@NeptuneMoon Yes, and god forbid if a client ends up on a call with Google Reps. Then I need to have a separate call…..@alimehdimukadam

I feel bad for the agencies who work with clients that bring me in – the client has lost all faith in them so they essentially order the agency to do what I say. I’d never want to be on the receiving end of that..@navahf

Yes, @alimehdimukadam I think we all have a little invisible line item of “dealing with Google’s nonsense” in our projects. Cause it is not an if, it is a when. @NeptuneMoon

You bring up a good point though @adwordsgirl – when you’re being micromanaged into doing things you think will be harmful to the account, document your position. @NeptuneMoon

@adwordsgirl I admire that, I never had those balls…I cried about it later. LOL @runnerkik

@navahf This is where experience comes in.  A lot of agencies sell PPC but don’t have the experience to fulfill it. @Realicity

@navahf So true. When I conduct audits, I start with – it’s easy to comment without context as to why xyz was done but here is what you can do now…@alimehdimukadam

@Realicity SAY it louder, this is the nature of your industry rn…@runnerkik

For reporting, I have it automated so it reaches their inbox every week and have a dedicated dashboard setup for them to view results.Trying to integrate LLMs for adding commentary.This has helped a lot to avoid being micromanaged. @alimehdimukadam

One other tip I will share…I ask clients what questions do THEY need to be able to answer internally. And then I make sure that the reporting contains those answers in an accessible way (not just graphs or charts or excel tables, but narrative points even if simply bullets).I swear this goes such a long way to keeping clients out of my way. @NeptuneMoon

@NeptuneMoon I will take the blame all day if I’m the one who made the mistake. But if you are the one who told me what to do and then you’re unwilling to acknowledge that, and I have a big issue because that doesn’t align with my values. I didn’t realize I was setting boundaries and documenting what was happening at that time, but I’m really glad that I did. @runnerkik I’ve got a mouth on me. I’ve had two big girl jobs and at both of them I told my bosses to go f*ck themselves – self-employment is my only way. @adwordsgirl

I just keep pushing forward – handle what you need to of the requests but keep an eye on the forest through the trees. And push back against things that make no sense. @revaminkoff

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