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This week’s PPCChat session was hosted by Julie F Bacchini. The session had PPC experts discuss about handling obstacles with respect to the platform, campaigns, people management or client, how do advertisers deal with it, sharing their wisdom awakening and more.

Here is the screencap of the discussion that took place.

ppcchat discussion




Q1: Is “hitting a wall” something that you have experienced? If so, how often does it happen for you?


Walls can appear by lack of training, lack of time, lack of creativity, lack of technology. All can attempted to be overcome with the right scaffolding. – @LisaSanner

Hitting a wall happens every week for me. Whether that wall is hard or soft depends on the week. – @gilgildner

every week. That is usually when I change my work environment and go to a coffee shop or something to see if a new environment can’t break that wall! – @Alright_Riley

I usually hit a wall when expectations aren’t aligned.– @jdprater

I have definitely hit a wall in multiple situations. 1-Well established Ads account, everything is well optimized, in maintenance mode. 2-Client does not want to take any of your suggestions and you’re just stuck doing the same things. – @BrookeOsmundson

Every Thursday. 3 days straight of sitting on my a$$. Friday’s are cool because the weekend.  – @SEMFlem

I hit the wall with performance throughout the lifecycle of campaigns all the time. Also when clients do not take advice re: landing pages, etc. – @NeptuneMoon

When I hit a wall it’s usually on me – health reasons. Other times it’s when clients don’t take our recommendations. – @Mel66

when I want to try something cool or teach something new and I can’t get the client on board. so much of this is CRO related. – @JuliaVyse

YES! When you’ve been on an account for a while sometimes it’s hard to figure out new things to test. Also, I hate being on the border of a minimum conversion threshold to use an automated bid strategy and the fluctuation that can occur. – @markpgus

yep, there is always demand for continuous improvement, but at some point you hit it, we just call it the inflection point. – @JonKagan



Q2: Which type of “hitting a wall” scenario is more difficult for you – platform/campaign or people/client? Why?


Both are hard and require patience and perservance. Platform/campaign are limitations that often seem out of your control more. Its the restrictions of technology or policies. People/client walls are often about education, persuasion but have systemic org issues. – @LisaSanner

I hit walls with advertisers who are hanging on to their websites from the 90s while Amazon moved into their category and conversion rates are ever-decreasing. Also sometimes there are just campaigns where everything is right, yet they do not convert. – @ch_brauer

Almost always it’s a people issue. We pretty much know the limitations of the platform, so it’s managing expectations that’s the hard part. Especially if your client doesn’t have a lot of digital experience. It really depends on campaign scale, too. It’s hard to experiment with a client that spends $2k/mo. It’s easier to experiment with someone spending $30k. – @gilgildner

TOUGH QUESTION. People/client is annoying because it just comes to trust and that’s frustrating. Platform can be difficult when finding new test can be difficult, especially when performance is doing really well. Sometimes it’s a mix. Client gets irked if performance dips, so testing can get tricky. I think “controlled testing” is hard for me. I don’t want to run a super conservative test with only 20% of campaign spend and wait forever to get significant data back. – @markpgus

definitely people – a client not willing to listen to what they can do to help the process and push the accounts to its limits id definitely frustrating. – @mindswanppc

usually it’s campaign/platform performance, everyone wants to grow spend/traffic, and still improve ROI – @JonKagan

People/client issues are the hardest for me. Educating clients is an ongoing process, but often stubbornness get’s in the way. Sharing in-house and third party research has been very helpful for me. – @traffric

sometimes success creates a wall. I had a client in the auto salvage business we grew spend and results over several years but reached a point where there was no more room for cars or more employees and had to stop growing the effort. – @dotcentrex

When the client expectation is VERY different than what it is achievable based on resources/platform. – @andreacruz92

People things tend to be stickier and harder to navigate. Platform/campaign/performance walls also don’t send passive aggressive emails, cancel meetings or dodge your calls. – @NeptuneMoon

Client as of lately. Have a lot of clients who have in-house web people and they are very, very difficult to work with and explain strategy to about changing pages. – @Alright_Riley

90% of the time it’s client. We want to try new things and they won’t approve. – @Mel66

People/client. There’s always something to do or test on the platform/campaign side. – @SEMFlem

Mainly the client. When there’s a misalignment of goals and expectations/how to get there – instant roadblock. JUST LET ME HELP YOU. But also. When you’re working on an account by yourself, you need a 2nd set of eyes sometimes for opinions. – @BrookeOsmundson



Q3: Let’s focus on platforms and campaigns now. Share an example of a situation where you recently “hit a wall” with either a platform or in a campaign. How did you deal with it?


We recently hit a wall with a large healthcare client. Healthcare in ads is a really tricky issue and most of our ads were getting disapproved. A lot of manual work to get them reinstated. – @gilgildner

Was struggling with a car dealer as to how exactly to segment their campaigns and I reached out to you lovely PPC people and everyone chimed in and it sparked some great ideas! – @Alright_Riley

Less a “wall”, and more an increasingly gooey field of jello. We identified in a client that previously successful Shopping strategies no longer worked w/ changing comp & products so completely revamped categories & campaign strategy. ROAS has bumped up thankfully – @PPCKirk

I drill down into all the data I have to find out what is happening and why. And I ask my community for advice.  – @ch_brauer

You should keep track of them and bubble them up to reps, support, engineers. They really do want to hear user’s perspectives but often don’t have the right channels in place to get that input. Often we complain about stuff without a mechanism to give feedback. – @LisaSanner

The transition to doing Facebook ads has been full of wall hitting for me. Beyond the platform being maddening, developing a different approach than what I’ve done for so long in search ads has definitely been a process. – @NeptuneMoon

Promoting things contrary to the brand. It’s difficult to push messaging centered on “Quality” when the brand literally does a new promotion every day. Many issues stem from clients wanting to push their agenda on an audience rather than giving them what they want – @markpgus

client grew impression share 75% through a traffic infusion in non-brand traffic, we stabilized CPL and CPC, but there is no way to improve it further without sacrificing traffic, leads or impression share, tried auto strategies and had adverse impact.– @JonKagan



Q4: Was your method, workaround, etc. effective? If so, why and if not, why not?


Client’s brand, design and checkout funnel stinked, so we sent a design of a new checkout funnel for FREE. They liked it, decided to implement, and results where so good that they decided to go ahead and re-designed the whole thing.– @traffric

bespoke every time. it depends on the client, the issue, the bottleneck. sometimes it’s just unfixable. welcome to pharma search! – @JuliaVyse

YES. I am very mindful in assessing how much of a partnership a potential client is interested in – the best successes I have had have been with clients that view the relationship as flowing both ways. If they don’t, you will probably be a scapegoat at some point. – @NeptuneMoon

we have a checklist for examine each element individually, then check for macro factors, then lastly I turn to peers for their POV when I can and crowdsource thoughts.– @JonKagan

I’m not in a position to change brand strategy… so we are stuck. It’s tough to run things you know won’t work because of factors beyond your control. – @markpgus



Q5: Is there any hard-earned wisdom you’ve gained from overcoming an obstacle with a platform or campaign that you’d like to share?


I’d say it would be know what you can do, and do it well. And cut out the noise. We realized @disco_sloth was really good at search campaigns (Google, Bing, Yandex) and decided to phase out all social ads. It’s been a good decision to specialize. – @gilgildner

he acceptance that after all is said and done, sometimes you can’t achieve further improvement on some things. – @JonKagan

As someone who has been in digital since its bronze age, one thing that I emphasize with clients from call no. 1 is that nothing will ever be static. Things will always change and to compete we must be willing to do so too. For those that are newer to this field, please know that veteran PPC people run into frustrations with both the work and people we work with too. It’s not just you. – @NeptuneMoon

Don’t react too quickly. Sometimes WoW perf is crazy and you go through everything & can’t figure out why and if you just leave it alone, it bounces back the next week. Give tests enough time/data to show results. Don’t let emotions interfere with potential success.– @akaEmmaLouise

Relax. Breathe in. We are not performing emergency surgery, we’re just marketers. Breathe out. Now, take a small step towards your goal. Then another. And another. Great, look how far you are now from where you were. – @ferkungamaboobo

my best wisdom learning yourself. I’m big on momentum – I’ll find ways to get small wins so that I’m in a positive & creative mood when trying to run up a wall. – @JasonStinnett

Think holistically! Bring everything back to their business objectives and how things flow together. Don’t look at campaigns singularly. Look at funnel progression and focus on the big picture! – @markpgus

take a step back when you get into a frustrating state. Go work on something totally different even. The break from the issue will give you a clearer head to come back with new ideas or even just ways to solve the issue. – @mindswanppc



Q6: Now for the human issues – share (if you can on a public forum like Twitter!) a situation where you “hit a wall” with a person (client, team leader, VP of something). How did you deal with it?


When it comes to getting responses/approvals, I’ve found that saying “If you don’t respond by {insert day}, I’ll go ahead and implement.” – @SEMFlem

Got to keep this real vague, but when a decades-old company insists on launching a new site/brand, and doesn’t understand why the PPC performance isn’t as good as the old site? – @gilgildner

Without specifics, I think the key to client communication is patience and education. I have failed in the past to have patience (it takes time to change someone’s mind), but I have also failed to educate properly (actually try to change their mind) the followup to that is that at some point when the wall keeps getting hit & you’ve been patient, it’s time to part ways. No ifs/ands/buts. Many other clients out there, focus on one that values your work and input to assist with your mental health and team morale. One more thought to add, on our side, I should have noted humility is also a piece of the client communication puzzle IMO. We also need to be willing to analyze if change needs to happen on our end. If not, then patience/education step in – @PPCKirk

had an issue with a lady i was managing who’s answer to every task was “i don’t know how to do this” after over a month on the job. I had to have a 121 with her – explain how her attitude comes across. there were some other underlining issues that came to light. hat helped us work better together. in most issues with people – communication is key!– @mindswanppc

Having to essentially tell someone that their digital baby was ugly – their site will never convert for them. I was gentle, but insistent and explained how inaction would impact our potential level of success.  – @NeptuneMoon

My style is partnership, worked with a client that was conflict oriented. A lot of leaning on support network & reflecting on their position. Realized they way they felt confident in our direction was challenging every recco & grilling me on minor cpgn details. – @JasonStinnett

This. Also, making it easy for them to say “yes.” Instead of saying, “we want to test XYZ,” showing them what the targeting/messaging/budget would look like, with potential impact to their KPIs (and warning it’s a projection, not a guarantee!). – @akaEmmaLouise

Not sure if this has been the best way to handle tough situations, but I’ve been in situations where I’ve had to say…”we are certain the rout you want to take is not the best for your biz, if you want to continue through that rout, I’m sorry but we cannot help”. – @traffric

I already touched on this but unrealistic expectations. A totally unknown candy company wanted to sell bulk sizes to people at over $40/order. They thought they could do this without any branding and that money would flow in immediately… Had to have a frank discussion about our CTR being well above industry standard and the post-click experience/expectation was the issue – @markpgus



Q7: Was your people problem method, workaround, etc. effective? If so, why and if not, why not?


The user testing videos were incredibly more effective than me poking around the site and sending an email with stuff I found. Their development team stopped everything and just worked on stuff we found constantly for a while. – @SEMFlem

Educating the client with data and respect has many different outcomes. Sometimes they aren’t happy and part ways, other times they recognize the situation and you move forward… both IMO can be healthy outcomes – @markpgus



Q8: Is there any hard-earned wisdom you’ve gained from overcoming an obstacle with people that you’d like to share?


Know when you’re right, and don’t budge. Know when to shut up and roll with it. Some clients need to have control, other clients need their hands held. – @gilgildner

Don’t assume that a client’s actions or inactions necessarily have to do with you/your work. There can be things going on at their company, in their industry or in their personal life that impact their work. Be kind and find out what is actually going on. – @NeptuneMoon

Setting (and keeping!) boundaries is an underrated client-facing skill. Executing well with this does wonders for one’s life. – @SEMFlem

I’m a big believer in taking every obstacle head on at least once. You learn what you’re capable of, and you when you run the other way you’re acting on experience not discomfort – @JasonStinnett

If you can’t get buy-in for ANYTHING new, just do what you can to get great results from what you already have in place. Those little things to help the client/company succeed will put them in a great spot to come to you with “now how can we grow?” once they’re ready – @akaEmmaLouise

Be confident that YOU are the expert. You are doing the client a disservice by budging on things YOU KNOW. If they don’t want to listen and get upset, so be it. It’s not a good fit and your push back is good. Don’t let a client get in your head/belittle you. – @markpgus



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