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Greetings Readers! Here is the screencap of this week’s PPCChat session where host Julie F Bacchini sought PPCers views on the aspects of PPC they find most difficult to keep up with, have they done anything in the past to improve their skills? are they using any different tools to stay ahead of the curve in PPC? and more.

Q1: Do you feel like you are ahead, in the middle or behind the curve in PPC these days? Meaning, do you feel like you’re falling behind, treading water or leading the pack?

It depends on the day and the area of PPC – lol. @revaminkoff

If I’m being completely honest with myself and you all, I’d say I’m treading water. @adwordsgirl

I’d say a combo of ahead of the curve and treading water if I am totally honest. Ahead on CRO stuff – my background before PPC was web design. Treading water on all the changes in the platforms & getting things to work well across accounts consistently. @NeptuneMoon

I feel like in a lot of ways I’m ahead of the curve, but we’re also not doing a number of things that Google is pushing that we don’t think are good for our clients – e.g. Automatically Applying Recommendations, Broad Match, etc. @revaminkoff

Not arrogant enough to say I’m leading the pack in anything except for my deep Star Trek knowledge and my overall good looks, but I’d say our team in general is a little ahead of the Google Ads curve. We dedicate a lot of time and energy to keeping up! @gilgildner

Feeling kinda in the middle these days tbh, but not for lack of trying. Some clients have had lower budgets this year, so it’s been more difficult to test new platforms & campaign types as often. Trying to do as much as we can with the data & budgets we have though. @adclarke10

Our internal processes are also getting better but a good percentage of clients are still somewhat small/niche, so it’s difficult to justify expenses on cutting-edge tech when they don’t have that much data to work with in the first place. @adclarke10

I think we are probably ahead on some & behind on others. Pmax I would say we are behind we have tested on many clients & just haven’t seen the results to keep it going. CRM, lead tracking, & reporting I think we are ahead. I assume everyone would be a mix of all 3. @selley2134

If we’re talking about an account performance and from the perspective of clients, I would say we’re leading the curve. I understood the question from the platform perspective; I sometimes have a hard time keeping up with all the changes. @adwordsgirl

When big changes happen until I am able to get a bunch of testing in, it can feel like I am treading water a bit. After I start getting the data though, I usually feel ahead of the curve. @lchasse

I think those here are also cursed w/ knowledge. One #ppcchat‘ers “treading water” may still place them in the top 10% of paid marketers. Conversely, someone who doesn’t optimize at all but is blessed with an amazing brand may think they’re god’s gift. @timmhalloran

Q2: What aspects of PPC do you find most difficult to keep up with these days? What makes it challenging?

I’d say lead gen, regardless of platform or technology. We’re in e-commerce/SaaS so it’s not really something we deal with, but I don’t envy those who are heavy in B2B/lead gen. @gilgildner

We get to understand how SEOs have felt for years. We used to be able to focus on ads, audiences, performance, messages, etc… Now we have the algorithm to contend with along with all the big changes happening in the platforms. @lchasse

All the platform changes & what will be auto “upgraded” & all the BS that has been flowing out of the platforms recently. Seems like every time I open my email there are huge changes that don’t benefit anyone but the platforms. @selley2134

I am the opposite. I haven’t done ecomm in over 10 years so I’m way behind there, but am up to speed on lead gen/B2B. @beyondthepaid

The changes/updates. After the FB hacking, I had to take on more roles in the company on top of teaching so it’s been really hard keeping up for me. @adwordsgirl

Elephant in the room answer is still GA4. Weekly changing is coming out… we are seeing a product gets built in real time. @duanebrown

Tracking has been a struggle recently, particularly GA4. It’s been tough trying to recreate reports & getting clients to implement goals/tags properly. There also seem to be more reporting discrepancies, especially with social platforms like LinkedIn & Facebook. @adclarke10

Staying ahead of the curve is enough for me to be able to train others on it. If I don’t understand it well enough to teach it to my peers then I need to dig deeper. But that’s difficult when changes happen faster than you can test or get significant data sets. @timmhalloran

Q3: What areas of PPC do you feel like you’re ahead of the pack on? What do you think has allowed you to achieve this?

Surprisingly – I’m pleased with our approach to PMax. We’ve spent a lot of time and energy on this channel, and lots of internal training on it. I really recommend @EdLeake’s PMax stuff as it’s helped us a lot. @gilgildner

I feel ahead on areas where we have the most data. Having clients who are willing to test really helps, so we can get a lot of data points. Having great brands you work with that have really smart folks, helps a ton. Of course, then there is GA4….@lchasse

Lead tracking, client CRM assistance, and Reporting. Small business accounts. These all stem from necessity as these are the leads & clients we have been getting. Spending time in different CRMs & GTM to make sure we are tracking accurately & lead scoring as best we can. @selley2134

One of my best gifts is having a full marketing perspective on things, including PPC. And web background is so helpful in landing pages & CRO – which I have been saying for some time now is only growing in importance for performance & conversions! @NeptuneMoon

Longer term perspective is also a benefit of having worked in marketing since before the internet… yes, I am that old! But in seriousness, I’ve seen multiple economic cycles and have the experience to give good advice as things go wonky again. @NeptuneMoon

We’ve tested campaigns on Reddit & Spotify over the past year, so feeling somewhat ahead there because they’re less mature platforms. Clients that are open to testing, as well as have enough budget & hours in their retainer, are the main thing that makes this possible. @adclarke10

Between my team and I, we have experience in all channels of marketing which I think gives us a bit of a leg up. @adwordsgirl

Superior audience targeting tactics or channel mix strategy is where I feel the most ahead. Plenty of things don’t make this list tho – you can only go so long in PPC before you get humbled by something. Better to remain aware of that eventuality than bask in it lol.. @timmhalloran

We’ve done a lot of integration with offline CRM like Salesforce and Hubspot so I feel ahead of the game there. @beyondthepaid

Ad platforms feel easier to keep up with. Even Google ads does not have the changes that GA4 has coming out weekly. There are PMax changes but those feel manageable. @duanebrown

Very late, but perhaps helpful for the group: I’m ahead on Omni. In times like this, if you can show effectively how different channels work together to build momentum and impact, you are less tied to any specific platform. get curious! @JuliaVyse

Q4: Have you done anything in the past year to improve your skills – courses, groups, etc.? If so, please be specific and also how has this helped you?

Lots of internal training (Anya is pretty much the bee’s knees when it comes to analytics/conversion goals/reporting so she has trained our team internally) and a few outside sources (God Tier Ads, in the past couple of months). @gilgildner

A few things: – I was invited into a PPC slack group that has been amazing – I’ve been taking on more speaking gigs to help me research/learn more. @adwordsgirl

I read pretty much everything under the sun relative to the PPC industry, but also about the general economy and I’m a privacy legislation nerd. Took GA4 course with @brie_e_anderson too. Gotta get oriented somehow! @NeptuneMoon

Now that I’m doing more mentoring/leadership stuff I’m building out SOPs that I have in my head. WOW -a lot harder than I realized. There are so many caveats to every rule. You almost need to mind map your decision-making. Has helped me improve this yr for sure. @timmhalloran

We have a Notion page just on GA4 resources. Everyone on the team is working through those free and paid options. @duanebrown

Done courses on Facebook from @andrewfoxwell . Courses on GA4 from @brie_e_anderson . Keep up with @MarketingOClock for platform changes/weekly news. Many Ga4 webinars, etc. The only thing I don’t like these days are the webinars/events the actual platforms put on. @selley2134

Participating in this community more has been great for learning (and affirming) tactics & strategies, whether it’s on Twitter, the Slack channel, or elsewhere. Also joining the @PaidSearchOrg Slack channel & attending various conferences (like SMX or PSA).  @adclarke10

Webinars and Conferences help a lot – #PSAC23 and #martech were/are both great. @revaminkoff

Oh crap, I missed the most obvious one! @MnSEARCH — the best regional PPC and broader search marketing monthly event membership on the planet. Go to to sign up for a membership starting at $49! Wow, amazing price! @timmhalloran

(sorry I’m behind) I try to attend conferences like @smx and @PaidSearchOrg. Also watching PPC Town Hall that @Optmyzr does. @beyondthepaid

Q5: Are you using more or different tools to help you stay ahead of the curve in PPC these days? If so, what has been helping you? Any tools you tried and abandoned?

Third-party PPC tools basically just suck, overall, with a few notable exceptions. We have some good product feed tools we like, and a few Data Studio connectors, but the further you get from Google’s ecosystem the worse the tools get. @gilgildner

I just started playing with Chat GPT this week. I like it as in idea generator. Going to test it for competitor things too. Signed up for Bard waiting list too. I use @swydo for reporting – makes it easy & efficient.  @NeptuneMoon

Hmmm not really anything new. I use @Optmyzr a decent amount. I like their audit tool more lately. Still use @spyfu for PPC research. And ChatGPT has been popping up more lately for validation of diff things. Mostly though, same stuff as before. @timmhalloran

We use SA360, Adalysis, SEMrush – those are the big 3. @beyondthepaid

We just started a trial for PPC Ad Editor, so hoping to streamline some of our processes for ad copy this year. Would love to try PowerBI or something similar too Also continuing to use Looker (fka GDS) for reporting, as well as testing ChatGPT for different tasks. @adclarke10

PPCChat Participants

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