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Discussing PPC expert’s journey, this week’s PPCChat session hosted by Julie F Bacchini took PPC managers down memory lane on what prompted them to enter the PPC industry and what they wish they knew when they started.

Here is the screencap of the session

Q1: How long have you been working in PPC? And how did you get into the field initially?

I have been working in PPC since the literal beginning, which is coming up on 20 years now? I was doing web sites and SEO and when PPC started I started adding it to the mix for clients and really liked it. The rest, as they say, is history! – @NeptuneMoon

12 years (at the same agency I started at). I was desperate to work in digital marketing and applied for the same job 6 times A/B testing my cover letter. Started as intern and now I am the the PPC product manger at the agency – @360vardi

It’s been about 13 years now. I started my first company at 19 and event planning and wanted to sell tickets to events while I was in University. We had one class on digital marketing and it was enough to spark some interest in ads so I tried it for the event company – @adwordsgirl

I’ve been working in PPC since 2015. It was an accidental stumble, I did a marketing diploma after my bachelors (I now teach in that diploma program!) and ended up at a digital marketing internship where PPC was the role. My supervisor quit week 1 and they hired me. I will say that years doesn’t always = expertise. Within 2 years I had worked in 60+ accounts, I scaled a lot faster in my skills due to the marathon I ran. So if you’re relatively new, doesn’t mean you know significantly less than those 5+ years in – @AmaliaEFowler

I’ve been working on ads since 2015 but on the creative/copy side. Social, search, display, and some video. Since 2020, I’ve been running campaigns as well and trying to understand some of the more technical aspects. – @TheCopyTrail

I truly had to just subtract!!! I got into the field after a sudden major career change. My first new career job was SEO writing, and I moved into Copywriting, then PPC, paid search specifically. All in all about 16 years. – @JuliaVyse

I started as an SEO guy but also oversaw PPC. In 2020 when everything shut down we had to let all our agencies go, so I had to do the deep dive and really learn the ins and outs of actually doing the work myself. So I’ve been involved as an overseer since 2010 – @dan_patterson

10 years. Got hired by a startup to do something else, CEO thought I wasn’t too stupid so he gave me the keys to the AdWords accounts. Yes, AdWords. – @BorisBeceric

May 23rd, 2007 was the day I got started. It changed my life. At 16 years now and it has only been many highs and lows. After a couple yeas doing PR. An agency took a chance on me and I more than paid my gratefulness at that job. Many long nights and hard hills. – @duanebrown

Almost 20 years in PPC. I was doing server and web stuff before I shifted to marketing. Before that well it was nuclear submarines, so no marketing there at all. – @lchasse

SEO guy playing with PPC 2004-ish. Self taught by becoming an Amazon affiliate and driving search traffic there. Those were the days – @Galliguez

Took my university’s first internet mktg class in 2005. Got an internship in PPC in 2006, which turned into a job offer post-graduation, and kept growing from there. – @robert_brady

11 years. Started out doing content for a small ecommerce company and they needed someone to do their “AdWords” stuffs and figure out stuff like product feeds so I learned as I went. – @PPCKirk

Been working in PPC for 4 years now! I was interested in marketing and CIS going into college, but knew I actually wanted to get into this field after taking an internet marketing class my junior year. – @adclarke10

I was lucky to join a grad scheme straight out of uni. Originally all bright eyed, I thought I’d get into social but quickly found that the paid team were the most sociable and that was me! – @PPC_Fraser

PPC was one of the areas I worked in during my first post uni job as a Digital Marketing Assistant. It was the part of my job that I enjoyed the most and found most interesting career wise. – @marketingsoph

Further, the things that made us successful (measure and attribute everything) have driven some bad behaviors (ROAS centricity) that now come back to bite us…like, branding WAS important all this time. – @BorisBeceric

Since 2007, luck got me here with a mix of technical skills and soft skills, this industry wasn’t really invented when I was in school…the funny side is my boss gave me the choice too in an odd way. – @runnerkik

I started out in March 2003! The days of Froogle and Google AdWords. #ppcchat Was working for an eBay seller who launched their own website. I was tasked with bringing traffic. – @MenachemAni

working in it for just over 13 years. I first landed into SEO because I fluked an interview right out of uni with a computer science with business mgmnt degree. But then had an interview with a PPC agency – they asked if i liked Excel…the rest is history. – @TheMarketingAnu

Q2: What is something about PPC in general that you know now that you wished you knew a lot sooner? We will get to more specific questions after this one, so keep you answers about the industry or something general to PPC here.

1. How important it is to come with ideas to not only optimize and improve, but grow. 2. Trying not to go with blindfolds and keep an open mind 3. there is no one right solution. You can have multiple (same for problems) – @360vardi

the PPC is one part of something that can help, but it’s not end all be all and everyone needs to be involved and engaged and on the same page – @360vardi

that my job isn’t to wok on the account to make it better (that’s part of it). My job is to educate and work with our clients and our team on making them better. The account will work itself out after that- @360vardi

Paid Search doesn’t create demand. I think really understanding this (at a heart level, not just a head level) would have guided how I educated and led clients in the early years. – @PPCKirk

Attribution is so much more complex and directional and even, *gasp* misleading than analytics solutions make it appear. That’s okay, because analytics are just showing the paths they can most directly track… but it’s not okay to not know that. – @PPCKirk

Honestly I still remember Julie’s tweet about this, that search can only capture, not create – and I teach it this way. You don’t fill the top of the funnel / generate awareness, it doesn’t matter how good your paid search game is – @AmaliaEFowler

I wish I knew how quickly things change, but also how many different ways there are to be ‘good’ at PPC, and how much room there is for all of us. For example, I have specific people I refer to for e-comm or video, and I love lead gen search. It’s so vast – @AmaliaEFowler

That no two accounts are the same regardless of what industry they are in. There are so many factors that go into Google Ads said it’s hard to recreate success in multiple accounts. One size does not fit all. – @adwordsgirl

People in the industry, even people you really look up to, are really helpful, kind, and accessible. – @robert_brady

that this exciting, cool, ever changing piece of the puzzle is NOT the whole puzzle. Do your level best, and keep an open mind. – @JuliaVyse

I think I’ve learnt that there’s no 1 size fits all. The things that work for one account (even if it’s the same industry) don’t necessarily work for the next account. Also…there’s so many things out of our control – @BorisBeceric

There is never only one “right” way to do anything in PPC (or life for that matter!). Things which work well in some situations will not work in others, and that is ok. It’s about continuing to want to figure out each client’s puzzle to find the best path. – @NeptuneMoon

Clients leave for all kinds of reasons and it is very often not because of your performance. Be easy on yourself and ask for feedback or a why. You might not get it but training yourself to ask for it is definitely a good thing! – @NeptuneMoon

That you can never truly ‘master’ PPC, but just continuously work to evolve and get good at what’s new. It’s never ending career progression and upskilling. – @marketingsoph

Honestly, I wish I had known how easy it was to go out on your own and support brands without having to work for a single company sooner. The other thing would have been how working for an Agency would give you more experience quickly with a lot of brands. – @lchasse

That not every business benefits from running PPC campaigns. I saw it as another extension of mainline advertising. – @TheCopyTrail

That we are all hacking our way thru! Just kidding – some truth there – we make educated guesses as to how we think it works based on experience and documentation then act accordingly. – @runnerkik

Most clients need help determining goals and many come to the table not knowing where to start, we are business consultants as well and wear multiple hats. – @runnerkik

I like a lot of the other answers. I think for me, it’s important to know the “best practices” but to also see them as a baseline. They don’t always work, but they’re a great starting point. Test. Experiment. Tweak. Repeat. – @dan_patterson

There is a lot more that goes into a successful PPC strategy than what meets the eye. If your website/landing pages aren’t good, keywords are too broad (or low volume), ad copy is too wordy or full of jargon, etc., performance will reflect that. – @adclarke10

Two things can change your life… A. Most people have no idea how things work and are afraid to say so. Or worse, they assume they are right in how they work. This kills more ad accounts than we care to admit. B. Post click experience is 50% of the work. – @duanebrown

knowing what you can control vs what you can’t. Overpromising in terms of results doesn’t allow for market factors, news factors, random acts of Zuckerberg. – @JuliaVyse

sometihng I wish I knew – that it’s an industry that changes a lot! And that even after years of being in it that it’ll feel like i know nothing in this field and that is OKAY! – @TheMarketingAnu

As bad as it sounds its so important to detach yourself from budgets and spending money. Early on I felt so pressured about spending peoples money but found myself not only damaging results but also harming client relations – @PPC_Fraser

Q3: What is something about paid search that you know now that you wished you knew a lot sooner?

I wish I’d had got into the whole automation side from the very start, but it just wasn’t something we were really talking about in 2014. I remember manually updating and uploading shopping feeds every morning in my first year in PPC – @marketingsoph

How great the community was. I feel like finding this community of folks has not only made me some great new friends, but been very helpful in knowing there are issues or new features I may have missed on a platform. Okay that is my mushy talk for the day… – @lchasse

It’s simultaneously more complicated and simpler than most people think. The complexity is in managing the system, but a simple message/offer and clear & relevant landing page are really all you need. – @TheCopyTrail

Don’t underestimate Microsoft Advertising. Bing/Yahoo still account for a lot of search activity, and most of the time it’s less expensive than Google Ads. – @adclarke10

It’s simultaneously more complicated and simpler than most people think. The complexity is in managing the system, but a simple message/offer and clear & relevant landing page are really all you need. – @TheCopyTrail

Google is a company made up of people. It’s an algorithm that’s very powerful but cannot do everything. And reps, partners, teams are all doing their best just like you are. Keep that in mind and it helps turn frustration into problem solving. – @JuliaVyse

One thing I didn’t expect was how awesome the PPC community is. I really found a home with you all over the years, and I’m so grateful for that unexpected surprise – @AmaliaEFowler

Everything changes all the time and often things that were working amazingly one month can suddenly stop performing and it is not anything you did or didn’t do. It is a change in how the platform works. – @NeptuneMoon

I’ll echo a lot of what others are saying… things change all the time. It’s annoying, but it’s inevitable – @dan_patterson

that QS isn’t as important a metric as Google initially makkes it out to be. – @TheMarketingAnu

Q4: What is something about paid social that you know now that you wished you knew a lot sooner?

Google’s goals can never be 100% aligned with advertisers’ goals. It is literally impossible. So, take all of their announcements, recommendations and best practices with a healthy grain of salt and test for yourself! – @NeptuneMoon

That I don’t like it and to let other people do it – @AmaliaEFowler

Each time a channel “just doesn’t work” is because the audience, messaging and offer don’t align. Try harder! – @BorisBeceric

That Amazon would quietly build a billion dollar ad business. Still 5x smaller then Googles but they are just getting started. Our team is really enjoying running Amazon ads. – @duanebrown

Not that it would change anything. I wish I could predict 4 years ago iOS 14.5 was coming… – @duanebrown

That it is a holistic, integrative process to make it all work. Nothing is as siloed as our roles make it seem. Also to roll with our overlord (Google). I was a bitter betty through early changes. Now I have an alloted mourning period before gearing for change – @AmaliaEFowler

How different paid social is from paid search! The way you manage it, the time involved, etc. is nothing like how you do search. It is a lot harder to quote paid social projects and to be profitable on them than it is paid search projects. Charge accordingly. – @NeptuneMoon

Simpler campaign/audience structures are generally better. Don’t overthink segmentation – @timothyjjensen

That you don’t actually have to specialise in paid social if it doesn’t interest you. I feel like paid social is seen as a more ‘fun’ discipline and I have felt pressure to make it one of my skills. – @marketingsoph

That the precision offered by early paid social (looking at you Facebook) is pretty much antithetical to consumer privacy. And I don’t see a way around that. – @robert_brady

That it’s CPL aren’t comparabl to Paid Search a lot of the time. – @TheMarketingAnu

All the platform backends are a copy of the Facebook backend. You already know a lot about how these platforms will work. even with different audiences/options. – @JuliaVyse

it’s ALL browser based. No-one is interested in an offline editor. plan the hours of your day accordingly. speaking of which: charge for those hours. thinking it ‘should’ be instant is a fantasy that will lose you $. – @JuliaVyse

Facebook is the devil… Really though, it is just very different. We are interrupting someone doing something else vs. jumping in where they want information/help. Even ads on different social platforms need to be different. TikTok vs. Facebook. – @lchasse

That I should have put much more time into mastering FB / TT – @BorisBeceric

That it can work for B2B, but you have to be smart about and you can’t just spray and pray – @360vardi

UTM’S! It still amazes me how many people don’t use UTM’s or tracking parameters on ads. CMON PEOPLE – @PPC_Fraser

That oversegmenting Facebook campaigns/ad sets can lead to lower performance. We’ve seen their algorithm work better when targeting is consolidated, which goes against how I usually approach search campaigns (though that is also changing). – @adclarke10

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