In the third series of SEM Insider Insight presented by Bing Ads, Frances Donegan-Ryan hosted the session with Maddie Cary (Director Paid Search, Point It) where they discussed about the tips and tricks to make yourself successful in the paid search industry.
To listen to the podcast click here.
Here is the transcript of the podcast:
Frances: Welcome to the Insider Insights Podcast, a series brought to you by Bing Ads.
We will talk with insiders who will share their tips, tricks and confessions to help you become a digital marketing pro. I’m your host, Frances Donegan-Ryan.
Welcome everyone to another edition of our SEM Insider Insights podcast, here with Bing Ads. I’m your host Frances Donegan-Ryan and today we are joined by one of my great friends in the PPC industry Maddie Cary. Maddie is the Director of Paid Search, Point It, which is an awesome search and digital agency based in Seattle. Maddie, welcome. Want to introduce yourself and tell us more about Point It?
Maddie: Sure. Thanks. Yeah, so my name is Maddie. I’m a Director of Paid Search here at Point It Digital Marketing, based in Seattle, Washington, just like a lot of folks at Bing. I have been at Point It for about six years now, and we’re a multi-channel full service digital agency, so a large chunk of what we do is paid search, across our clientele, but we also provide services in paid social and programmatic display, SEO and analytics. So kind of, we look at things from the holistic, multi-channel picture for our clients in the digital space. So that’s a bit about us.
Frances: Awesome. I love Point It, and full disclosure, Point It does manage a lot of Microsoft Paid Search accounts and I believe you’re currently managing the Bing Ads Paid Search work also.
Maddie: Yes, yes, we do. We work with a couple of different Microsoft groups and one is also running Search for Bing Ads, you know. So I was going to tell people running Search for, a Search-marketing engine. So you run their acquisition-based campaign for the Bing Ads team.
Frances: Yeah. Perfect. So Maddie and I, today, we are going to talk about tips and insights to find your path and professional success in this industry. Maddie, like she said, she has been in this industry just over six years. She’s been awarded multiple awards and titles in our industry, including Young Search Professional of the Year last year, and named a ‘Rising Star’ in PPC by Search Engine Land and also accolades from PPC here on Search Engine Journal.
And, you know, something we were chatting about is how cool is it that our industry is now at a stage where we have these levels, you know, rising stars, you know, established careers, some of our esteemed alumni who really built and set the stage for having PPC as an entire industry, and a full career. And so we wanted to start there, Maddie, chat a little bit about that and then we will jump into some of your advice for people getting started in the industry and some tips and tricks that are your favourite things about PPC.
Maddie: Yeah. It’s kind of crazy, like you said, thinking about how we are in an industry that is said to be, you know, formulated or around long enough now that they are…almost like they are generations of PPC people, right, like there is people who were there Day 1. We are talking, you know, even late 90’s, early 2000’s, when it was just sort of starting to form, when it was kind of a wild-west option environment and everything Google kind of….
Frances: It was no…
Maddie: Yeah. There was no rules, everything was a little like all over the place. And now, there has been so much structure and feature options and, you know, and of course, Google is not the only engine. There is a lot of additional market share in Bing and what we can even, you know, look at in Yahoo Gemini and so there are a lot of options, there is a lot of tools, there is a lot of things to know and learn. So it’s funny to think of yourself as starting from kind of the bottom floor and just trying to wrap your head around how you learn, all the things you need to know, now that there is so much infrastructure and so many options within what you can do in Search. And then, on top of that, once you feel like you’ve your footing there, it’s something changes or something shifts and moves.
Frances: Yeah. I love the fact that this is…it’s almost like a part of the industry where it doesn’t marry the text side with kind of the arts side, and it’s like that’s the perfect combination for me, and I think it’s a great combination for a lot of people out there that might not know, you know, you could have, kind of, the best of both these worlds.
Maddie: Yeah. It’s a very, you know… you meet folks who kind of swing between a spectrum of two sets of skills that I think are really needed for Search for anybody starting in it, which is, there is a very data-heavy analytical analysis side of the job, and then there is also a, you know, strategic problem-solving, at times, even people or, you know, audience-focused way to approach how you solve problems for clients as well.
Frances: And so, speaking of kind of audience, and you brought up analytics and different audience…you know, when you look, you started six years ago, like we mentioned, things changes so quickly, so even when we started, things are now pretty different. We are right on the cusp, I think, again of another big change in our industry, and wanted to ask you to chat a little bit more about that, really…you know, in particular around the analytics we’re able to collect, and also how targeting audiences is really evolving.
Maddie: Yeah. And it’s a thing, honestly I think about a lot, how much things have changed and also looking at how we, as a company, you know, here at Point It, and I, in my role in, you know, the Director of Paid Search will have to think about the people we hire, and how we also train them and build them, into roles that think about Search beyond actually just the foundational…’This is how you build a campaign, this is how you set up an ad.’
Because, really, what we are finding is that our clients are asking so much more from us, and as they should be, just because as Search has matured, and as they have been with us for a while, and you know, they are looking for a more holistic ways to approach or to identify what their strategy should be across multiple channels, and how Search plays into that, and it seems like the piece that always continues, that ties us with the other is audience.
So understanding who your audience is, how you collect data around them to analyze and get a sense of where is the demand coming from, or in the flip side, how do you generate demand in your target-audiences, so that it falls all the way down to funnel to Search, and one of the things I say a lot to clients is that, you know, “Search is a tool to capture the existing demand, you know, for you and your product, of your service or your brand.” And that’s its job and our job as search marketers is to make sure that we are collecting or, you know, getting in front of the most relevant demand.
And because there is a lot of demand up there in Search, so doing it most relevantly and creating the most relevant experience for someone who likely other marketing [inaudible 07:38] have already touched them and in some way, at least been exposed to a brand or seen them on Facebook. They have already been kind of nurtured as, you know, an audience that’s valuable to you. And so then what can Search to from an audience’s perspective, to both understand and collect and utilize that audience data to further give someone the most relevant Search experience possible, to lead to that end goal, that conversion action.
Maddie: And, you know, up until just the last couple of years, you know, Search didn’t have a way to really do that. You know, there was remarketing via GDN, but in Search network specific itself, there wasn’t a way to layer on audience data to, you know, pull audience data from outside sources, like email list or customer match or you know, remarketing in Search or even how you leverage, like dynamic search with audience data and there were just a lot of kind of gaps there.
And, you know, I have seen all engines really step up their game in that area and start to provide advertisers the way to use that data more effectively and inform their messaging strategies or landing page strategies, their even bid…you know, of course, their bid strategies and you know, even their keywords plus audience strategies, and I think the further…Search is…just keep moving that way, because it kind of creates this parity with other channels and ultimately creates a unified experience for that, you know, that searcher or you know, whatever is that, consumer or potential person you are hoping to engage with the brand.
Frances: Yeah. I love what you said there about kind of across all channels, and using all of these different tools. You know, I do think Search, you know, while a Paid Search was Google for a long time and then, you know, obviously here at Bing, we have been, you know, doing a lot of work to chip away, and make space for us in that industry, and now that where 33 or 1 in 3 PC searches, we feel like we are getting, you know, a really good chunk of that marketplace.
But I think now we have to, you know, so much more focus on Facebook and other Paid social campaigns and then also, like you were mentioning, how do we find people at the right place at the right time and provide them the most relevant, whether that’s in dynamic, whether that’s in native and remarketing or retargeting? And so, it’s not about just one tool or only using Google anymore.
Maddie: No, not at all. I mean, that’s, you know, that’s how Search used to be, and now, if that’s how you are running your Search strategy and you are not in any way kind of primed for growth, you are really limiting yourself to one arena. And you’ve to go where the demand is, and especially if it’s of high quality demand and you know, looking at…It’s even good to get an understanding of the difference in audiences across different engines.
Frances: Sure, yes.
Maddie: And depending on the kind of company you are in, and what you’re hoping to achieve, it’s good to expand beyond just that kind of singular, Google thinking. It really does kind of tie your hands, if you want to be able to expand and do more.
Frances: Yeah. And that’s why I love this, sort of, shift in focus, not away from keywords. I think sometimes, you know, people say that like, “Oh, my God. Is the keyword going …?” They are like, “Wait a minute.” So, you know, it’s not like that disappearing, but coming at your Paid Search strategy now with, you know, leading with audience rather than, say, keyword, means that we have to be so much more aware of all of these other platforms. What has that done in terms of the way that you, you know, set up a campaign? You are an agency, so set up a campaign for a client, you know, in terms of whether you’re looking at budgets, how do you use the data from maybe one platform across all platforms, things like that?
Maddie: I think that it is …you said you have to start to develop a keyword plus audience strategy. Audience tells you a little bit more about who they are, and then the keyword tells you more about what their intent or interest is. I think before there was a lot of hoping that keyword could tell you about the audience. And I always use like really simple examples to illustrate. So one I use because, been working in the past with some jury clients. It’s a term like engagement rank.
So if someone searches on that term, you might think you know something about them as an audience. “Oh, that is being searched by a male. He is looking to buy, because that’s the kind of term he would use. I’m going to bid on this exact match, or you know, whatever it is, and I’m sure that’s who my audience is.”
Maddie: But if you are able to collect audience data and then layer it on, you know, on that kind of keyword strategy, you could have actually very different strategies for, let’s say, you know, part of that audience is male. But there is nothing in their keyword that indicates exactly what their intent is. “Are they ready to buy? Are they researching? Have they actually maybe already designed something and they are just looking to figure out a price point?”
You’ll have to get more of a sense of that by expanding out your keyword sets and doing some additional testing. And then on the flip side, the other audience that’s probably looking on the term, you know, is likely female, and they are probably looking very much in the research phase. They are kind of looking for screenshots or designs that they can share or share with a friend to hint, hint, nudge, nudge.
Maddie: And that’s just one very, like, simplistic example that’s, you know, a little bit black and white. There is a lot of audience even outside of just male and female that might fit into a single two-word keyword phrase, that I think before search marketers would have just made an assumption about, because we didn’t have the audience data. And now that we have that, we could set up those different strategies, those different budgets, messaging, landing experience and ultimately just optimize a lot more effectively.
Frances: Yeah. And I think, you know, this is something I talk about a lot in the industry, is sometimes you’ve to take a step back and say….you know, we get lost in the data little bit, and you’ve to look at what, you know, what is happening at this point of time in our communities, in our culture. I mean, it’s…someone actually spoke about this, sort of jewellery, and wedding industry at an event I was at recently, and you know, since the legalization of gay marriage, you can’t assume that the person buying the ring is one gender anymore.
Frances: It’s going to be both genders, and even if it’s not an LGBT queue, maybe marriage situation, women are now the people who might be buying the ring. Kim Kardarshian bought her ring.
Maddie: [Laughter] There you go.
Frances: So, you know, there….
Maddie: And if we can’t learn from Kim kardarshian, then what’s the point of life?
Frances: What are we doing? What are we doing? She is the queen of marketing. I mean, we could all learn marketing wedding lessons stuff from her. Okay, to wrap up, you know, I think a lot of the listeners of this podcast are going to be people who are newer or trying to transition into their, sort of, start in this industry. Can you give us two things – one, the thing that maybe they don’t need to pay a huge amount of attention to that… maybe they think they have to, and one thing that they should really be focusing on to get into this industry and be successful.
Maddie: Yeah. So, I mean, first of all, if you’re looking to get into this industry, welcome. We welcome you. [Laughter] We do want you here. I think that a lot of people, both over-estimate and under-estimate the importance of kind of every single metric or every like piece of data that’s available to them. So in the one hand, there are the folks who go, “Yeah, I get down the fundamentals, and then I just tweak it till I make it.”
Maddie: My biggest advice would be like study a lot, when you first start and by that, that’s…you know, that’s reading content, that’s participating in webinars or, you know, reading case studies, and I mean, just getting down the language of Search, to begin with. And also a lot of that is sitting in on meetings with other SEM professionals or being a part of chats and just absorbing from other people who have… The thing I love most about our industry is a lot of people who are ready to admit, when they just, like, made mistakes or learned from things, it’s a very open community that shares a lot.
Maddie: And then on the flip side of that…
Frances: We do. We share a ton…and I think that’s like one of my favourite things about our community, is how open we are to share strategy, to share learnings, to share…”Oh, God! I tried this and it did not work.”
Maddie: Yeah. So, like, that’s the first thing, like, don’t, you know, don’t under-estimate that or the work that needs to be put into that. It will pay off, and it’s the kind of things that, you know, don’t memorize what Click-through Rate means one time, and then forget it. You’re going to use it every day in what you do, all those metrics, and it’s going to be building blocks to bigger things. And then, at the same time though, don’t over-estimate or don’t, you know, fixate too much on those metrics weighing you down.
For example, Quality Score is an incredibly important metric, but if every day you are obsessing about it, you are trying to figure out how to go from 7 to 8…you know, if you are consumed by every little piece or data point that you could make a little bit better, that you could fix, actually you’ll lose sight of what I call…you know, you’ll be so in the pine-needles, you actually…you will just miss the forest altogether.
Frances: Yeah, yeah.
Maddie: So, you know, in your foundation, you’ll build from there, but the biggest success that, you know, I think I found in my career is by always trying to keep the bigger picture in mind as you learn the smaller details.
Frances: Sure. Well, Maddie, thank you so much for joining us, sharing your wisdom with us. For everyone listening, Maddie, you cool if I share your Twitter?
Maddie: Oh, of course.
Frances: So you can find Maddie on Twitter @MaddieMarketer. You can find me on Twitter @FancesDr. Encourage you to follow @BingAds as well and that’s we’ll get all the latest Bing news. And thanks again, Maddie. I think both of us are totally available and open to talk to anyone who is interested in getting involved or learning more about this industry. We are both super-passionate about it, and like Maddie said, “Welcome. If you’re interested, welcome.”
Frances: We want to hear from you.
Maddie: Yeah, awesome. Thanks so much for having me. This is awesome.
Frances: Thanks Maddie.
Maddie: Right, thanks.
Frances: And that’s a wrap on another episode of the Insider Insights Podcast. You can catch up on all the episodes on Sound Cloud or your favourite podcast app. You can share your feedback with us on any social channel @BingAds. And until next time, thanks for listening.