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In the crowded space of today’s digital marketing world, paid search marketing has become a vital tactic to drive results, boost traffic, and make yourself discoverable.
The PPC digital environment is continuously shifting, and as a result, individual PPC leaders have emerged and successfully adjusted to these changes. Some of these industry leaders started when PPC was at its earliest stages, and others have more recently mastered the ins and outs of PPC management.
Here at Directive, we have assembled the following PPC experts, in no particular order, and asked them the question:
As a PPC expert, how do you adapt to changes in the PPC industry?
We encourage you to follow these successful individuals for guidance, as the paid search marketing industry continues to flourish daily.
1. Brady Cramm
“Adapting to change is a constant in the digital world, especially in PPC advertisement.
To stay ahead of changes, I ask myself important questions, understand the functionality of the change (not just the intended use case), test in a straight-forward and creative fashion and maintain a curiosity around what’s next.
Here are my top questions:
Why is it happening?
Who is it for?
Does it impact campaign structure?
Does it replace a current solution?
Is there an adoption deadline?
What might happen if I don’t adapt?”
- PPC Management Role: Director of PPC at Directive, where he was the first and original PPC specialist
- Years in PPC: 5
- Early Beginnings: Started with a background in lead gen via paid advertisement in the medical device space.
- Claim to fame: Constantly trying to crack the code on CTAs that disrupt the search engine environment.
- Notable Achievements: Featured in Unbounce, Search Engine Journal, Instapage, Clutch, and AdEspresso by Hootsuite.
2. Brad Geddes
“We’ve always been very organized in terms of time management and project organization. Due to having strong processes, when something changes, we can look to our process and easily adjust them based upon the change. In some cases, that might mean testing new features or ideas, so we follow our testing and recommendation workflow:
In other cases, it’s examining what needs to be automated based upon how changes are going, and we follow our potential automation workflow:
By having processes laid out that let us test changes, automate new features, and easily adjust to changes made by search engines, consumers, or new technology, we can easily remain flexible to quickly take advantage of the ever-changing work of PPC.”
- PPC Management Role: Co-founder of Adalysis, a PPC management tool for Google and Bing Ads
- Years in PPC: 21
- Claim to Fame: Official Google AdWords Seminar Leader, conducted more than 60 official Google-supported AdWords Seminars for Success (attended by more than 4,000 marketing professionals), keynoted or spoken at more than 125 conferences across the globe including AdWords Days, SEM Days, Search Engine Strategies, etc.
- Notable Achievements: Won the Best Search Technology of the Year 2018 from UK Biddable Media Awards, and Best Specialized SEA Tool 2018 from German Search Engine Awards. Author of Advanced Google Adwords.
3. Frederick Vallaeys
- Role: CEO at Optmyzr, PPC management software system
- Years in PPC: 21
- Claim to Fame: One of Google’s first 500 employees, helped pioneer PPC marketing as the company’s first AdWords Evangelist.
- Author: Wrote Digital Marketing in an AI World and is a contributor to Search Engine Land.
- Notable Achievements: Was named #2 Most Influential PPC Expert in the World in 2018 by PPC Hero.
4. AJ Wilcox
“I absolutely LOVE how fast the PPC industry changes, and keeping up with those changes doesn’t feel like a chore. I geek out hard at every nuance and test as fast as I possibly can because I know someone is going to ask me about something new on the platform, and I want to make sure I’m armed with the ability to share and educate.”
- PPC Management Role: Founder of B2Linked, the first agency to be endorsed and certified by LinkedIn itself as an ad agency.
- Years in PPC: 12
- Claim to Fame: A thought leader on LinkedIn, hosts the LinkedIn Learning course called “Advertising on LinkedIn“.
- Notable Achievements: Spoken at over 60 conventions, including Social Media Marketing World, HeroConf, Inbound, Search Marketing Expo, Pubcon, and Content Marketing Conference.
You can also find him on numerous podcasts including Entrepreneur on Fire with John Lee Dumas, and Social Media Marketing Podcast with Michael Stelzner.
5. Andrew Faris
“The #1 thing I do to adapt to the ever-changing world of PPC (and digital advertising more broadly) is to be disciplined about the fundamentals instead of chasing down everything shiny and new. This is one of the strange tensions of working in PPC: on the one hand, it’s constantly changing. There are new features in every segment of every digital platform all the time. So yes: there is a real onus on a PPC professional to do what you need to do to stay educated on it (blogs, podcasts, and following the right people on Twitter, for example, all go a long way for me).
But then sometimes I pick up my copy of Ogilvy On Advertising, and I’m shocked all over again at how much it sounds like Ogilvy is instructing advertisers in 2019. He’s relentlessly focused on measurability over gut instincts. He argued with people who hammered him for writing copy that they thought was too long, because way back in 1963, apparently people were concerned that attention spans were too short. He thought hard about what financial structures created thriving agency partnerships.
In the middle of all of that, Ogilvy’s principles about what makes great advertising (applied differently in different mediums) still resonate because great communication hasn’t actually changed. So yes: the dizzying onslaught of platform changes is real, and no serious professional in the space can just ignore it all.
But at least for me, I’m trying more than ever to think harder and better about whether or not, at the simplest level, I’m communicating in clear, compelling ways. That, I think, is actually the hardest thing to do, but also the aspect of this work that has the greatest impact, and is therefore worthy of my deepest focus and attention.”
- PPC Management Role: VP of Growth at 4×400, a holding company that launches and grows eCommerce brands
- Years in PPC: 5
- Early Beginnings: Former VP of Growth of Common Thread Collective
- Claims to Fame: Featured on Shopify, Brand Buddha, Sumo, and Threading the Needle podcast.
6. Larry Kim
“It’s a full-time job.
Most of the times changes to Google or Facebook Ads aren’t even announced — stuff just disappears as you are doing your work. For some changes, official announcements are made by Facebook or Google, and other times existing features just stop working, either due to increased competition or other changes in the ecosystem.
Whenever the changes come out, I evaluate it, figure out if it is helpful or not, and if so, roll out the changes to all the accounts being managed. Strategies and tactics need to be re-evaluated every quarter.
These days, for example, because CPCs are so ridiculously high on FB and Google, we are mostly doing advanced remarketing strategies, and using Facebook Messenger Ads and chatbots which have much higher engagement.”
- PPC Management Role: CEO of MobileMonkey, Co-founder of Wordstream
- Years in PPC: 18
- Claims to Fame: Ranked the #8 most popular author on Medium. Contributor to CNBC and Inc. Magazine. Larry has spoken at or keynoted numerous industry events including INBOUND, SearchLove, SMX, ClickZ/SES, Pubcon, PPC Hero Conference, SEMPDX, and various others.
- Notable Achievements: Recognized with Marketer of the Year awards from Search Engine Land, US Search Awards, and PPC Hero.
7. Josh Nelson
“Always keep an open mind, and pay attention to industry news. There is always something new to learn or test. This is a fast-paced industry. If you don’t spend time keeping up to date on all of the happenings, you’ll surely get left behind.”
- PPC Management Role: Lead PPC Specialist at Directive
- Years in PPC: 3
- Early Beginnings: Previously a Social Media Administrator for Constellation Brands
- Claim to Fame: Oversees the PPC strategy process for clients, from the initial planning stages to evaluating campaign performance. Josh regularly contributes for Directive’s blog.
8. JD Prater
“With a smile! If there’s one thing I’ve learned working in the PPC industry is it will change, and it will change frequently. You can adapt to these changes by doing these three things:
– Have a solid strategy in place for each ad network, no black hat tactics.
– Diversify your ad spend across multi-channels rather than only advertising on one or two channels.
– Take a full-funnel approach, rather than only focusing on the bottom of the funnel.”
- PPC Management Role: The Quora Evangelist at Quora
- Years in PPC: 10
- Claims to Fame: Spoke at INBOUND, SaaStr, BrightonSEO, SMX, Pubcon, and more. JD is the host of The PPC Show Podcast and Grow with Quora. Also, he is an official member of the Forbes Communication Council.
- Notable Achievements: Was awarded as a Top Demand Gen Hero and Top 25 Most Influential PPC Expert. He has also been featured on Social Media Examiner, Social Media Today, Social Media Week, and PPC Hero.
9. Kirk Williams
“This is one of the most challenging aspects of PPC. As I tell friends, your engineering laws may change, but math is still math and physics still physics. In the world of Google, they can change everything and nullify with one decision all the knowledge we’ve accrued over a decade. The key to this is to continually stay up on changes. This happens for me by rubbing shoulders with and following smarter people than me who keep up with these things and help me digest it so I can implement the things directly related to my work.
In the world of PPC, you can’t rest for a second because it all might change during that moment!”
- PPC Management Role: Owner of ZATO, a Paid Search PPC micro-agency
- Years in PPC: About 10 years
- Claims to Fame: Co-host of weekly #PPCChat on Twitter, featured on Search Engine Land, Moz, PPC Hero, Search Engine Journal, Wordstream, etc. He has spoken at MarketingProfs, SMX, Hero Conference, SLC Digital Marketing Conference, etc.
- Notable Achievements: Named one of the Top 25 Most Influential PPC leaders in the world by PPC Hero, four years in a row.
10. Mark Irvine
“This industry changes quickly and in countless times a year. Some of those changes come from the platforms, some of them from our governments, and some of them external. Some of these changes will fundamentally change the ways we do our jobs, and many, many more will not.
I fundamentally believe that there is no expert in the industry that knows every facet of change. Even the experts at Google might not know about changes at Microsoft or Facebook or even every change within their own platform. Trying to become the “all-knowing” expert of change in the industry is a fool’s errand.
My best advice – build a digest of highly valuable information that you care about and create a habit of checking it every day. Every morning at 11 am and 4 pm EST, I check the Google, Bing, and Facebook ad announcement blogs their policy updates, Search Engine Land, and of course the WordStream blog. I read each update and ask, “Does this affect my clients or my jobs today?” More often than not, no – not today. That frees up my time and my mind to worry about today’s problems for my clients. Only when that answer is “Yes – this is big news!” do I react and begin to collect data and build playbooks for my clients.
And remember – be skeptical to pundits. Despite the blogs that are published every other day, the sky hasn’t fallen yet. ;)”
- PPC Management Role: Director of Strategic Partnerships at Wordstream
- Years in PPC: 8
- Claim to Fame: Trains and supports Wordstream’s Team, has spoken at Wordstream Live, Digital Marketing Summit, SMX, PubCon, State of Search, and many others.
- Notable Achievements: Recognized as the 5th Most Influential PPC Expert by PPCHero in 2017, 14th in 2018, moving to 1st Most Influential PPC Expert in 2019!
11. Joe Martinez
“Before you can adapt, you have to stay on top of the changes. I check the official channel blogs and other industry publications daily to keep up to speed. Also, everyone at Clix does a great job sharing what they find with the rest of the team to make sure we’re all in the loop.
With every change that comes out, we take a look at if the change will impact a current client. We will then work on informing the client and put extra attention to the area of potential impact to monitor performance.
Some changes won’t affect current performance because they may be new features. If this is the case, we try and test these new features out (if they make sense for the client). You never know if a new feature or change will be beneficial to an account until you test it out.
Features are coming and going in the PPC world all the time. If you’re not keeping up with what’s changing and testing out new features, you’re doing a disservice to your clients and your own professional development.”
- PPC Management Role: Director of Client Strategy at Clix Marketing
- Years in PPC: 7
- Claim to Fame: Has spoken at SMX, HeroConf, Pubcon, etc.; has presented webinars for SEMrush, Unbounce, Quora, and Bing Ads.
- Notable Achievements: Was named Top Rising Influential PPC Expert in 2016 and Top 25 Influential PPC Expert in 2017 & 2018 by PPC Hero.
12. Aaron Levy
“The best way to adapt is to think OUTSIDE of PPC/keywords/remarketing/whatever. Think about humans, think about economic models, think about how the algorithm will react to the changes, and think about how your competitors will react. If you take that mindset instead of “omg I can’t do SKAG’s anymore,” you’ll be FAR more successful.
- PPC Management Role: Director of Paid Search at Tinuiti
- Years in PPC: 13
- Claim to Fame: Lead paid media campaigns with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to startups and local businesses. He also is a contributor for Search Engine Land.
- Notable Achievements: Won the Chairpersons Award from The Drum US Search Awards and was a finalist for SEM of the Year by Search Engine Land.
13. Julie Friedman Bacchini
“I have been in PPC since its literal beginning.
It probably sounds cliched, but change is so constant in the paid search industry. You have to be able to roll with change if you want to have longevity in the field. I deal with change differently depending on how immediate the change is. For example, if a policy changes overnight, you have to deal with that right away.
Other changes happen more slowly. I have found it best to pay attention to what is happening and then spend time thinking about how I want to react to the changes I’m seeing. I try to figure out how a particular change will or might impact the way I currently do things.
You can’t be afraid of new things, but that doesn’t mean you have to jump in on day one with both feet either! Know your clients and their situations and always try to do what is best for them. Having great resources and other people you can bounce ideas off of really helps too. I am part of a very active PPC community on Twitter(#PPCChat), and that has been an incredible resource for me when it comes to processing and dealing with industry changes.
- PPC Management Role: President and Founder of Neptune Moon, PPC and SEM Company
- Years in PPC: 15
- Claim to Fame: Co-host and organizer of PPCChat
- Notable Achievements: In 2019 alone, Julie was included on the following lists: PPC Hero Top 50 Most Influential PPC Experts, Atomic Reach – 75 Top PPC Influencers, SEOM Interactive – Top Women in Digital To Follow, Search Engine Journal – 100 Awesome Women Marketers You Should Follow, Search Engine Journal – 23 Top PPC Experts You Should Follow in 2019.