What is a PPC specialist?
A PPC specialist is an advertising expert in charge of planning and optimizing online advertising campaigns in order to generate more leads, sales, and brand awareness through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. They can specialize in a number of different types of advertising including Google Ads, Google Shopping Ads, Amazon PPC, or run native ads on Google Display Network.
A PPC expert usually has a mix of analytical and creative skills and can build campaigns that put your business in front of potential customers, to raise awareness and improve your conversion rates.
The role of a PPC specialist
A PPC specialist is a key member of your digital marketing team and they work to tailor campaigns to your target audience and business goals. They also need to have in-depth knowledge of keyword research and selection, text ads optimization, PPC metrics analysis, and bid management strategies.
Some of the more common tasks of a PPC specialist include the following:
Just like when you're doing search engine optimization and trying to rank for organic search terms, PPC keyword research lies at the very foundation of your digital marketing efforts.
Search PPC campaigns are a popular way to reach people looking for specific search queries (in Google Ads, Bing Ads, etc.). To run PPC search campaigns, advertisers need first to run in-depth keyword research to identify suitable campaign opportunities. Thus, a PPC expert's job will almost always include some form of keyword research (which includes negative keywords as well).
Settinh up campaigns is one of the core tasks of any PPC specialist. This means creating multiple campaigns, ads, and ad groups based on previously identified keywords to target the right audience. Proper campaign planning and organization are crucial to running successful campaigns because it helps you stay on top of your budget and optimize for the best performance.
Some PPC campaigns are not based on keyword targeting but on audience targeting. For instance, in Google Display Ad campaigns, you can target users based on demographics and interests. This means a PPC specialist needs to make sure their campaigns target the perfect audience
Landing page design
The success of any PPC campaign depends mainly on the quality and relevance of the landing page. A good landing page should attract visitors and convince them to take action (for example, buy a product or subscribe to a service).
Plus, a good landing page will increase your Google Ads Quality Score which will consequently lower PPC costs too. A PPC specialist needs to be able to design and optimize effective landing pages for each campaign.
PPC is not a build-it-then-leave-it kind of thing. You should perform regular ad and campaign optimizations, as it will directly improve the performance of your campaigns. Search marketers must keep a close eye on campaigns, analyze data and make decisions based on those insights.
10 must-have skills for a PPC specialist
If you're looking for a PPC specialist, you want to ensure you hire the right one. After all, they will work with your ad budgets and influence your revenue, so it's essential to make the right decision. Here is a list of must-have skills for a PPC specialist:
PPC specialists work with data. You can't do that properly if you don't have a good understanding of how to analyze the information in front of your eyes. Your chosen search engine marketing or SEM expert should have excellent analytical thinking.
They should know how to work with Google Analytics with their eyes closed, use additional digital marketing tools to assess the performance of their PPC campaigns, and come up with new campaign ideas.
PPC marketers need to have some technical expertise too. They don't need to know how to code, but they should understand how to work with tracking codes, pixels, and the technicalities of different PPC platforms.
Behind every successful PPC campaign, there should be a deep understanding of the target audience. Digital marketers need to know how to run campaigns and understand the kind of people they are targeting. If you don't have enough data on your potential customers, you can't spend your PPC money wisely -- it's as simple as that.
If you're running a business in a specific niche, it's a good idea to look for someone with experience in that area. Sure, there are many universal aspects of PPC marketing, but there are also industry-specific approaches that only a person with experience in that niche can understand.
Creativity is one of the essential skills for any PPC marketer. It's not enough to follow other people's campaigns and copy their ideas. You need to come up with unique, never-before-seen ads that can stand out in the crowded space of PPC platforms.
Although graphic design isn't a core competency for PPC experts, some may be required to work with images and create banners. If you're looking for someone to handle your campaigns, it's always a good idea to look for someone with some design experience. Even if they don't have to deal with the actual designs, they will still need to speak "designer language" to collaborate efficiently.
Speaking of collaboration, communication is also an essential soft skill for any PPC specialist. They need to be able to explain their ideas, back up their decisions, and work with others - like writers, product managers, and graphic designers.
PPC experts rarely work alone, so they need to be team players. They should be able to share ideas, cooperate with other team members, and have good problem-solving skills.
Organization and time management
Organization and time management skills are essential for any PPC marketer. They need to be able to manage their day-to-day tasks as well as coordinate activities with other team members.
Knowledge of the latest trends
PPC is a fast-moving space and marketers need to stay up to date with the latest trends and technologies. They shouldn't necessarily jump on board with every new trend that comes along, but they should be aware of all the best practices and industry changes.
13 questions to ask your PPC expert before hiring them
OK, say you're set on hiring a PPC expert, and you get 300 submissions on your job (insert here heavy sigh). You can probably narrow your list to maybe 10 or 20 candidates that look like a good fit based on their applications.
At this point, asking the right questions is crucial, as it will help you determine who to hire. Here are the most important questions you should ask.
What is your process for running keyword research? How about keyword expansion?
Your PPC experts should have a well-established strategy for keyword research. It shouldn't be a random, ad-hoc process but a transparent, repeatable, and scalable one. They should also be experienced keyword expansion (the process of adding new keywords to an existing set).
What will you do to improve our Quality Score?
You can't change the industry or how your target audience reacts to your ads. You can only change things you're in control of. And in PPC, the Google Ads Quality Score is precisely one of those things. It measures how "relevant" your ads are to the keywords, audience, and landing pages you're targeting. A Google Ads expert will know how to improve your quality score and will be able to give you a plan of action.
Should I remarket my PPC campaigns - and if yes, why?
PPC remarketing is a great way to target people who have already interacted with your ads or website. Think of remarketing as a quick reminder for people who showed interest in your products before. When you remarket them, you remind them you exist.
An experienced PPC marketer should be able to suggest some remarketing tactics and explain to you why they're a good fit for your campaigns.
How do you test your ad copy?
A/B testing is a crucial element of PPC optimization. It's the only way to determine which ad copy truly resonates with your audience and delivers the best return on investment. When interviewing potential PPC experts, make sure to ask them how they go about testing their campaigns. They should have a systematic approach to testing individual variables across multiple ad variants, measuring the results, and iterating on lessons learned.
Should I change anything about my landing pages - and if yes, why?
Your landing pages should be an extension of your PPC campaigns. They should have the same look and feel, the same message, and similar imagery. Your expert should be able to review your landing pages and suggest some changes that could help improve their performance.
What's your experience with social media ads?
Social media ads are a great way to reach new audiences, target more precisely, and get better results. An experienced marketer should have a good understanding of how to optimize for different social media platforms, like Facebook or LinkedIn.
It is worth noting that social media advertising is a specialization in its own right. Social media advertising platforms have their own rules, algorithms, and best practices for lowering cost per click and cost per conversion. Few PPC experts offer services across the entire range of platforms (search engines, programmatic, social media, and so on).
Have you worked with Amazon ads before?
If you're planning to advertise on Amazon, your new hire must have specific experience in this area. Amazon ads have their own rules, ecosystem, and algorithms, so your expert needs to be well-versed in the specifics of this platform. Keep in mind, however, that if you don't plan to run Amazon ads, you don't have to hire someone who has worked with them before.
Do you have experience with Microsoft Ads/ Bing Ads?
More and more people are turning to Microsoft Ads or Bing Ads and your candidate should understand the nuances of this platform and be able to optimize for them. They should also have a good understanding of how these platforms interact with other marketing channels, and how to get the most out of them.
When's the best time to analyze a PPC campaign's performance?
It's important to regularly analyze Google Ads and other PPC campaigns to optimize them and get the best ROI. An experienced PPC marketer should know how to use data and analytics to measure campaign performance, as well as when it's best to analyze your ads to get the most accurate results.
What's your suggested minimum monthly ad spend?
The best PPC / Google Ads experts will understand that your budget and goals determine the amount you spend. However, they should be able to suggest a minimum monthly ad spend that can help you get started and maximize your return on investment. This question will help you see if you and the specialist you're interviewing are a good match from the perspective of how much you want to invest in your campaigns.
How do you handle low click-through rates or high bounce rates?
Low click-through rates and high bounce rates can be a major problem in online advertising campaigns. A good PPC specialist should have strategies to address these issues, such as split-testing different ad copy or targeting more specific audiences. They should also be able to explain why certain strategies would work better than others and back up their statements with data.
What is your experience with account structure (including the use of ad groups, campaigns, ad sets, keywords)
PPC account structure and organization get frequently overlooked. A proper setup can help you optimize your campaigns and get the best ROI because it will make it easier for your PPC manager to stay on top of all your paid efforts.
Your candidate should have a good understanding of how to create ad groups and organic your account structure to maximize performance. They should also be able to explain why specific strategies are better than others.
Do you have experience using scripts or APIs to automate and optimize Google AdWords campaigns?
Scripts and APIs can help you automate and optimize your ad campaigns and save time and money. Experienced marketers should have experience with APIs and be able to explain how they can help you maximize ROI. They should also be able to give examples of when specific scripts or APIs are more beneficial than others.