Unlike other aspects of digital marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) ads can start working immediately after you set them up, delivering eager customers who are ready to take action right to your door.
As someone who used to teach Google Partners (marketing firms certified by the search engine to set up ad campaigns for businesses), I’m a big believer in the power of digital ads and PPC advertising. However, I also know how challenging it is to get them handled right, so they deliver consistent results and generate ROI.
Generally speaking, I think it’s better to outsource your PPC management to a third-party of PPC experts at a specialized PPC agency full time rather than keep it in-house, but there are a few caveats to this. Below, I’ll break down what the digital marketing role entails and how to ensure you’re getting the right professionals in place to manage your ads regardless of which path you choose.
Become Familiar with a PPC Specialist’s Role Before You Decide
Many people think of Google and Google Ads when they think of PPC, and while the search engine giant certainly dominates the market, it’s far from being the only player in the game. Virtually every social media network has its own PPC ad platform, as do other search engines, like Bing with Bing Ads. A multitude of smaller or independent PPC platforms exist too. With that in mind, your PPC specialist should be knowledgeable in Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords), but it’s good for him or her to be familiar with some of the alternatives too, e.g. Yahoo and Amazon.
The platform being leveraged and the type of PPC ad being run makes a difference in what skills are being applied. In most campaigns, a PPC specialist performs keyword research to see what words and phrases people are interested in that relate to the business and its objectives, then creates ads around them and establishes how much the company is willing to pay to have their ad seen or clicked on.
They monitor for trend or algorithm changes, keep an eye on analytics to see how ads are performing, and engage in A/B testing, so they can adapt the advertising strategy and improve results over time. They’re also involved in the creation of ad copy and graphics, as well as the design of landing pages, which are specialized pages on your website that relate to the action your ad wants customers to take.
Consider the Resources Necessary to Fulfill the Role
- Keyword research
- A/B Testing
- Copywriting (unless working with a writer)
- Retargeting/ Remarketing campaigns
- Landing page design (unless working with a designer/ developer)
- An understanding of the customer journey and funnels
- Ability to work with buyer personas
- An understanding of the business and objectives
- Bid optimization
- Ability to perform a competitor analysis
- Platform-specific ad editing tools (Google, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)
- Ad performance enhancement (AdEspresso, WordStream, etc.)
- Competitor research (SEMrush, Spyfu)
- Landing page design (HubSpot, Unbounce, etc.)
- Graphic creation (Canva, gifntext, etc.)
The amount of time spent on PPC will vary depending on your total ad spend and how the ads are performing. Some companies could spend ten or more hours per week on PPC management, while others might only spend ten in a month.
Identify What Successful PPC Campaigns Look Like for Your Organization
There are many different ways to measure the effectiveness of PPC campaigns and the person you have managing them. A few examples of helpful metrics are below.
- Total clicks
- Click-through rate (CTR)
- Cost per click (CPC)
- Conversion rate (CVR)
- Cost per conversion/acquisition (CPA)
- Cost per mille (CPM)
- Impression share
- Ad quality score
Making the Final Decision: Should You Outsource Your PPC or Keep it In-House?
Multiple skillsets are required to manage pay-per-click campaigns effectively, and a specialist has to keep his or her skills sharp in order to produce results. That’s challenging to do if you’re just spending a few hours per week on the task, let alone if you’re only devoting a couple of hours per month. In these cases, it’s usually difficult to get ROI from PPC ads when they’re being managed in-house.
With this in mind, it’s probably best to outsource PPC campaign management to a specialized PPC management agency. You’re more likely to find a team with deep expertise, that has honed in their skills, knows what converts, follows the trends, and can get you cost-effective results.
Start Marketing Online Effectively
My days of instructing hopeful Google Premier Partners are behind me now, but I still put those teachings into practice every day as I’m evaluating the strength of digital marketing processes in place by the companies I consult and helping them establish more effective strategies.
When a company already has an in-house PPC specialist who is producing results, I always leave this person in place. Unfortunately, I usually find the opposite—improper bid management, PPC campaigns that aren’t optimized, aren’t delivering ROI, and are either not producing results or may even be costing the company money instead of producing it. In these cases, I get my client matched up with outsourced PPC talent that draws in new customers by delivering excellent campaign performance, and drives revenue, typically as part of a digital marketing overhaul.
If your company isn’t getting the results you want from PPC campaigns or is struggling with any aspect of your digital marketing, contact me for a consultation to discuss your PPC requirements.