Jordan Shefrin

by Jordan Shefrin |

There are some paid search lessons you can’t learn from a beautiful and dense PowerPoint training. The most important learnings come from diving in and experiencing the highs and lows of PPC for yourself. If you’re just starting out with PPC, here are some lessons I wish I had learned on day one.

hard lessons

Some lessons only come from putting in the work. Photo via Pexels.

The Paid Search Universe is Not Black and White

As a math major, I often catch myself expecting a perfect answer to every problem I encounter. What I love about math is that any problem most likely has an applicable formula that leads to a nice solution with a bow on top. I learned very quickly that, in paid search, there is often not a perfect answer to every question or problem.

My reality check came when I was performing my first audit of a newly acquired account. As I crawled my way through every nook, cranny, and data trend, I found both big and small problems and opportunities in the account. When it came time to review my findings and plan of action, I was surprised to find that not every issue had equal weight. In the end I learned that a PPC manager should always prioritize the account work that will be the most impactful. Typically, we “follow the money” and focus first on the campaigns that have the highest spend or drive the most conversions, allowing us drive the greatest changes to the most important account metrics.

Attention to Detail is Essential

Every PPC manager can relate to the panic you feel when you open an account and realize it has spent $300 that it wasn’t supposed to. Sometimes small, easy to make attention to detail mistakes, like incorrect match types or bid adjustments, can have scary consequences. For this reason, it is important to implement a system of checklists and checking back on work. Building these habits early on will help you catch account problems quickly, before they can drive crazy spending, no search volume at all, or ad disapprovals.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

I am so thankful that Metric Theory’s culture emphasizes providing new employees with many tools to answer questions and conduct advanced analyses, and also learning directly by working with account managers. Sometimes I hit seemingly impenetrable paid search walls, and my managers, mentors, and more senior members of my team are happy to drop what they are doing to help. Not only do I learn more about paid search, I also make connections with senior staff and learn about the day-to-day of running paid search accounts.

Trust the Data

Almost every day the data in an account takes my intuition and throws it completely out the window. We’ve all seen it, that search query that has nothing to do with the client or their product. Your gut insists that you should add it as a negative keyword, but when you check the data you see that it has converted. Your thinking must shift. Should you add it to its own ad group? Or should you add it as a negative anyway? (If the client is focused on lead-generation, a lead from an esoteric search query is likely poor quality.)

Even keyword and bid suggestions from Google can’t compete with data from actual searchers. So no matter what your intuition thinks, you must base account decisions on what the data is telling you.

Turn Weaknesses Into Strengths

Writing has never been my strength (I was a math major, remember) so I was not thrilled to discover that an important part of PPC is writing winning ad copy. Instead of shying away from my weak area, I embraced it. I focused on our best practice “formula” for ad copy: choosing unique selling points, calls to action, and concrete numbers, and focused on writing the best copy possible for each new ad group. With these best practices as a foundation, a little creativity helped me turn my writing fears into ad copy strengths.

You can learn a lot about paid search from online learning, or taking classes or training sessions. But the really valuable lessons only come from doing, so take the suggestions above and find your own “hard lessons.”