“Creative without strategy is called ‘art.’ Creative with strategy is called ‘advertising’ or PPC.” – Jef I. Richards, Chair and Professor at Michigan State University 

From internships, college classes and eventually my first “real-world” job, I had become well versed in various forms of traditional push advertising and publicity: grassroots publicity, event planning, TV and video forms of advertising.

However, I had always sensed that something was missing from my experience within advertising and marketing. For me, advertising and publicity was like shooting into a void. You made your best guess about what audiences and messaging would be effective and crossed your fingers that it would work.  It wasn’t until I got to Metric Theory, until I began to learn about keywords, ad copy and account optimization that I understood what I was missing. It was learning to understand how keywords and ads align themselves with the search process to increase site visitation and conversion volume; it was learning to listen to your audience rather than convincing them they were your audience; it was the feeling of accomplishment when your more specified ad copy or bid optimization caused a campaign’s return on investment to increase.

Now months into my job as a campaign manager at Metric Theory – after some intensive paid search training – I’ve developed a solid foundation of PPC skills and a growing love for the field. And from my time within paid search (a mere 4 months!), I put together my list of what I enjoy most about this form of marketing:

  1. “It’s all about the results…” Unlike traditional advertising, you can actually measure everything within PPC: conversion rates, cost, return on ad spend, and what keywords or ads result directly in a sale or a lead. And you use that data to tell the story of the account; to find efficiencies in performance and act on that data.
  2. Creativity. A characteristic I was told was not often associated with paid search. But paid search is creative! You have to find new and exciting ways to improve your performance and think about new ways of reaching your prospective customers and remaining relevant to them. You have to find creative ways of highlighting key differentiating points like unique selling propositions or promotions within your ads with an annoyingly short character limit.
  3. A passion for learning. Because of the dynamic nature of the search world, there’s always something to learn. And to be honest with you, there is a LOT more to paid search than what meets the eye.

At my old advertising agency, I was that person, the un-Paid Search me. And at that previous advertising job, I was smart at grabbing an audience but not curious about who my audience was. I was creative with how to approach people, but not strategic. The work was hard but rarely challenging.

Now I am a part of a constantly shifting online marketing landscape, where I am called upon to be articulate and creative, curious and strategic. And I love it.