You should push yourself to ask “why?” every day. Even if you’re working on a task you’ve already done 100 times, asking why you are doing it now is just as important as executing properly. And if you’re learning a new skill, understanding why you need this skill is usually just as important as knowing how to implement. Asking “why?” frequently will help you better understand your clients’ goals, increase your knowledge of PPC tactics, and ultimately allow you to drive stronger paid search results.

Learning New Skills

Asking “why?” questions when learning how to execute a new task helps you better understand how to perform the task properly. It will also help you recognize future situations in which performing this task could be useful.

One topic that confuses many beginning paid search specialists is the difference between Bid-Only and Target-and-Bid settings for Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA). It’s crucial to add the correct targeting, or else you could greatly reduce your reach or accidentally bid on keywords that are way too broad when not limited by an audience.

The best way to ensure that you add the correct audience targeting is to ask why you are adding these audiences. If your goal in using RLSA lists is simply to bid higher for previous site visitors, you should apply the lists as Bid-Only. However, if you wish to show ads only to previous site visitors, you should add your audiences with Target-and-Bid. Thinking through why you are taking this action will help you easily remember which setting to use.

Client Communications

The second and most important situation in which you must ask “why?” is to better understand a client’s request and the expected effect on account goals. As a paid search pro, you will frequently encounter situations in which a client requests changes that don’t fit your strategic plan, and could even drive poor results.

You have two options in such situations. You could agree to whatever request and make yourself a typical vendor to the client, or you could act as their partner and challenge them to understand the ultimate goal behind this requested change. It’s tough to challenge a client’s request, but it can bring a number of benefits. At the very least, you will learn more about their business. At best, you will learn about their business, educate them on paid search, and demonstrate your expertise, giving them confidence in your management of their account and the understanding that you are a trustworthy partner who puts their business needs first.

Paid Search clients sometimes want to focus on the wrong PPC metrics, and will therefore make requests that don’t align with long-term account goals. A common client request is to bid a set of keywords into higher position, even if you are achieving a better CPA or ROI from other keywords. This is your chance to learn about their business, and understand why displaying high on the page is so important for them. By explaining why you don’t recommend bidding up those keywords, you will teach the client how you manage their account based on your stated goals.

When you ask why it’s so important to be in high position for certain keywords, the conversation can go one of two ways, but either way will be beneficial to you:

Scenario 1

You may learn that this term is of critical importance to their business. Perhaps it pulls in customers who are very loyal to their brand. Or, for lead-gen clients, perhaps this keyword drives a high rate of leads to back-end sales. You can use this new knowledge to find similar queries, or invest more time and budget in this and similar campaigns. Learning why these keywords are so valuable, and applying those learnings to other areas, can create a great deal of value for the account.

Scenario 2

You receive an opportunity to provide a brief lesson on bidding to an account goal. You can explain that moving into Average Position 1 is going to increase CPCs, which will increase CPA (or decrease ROI). Ultimately this will make it less likely that you will hit your agreed-upon account goals. This is an excellent opportunity to reconfirm your paid search goals and educate the client about how you optimize their account to meet their goals.

Whether or not you end up making changes that your client has requested, having a conversation about why the client made a certain request will improve your relationship, and provide valuable learnings both to you and your client.