Essential skills for a career as a PPC specialist

Posted on | February 1, 2014 | No Comments

As online marketing continues to gain its share of companies’ overall marketing budgets, so does the need for qualified and experienced digital marketers surge. Career opportunities abound for paid search engine marketing (SEM) professionals, both at digital agencies as well as within companies that have in-house SEM teams. Success as a SEM professional requires one to be proficient in the main pay per click (PPC) advertising programs, especially Google Adwords, which is by far the largest and most effective of such programs currently available. Here are some of the most important skills and attributes that you must have (or acquire) to establish yourself as a sought-after PPC specialist.

Acquire and update your “technical” skills
SEM is a highly dynamic profession; search advertising platforms such as Google Adwords or the one offered by Bing continue to enhance the capabilities they offer very regularly. It is essential to be absolutely up-to-date with the new features, functionality and their advantages; else it is very easy to be left far behind rather quickly. Read the Google Adwords blog regularly where they communicate updates frequently in a detailed manner along with explanatory videos; likewise, refer to the Bing advertising blog if you want to keep yourself updated on paid advertising on the Bing/Yahoo network. The willingness and the ability to stay on top of the developments is an absolute pre-requisite, for what you knew yesterday may be redundant as soon as tomorrow!

Become a certified SEM professional
Google Adwords offers a certification program which requires you to pass some online exams. Not only is the certificate you receive upon successfully clearing the exam a good badge of honour to put on your profile, the process of preparing for the Adwords certification exam is a great learning experience. It serves as reinforcement of a lot of things you already know while also unearthing new knowledge that may have passed you by.

Fall in love with numbers, sharpen your analytical (and MS Excel) skills
To become really good at PPC, it is critical that you develop a very strong affinity – may be even a passion- for numbers. Your ability to look through copious amounts of campaign data, interpret them and come up with logical inferences will be one of the most valuable skills that you can demonstrate. Results of PPC campaigns are dependent on various variables, with different levels of sensitivity on each other. Being able to predict the effect of change of any variable on campaigns will give you much-needed control of your campaigns, which will get you kudos from your clients or bosses.

Develop a flair for marketing
Often PPC specialists get caught up or limit themselves to the technicalities of the channels they use such as keyword research, bid management, conversion rate measurement etc. However, it is very important to not lose sight of the fact that ultimately PPC is a form of marketing and a thorough understanding of the typical facets of any marketing campaign such as objectives, market segmentation and targeting, messaging etc. is equally, if not more, important. While a PPC specialist may have marketing copywriters to help with writing copy for the ads or landing pages, it is imperative for the PPC person to be able to articulate well the requirements for the copy so that the messaging is in line with the marketing strategy and brand positioning.

Stay alert and be decisive
Unlike traditional media and marketing, SEM results can be seen almost in real time. A PPC marketer has to monitor the results like a hawk and take quick decisions to make changes to improve campaign performance. No, this is not just trial-and-error (though you can develop a knack of doing that well too), it is about being absolutely on top of campaigns and discerning trends early (refer back to the point on being analytical).

The dynamic nature of SEM makes it exciting and challenging at the same time. As a result, SEM offers a fulfilling career opportunity that forces you to be fresh and keep your brain fertile. Do you have the skills and attributes mentioned above to have a serious go in this profession? Are you committed to develop these? If yes, a highly promising and rewarding career awaits you!

The Editorial Team


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