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Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): How To Get Started

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Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): How To Get Started

Right now, the internet has more than 1.1 billion websites operating across more than 271 million unique domains. That’s a nearly unfathomable number of pages competing for a finite amount of traffic, views, and clicks.

If you’re getting your fair share of them, congratulations – you’re on the right path. But just getting visitors to your website isn’t enough, particularly if you’re running any type of business.

No, you need to convert those visitors once they end up on your site. And you need to do this effectively and efficiently.

One of the best ways to do that is by implementing a conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy.

If you do this right, you’ll not only improve your quality of leads, but you’ll also increase revenue and lower your customer acquisition cost. In other words, it will help you grow. 

In this piece, we’ll dig deeper into CRO, discuss why you should care about it, and provide some best practices for maximizing your conversion rate. 

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion rate optimization is the systematic process of increasing the percentage of users and visitors who take a specific action on your website, social channels, or other online marketing campaigns.

To successfully improve your conversion rate, you must deeply understand your users. You need to understand how they navigate your website, interact with your content, and ultimately take action.

Examples Of Conversions

Conversions can be any number of things, but some of the most common are:

  • Making a purchase.
  • Filling out a form.
  • Signing up for a newsletter.
  • Adding a product to their shopping cart.
  • Clicking a link.
  • Downloading a piece of content.
  • Turning an occasional customer into a regular customer.

In other words, a conversion can be any action a user performs that results in you collecting their information, making a sale, or otherwise gaining insight into how they interact with your campaigns.

Key Benefits Of Conversion Rate Optimization

Okay, you might be saying right now, I get the importance of CRO as an overall part of a digital marketing strategy, but what does this have to do with SEO?

A lot, actually, both for SEO professionals and the businesses they work for. 

Some of the benefits of CRO include:

Increased User Engagement

Conversion rate optimization improves the way visitors interact with your website and within your campaigns, leading to better engagement and, ultimately, conversions.

An increase in engagement metrics can provide valuable insights into your campaigns’ performance and what entices users to take action.

Better ROI

CRO leads to higher conversion rates, which means you are getting more bang for your marketing buck.

It allows you to land more customers without necessarily generating more traffic or increasing your marketing budget.

Valuable User Insights

The process of CRO requires you to develop a better understanding of your audience. And this, in turn, improves your overall marketing efforts and content.

It helps you be better prepared to reach the right types of customers with the right messaging at the right time.

Enhanced Customer Trust

Many conversions require users to provide their contact information (email address, name, phone number, etc.) in exchange for content like an ebook or information about your services.

But before they’re willing to hand over their info, they need to trust your site. CRO helps you build customer trust and leaves a positive impression on potential customers.

Scalability

Even the biggest markets only have a finite pool of prospects you can tap into – and the more specialized your niche, the smaller that pool is. CRO allows you to make the most of your existing audience (i.e., traffic) to attract new customers.

By improving your conversion rate, you’ll scale your business without running out of potential customers.

How To Calculate Conversion Rate

Before we can get optimizing, we need to first discuss how to arrive at your conversion rate. Don’t worry – no higher math is required.

The conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the total number of users or website visitors, then multiplying this figure by 100 to generate a percentage.

For example, if your website generated 20 contact form fills and 1,000 visitors in one month, your conversion rate would be: 20 / 1,000 = 0.02 x 100 = 2%.

Calculating your conversion rate enables you to set a benchmark for how your webpage or campaign is currently performing.

This means you can compare the results of any changes you make and the corresponding results you generate to your original conversion rate, letting you know what’s working – and what isn’t.

What’s Considered A “Good” Conversion Rate?

There is no single, universal figure that qualifies as a “good” conversion rate. What’s even considered an “average” conversion rate varies across industries, niches, campaigns, and specific conversion goals.

Depending on who you ask, however, a rough global average is anywhere from 1-4%.

This might not necessarily be true for you. In reality, the best measure of what’s considered average is to calculate your past and current conversion rates and compare them to future results.

Instead of obsessing over what’s considered a “good” conversion rate (most businesses don’t publish this information, anyway), you’re better off digging into what drives your particular audience – and then delivering the value they’re searching for.

What Is The CRO Process?

Now that we have that all out of the way, let’s talk about the CRO process.

Conversion rate optimization is the process of optimizing your website, landing page, or marketing campaign to improve the probability of a user taking a desired action.

This optimization process is informed by past user behavior, customer insights, and CRO best practices.

The basic process is as follows:

Audience Research

Surveying your audience and digging into past customer behavior analytics to understand what users are interested in, what they’re struggling with, and how they interact with your brand.

Optimization

Using these new insights to optimize your campaigns or webpages for conversions.

These might include writing more compelling web copy, adding enticing calls-to-action, redesigning your site for better user experience (UX), or removing bottlenecks from your sales funnel.

A/B Testing

Most CRO changes are not one and done. You will want to measure your adjustments against different components to see which ones truly move the needle.

For example, you may test one call-to-action versus another to see which performs better (i.e., has a higher conversion rate).

It may be tempting to skip this step, but don’t – that can lead to false positives.

Let’s say, for example, you changed your CTA like we just described, but you also changed your product descriptions. Which one do you attribute your sales increase to? A/B testing lets you know.

Measurement

Use analytics software (like Google Analytics) to measure the success of your campaigns.

Create goals to track conversions and then calculate your conversion rate by comparing this to your total traffic numbers.

Ongoing Adjustments

Monitor your analytics to track the success (or failure) of your campaigns or webpages. Make adjustments as needed to improve your conversion rate.

Components Of Successful CRO

CRO is a comprehensive process involving various components, from the design of your landing page to the contact forms you use.

A successful CRO campaign requires an in-depth analysis of your target audience, multiple tests to measure performance, and ongoing optimization to ensure maximum results.

There are a limitless number of things you can experiment with to optimize your conversion rate. Still, throughout this process, you’re likely to address a few core elements, regardless of industry:

Design

How your website and landing pages look plays an important role in CRO. An aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-navigate design will improve usability and make it easier for users to convert.

When designing your landing pages, work with a web designer who understands CRO and how users typically navigate a website.

Your site should be responsive and accessible, making it easy for visitors to find what they want. Your fonts and include interactive menus should be easily readable to anyone.

Site Speed

Fast website load speed is an essential part of both SEO and CRO. The longer it takes for your website to load, the more likely users will drop off and go elsewhere.

Ideally, your website should load in under three seconds on both desktop and mobile devices. Decrease image file sizes and remove slow-loading website elements to ensure fast load time. This alone can increase conversions to your site.

Copy

Web copy refers to the words users read on your website and landing pages. Skilled copywriters can craft copy that speaks to the unique needs of your target audience. It’s not enough to simply write “off the cuff” and hope for the best.

This is another place where audience research comes into play. If you know what your audience is struggling with and the solutions they’re looking for, you’ll be able to communicate the value of your offer.

Ultimately, you’re trying to convince users that your service or product is the best solution for their needs.

Call-To-Action

A call-to-action is an often short, concise appeal to users to take some sort of action on your site. The most commonly seen phrases are things like “Contact Us,” “Buy Now,” and “Work With Us.” However, you can get as creative as you like as long as you’re asking the visitor to perform an action.

For example, if you know your audience is interested in a particular offer, your CTA can be more obvious, like “Buy X Here” or “Download Y Now.”

A best practice is to make it obvious what users will get once they click on a link or submit their information.

Navigation

Your site’s structure should be built with the primary goal of making your website easy for users to navigate. You should have a logical layout of where your pages exist on your site and how they interact with each other.

Most sites adopt a hierarchical site structure, with the most important pages living in the main menu and subpages in the dropdown menu. Ideally, your web pages should not be “buried” more than three clicks away from the home page.

Consider how a typical user might navigate your site. Even better, look at a content drill-down report of your site to see how users journey from one page to another.

This might look something like:

  1. Home.
  2. Services page.
  3. Individual service page.
  4. Contact page.
  5. Goal completion (form fill).

Or, for an ecommerce site:

  1. Home.
  2. Products page.
  3. Product category page.
  4. Individual product page.
  5. Add to cart.
  6. Cart checkout.
  7. Thank You page.

Overall, creating an easy-to-navigate website is key to increasing conversions, building customer trust, and improving customer loyalty over time.

Forms

Contact forms are the most popular tool website owners use to collect user information, particularly for service and agency sites. Ecommerce sites, on the other hand, might have individual product pages and a typical shopping cart function.

Your contact forms should be functional and easy to use. By this, we mean that users should easily be able to submit their information. These form fills should be collected within your website to ensure quick follow-up.

Here are a few CRO best practices for using contact forms:

  • The fewer the fields, the better (typically). At the very least, you should collect information that allows you to follow up with leads promptly. If you want to better qualify your leads, you can add additional fields, like Industry or Budget.
  • Design matters. Good-looking forms typically equate to a better user experience. Make your text easy to read, use consistent styling, and make sure the submission button is clickable.
  • Consider customer privacy. With the introduction of GDPR and other consumer privacy laws, it’s become increasingly important to let users know how their information will be collected and used. You should always include a disclaimer that states what users are subscribing to, how you will be in contact with them, and whether they can unsubscribe at any time.

How To Measure Conversion Rate

Several quantitative tools allow you to collect data to track conversions on your website. These include general analytics tools like Google Analytics, website heat map tools like Hotjar, sales funnel tools, and contact form analytics tools.

Basically, any tool that allows you to:

  1. Track conversions or goal completions
  2. See website traffic data (which can be used to calculate your conversion rates).

By measuring your conversion rate, you’ll have data on how your site has performed in the past and how it’s performing now.

Then you can use a variety of CRO tactics to generate even more leads, customers, and revenue for your business.

Conversion Rate Optimization Best Practices – Do They Work?

CRO best practices are, by definition, practices that have worked for businesses in the past. This means that the quick CRO “hacks” may not necessarily apply to your business, nor might they be relevant to businesses in the modern day.

With this in mind, businesses should be wary of adopting any CRO best practices without proper measurement and an in-depth understanding of their target audience.

For example, it’s commonly believed that a few simple tweaks are all it takes to improve conversions. These “tips” often include:

  • A/B testing headlines.
  • Changing the color of CTAs.
  • Including contact forms on every page.
  • Always adding customer testimonials.
  • Offering discounts.

Just because something worked for one business doesn’t mean it will work for yours.

Your best bet is to focus on what’s working with your particular audience and then use your own creativity to make adjustments that will improve your conversion rates over time.

Uncommon CRO Tactics

Today’s most progressive brands aren’t following trends – they’re setting them.

To stay ahead of the curve, you might want to adopt some uncommon CRO tactics and measure their impact on your business.

At the same time, keep a close eye on how users interact with your site and use these insights to make adjustments over time.

For example, some CRO-related technology and tactics to look into include:

  • AI-driven CRO tools.
  • Keyword research tools.
  • On-site customer surveys.
  • Mouse tracking and website heat maps.
  • Personalized product suggestions.

How To Improve Your Conversion Rate

By this point, it should be clear: CRO depends on carefully monitoring your customers, tracking their behavior and how they interact with your site, and comparing that information over time.

And while there are tools available for measuring traffic, engagement, and goal completions, no single CRO strategy will work for every site.

No, what works for your website depends entirely on your target audience, what you’re promoting, and user experiences.

For example, you wouldn’t expect a target audience of upper-middle-class men shopping for luxury sedans to behave like teenage girls looking for hoodies.

So, what works for the first audience may have no impact on the second, and vice versa.

But I will promise you this: If you fine-tune your UX, implement A/B testing, improve your website copy, and experiment with CTAs. Eventually, you’ll hit on the conversion formula you need.

More Resources:


Featured Image: 3rdtimeluckystudio/Shutterstock

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Google’s AI Overviews Go Viral, Draw Mainstream Media Scrutiny

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Google's AI Overviews Go Viral, Draw Mainstream Media Scrutiny

Google’s rollout of AI-generated overviews in US search results is taking a disastrous turn, with mainstream media outlets like The New York Times, BBC, and CNBC reporting on numerous inaccuracies and bizarre responses.

On social media, users are sharing endless examples of the feature’s nonsensical and sometimes dangerous output.

From recommending non-toxic glue on pizza to suggesting that eating rocks provides nutritional benefits, the blunders would be amusing if they weren’t so alarming.

Mainstream Media Coverage

As reported by The New York Times, Google’s AI overviews struggle with basic facts, claiming that Barack Obama was the first Muslim president of the United States and stating that Andrew Jackson graduated from college in 2005.

These errors undermine trust in Google’s search engine, which more than two billion people rely on for authoritative information worldwide.

Manual Removal & System Refinements

As reported by The Verge, Google is now scrambling to remove the bizarre AI-generated responses and improve its systems manually.

A Google spokesperson confirmed that the company is taking “swift action” to remove problematic responses and using the examples to refine its AI overview feature.

Google’s Rush To AI Integration

The flawed rollout of AI overviews isn’t an isolated incident for Google.

As CNBC notes in its report, Google made several missteps in a rush to integrate AI into its products.

In February, Google was forced to pause its Gemini chatbot after it generated inaccurate images of historical figures and refused to depict white people in most instances.

Before that, the company’s Bard chatbot faced ridicule for sharing incorrect information about outer space, leading to a $100 billion drop in Google’s market value.

Despite these setbacks, industry experts cited by The New York Times suggest that Google has little choice but to continue advancing AI integration to remain competitive.

However, the challenges of taming large language models, which ingest false information and satirical posts, are now more apparent.

The Debate Over AI In Search

The controversy surrounding AI overviews adds fuel to the debate over the risks and limitations of AI.

While the technology holds potential, these missteps remind everyone that more testing is needed before unleashing it on the public.

The BBC notes that Google’s rivals face similar backlash over their attempts to cram more AI tools into their consumer-facing products.

The UK’s data watchdog is investigating Microsoft after it announced a feature that would take continuous screenshots of users’ online activity.

At the same time, actress Scarlett Johansson criticized OpenAI for using a voice likened to her own without permission.

What This Means For Websites & SEO Professionals

Mainstream media coverage of Google’s erroneous AI overviews brings the issue of declining search quality to public attention.

As the company works to address inaccuracies, the incident serves as a cautionary tale for the entire industry.

Important takeaway: Prioritize responsible use of AI technology to ensure the benefits outweigh its risks.



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New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

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New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

A keynote at Google’s Marketing Live event showed a new AI-powered visual search results that feature advertisements that engage users within the context of an AI-Assisted search, blurring the line between AI-generated search results and advertisements.

Google Lens is a truly helpful app but it becomes unconventional where it blurs the line between an assistant helping users and being led to a shopping cart. This new way of engaging potential customers with AI is so far out there that the presenter doesn’t even call it advertising, he doesn’t even use the word.

Visual Search Traffic Opportunity?

Google’s Group Product Manager Sylvanus Bent, begins the presentation with an overview of the next version of Google Lens visual search that will be useful for surfacing information and for help finding where to buy them.

Sylvanus explained how it will be an opportunity for websites to receive traffic from this new way to search.

“…whether you’re snapping a photo with lens or circling to search something on your social feed, visual search unlocks new ways to explore whatever catches your eye, and we recently announced a newly redesigned results page for Visual search.

Soon, instead of just visual matches, you’ll see a wide range of results, from images to video, web links, and facts about the knowledge graph. It gets people the helpful information they need and creates new opportunities for sites to be discovered.”

It’s hard to say whether or not this will bring search traffic to websites and what the quality of that traffic will be. Will they stick around to read an article? Will they engage with a product review?

Visual Search Results

Sylvanus shares a hypothetical example of someone at an airport baggage claim who falls in like with someone else’s bag. He explains that all the person needs to do is snap a photo of the luggage bag and Google Lens will take them directly to shopping options.

He explains:

“No words, no problem. Just open Lens, take a quick picture and immediately you’ll see options to purchase.

And for the first time, shopping ads will appear at the very top of the results on linked searches, where a business can offer what a consumer is looking for.

This will help them easily purchase something that catches their eye.”

These are image-heavy shopping ads at the top of the search results and as annoying as that may be it’s nowhere near the “next level” advertising that is coming to Google’s search ads where Google presents a paid promotion within the context of an AI Assistant.

Interactive Search Shopping

Sylvanus next describes an AI-powered form advertising that happens directly within search. But he doesn’t call it advertising. He doesn’t even use the word advertising. He suggests this new form of AI search experience is more than offer, saying that, “it’s an experience.”

He’s right to not use the word advertisement because what he describes goes far beyond advertising and blurs the boundaries between search and advertising within the context of AI-powered suggestions, paid suggestions.

Sylvanus explains how this new form of shopping experience works:

“And next, imagine a world where every search ad is more than an offer. It’s an experience. It’s a new way for you to engage more directly with your customers. And we’re exploring search ads with AI powered recommendations across different verticals. So I want to show you an example that’s going live soon and you’ll see even more when we get to shopping.”

He uses the example of someone who needs to store their furniture for a few months and who turns to Google to find short term storage. What he describes is a query for local short term storage that turns into a “dynamic ad experience” that leads the searcher into throwing packing supplies into their shopping cart.

He narrated how it works:

“You search for short term storage and you see an ad for extra space storage. Now you can click into a new dynamic ad experience.

You can select and upload photos of the different rooms in your house, showing how much furniture you have, and then extra space storage with help from Google, AI generates a description of all your belongings for you to verify. You get a recommendation for the right size and type of storage unit and even how much packing supplies you need to get the job done. Then you just go to the website to complete the transaction.

And this is taking the definition of a helpful ad to the next level. It does everything but physically pick up your stuff and move it, and that is cool.”

Step 1: Search For Short Term Storage

1716722762 15 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows an advertisement that when clicked takes the user to what looks like an AI-assisted search but is really an interactive advertisement.

Step 2: Upload Photos For “AI Assistance”

1716722762 242 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above image is a screenshot of an advertisement that is presented in the context of AI-assisted search.  Masking an advertisement within a different context is the same principal behind an advertorial where an advertisement is hidden in the form of an article. The phrases “Let AI do the heavy lifting” and “AI-powered recommendations” create the context of AI-search that masks the true context of an advertisement.

Step 3: Images Chosen For Uploading

1716722762 187 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows how a user uploads an image to the AI-powered advertisement within the context of an AI-powered search app.

The Word “App” Masks That This Is An Ad

Screenshot of interactive advertisement for that identifies itself as an app with the words

Above is a screenshot of how a user uploads a photo to the AI-powered interactive advertisement within the context of a visual search engine, using the word “app” to further the illusion that the user is interacting with an app and not an advertisement.

Upload Process Masks The Advertising Context

Screenshot of interactive advertisement that uses the context of an AI Assistant to mask that this is an advertisement

The phrase “Generative AI is experimental” contributes to the illusion that this is an AI-assisted search.

Step 4: Upload Confirmation

1716722762 395 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

In step 4 the “app” advertisement is for confirming that the AI correctly identified the furniture that needs to be put into storage.

Step 5: AI “Recommendations”

1716722762 588 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows “AI recommendations” that look like search results.

The Recommendations Are Ad Units

1716722762 751 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

Those recommendations are actually ad units that when clicked takes the user to the “Extra Space Storage” shopping website.

Step 6: Searcher Visits Advertiser Website

1716722762 929 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

Blurring The Boundaries

What the Google keynote speaker describes is the integration of paid product suggestions into an AI assisted search. This kind of advertising is so far out there that the Googler doesn’t even call it advertising and rightfully so because what this does is blur the line between AI assisted search and advertising. At what point does a helpful AI search become just a platform for using AI to offer paid suggestions?

Watch The Keynote At The 32 Minute Mark

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Ljupco Smokovski

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How Do I Get A Job With A PPC Agency

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Conversion Tracking In PPC Campaigns

This month’s “Ask A PPC” question is particularly significant because the job market has been quite volatile.

“How do I get a job with a PPC agency when I have only worked in-house. What experience would they want?” – Karl Toronto

It’s understandable that people want to know which skills employers seek when hiring for a PPC team. There can be a disparity between what people think they need and what the market actually demands.

We’ll delve into some data and commentary to explain why various traits are valued.

It’s crucial to understand that the ideal candidates will be versatile and have an aptitude for all aspects of digital marketing.

However, no one can excel at everything, so leveraging your strengths or preferences is beneficial.

Ensure that you’re securing the best role for yourself while the company hiring you finds the best fit for them.

Here Are The Essential Skills

  • Analytics.
  • Creativity.
  • Ad network knowledge.
  • Willingness to test/learn.
  • Culture fit.

Discrepancy Between Market Demands And Perceived Needs

I conducted a poll on my LinkedIn to gauge the skills desired by current employers and practitioners.

Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Analytical skills emerged as the most sought-after trait. Employers seek individuals who can interpret numbers and discern the story behind them.

However, relying solely on analytical prowess may overlook the importance of creativity.

Creative skills are vital in today’s ad networks, especially emphasizing visual content like videos and campaign types that force visual content (Performace Max/Demand Gen). Neglecting creativity can hinder a company’s branding efforts.

Unexpectedly, ad network skills and cultural fit were deemed far less critical than analytical skills. Brands should prioritize team cohesion for long-term success, yet this aspect is often undervalued.

The disparity between job descriptions and actual skill requirements contributes to the difficulty in the job market.

Agencies that hire for how PPC used to work will be left wanting. Practitioners who only focus on popular skills instead of needed ones will be made obsolete by the privacy-first era obscuring data and AI owning creative.

Analytical Skills

Analytical abilities involve knowing where to find relevant data sources and understanding how they contribute to success.

While PPC historically relied on measurable outcomes, the landscape is evolving, necessitating adaptability in data analysis. Technical proficiency and strategic acumen are crucial for navigating different data sources.

These include:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
  • Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
  • Ecommerce platforms.
  • Content management platforms (CMS).

Empathy for various ad channels improves your candidacy, and knowing how to work with post-click data will give you an edge over those who can only work with ad platform data.

While being highly technical isn’t required, having empathy for coding and scripts will give you a better chance to stay current with evolving data mechanics (especially as APIs become even more important for accessing data blocked by privacy-first regulations).

Here are some takes from PPC experts on why analytics is the most important:

A screenshot of a LinkedIn comment by Georgi Zayakov, who describes himself as analytical Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A LinkedIn post by Kathryn B., a paid media specialist at a PPC agencyScreenshot from LinkedIn, April 2024
Screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Nikolaos B., discussing how marketers must become data-savvyScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Creativity

Creativity is essential for crafting compelling ad content, yet many PPC agencies struggle in this area.

Clients are often tasked with providing creative materials due to cost or complexity constraints.

You’ll get a competitive edge if you have these skills:

  • Video Editing: With the rise of PMax, as well as many ad networks leaning heavily into connected TV, having video editing chops will be a huge asset for any team. If you’re not comfortable using conventional editing tools, AI tools like Descript are a great way to take on those tasks.
  • Graphic Design: No matter the ad network your potential employer is hiring for, you will need some ability to design static images. Whether you use stock photos or AI-generated images or come up with the creative yourself, the days of purely text ads are over. Tools like Canva can help bridge the gap for less technical designers, but don’t discount ad network AI.
  • Content Creation: While the first two categories leaned toward visual content, written content is still important (i.e., most ad formats include some text). Having the ability to understand how diverse audiences prefer to be addressed while respecting the specific requirements of each format is a great skill to hone.

While some roles may prioritize analytics or ad network knowledge, emphasizing creative abilities can distinguish you during the hiring process.

Here are some experts who value creativity:

A screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Erik PetersonScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A screenshot of a Linkedin post by Amy HebdonScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Ad Network Knowledge

Ad network expertise is valuable, but adaptability is paramount as platforms evolve rapidly.

Some agencies will have specialists, while others hire folks they expect to be passable at every network they service. It’s important to understand what workflow will enable you to succeed.

If you’re happy working with all platforms, then don’t shy away from it. However, if you do better in focusing on one aspect of PPC, that’s totally valid. Just know it might limit your ability to get hired into smaller “familyesque” agencies.

Understanding auction dynamics and bidding strategies is crucial.

Many of us who entered the industry when manual bidding was more popular have an unfair advantage over those who came in during the Smart Bidding era (i.e., anything from 2020).

This is because manual bidding requires you to think about the mechanics of each ad platform’s auction and how you could use those mechanics to your advantage in building account structure.

Knowing what to track and allocating appropriate budgets are key considerations.

Understanding that some networks require more conversions than others to run (e.g., Meta Ads’ 50 in a 7-day period vs. Google Ads’ 15 in a 30-day period) should influence what you choose to track, as well as how you report the data.

Additionally, if you are under or over budget, you’ll set yourself up to fail. Knowing which channels require a big investment upfront and what the breaking point for each network is (either on underspending or spending too much) is critical.

Awareness of potential pitfalls, such as false positives or negatives, enhances campaign effectiveness. For example, it’s important to know how to check if automatically applying recommendations is on and what tasks it’s on for.

It’s worth noting that none of the experts who chimed in on the poll made a clear case for ad network knowledge specifically.

Willingness To Test

Success in PPC requires openness to experimentation and a willingness to adapt. While this wasn’t one of the criteria in the poll, it was one of the most popular traits experts look for in hiring.

Perfectionism can hinder progress in a fast-changing environment. Testing new ideas and embracing failure as an opportunity for growth are essential.

While analytical skills aid in test design, empathy and creativity are equally vital for devising effective experiments.

Here is an expert who favors a willingness to test:

Screenshot of a social media post by Mike RhodesScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Cultural Fit

Cultural alignment with an agency fosters productivity and job satisfaction. However, you can only achieve that by being honest with yourself about what you want and the mechanics of how you work.

Agencies demand intense effort and collaboration, making compatibility with colleagues crucial.

Anyone looking to make the shift from in-house to agency needs to be prepared for a much faster pace of work and a lot more agency.

Open communication with leadership regarding preferred management and learning styles will ensure a positive working relationship.

Respect for peers and a supportive atmosphere contribute to a fulfilling work environment.

Here are a few thoughts on cultural fit from polled experts:

The image shows a LinkedIn post by David Zebrout containing text discussing the importance of integrating PPC network knowledge with intertimed optimizations in generating profitable growth.Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
LinkedIn post by Lisa Erschbamer discussing the importance of cultural fit and individual personality in team dynamics for effective performance at a PPC Agency.Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Aaron Davies discussing the importance of cultural fit, individual skills, and team communication in marketing for a PPC agency. The post has reactions and a question comment by NavahScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Final Thoughts

Navigating the current job market can be challenging, but understanding industry needs and honing relevant skills increases your chances of success.

Balancing technical proficiency with creativity and cultural fit is essential for thriving in a PPC role. By aligning with market demands and showcasing your strengths, you can secure rewarding opportunities in the field.

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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