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Women In SEO Share Tips On Closing The Wage Gap

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Women In SEO Share Tips On Closing The Wage Gap

We’re back this Women’s Day with even more tips and advice from women in the SEO industry on how to know your worth – and command it.

This piece was originally published in 2021. Now, another year into a global pandemic and amid ongoing socioeconomic unrest the world over, our experts have more to share.

And their insights have never been more important.

COVID has worsened global inequality across the board and in America, this has translated to a deepening wage gap – especially for Black, Native American, and Latinx women.

SEO is constantly evolving according to data, consumer behavior, and algorithm trends.

But when it comes to women being treated as equals, the industry is much less evolved.

SEO is still a male-dominated industry where men outnumber women 2-to-1, according to a study conducted in 2020.

That survey found that:

  • Women are far less likely to be technical SEO professionals.
  • Women are twice as likely to freelance (see: unstable employment) as their male counterparts.
  • Men are more likely to charge monthly retainers; women are more likely to get paid by the hour or project.
  • Men’s retainers are 28.6% higher than women’s.
  • Men’s project rates were on average 66.7% higher than women’s.
  • Median hourly rates for men were 16.8% higher than for women.

And while the sample sizes for various aspects of this research were small, it is also worth noting that the study failed to account for the impact of combined gender and racial bias for Black, Indigenous, and other women of color in SEO (which the study coordinator acknowledges and regrets).

Had that been factored in, we would most likely see even more extreme differences in pay and opportunity for those women.

Despite this, many women continue to be attracted to careers and entrepreneurship in SEO and Digital Marketing.

Our world is fun, challenging, and ever-changing.

And as more women become involved in and grow in the industry, the uphill battle those women face is realized by more and more people.

It can be intimidating to ask for the rates we see in industry benchmarks and to prove our value to the companies or agencies who employ us.

In this column co-authored by Stephanie Gifford, SEO Marketing Manager at Adigma.io, we’ve asked women to share their best advice for peers and things they wish they’d known earlier in their careers.

Check out these tips for knowing your value as digital marketing and SEO professionals, getting paid fairly, and defending the title you’ve earned.

Please note that the job titles listed below reflect those of each contributor when they first submitted.

Knowing Your Value As An SEO Professional

Miracle Inameti-Archibong, Organic Performance Lead At Moneysupermaket Group:

“One of the reasons why women fail to ask for their worth is the feeling that they are not good enough. Work on that imposter syndrome.

Keep track of your accomplishments both big and small throughout the year. Don’t wait until it’s time for your review.

Don’t forget to value your soft skills as much as your hard skills it all impacts the work you do and it’s so unique to you, you deserve to be paid for it.”


Sara Taher, SEO Manager At PDFTron Systems Inc.: Sara Taher

“Being woman wearing a hijab led to my being underestimated in so many situations.

But then I realized, I need to be confident first inside to radiate it from the outside…

Confidence isn’t the same as competence; I know I’m good at my job… and all I need to do is to raise my confidence level to be as high as my experience as an SEO professional…

I’ve been working on that since last year, it’s not an easy journey but I’m getting there hopefully soon!”


Robyn Johnson, Chief Executive Officer Of Marketplace Blueprint: Robyn Johnson

“If I know that I am good at what I do, and believe that I provide a product that will make a difference to a client, I am doing them a disservice if I don’t assertively make that offer.

I found earlier on that I didn’t want to ‘pressure’ people, and then those same customers would go purchase with someone who had slick marketing or a more aggressive sales process even when they had less experience and expertise.

Consider who your customers might go with if you don’t communicate your offer and the value you bring to the table.

You aren’t tooting your own horn to gloat or be prideful; you need to accurately highlight your skills and your value so that your customers or potential employers can determine if your offering will really get the results they need.”


Julia McCoy, Coach & Strategist At The Content Hacker: Women In SEO Share Tips On Closing The Wage Gap

“Give yourself an annual task of re-assessing your rates.

Every year, without fail, audit what you charge and increase as needed. You should be charging more as your experience, skills, and credibility/tenure grows.

Don’t let imposter syndrome stop you from claiming your rightful place in the market. Back it up by boldly talking about the work you’ve done, and goals you’ve smashed for clients!”


Chelsea Alves, Sr. Content Marketing Specialist At Rio SEO: Women In SEO Share Tips On Closing The Wage Gap

“As a woman, knowing your professional value not only builds confidence but extends to the work you produce. This in turn leads to higher quality work, increased satisfaction with your job, and likelihood for promotion.

Stagnation can be a career killer. Instead, we must strive to push past our comfort zones.

To do this, I encourage women to continue to enhance your skills, broaden your networks, and ask for mentorship when needed to truly leave your mark in the SEO world.”


Navah Hopkins, President At Navah Hopkins LLC: Navah Hopkins

“On general value: Use data! Before you set rates or go into a salary negotiation, look up what others are charging/being paid.

Don’t be afraid to have different rates for different projects and always make sure you’re accounting for overhead (taxes, utilities, software, etc.).

Here’s to all the amazing power women knowing their value and being paid appropriately for our brilliance!”


Jenise Uehara Henrikson, CEO Of Alpha Brand Media, Home Of Search Engine Journal: Women In SEO Share Tips On Closing The Wage Gap

“When in doubt… go for it. Apply for that job, ask for that raise, ask for more $$$ in your proposal.

In the workplace, women in general tend to hang back and ask for less. A recent LinkedIn study showed that women apply to 20% fewer jobs than men.

Another famous study found women feel they need to meet 100% of the job criteria before they will apply… while men usually apply after meeting ~60%.

Women are twice as likely as men to report a total lack of comfort when asking for a raise. We need to ask for more. And when we don’t get it? Instead of giving up, learn to take a different approach, dust yourself off, and try again.

It’s taken me a long time to evolve my reaction to rejection: that it is not a verdict on me and my worth and I should just stop. Rather, I’m learning from failure, so that I can try again, fail better, and eventually… succeed.”


Ivy Boyter, SEO & Content Manager At GYBO Digital Marketing: Ivy Boyter

“As someone with HR experience from years ago, your title won’t matter as much as the meat you can put into your resume… the data and results that matter to who is looking to hire someone.

Show what you bring to the table by including valuable measurements in your descriptions instead of the day-to-day activities.

In general, though, titles can help you research what pay ranges you may expect.

There are plenty of websites that will help you discover pay ranges based on position, years of experience, where you live, etc. And I agree with PP… negotiate high (read “Never Split the Difference” if you want to learn serious negotiation skills ).

Finally, if you can’t get the $$, benefits like vacation/PTO are sometimes negotiable for the right candidate.”


Negotiating Rates And Raises: Practical Tips From Women In SEO

Rue Walker, Owner Of Walker Web Consultation:Rue Walker

“I work with small businesses who often have tight budgets.

I always want to respect the investment in my services, so I prepare monthly reports that detail exactly what I have provided and show clear results.

Then, when I ask for a raise, I have a record of success.

I will also offer to work for three months at a lower rate of pay with the option to negotiate a raise to my preferred pay scale once I have shown results.”


Motoko Hunt, President – Search Marketing Consultant At AJPR LLC:Motoko Hunt

“Show your value in terms of business data, not just because you’ve been there for X number of years or you put X number of hours but because your work grew (contributed to growing) business X% or increased the revenue by $X.

Also, always keep paper/digital records of communications, projects, etc.; whatever proves what you did/said.”


Shelly Fagin, Director, Growth Marketing At Credit Karma: Women In SEO Share Tips On Closing The Wage Gap

“Never be afraid to negotiate if the offer isn’t right for you. I do believe women tend to negotiate less out of fear of being seen as aggressive or demanding.

On the flip side, if someone isn’t willing to give you what you deserve don’t be afraid to walk away.

If the company or client really understands your value, they’ll work with you. If they don’t, you probably dodged a bullet.”


Anna Crowe, SEO Strategist At Hello Anna Branding: Anna Crowe

“Stop giving away your number.

I’ve worked both in-house and in freelance life.

Over the past four years, after talking to my friends about their salaries and rates, I realized how underpaid I was. I would get to the negotiation and lowball myself.

I was following the motto’s of “Hustle hard” and “Slay your day.” But, in reality, following advice from an Instagram quote doesn’t pay your bills.

I realized it’s all about how you finesse the numbers.

First, I came up with my line in the sand of what I needed to make to survive. Then add a little extra ($10,000-$15,000 per year).

When you’re asked for a number, ‘What is your budget?’ or ‘What are your salary requirements?’ Flip the script. Ask your client or potential boss what their budget or salary range is.

You might be surprised with the number you get back.

The first time I did this, I was going to quote $3,000 per month.

By the end of the conversation, I had more than tripled my money. It’s like poker, don’t show your cards. I had undercut my company, my self-worth, and my time. I was just happy to win a client.

Now, I understand my bottom line. And, I’m comfortable saying no, whether it be to clients or a project.”


Robyn Johnson, Chief Executive Officer Of Marketplace Blueprint:

Robyn Johnson

“Don’t base your prices on what you are ‘worth.’ I know that sounds counterintuitive but what if you have self-worth issues? That made me tend to underprice my services.

Instead of focusing on ‘What I am worth?’ I now ask myself, ‘How much value will I bring to this client?’

Focusing on the value I bring to the customer allows me to separate my service fees from how I might be feeling about myself on any given day.”


Bibi Raven, Founder Of Bibibuzz: Bibi Raven

“I think a lot of women have the notion that negotiation has to be confrontational, so they try to avoid going into it full-heartedly.

They also don’t like putting themselves in the spotlight and feel that talking about their accomplishments is a bad thing.

What I’ve learnt works best is this:

Assess your own worth, and then double that (as you’re probably aiming too low, and the negotiation result might end up lower).

Determine your BATNA: Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. This is one of the pillars of the Harvard Method. It means that prior to a negotiation, you determine when you will walk away from the table.

It’s a great safeguard against agreeing to something you’re not comfortable with.

Don’t take it personally. Separate what you do for work and business from your personal worth. Rejection in a negotiation does not say anything about who you are.

Of course, the other party might mean it personally, but you don’t have to play along. Water off a duck’s back.

Be as laidback as possible. The weird thing is, when the other party notices you’re relaxed, they often tend to agree with you. If you don’t know what I mean, watch the movie “Office Space.”

Use “okay, and…” when the other party offers something you don’t want but it’s not quite at BATNA level, create an opening for yourself.

Don’t say no right away, but create an opening by countering with a demand that will make theirs acceptable.

For instance, when they say: we want you to start working full-time, then you say: Hey cool, but I’d like three months paid leave with that.

If you have this idea stuck in your head that you’re simply not that kind of person to ask for things, pretend you’re someone else that you admire and channel them.”


Why Titles Still Matter In SEO

Libby Stonehawk, Co-owner Of Stonehawk Digital: Libby Stonehawk

“I seriously undersold myself at the start by calling myself ‘junior’ in my job title and charged way too little, working myself to a plump while over-delivering.

I soon realized that many so-called experts (usually male) knew about as much as me but would mystify clients with SEO jargon so they would not ask any questions!

When my husband started to freelance with me under the name Stonehawk Digital, during client pitches a lot of the more technical questions were directed to my husband even though I had the formal training.

If I could go back I’d say leave out the ‘junior’ designation, charge more, and connect with other women in tech earlier for advice and support.”


Navah Hopkins, President At Navah Hopkins LLC:

Navah Hopkins

“Never allow yourself to be called ‘associate’ or ‘junior’ anything. You’re a strategist, consultant, or specialist at entry-level.

If you’re a rockstar individual contributor with no desire to manage people, get a ‘senior’ or ‘team lead’ added to whatever function you perform.

‘Director’ and above tends to be faster to secure at smaller companies, and typically demands you have just as much business strategy at your back as digital marketing.

For agency owners: you’re a CEO unless you’ve handed control to someone else. We all tend to think of CEOs as the boss. President can work, too!”


Rachel Libby, Marketing Director at Buy Box Experts: Rachel Libby

“I learned early on that if I wanted to quickly progress and grow in my career, I had to be hungry for opportunities and proactively seek out paths that took me where I wanted to be.

Those experiences weren’t going to fall in my lap simply by paying my dues and sticking to routine. I had to chase each opportunity, take risks, and pursue the things that ultimately gave me the growth I desired.

I’ve been lucky enough to cross paths with colleagues that saw my talent, ultimately helping me realize my full potential and what I was capable of achieving. That encouragement has always been helpful to me when the road inevitably gets tough.

Ultimately, my advice is to really think about where you’d like to be in 10 years. What are you doing? How much money are you making? What does your work/life balance look like? What makes you happy?

Then create a plan that gets you there little by little with small, doable, daily goals. Be flexible with your dreams and patient with yourself and your journey.

Lastly, surround yourself with a supportive network that believes in you and sees your potential. That encouragement will get you through the growing pains that always inevitably come.”


Top Takeaways For Women In SEO

Know Your Value:

  • Keep track of your success with measurable data.
  • Have confidence and work on combating imposter syndrome.
  • Communicate and accurately highlight your skills.
  • Review and re-evaluate professional rates and pricing annually.
  • Continue to hone your skills and build connections.

How To Negotiate More Successfully:

  • Show your growth in experience in skills through data.
  • Keep records of results of successful projects and results.
  • Don’t be afraid to push back and negotiate more for the right price or walk away if it isn’t right for you.
  • Know your bottom line and ask the right questions.
  • Focus on the value you bring to clients.

Why Titles Still Matter In SEO:

  • Don’t undercut yourself by accepting titles with ‘associate’ or ‘junior’ in it, titles can always be tweaked to not feel like it’s selling yourself short.
  • At entry-level, focus on ‘strategist’, ‘specialist’, or ‘consultant.’
  • ‘Director’ and above can be more easily attained in smaller companies but requires equal parts technical expertise and business and marketing strategy.
  • Envision your ideal career path and take incremental steps to get there.

At the end of the day, we are all in this together.

We need to remember that the value we bring to the companies and clients we work for and with, is different than our value as individuals.

Keeping track of our successes and the results will push us all forward to better advancement and futures to show the value we bring to the table.

It can be challenging to find and link up with other women in the industry, so we would like to provide some additional resources to connect with more women in SEO.

These are among the solid and supportive communities we use to connect with women in SEO:

More Resources:


Featured Image: Monkey Business Images/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.

Have a question you’d like us to address? Fill out the form!

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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