Working for an ad tech brand has been one of the most amazing phases of my career as a master organic marketer.
When I joined Optmyzr over two years ago, I had no idea I would have learned so much about PPC advertising in such a short period of time.
Between our clients, my colleagues, and the paid search community that welcomes me with open arms, I’ve been involved in PPC more over the past two years than the rest of my career combined.
Like any smart marketer, I’ve been listening intently and taking notes.
Between this and my own management activities, I have accumulated a relatively rich knowledge of PPC.
Here are my five most important lessons from leading a bootstrapped PPC ad tech brand marketing.
1. Treat your advertising budget like an investment budget
Walled gardens, monopolies, platforms—whatever you want to call them, the different places businesses can advertise are not known for working together.
Between low data visibility and ever-changing controls, true omnichannel advertising isn’t really the way to go.
But it’s not a good idea to rely entirely or overly on a single ad platform just because every platform’s activity is fenced off:
- new features (such as Google’s Performance Max and changes in keyword match types) Can dump your entire advertising program.
- You’re missing out on potential customers blocking/ignoring ads on your platform Or don’t use it in the first place.
- External influences such as market economies and regulatory changes can do anything From raising costs to making the entire platform moot.
Between platform-side automation and an increasingly demanding online audience, it’s important if you’re not already diversifying your PPC portfolio.
2. Don’t bite more than you can chew
When looking to spread your budget across multiple channels, don’t rush to invest in too many different channels.
Not only will you end up with an event that isn’t adequately funded, but you risk pushing the team too tight.
Since I joined Optmyzr as the first marketer, the rate at which our team has grown has been healthy for our revenue run rate.
No one on the team is expected to work 60 hours a week, have 10 different channels, or otherwise push their physical and mental limits.
So our understanding in dealing with advertising (and marketing in general) is that we don’t have the same muscle as a well-funded organization.
For example, if your entire marketing team is three people, it would be unwise to advertise on six channels.
You will compromise your testing and campaign efforts, ignoring the additional cost of other needs in marketing.
Internal teams should start by testing everything and then switch to a 1-2-1 approach:
- 1 main platform give you the best results And requires most of your budget (e.g. Google Ads across multiple inventory types).
- 2 auxiliary platforms Targeting a niche audience or goals (eg YouTube to grow your video audience and Twitter to grow your mailing list).
- 1 experimental platform to test new ideas (like running a story ad on Instagram).
Then, as the team grows, fill each layer from top to bottom.
3. Brand matters, even in PPC
I know many PPC experts have different opinions on this, but I’ve always been a fan of branded search terms for a few reasons:
- already have some degree of intent to your product.
- claim space Your competitors can’t do it now.
- Space to test different offers and message.
Branded search traffic is cheap, easy to earn, and allows you to capitalize on a range of business opportunities.
I use branded terms to capitalize on traffic surges following high-publicity events, tailor offers for specific queries (such as those that include “reviews” or “pricing”), and reduce customer acquisition costs by reducing the time between discovery and conversion.
4. Focus on offer, positioning and ideas in order
I’ve earned marketing streaks as a creative (especially a copywriter with an art director partner), so I’ve always put a lot of emphasis on well-crafted ads.
But the more I work as a strategist, the more I realize that offers are a priority.
Quotes include messaging and positioning aspects, most often in the form of copy—whether it’s headlines, dialogue, or voiceovers.
That’s what puts you in a specific place in your ideal customer’s mind, and plays to your unique strengths rather than your competitors’ weaknesses.
As for the creativity itself, the longer I’ve been in marketing, the less I want ads to follow brand guidelines or even look like ads.
Customers get defensive the moment they feel like they’re being sold to them, so mode disruption can actively disarm.
I’ve seen unconventional ad formats, like customer testimonials, win battles that the perfect “brand” still can’t.
Even the flashiest of ideas can be difficult to convert without solid quotes and accurate positioning.
In my experience, getting these three things right is easier said than done, but critical to PPC success.
Ordinary creatives, complex account structures, and imperfect targeting can still succeed.
This rarely happens with weak offers presented with attractive ads in well-crafted accounts and campaigns.
5. Advertising is not just Google and Meta
Both platforms offer a range and variety that most advertisers find difficult to ignore.
Google’s inventory spans search, email, YouTube and more of the internet’s most visited properties; Meta’s network includes some of the world’s most popular apps on Facebook and Instagram.
But beyond these two networks, there is a whole world of ad options:
- Microsoft Ads provides a lot of visibility and control Advertisers miss Google.
- Amazon is a marketplace you can’t ignore If you retail physical products.
- TikTok and Snapchat are great ways to reach younger audiences.
- Spotify lets you play audio To a degree that few other digital channels allow.
- Sponsor a newsletter or community for consistently higher user intent Even if they are not strictly PPC ads.
A few years ago, I was on a team advertising a limited market on one channel.
Once we exhausted the audience available on the platform, all future leads are those who converted in the past or were marked as closed.
Moving to a second channel meant working from the ground up and understanding the nuances of a brand new ad platform, while delivering a far lower volume and quality of leads than expected.
Most Valuable Single Trait in PPC and Marketing
Sometimes I remember what digital marketing and PPC advertising looked like when I started my career in 2010, and I realize that no one could have predicted what it would look like today.
Nearly all best practices — many of which are focused on achieving goals — have given way to best practices that focus more on automation, user experience, and accessibility.
If you had told me in 2012 that one day there would be disapproval of restricting blogging, he would have laughed.
With the speed at which our industry changes, adaptability is one of the most important traits to cultivate.
Combining it with a single ad platform, format, technique, strategy or mindset can hold you back as a marketer without you realizing it.
Then one day you realize that everything around you has changed and everyone but you has changed the playing field in their favor.
In all of my conversations with PPC strategists and account managers (both agencies and insiders), this is probably one piece of advice I hear repeatedly: adapt or be replaced.
Featured Image: NFstock/Shutterstock