The secrets of PPC specialists – interview with Brad Geddes

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We were lucky to interview Brad Geddes (follow him on Twitter), an official Google Ads Seminar Leader and certified Ads Trainer for Google’s Seminars for Success program. Brad started blogging about marketing more than 20 years ago, so he has really valuable experience to share with OWOX BI readers.

Brad is approved by Google to teach advanced courses in Google Ads. He is also the author of Advanced Google AdWords and a co-founder of Adalysis. He launched BG Theory in 2008 to provide consulting, education, and training on the best internet marketing practices.

Maryna Sharapa, an OWOX BI Growth Hacker, met Brad Geddes via Skype and wrote down all of his interesting answers. It was quite lucky for us, as Brad has a tough schedule. Enjoy this valuable interview from a true marketing specialist.

Must-use, -read, and -visit for a PPC specialist

What are the top 5 tools you can’t imagine your life without? Do you use third-party tools?

Brad Geddes: Of course I use search tools every single day. My favorite has to be Adalysis, which I co-founded. If we’re looking at free tools that are available for everyone, you have to start with Excel as it’s indispensable. Then Google Data Studio, which we use a lot for reporting and other things. The next ones are editors – Microsoft Editor and Google Ads Editor. That’s the minimal set. Some people need only tools that are built in, but sometimes you need to use additional third-party tools too – for example, call tracking, chat bots, analytics. We can easily expand the list.

You’ve mentioned Google Data Studio. What other reporting tools do you use?

BG: I use Google Data Studio pretty extensively for reporting. If the data is really large, I use Power BI or Tableau. However, the majority of reporting is done with Google Data Studio and Google Analytics. We always say you need a source of truth – a single place where you consolidate data and trust the numbers. None of the numbers will ever totally agree, and they are rarely 100% accurate, but you must have a consistent starting place. You get your call data, paid search data, social data, etc. If you update the data, it is a way to estimate your sales.

Do you read PPC blogs? What PPC blogs should PPC specialists read?

BG: Obviously, the first is the Adalysis blog where I do most of the writing. PPC Hero is really good. One of my absolute favorites is Search Engine Land. Also, PPC Epiphany is fantastic. You can also look at #PPCChat on Twitter. I like what Google and Microsoft write. We look at the changes with the help of Google and Microsoft, so we can see what is going to happen. There are a lot of other sources. However, all the ones I’ve mentioned I check on a regular basis.

What about conferences? We know you take part in some as a speaker. But what conferences do you recommend visiting as a participant?

BG: It’s often a geographic question. If you’re in the USA, you should definitely go to PPC Hero Conference & Coaching. If you don’t have the budget for this or you can’t leave your area, then you should go to some local digital PPC conference (a super local one). It might not be all that great, but it depends on the area you’re located in. 

If the budget is limitless, I would go to SMX Advanced or SMX Munich over any other show. Also, Google holds a few events per year that are worth going to. Personally, I like local events because I can see different groups of people and get some new ideas. Last year, I went to SLC SEM in Salt Lake City and I found a lot of valuable things, especially local networking. It is really hard to hire in this industry, so finding people who understand what to do is really valuable.

Focusing on skills, KPIs, and nightmares

What skills does a PPC specialist need to develop?

BG: Paid search requires creativity and math. Not everybody has both skill sets. Usually, if you are creative enough, you need some Excel skills. And if you are really good at math, you need to go to a writing class or something else.

A PPC specialist needs to understand the essence of doing research (constantly testing). You need to know how pieces are put together to understand the strategy well. Also, you need to understand some business things like generating demand, capturing demand, and how to work with different teams. These things are not required for beginners (they’re for creating a strategy in the company), but they give you the foundation and skills.

What KPIs are you usually focused on as a PPC specialist?

BG: Revenue or profit is absolutely number one – what do we put in our bank account? Then it moves down to conversions – sales, MQL, and sales qualified leads. And the additional KPIs – audience size, etc. in order to properly manage the funnel. The next set of KPIs are clicks, cost per click (CPC), and other metrics. Usually, they are concerned with revenue or profit. They make me see how people are coming into the funnel, converting, and keep tracking the process.

What is your nightmare as a PPC specialist?

BG: Dealing with a decision to split Google into a few companies that would stop serving all businesses. Also, on a day to day basis, forgetting about the budget and overspending per day or week, but it’s not a long-term nightmare. The real nightmare would probably be government intervention into how search engines work and monetize themselves, since it is about how the whole industry is built – that would be a nightmare.

Checking and evaluating issues

How often do you check and update your reports when you’re working with a lot of data?

BG: We check KPIs, so we don’t have to check reports daily (conversion falls or other changes). If the KPIs change, then we need to dig into the data and put a fix into place. Sometimes I can review reports every other week because we get everything automatically. If every day you are checking your reports, you are wasting time. 

If you need a deep dive into your data (it depends again on size), it should be every week or month. You don’t need to look at everything daily. If things were the same yesterday, and yesterday everything was fine, then you don’t need to access it again. Save your time! Make your staff do something else.

How do you evaluate the remarketing of advertising campaigns?

BG: That’s a great question! You have multiple types of remarketing. We spend money to attract customers once. When interested parties are not ready to buy yet, that’s often a measure of the engagement rate and shows how many people move to the next step. While making a remarketing list, generally we look at the company size. The goal of a remarketing list is to get users to convert (that is, push them to the final step). Remarketing is measured with the help of revenue in the end. But your bottom line of the evaluating remarketing of advertising campaigns is all CPA conversions.

Does offline data matter for evaluating advertising campaigns?

BG: Yes, it definitely matters. Actually, evaluating advertising campaigns takes some time. We really think about offline data and its evaluation. We have our data, so we can manage it. If we have a physical retail store, we want to use something to push sales. We need to know how many visits to the store brought in revenue. 

Offline data for retail stores can be measured only by big companies. It is very expensive for small retailers. Every cost and revenue system has to import into analytics. Most CRM systems can export data to analytics that connect with Google Ads. The question is, what data do you probably not need at all and what data is crucial? You should be aware of exactly why you need marketing data and how you can use it. 

OWOX BI bottom line

During our interview, Brad Geddes shared a lot of useful things. We appreciate the time Brad gave us for this interview and for allowing OWOX BI blog readers to learn from him.

The main insight from Brad is that you shouldn’t waste your time checking reports daily. It’s better to use automatic software for gathering and reporting data and then have automated KPI monitoring in place. So you know when you do need to dig deeply into the data. In this way, you can easily and quickly make the right decisions for your business. We agree with Brad. OWOX BI is created to save time on gathering, compiling, and reporting website data.

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