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Written by Caroline Cox on May 13

The right pay-per-click (PPC) expert can take your paid search to the next level — here’s how to find the right one for you.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Traits that good PPC marketing experts often have
  • What tools and platforms they should be familiar with
  • Questions to ask an expert you’re considering working with

Whether you’re looking for a full-time hire or an agency partner, the right PPC expert can be a game-changer for your paid search program. The wrong one, however, can be a costly mistake. While no two PPC experts (or people!) are alike, there are a few key things they should know like the back of their hand.

Want to make sure your PPC expert is up to snuff? Here are just a few qualities they should have and things they should know about today’s digital ad landscape.

HawkSEM: PPC expert blog

Ideally, your PPC expert should have a mix of analytical and creative traits. (Image via Unsplash)

The right mix of personality traits

It’s crucial for the PPC expert you work with to have the right personality traits for the job. After all, it’s not just about their skills, but about how well they gel with you and your team. While there’s no exact formula each person will follow, there are a few key traits worth looking out for. 

Ideally, your PPC expert should have a mix of analytical and creative traits. That means being detail-oriented and data-driven, while also being experimental and willing to think outside the box. (Oh, and a good dose of patience is always beneficial, too.)

A full understanding of the main platforms

Perhaps unsurprisingly, any good PPC expert should have in-depth knowledge of top platforms where paid search comes together. Essential platforms include Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, and Google Analytics. They should also be familiar with tools like Google Search Console, SEMrush, Ahrefs, and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms like HubSpot. 

But it’s not enough just to know how these tools work. The best PPC experts also make the effort to be in the know when it comes to the latest updates and changes on these platforms. Just like regular algorithm updates, the search engine results page (SERP) also goes through its fair share of changes each year, which may affect how your PPC program operates and functions. So, you may want to ask how they stay in the loop.

Pro tip: Look for a PPC expert that’s part of the Google or Microsoft Advertising partner network. Partners often get special perks and access to beta features that could benefit your own program.

How to conduct proper research

Speaking of tools, your PPC expert should know how to conduct proper keyword research with tools like SEMrush and Google Keyword Planner. Keywords are the bread and butter of paid search — and knowing the right ones that your audience uses when searching will help you attract the right people.

A well-versed expert won’t shy away when asked about their knowledge of search intent, negative keywords, volume vs. competition, and other keyword-related matters. Learn more about their preferred ways to conduct keyword research and why.  

HawkSEM: PPC expert article

A paid search expert should understand how different match types work, as well as the right combo to achieve success. (Image via Unsplash)

The ability to write concisely

When it comes to seeking out a PPC expert, make sure you ask about their copywriting skills. Seasoned marketers know how imperative it is to be able to get your point across in 90 characters or less. The most effective ad copy is direct, attention-grabbing, on brand, and speaks directly to the target audience. 

You can ask for a few copywriting examples to get a feel for how they attract audiences and adapt to a brand’s voice and tone. Try to get context about the ads: what the client asked for, what their goals were, and how the ads performed. 

The ins and outs of match types and modifiers

A paid search expert should understand how different match types work, as well as the right combo to achieve success. As Google explains, keyword match types are what help control which Google searches can trigger your ad. Selecting broad match, for example, will show your ad to a wide audience, while exact match will focus on a specific group (or groups).

They should also have a firm grasp of all the options for bid adjustments or modifiers. This includes demographics, location, device, ad schedule, and more. After all, bid adjustments help you manage budgets and optimize PPC campaigns based on your targeting objectives, according to Search Engine Land

Is your PPC broken? Here’s a quick-and-easy guide for how to fix it.

Other ways to gauge if a PPC expert is right for you

Asking the right questions is a great way to determine if a potential paid search expert is the right fit for your business. 

Good questions to ask include:

  • Can you review my account and recommend areas of improvement?
  • Are you able to find certain KPIs in the account for a certain period (conversion rates, ROAS, CPA, et cetera), compare them to a previous period, and explain the changes?
  • Do you have recommendations on additional keywords or topics to target, or keywords to remove from the account?
  • Do you have past experience with clients in my industry?
  • Are you able to create assets for display ads?
  • How many clients do you currently manage?
  • What historical results have you been able to achieve with past clients?

The takeaway

Having the right certifications is great, but it doesn’t always mean that someone knows their stuff or will be the right match for your business. Having a potential PPC expert look at your account and show that they understand how to optimize it will tell you what you need to know.

Make sure you and your team do your part to establish your own expectations, goals and KPIs when it comes to your PPC program before partnering with a PPC expert. From there, you’ll be able to focus on forming a relationship that will be both successful and lasting.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her nearly 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

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