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Written by Caroline Cox on Apr 10 , 2020

Before partnering with a pay-per-click (PPC) manager, here’s what you need to know.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Key PPC manager personality traits
  • Questions to ask a potential PPC manager
  • Red flags to look out for
  • Why enthusiasm matters

Finding the right PPC manager can be transformative for your business. This partnership can lead to better ads, more clicks, and increased sales. On the other hand, if you pick the wrong person, you might find yourself with a leaky pipeline and wasted ad spend. 

While there’s no way to predict if a partnership will end up being a perfect fit, we’ve highlighted a few important factors that’ll help you make the right decision when it comes to who you want managing your PPC. 

HawSEM - 7 Traits Every PPC Manager Should Have

For certain companies, understanding CRM and marketing software tools like Salesforce and HubSpot will be vital. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Proper experience and certifications

It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: You want your PPC manager to have experience. Of course, they should be familiar with the big players like Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising. Ideally, they’re also well-versed in Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Merchant Center. 

For certain companies, understanding CRM and marketing software tools like Salesforce and HubSpot will also be vital. Being an expert in Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets isn’t necessary, but having a basic understanding of those programs will make things easier.

Bonus points if your PPC manager is a certified partner with these big search engines, whether personally or through their agency. Partners often get to beta test new products and are the first to hear about imminent updates. 

2. A personality conducive to the field

“A good PPC manager needs to have a good balance of open-mindedness and discipline,” says Matt Monroe, an account manager here at HawkSEM. “Experimenting with new ideas and being willing to try new things is incredibly important.” He adds that a good PPC manager will also make sure things are being done efficiently — and with good reason.

Patience is another characteristic that Matt says gets overlooked sometimes. “After making changes in a campaign or ad group,” he explains, “being able to see if those changes impacted the ad, ad group, or campaign positively or negatively is important,” which can take time. “Giving the change enough time and exposure is the only way to properly do this, so holding off on other changes that may alter the original change’s impact is crucial.”

Lastly, Matt emphasized confidence. “If they’re not confident, they may hesitate when they should be taking action, which could prevent growth and future understanding of what works and doesn’t.”

A lack of confidence may mean the relationship requires more hand-holding, which usually proves to be an inefficient use of time on the company’s end. The key, it seems, is a balance between independence and being a team player who works well with others.

3. Strong communication skills

We know that communication is key in basically all aspects of business. Your PPC manager should be no different. Communication is especially crucial in this role, whether you’re working with someone in-house or at an agency. 

Matt explains that your manager should not only be well-spoken, but well-written too. If not, “you can probably expect poor ad copy, which will lead to low click-through rates or even worse: a bad impression of the company,” he says.

“Imagine reading an ad that had multiple typos and poor grammar — you wouldn’t click on it, but you also might avoid that company and think they’re kind of sloppy.” 

Questions to ask: How do you best communicate? How often do you think we should touch base? Can you provide examples of successful PPC campaigns you worked on in the past?

HawSEM - 7 Traits to Look for in a PPC Manager

Ask if your potential PPC manager has case studies they can provide you with, or the contact info of a reference you can connect with. (Image via Unsplash)

4. Satisfied past customers

Successful PPC is all about results, and you want a manager who can get them. Ideally, your PPC manager should be able to provide you with stats, testimonials, or other proof showing past client success, so you know you’re in good hands.

Ask if your potential PPC manager has case studies they can provide you with, or the contact info of a reference you can connect with. Even if they’re not in your exact industry, knowing there are satisfied past customers can help you feel confident in the person you’re trusting with your campaigns — and your ad budget.

5. Strong organization skills

PPC campaigns — and digital marketing campaigns in general — often have a lot of moving parts. After all, you don’t want a PPC manager who’s going to set up your campaigns, have them run, and not touch them again. Experienced pros know the best campaigns are tested, analyzed, tweaked, and tested again. 

Because of this, you want to trust that the person managing your PPC ads is highly organized. Being able to track changes they’ve made, especially big ones, is also important. You could consider creating calendar reminders for 2 weeks, a month, 3 months, et cetera, to touch base on any changes after a campaign has launched. 

If you’re repeatedly getting responses like, “Oh right, I forgot we discussed that,” or “Whoops, meant to send that earlier!,” you may want to have a conversation with your PPC manager about what their organization process looks like and whether that matches up with your expectations.

Questions to ask: What tools do you use to stay organized? How do you keep things from slipping through the cracks?

6. An emphasis on data

The best PPC managers are often analytical thinkers and numbers-minded problem solvers. These traits are ideal in this field, since the more thorough your PPC manager is, the less likely they are to make mistakes (or repeat them). 

Your manager should be able to pull data reports and translate them into meaningful takeaways. This is another place communication comes in. The most successful PPC managers can distill all the data insights and explain them in a way that’s clear and informative, so you’re always on the same page.

Questions to ask: What KPIs do you typically find most important to measuring PPC success? How do you track and analyze data?

HawSEM - 7 Traits to Look for in a PPC Manager

As with any partnership, professional or personal, it can take time to find the right person. (Image via Unsplash)

7. Enthusiasm about the industry — and your brand

Your PPC manager is going to be working with you to promote your product or service (and spending money doing it). Because of that, it helps for them to be excited and enthusiastic, instead of feeling like they dread working with your brand.

This is another reason why aligning personalities and communication styles is no necessary. For example, if your company has a “quirky” voice and brand aesthetic, finding a PPC manager that has experience working with a similarly voice company will make the onboarding process smoother and will help them quickly acclimate to your overall tone. The result? More authentic, well-received PPC ads.

The takeaway

As with any partnership, professional or personal, it can take time to find the right person. But once you know what to look for from your PPC manager, you can better discern who might be a good fit.

As long as communication lines are open, expectations are clear, and results being achieved, you can feel confident that you and your PPC manager make a good team.

In the market for a PPC manager? We’d love to chat.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 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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