One of my favorite parts of being a paid search analyst—because it’s incredibly sad but somehow makes me laugh—is trying to explain what exactly it is that I do.
I always start going down the rabbit hole of misunderstanding the same way: “You know when you type something into Google and there are little labeled ads on the top and to the side. Yeah, I make those happen.” Typically they respond with a solid nod, saying “Oh, okay,” with the confusion of how someone’s job could be ads that pop up on Google search results written all over their face.
I understand, though; I had never heard of AdWords prior to an internet marketing class I took in college and even then it took me a while to fully grasp how it all works. When I though tI came out fully prepared to run any client account, I sadly was missing some vital skills and tools I would recommend any aspiring PPC professional to look into. We work in an upcoming industry that is outside what used to be the traditional marketing channels of television, print, and radio, which companies have been advertising on for ages. Not every person or client will know or understand what is we do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to make those little ads show up in the right search results.
No matter how little or how much you think you know about what we do, my bet is PPC analysts do way more than you think. Here are five of the most common myths about what paid search analysts do, debunked.
Myth 1: We can guarantee the top ad position
Fact: Insert cliché phrase here: “The only thing we can guarantee is that we can’t guarantee anything.” Yes, you will see spammy paid search ads guaranteeing the top spot every time. They will make it sound like they own the space or have some voodoo magic that can make it happen. This is false, so false that a face palm just doesn’t do the level of frustration justice.
As analysts, we work hard to get your ads within the top 3 positions for relevant searches while trying to weed out irrelevant traffic. We use your best performing keywords to incorporate into ad copy and test various landing pages to improve average ad rank. However in many cases, the number one spot isn’t always the best spot. I have had plenty of ads that have an average ad rank below position one crushingly outperform the top spot ads. Again, we can’t guarantee that spot two is better than spot one, but we sure can run a test and find out for you.
Myth 2: We Set It & Forget It
Fact: This belief is easily the furthest from the truth. While I don’t know the daily or weekly optimization schedule of every paid search analyst out there, I would bet that any legitimate professional is in their clients’ accounts multiple times a week if not every day. Paid search advertising is what we love to do and, with each client account posing different challenges, we can’t stop ourselves from trying to tackle each and every one.
For our clients, we provide each client account with the tender loving care they deserve almost every day. While we simply can’t always split our time evenly among each account, we do have specific optimizations that we never fail to perform each week. Some optimizations we perform three times a week, some once a month, and some tasks are just at the request of our clients. We are always setting up new tests and optimizations within accounts but we certainly never forget.
Myth 3: We Are Banner Stalkers Extraordinaire
Fact: Okay, this one is kind of true.
Yes, we can target visitors of your website down to the exact page or product they visited and show them targeted banner ads as they hop around the Internet. Yes it can come off a little creepy and seem like we are stalking people, but if customers feel that way then you are doing it wrong. The majority of banners should have frequency caps and when customers complete the desired conversion, the banners should stop. Paid search analysts can get a bad rap for this one, but if they know what they are doing, remarketing banners can be huge wins for clients without being creepy.
Myth 4: We Make Or Break All Sales
Fact: Our job is to send you relevant traffic that can produce leads for service accounts and direct sales for ecommerce. The more relevant the traffic, the more likely they are to provide you with lead information. We can push highly-targeted traffic to your website all day, but if your website isn’t up to par, customers just won’t convert. Typical problems include weak calls-to-action (CTA), too many CTAs, page errors, horrible designs, just to start with.
Don’t worry, we have a solution for that too. We can do conversion rate optimization by creating paid search-specific landing pages that don’t actually live on client websites. Creating these landing pages allow us to test anything and everything to help improve the conversion rate of the goals you want to see completed.
Myth 5: We Write The Rules of Google Advertising
Fact: If you haven’t noticed, Google is basically the King of the Internet; I see paid search analysts as its Lords and Ladies. If Game of Thrones has taught us anything, it’s that rules must be in place, especially over the Lords and Ladies, in order to have a well-run kingdom. Don’t worry, Google is keeping us on a short leash with rules from what can’t be advertised on paid search to even the punctuation of each ad. Google is continuously updating their policies and rules for advertisers to improve the searcher’s experience; some help us and some can hurt us. We work with and around the rules to provide the best results for our clients but unfortunately sometimes we have to bow down to the king.
This post in no way covers the full scale of work paid search analysts do on a daily to monthly to yearly basis. There are hundreds upon thousands of optimizations we make to our client accounts each year to reach the performance level clients want to see. I hope I have brought light to some of the common false beliefs that plague our industry and at least cracked the window to a slightly better understanding a paid search analyst and our team.