PPCHow Can Good PPC Managers Become Great PPC Managers?

How Can Good PPC Managers Become Great PPC Managers?

Good PPC managers get results, know their way around the necessary data tools, and can follow the foundations of PPC well. But great PPC managers don’t stop there. These are some characteristics that elevate a PPC manager from good to great.

I recently read a post by author Greg McKeown on LinkedIn about the difference between successful people and very successful people. And it got me thinking – what are the differences between good PPC managers and great PPC managers?

Good PPC managers get results, sure. They know their way around the necessary data tools and they can follow the foundations of PPC well. But great PPC managers don’t stop there. They work to push their results to the next level, to provide insight, and to solve tough problems.

Good to Great

This post will explore some characteristics that elevate a good PPC manager to a great one.

Great PPC Managers Aren’t Satisfied With “Good”

Good PPC managers will see triumphant results and stop there. Great PPC managers will always ask, “What’s next?” Consider a newly adopted PPC account that was once mismanaged by another. Usually, a good PPC manager will make enough notable improvements in the first few months to show for all the hard work he or she has put in. But great PPC managers don’t stop there.

Here’s an example: My agency recently inherited a PPC account that was poorly managed. After placing some basic best practices, we were able to lift the client’s leads by 40 percent year-over-year. When discussing the results with the client, our next question was immediately, “What can we do to take this to the next level?”

A great PPC manager begins thinking about how he or she can elevate those results, even if only by 1 percent.

To do this, further diagnose the weakest links. There are a million ways to improve PPC accounts, but one simple way is to drill down to the keyword level of the campaigns.

The keyword-level view in AdWords will give you hints on how to improve performance. You can see an example in the following screenshot:

Keyword-Level Analysis

Going back to the client example I mentioned, we conducted an analysis on each keyword’s quality score. We then created an Excel spreadsheet that outlined all the potential factors hindering success.

If the AdWords note said, “Landing page experience: below average,” we’d work with the client on improving how the landing page supported the keyword we were looking at. It’s worth mentioning that the PPC manager’s experience is a factor here. A great PPC manager has the background to know which bits of advice will have the most impact.

Over time, these small changes will improve the overall health of any PPC account.

Great PPC Managers Uncover Insight From Data

Good PPC managers know their way around tools like Google Analytics and Excel spreadsheets. Great PPC managers will deep dive into the data and uncover applicable action items from it.

AdWords is just one aspect of your PPC. Knowing how to use and understand analytics data can make you a top-notch PPC manager.

When it comes to insight, great PPC managers:

  1. Can interpret the results. Yes, you’re seeing a lift, but what does it mean? Get to the bottom of the results as you discover them. And, if you’ve got an account with thousands of keywords, you need to be able to export the data and look at it in a more manageable way. Excel spreadsheets are a great way to manipulate and dissect the data to get the answers you need. That means knowing how to maneuver things like pivot tables.
  2. Know what the best course of action is. This takes experience and an effort to not only understand the data, but also the business you’re serving.
  3. Relate the information to the client in a manner they can understand. This one isn’t easy. As PPC managers, we hail from a world laced with jargon – language most clients do not understand, nor do they want to try to. When communicating complicated concepts, apply the old “KISS” method – keep it simple stupid. It’s our job to boil down the results in a language they “get” – and that usually means tying it back to the business.

Great PPC Managers ‘Figure Stuff Out’

A good PPC manager will identify a problem, and perhaps discuss it with the client and maybe any higher-ups. A great PPC manager will work to figure out the solution.

I recently had dinner with a good friend of mine, Barb Young of PPC-Strategies. We were chatting about the characteristics that great PPC professionals exude, and she said something that sums it up perfectly: “They know how to figure stuff out.”

It’s such a simple concept, but it’s so true. Good PPC managers are like decent cooks; they can follow the directions of a recipe and provide a good meal. That was my first experience with cooking and with PPC – I knew how to follow directions. It’s true that with the right training, most PPC professionals can become very good at their job.

But a great PPC manager is like a chef, mixing experience, education, and curiosity to create surprising, five-star results. Once the foundations are learned of any discipline, the rest is up to the creativity of that chef – and of the PPC manager.

This is especially true in the PPC universe with all the changes that advertising platforms like AdWords go through monthly. And as many of us know, Google isn’t always straightforward about the changes and what they mean.

While the average person watching a Google video on shopping campaigns or remarketing may think it’s easy as pie, we know there’s a lot behind the scenes that we have to figure out.

So when a challenge is presented in your PPC account, test it. Read more about it online. Watch a webinar. Call AdWords, even. Take the initiative to find a solution, so your service can be of great value to the client and your team.


Taking ourselves from good to great, from successful to very successful, is a journey. As McKeown said in his post, very successful people focus on what they can do better. In terms of your PPC management, what does that look like for you?


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