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My job at 3Q is my introduction digital marketing, and I have already learned so much in my first few weeks. To be honest, sometimes it has felt like I’ve been drinking water from a fire hose, but somehow it is all being consumed!

You don’t need to be first – any of these ads can draw clicks.

Digital marketing is where the future of marketing is headed. Global ad spend is consistently increasing year over year. Before joining the company, I had no idea that digital marketing could get so complex. Here are the 5 most important lessons I’ve learned so far:

You Don’t Always Have to Be Top of Page

Paid search is a critical part of a digital marketing strategy. Having a high ad ranking and a high search quality score is a priority, but you don’t always have to have your paid ads pop up first to drive a conversion or a click.

You could blow through your budget if you are always bidding high, especially when you don’t need to. Leaving headroom is a necessary practice. It doesn’t make sense to spend more to be in Spot 1 if you can reach your goal in Spot 2.

There Is So Much Data to Go Through

I have already been exposed to so much data – hundreds of thousands of lines on reports. It’s incredible. But data is nothing without the story. It doesn’t actually tell anybody anything unless there is analysis or a deeper understanding behind it. There needs to be a direction for the data to be meaningful. I’ve learned to keep performance goals front of mind and look for outliers.

Excel, Excel, Excel

One of the most important technical skills when it comes to digital marketing is Excel. (I have never seen more Pivot Tables or VLookups in my life.) It’s an extremely useful tool, especially when it comes to organizing all of the data I talked about above. All reporting and graph buildouts from tools like Google Ads are done in Excel. It’s everywhere!

Not Everybody Can Do It

There are a lot of buzzwords – and dozens of acronyms! – but there’s a lot more to digital marketing than understanding the language. There is also a lot of training and processes behind it. Trust me – a lot of training. It’s not as simple as opening a Google Ads account and pushing some ads through; beyond the platform UI and features, you have to factor in client goals, spend pacing, and agency best practices that have been honed over hundreds and hundreds of accounts.

It’s as Much Intuition as Knowledge

It’s as much of an art as it is a science. It’s not smart to just rely on data – there needs to be human intuition and a client-first mentality behind all of the decisions even when it comes to things like adjusting bids in auctions. It takes a lot of time and practice to really master the skills. These aren’t things you can grab from a report or sift through data to know. It’s key to know the product, the client, and all of the nitty-gritty details that come with time and experience.

I’ve learned to be proactive and seek out opportunities to practice Excel or take notes at meetings. I’ve been lucky enough at 3Q to be put on an amazing team with really great clients that use a variety of channels. The initial training will run its course, but the opportunities to learn in this industry abound every day. I’m looking forward to my career here and taking advantage of all the opportunities and challenges it brings.