It’ll take work to get out in front.

When you start running pay-per-click campaigns, you will forge a solid knowledge foundation related to all things PPC. After a while there comes a time when you’ve mastered the nuts-and-bolts of campaign management and you need to take your game to the next level, and enhance (pun intended) your advanced PPC leadership skills.

Below is a quick list of attributes that you will find in an outstanding PPC service leader. The overarching theme of these attributes is taking even deeper ownership of your PPC campaigns.

Thought Leadership & Strategy Stewardship

To be a true PPC campaign leader, you need to regularly bring new, innovative strategies to the account. With the ever-changing paid search landscape, you need to stay on top of industry fluctuations and utilize new tools and tactics to their fullest extent.

Set a goal for yourself to bring at least a few new strategies to your account every month. These new strategies need to go above and beyond your standard, “blocking and tackling,” tasks such as keyword research, search query analysis, bid adjustments, and other day-to-day campaign maintenance.

Don’t get me wrong, these standard tactics are important and need to be completed regularly. These standard tactics will lead to incremental improvement. However, PPC leadership means creating strategies that could breakout into new territory or significantly alter your approach.

Tactic Prioritization

As you get more familiar with campaign management, you’ll better understand the symbiotic relationship all of the tactics that will improve your performance. Over time, you’ll learn how to prioritize your tactical plan and focus on the tasks that generate the most significant improvement.

For example, in any given month, you have 10 tactics to implement within an account. A true PPC leader will understand how to prioritize these tasks so that the most important ones are completed as early in the month as possible. This way, your campaigns will reap the benefits of these big changes for the entire month. If you make an awesome change on the 28th of the month because you didn’t prioritize properly, then you may have wasted crucial time.

Automation & Delegation

Creating new, innovative ideas at a regular interval takes a significant time commitment. And that’s one thing I know everyone is short on: time. There are two ways to afford yourself some stretch time for the creative process: automation and delegation.

Do this exercise: Think about the tasks you perform on a daily or highly-regular basis. Which of those tasks can be automated or delegated to another team member? I’m sure if you really think about it, you can probably eliminate a few things that are part of your standard routine.

The native search engines (AdWords and Bing) provide an array of automation tools from bid rules, to conversion optimizer, to automated reports. Also, you may want to look into a third-party tool such as Marin, Acquisio or Search Force to help take some of the standard, daily management tasks off your plate. Utilize as much automation as possible (where it makes sense).

Proactive Communication

This attribute means staying ahead of the curve within the account. When in doubt, over-communicate with your supervisor/client. Make sure that you communicate current strategies as well as the expected outcome. Regarding performance, make sure to boost your big wins. Make sure the right people know that things are going well!

On the flip side, it’s even more important to amp your communication when the account is struggling. Acknowledge the problem; describe what you believe is happening; lay out a plan to fix the situation; and then provide constant follow-ups on your progress.

Reporting Clarity

It’s easy to get lost in a sea of data when reporting on PPC campaigns. There are so many important statistics to review and discuss! However, as a PPC campaign leader, you need to recognize which data points are most important to your supervisor/client and focus on those first.

You’ll need to determine the depth of reporting that will satisfy your supervisor/client. Some folks want an executive summary, and other folks want to dive into the weeds.

Whether you need to provide an overview or a detailed report, you need to sharpen the clarity of your communication. When you provide charts and graphs, make sure to supply easy-to-understand interpretations of the data. PPC statistics can be complex and even intimidating, so it’s up to you to remove the static and provide clarity.

Honesty & Integrity

This should just be your way of life! But seriously, honesty and integrity can go a long way. Don’t try to hide unfavorable data. Don’t blame poor performance on external sources (unless there are truly other-worldly forces at play such as seasonality, change in competitive landscape, etc.). The golden rule comes into play here: treat your supervisor/client as you would want to be treated.

In Summary

These are just a few attributes of an extraordinary account leader. None of them are easy and you probably won’t master any of them. These are ongoing personal projects to constantly improve. Focusing on these attributes will help you take your PPC management to the next expert level.

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Joseph Kerschbaum
joined 3Q Digital in April, 2013. Even though he has been working on SEM campaigns for almost 10 years, and he has worked with hundreds of clients in almost every vertical imaginable, Joseph loves that he learns something new in this industry every single day. Joseph is a regular contributor to Search Engine Watch, Website Magazine, Visibility Magazine, among others. Joseph is also the co-author of the Wiley/Sybex book, “PPC Advertising: An Hour a Day.” When Joseph isn’t at home hanging out with his awesome wife and amazing 2-year-old daughter, he is a regular speaker at industry conferences such as SMX, SES, OMS, among others. Some might say that Joseph is a rare bird in the sense that he works in the SEM industry and he is a published poet and spoken word artist.