Anyone following my blog posts over the past year may already know that I have spent the past six months transitioning from production to account management. Here’s my five-part advice to any prospective baby SEMs interested in moving into an account management role.

1) Think critically about the tasks at hand

Sometimes when a paid search campaign is running smoothly, it’s like a well-oiled machine. Oftentimes, as members of production, we’re used to taking orders and working on autopilot when some specific parameters are in play. Does one search term meet the criteria for being an exact match keyword, but maybe shouldn’t be for some reason (perhaps if the token contains ‘contact info’ or ‘login’)? Is one placement generating a high CPA? Why might that be?

Instead of just automatically adding, excluding, bidding up, and bidding down placements and keywords, try to see if you can decipher the story behind why certain performance patterns are happening.

2) Get to know analytics

As young SEMs, at first we’re overwhelmed with the vast amount of information in the AdWords UI. However, over time, we get used to it. Sure, there are plenty of things we might not check as often as we could (day-over-day data, search terms, change history, hourly reporting, geographic segmentation, top vs. side, etc.). However, as an AM, it’s often important to look for meaningful data in places outside the AdWords UI. Getting to know analytics can be helpful for fully understanding your client and their role in the marketplace.

There’s plenty to get to know within the Google Analytics UI – are there certain terms that are converting organically? Can they be added as keywords? Has performance dropped off in AdWords? Is that consistent with their other forms of media? Has something jumped up, like the bounce rate, or decreased, like the time on site or pages per visit? Perhaps something your client has done to manipulate their website might be a factor in the drop-off. Getting to know other sources of valuable data and thinking outside the AdWords box are important skills for a potential AM.

3) Know your client’s piece of business

Sometimes we get put on accounts that might not match our interests or background at all. We might not ever be potential customers for some of our clients. But one of the most important parts of being an AM is fully understanding your client, even if you’ll never be a member of their target demographic.

Get to know their competitors. Subscribe to their Google Alerts. Get to know the organic results for their main terms. Get to know their website inside and out. Try to follow seasonality patterns. As we established earlier, there are many factors that can affect paid search performance aside from the state of the current paid search account. Getting to know all the details of a client helps one become better able to make critical decisions, which is one of the most important parts of being an AM.

4)  Think of new ideas for the accounts you are on

This goes hand-in-hand with the previous points. Sometimes when you’re on a well-oiled account with some regular tasks, it’s easy, as the production person, to continue chugging along. Performance may continue to do well, but another important quality for an AM is being able to come up with new ideas. It’s always easy to be reactive and start coming up with solutions once a problem has arisen or a goal is not being met, but it’s important to think like this at all times.

Part of being an account manager is always thinking up new spaces for possible ways to achieve more conversions, a lower CPA, a greater return on ad spend, or whatever is best for the client. As a member of production wanting to move into the AM space, you’ll want to get into this habit right away. The more accustomed you are to trying to find new solutions, the easier it will get, even for the sometimes-hard-to-figure-out clients. And of course, it’s good for the account. Even with a top-notch account manager manning the ship, it’s always beneficial to have another perspective brainstorming new ideas.

5)  Get fluent in Social Media

Even if you are not an active member, get to know Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest, and anything else that might have come out since I submitted this post for publishing. You don’t necessarily need to use these, but bear in the mind that, as soon as today, they could be applicable or beneficial to your clients. This goes with understanding your client’s piece of the market space and understanding them on the whole. As we’ve established, coming up with new ideas and thinking outside the box are important parts of Account Management, and these spaces are becoming more and more prevalent.

These are just a few suggestions for anyone who is thinking about or wants to be better prepared for the switch from production to account management. Does anyone else out there have anything to add from your own experiences?

Jaime Sikora, Account Manager 

1 Comment

  1. PPC Associates December 13th, 2012

    Make the leap to account management:

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Jaime Sikora
Jaime Sikora is a PPC & Display Specialist at Nadex. Jaime graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Advertising. Prior to joining 3Q Digital, she worked in the newspaper industry at the Chicago Sun-Times. In her spare time, Jaime enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and spending time at the Chicago lakefront.