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Interview: What Changed in PPC Over the Last 8 Years

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Inside Bloom / December 07, 2018

At Bloom, we love a good employee success story, like seeing young team members start out as interns and climb the ladder. One of our best examples is Jeff, our Director of Paid Media, who’s officially been working at Bloom for the past 8 years!

To highlight this milestone, we conducted a little interview to learn more about Jeff and see how the PPC world changed over those years.

Tell us more about your journey here at Bloom. How did you start?

I started as an intern 8 years ago. I was fresh out of university and I didn’t have any professional experience at the time. I was basically applying to as many marketing agencies I could possibly find, and, in the end, I knocked on the right door.

Literally.

At the time, my wife had a job in Le Château St-Ambroise and she told me there was a ton of marketing agencies in the building. I was getting no results from sending resumes online, so I printed out a bunch of CV’s. I showed up on Bloom’s doorstep. They asked me if I knew what PPC was.

I told them I had no idea.

They still suggested I go on their website and take a look at their services. I ended up doing a test campaign build after doing some research, and I got the job!

If you knew nothing about PPC when you started, how did you learn all the subtleties of that field?

I didn’t know much about PPC when I started, but I did major in marketing. That really helped me train the thought process. It gave me insights on client management, on how to target the right people and send the right message.

But, anything technical about PPC, I learned on the job, through reading online resources such as Google’s much smaller training assets. I think they were only 2 tests at the time. I also followed a lot of blogs and newsletter that would keep me up to date on digital trends. And obviously, Martin and Xurxo (Bloom’s co-founders), helped me understand the digital landscape.

Employees that start as interns and stay in the same agencies for 8 years is a pretty uncommon sight. What made you stay at Bloom?

On more of the philosophical side, what I like here is that, as an agency, we go for transparency. We are really dedicated to client success and honesty, and that is really a core value to me. If I was working for a company that didn’t identify with those values or that was trying to undercut things, I wouldn’t have lasted.

And, on the job side, for me, it connects the two subjects I studied in: English literature and marketing. So, I get to write ads and landing page copy but also get to be creative in targeting. I also really enjoy witnessing our clients success and knowing the important part we’ve played in that growth. That’s the real reward in the end.

What was one of your best success over the last 8 years?

There is been a lot, but one that stands out is from my earlier years. I was working with Frank & Oak right when they were launching their brand. They had a great product, a great team and they were figuring out their business and their target with us. I’ve learned so much from that account… and, they’ve turned out to be one of Quebec’s best e-commerce success.

The PPC industry is a fast-moving world, what would you say changed the most over those 8 years?

There are so many things. But, the most noticeable and easiest answer is Facebook. When I started out, it wasn’t as big as it is now. It’s truly a behemoth in the industry. If you are not advertising on Facebook, you are leaving a ton of opportunities behind. To go from almost nonexistent to being a huge part of the industry is really significant. Even at Bloom, at first we were specializing in Search Ads, but we needed to expand our field of expertise to social media ads to stay relevant.  

Since you’ve been working here, we’ve seen a drastic change in desktop and mobile users. How did that shift in behavior impacted your work?

The difference is not necessarily on our side, it’s mostly on the client side. With the rise of mobile, mobile readiness and site speed are really critical for anyone trying to perform well on the Web. People do research on their phone before they convert, either on that same phone or elsewhere. If you don’t get the right first experience across, you’ve lost already.

Aside from that, it’s saying the right thing in the mobile environment. Everything is fast on mobile, so ads should have shorter, straight-to-the-point text. Also, mobile search is more exploratory, if someone is searching for information on their phone, they are probably more upper funnel, still doing their research and comparison. So, companies have to keep that in mind when creating their messaging.

What’s your favorite PPC features that were created during those 8 years?

There is lots of good ones. Remarketing and Shopping campaigns weren’t around years ago and they are now critical for any e-commerce clients.

Another cool feature that we love is geo-fencing which is the ability to target someone based on their previous physical location, I think that’s amazing, especially paired with specific demographic targeting. It’s like a marketing dream come true!

Are there any outdated tactic or features that some people are still using and shouldn’t be?

When we take over accounts, we see less outdated strategies in Google Ads account because when Google advances or comes out with new features, they usually cancel the ones that aren’t great anymore.

We usually see the most problematic tactics on Facebook. For example, we inherit a lot of accounts that have no form of tracking.

That is really depressing.

Companies pay for traffic, they send users to their site, but they have no idea what is going on after that. Sadly, we see that fairly often.

Companies also have to be careful when choosing an optimization tactic for their campaigns on Facebook. Some campaigns goals are not action focused, such as page like or engagement campaigns. Obviously, there is some kind of value in those types of targeting, but if a client’s end goal is a lead or a sales and he’s optimizing is a campaign for page likes, it makes no sense.

We’ve been talking about the past, but let’s look forward a little bit. What are the new trends or features you are looking forward to seeing in the upcoming year(s)?

There is one feature that I have been talking about for a long time, and it just finally happened: Advertisers can now target LinkedIn audiences on Bing Ads.

LinkedIn is not the greatest platform in term of the environment of the ads. People usually use LinkedIn for a very specific reason and it’s not really conducive to advertising. But now, you can actually take the specific targeting you would find on LinkedIn, such as companies, job titles and experiences, and target that user outside of LinkedIn. I’m excited to see an even better feature set from Bing and LinkedIn, in the future.

Another buzzword we’ve been hearing in the last year is voice search. That new way of searching for information is completely changing our environment, and we are not yet used to it. We’ll have to really understand voice search and see how we can use that information to target users. It’s a constantly changing environment and there are tactics you can implement to adapt to voice search, but I can’t wait to really witness all the potential of PPC in voice search.

Again, congratulations to Jeff on its 8th Bloomversary. Bloom is lucky to have such a passionate team player as a Director of Paid Media. If you have more questions for Jeff, feel free to reach out to us.

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