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No Ma, I Don’t Work for Google

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Uncategorized / February 18, 2013

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My name is Josh and I am a PPC newbie. It’s been a couple months now since my first day here at Bloom. Before meeting the team, I thought a “pay-per-click” was just something you used to hold pieces of paper together. I’ve come aboard as an analyst and while the training wheels are still keeping me from falling flat on my face, there is one thing I do know for certain about all this stuff: It requires a ton of attention!

My mother keeps asking me, “Josh what exactly do you do?” I’ll begin explaining it to her and after a few puzzled expressions, she’ll respond by saying: “So you work FOR Google?” No ma, I help businesses USE Google so that they can advertise their products/services online!

Funny because it wasn’t the first time I was asked that question. So this post is really just to “clarify” a couple things. No, we don’t have an unlimited amount of access to food at our office (although we have lots of free snacks and drinks), there’s no slide (yet!) and there certainly isn’t a rock-climbing wall (we do have a foosball table though). There is just so much strategy involved in using Google’s advertising platform, that if you don’t know your way around it you likely won’t get the best “bang” for your buck.

Marketing is an essential ingredient to most businesses. In a perfect world, customers would line up around the block every day to buy what it is you are selling. The cash register would ring and as a business owner all you would have to do is kick back with your feet up. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly a realistic picture for most companies. The truth is, every day most businesses have to fight for their share of the pie. Compete for it. They have to actually go out of their way and scoop up their customers.

I tried explaining to my mother that the world is not what it used to be. TV, radio and print are still being used on a regular basis, but they’re no longer the only channels available to advertisers. Those types of campaigns are great “awareness” building strategies. You can put together a 30-second television commercial or display a billboard somewhere and it will “speak” on your brand’s behalf to a broad sized audience. The problem with those strategies is that you really have no idea what kind of return they will yield for you. You have no “control” over those dollars you are spending. You’re just spending in hopes that the net you are casting will be wide enough to capture some new customers. PPC gives you that element of control over your budget so that the dollars are spent wisely. You get to show ads to potential customers at the exact moment when they are searching to buy products or services you offer. It’s like being at the right place at the right time all the time! Grab their attention and give them a quick way to your website.

I’m learning that with PPC, you can find ways to trim “fat” off of a campaign by way of its targeting capabilities. This allows you to continually enhance your campaign and improve its performance.

I was playing poker the other day with some friends of mine and once again was faced with the task of explaining SEM. So I simply used the chips in front of me as a reference. You go to work with what you have to play with. Optimizing a campaign requires strategic thinking and a degree of psychology. The more chips you have to play with the more damage you can do!

Google is the unofficial gateway into the Web. If you want to find a service, a product, information, anything really, you jump onto the closest browser and “search for it”. Everything is available online nowadays and it has transformed the way we do business.

Hopefully this will help my mother understand things a little better. Next week I’m having dinner with my grandmother. I think maybe for that night, I’ll just say I work with Google (and Bing and Facebook 🙂

Photograph by: Itay Sikolski – via Office Snapshots.

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