Growth Hacking Interview Series #56: Amy Hebdon
Amy Hebdon is the following:
- Paid Search professional with more than a decade experience running results-driven SEM campaigns, achieving aggressive CPA/CPLs in Pharma, Financial Services, Tech, Consumer/Retail, Restaurant, and Hotel verticals.
• Audited or managed more than 100 accounts.
• Certified in Google AdWords (5pecialist – every exam), Google Analytics, Bing AdCenter, MarketMotive (Conversion Optimization), and MECLABS (Value Proposition).
• Proven track record of managing accounts and maintaining strong client relationships.
• Able to leverage new technology and approaches to enhance campaigns and strengthen brands.
• Manage and train support teams in digital marketing and optimization.
• Experience in Social Media, SEO, Landing Page testing, Content Marketing, Display, and Email Marketing. (from LinkedIn)
How would you explain specifically what you do as a PPC Specialist?
I help companies use paid listings to grow their business. It’s probably worth noting that unlike SEO, I don’t want people to click unless they’re ready to take a fairly immediate action – driving awareness usually doesn’t cut it.
PPC isn’t about the long game, it’s defense against your target clicking on your competitors. I make sure my clients’ ads show up at the right time, on the right terms, with the right CTA for the right conversion.
What is your primary marketing goal when it comes to delivering results?
With PPC, we’re investing budget in keywords and clicks, so we have to see a strong ROI, otherwise the investment isn’t worth it.
For e-commerce clients we want to see an increase in revenue many times more than the media spend. For lead gen clients we want to increase lead volume at a lower cost per lead.
Ultimately we are always looking to scale along the way, to increase the investment or become more efficient for even greater returns.
Which new skills are most important for PPC Specialists to learn in the next six months?
I don’t want to make a bigger deal out of mobile than it is, but understanding the difference between mobile and desktop is increasingly valuable. As AdWords starts to roll out more remarketing capabilities, being comfortable with audience lists will be more important too.
What do you find most rewarding about PPC?
My first real job at a digital agency (in 2004) was in web design. Back then we didn’t have the testing tools we do now, so all our design decisions were made by what our boss liked.
I hated that. I had the chance to start working on paid search ads, and I loved how accountable it was- success was measured by whether the ad got results, not my boss’s opinion.
I have always loved working in PPC because it demands I stay both creative and analytical, and I get instant feedback to test assumptions and course correct.
How do you stay updated with the latest PPC industry news?
My engine reps are pretty good right now, and they’re always on the lookouts for early beta access to try for my clients.
Exploring new tools that quietly pop up in the interface is surprisingly fruitful too. There are good blog posts out there but you have to be careful since there’s also a lot of noise.
My time is usually better spent improving my campaigns than reading other people arguing about the best way to improve campaigns.
As a PPC Specialist, what is your favorite PPC hack?
A lot of respectable PPCers are suspect of dynamic ads (and rightly so, they can be very clunky and awkward).
However, I’ve had some really great results by using DKI from time to time to solve specific problems such as character restraints and message matching for lower volume keywords.
Are there any particular PPC trends on the horizon that really excite you?
There’s a huge opportunity in video to reach a high level of relevancy.
You can target specific videos, and if your pre-roll is delivering the right message, you have an amazing platform to tell your story to your audience at a moment they’ll listen.
The fact that AdWords just rolled YouTube into the reporting interface makes this much easier to track and monitor.
What are some of the top tools and apps in your PPC stack?
Monthly budget/pacing reports across engines are essential, and we’ve recently switched to Supermetrics for that in our agency.
Editor is a vital tool for build-outs, and the earlier you learn to love it, the better. I still use Excel for pivoting data – I’m not a huge fan of the new reporting tool in AdWords yet, although maybe I’ll get there in time.
How is your typical work day structured?
My work consists mostly of audits, build-outs, analysis, optimization, reporting, and meetings / client education.
I try to dedicate chunks of time in the day to specific clients so I don’t have to spend much time jumping in and out of different accounts, although it’s hard when people need questions answered right away.
What advice would you share with other PPC Specialist’s who want to become more productive?
The best way to be productive in PPC is to focus on things that matter most. That may sound obvious, but it can be very difficult to put into practice.
Just for search networks, you can now adjust bids on keywords, device type, location, time of day / day of week, desired ad position, plus hacks like income and audience lists.
With so many variables and adjustments, it’s easy to get distracted with changes that are not meaningful and won’t actually contribute to the success of the account.
Among Google’s AdWords updates, what is the most challenging one that you’ve encountered?
AdWords seems to keep changing how it serves ads in order to reach more people. Broad is getting “broader” across keywords, locations, intent, etc.
It can be like playing a giant game of whack-a-mole trying to keep all the settings relevant to my audience – they keep finding new ways to misspell words I’m trying to exclude from my campaigns!
If there’s one PPC Specialist Guru you’d recommend who and why.
My answer would depend on who’s asking for the recommendation. If you’re just getting started in PPC and you’re interested in scripting and automation, Frederick Vallaeys is your guy.
If you’re just trying to get a lay of the land, follow Danny Sullivan. If you’ve been doing PPC for a while and want to get to the next level, I’d suggest Neil Patel. Obviously he’s not strictly PPC, but his marketing advice is some of the best out there.