Are There Any Real PPC Experts?

By , President at Hanapin Marketing


As part of our training program we like to lay out time frames for people new to PPC in terms of how long it will take to feel comfortable and become an expert. I usually say 1 year to be proficient, 2 years to become an expert and 3 years to be able to actually apply that knowledge at an expert level.

In the most recent training I made a joke, but then quickly realized it was more accurate than my previous timeline. Here it is:


End of year 1 – You feel proficient

End of year 2 – You feel like an expert

End of year 3 – Your realize there are no experts


Yes, I realize the silliness of saying this while the sub headline on our home page is “brought to you by the experts at Hanapin Marketing.” But it still illustrates the point that I am trying to make which is that the industry changes so often and the tools we use evolve so fast that what I learned in 2000 is not relevant to what I did in 2012. And what I learned in 2012 may be irrelevant in 2013.

In fact, things are changing so quickly that British Sam had enough to write a post on 25 changes to PPC in the past year alone. It’s a bit depressing to think how fast our technical knowledge becomes irrelevant but there are some things you can do to stay ahead of the game and even speed up the learning curve.


3 Ways to Speed Up the Learning Curve and Stay Ahead of Changes


1.) Do Case Studies

A common blunder in PPC is not wrap up tests and report on results. Doing formal case studies forces you to do this crucial step, which helps you understand the impact of your changes/optimizations/ideas/strategies.

A good case study has four sections. They are defining the problem, identifying the solution, describing how the solution was implemented and the result from the implementation.

2.) Speak at Conferences/Train Newbies

The best way to learn is to teach. By presenting and/or training others you are (hopefully) ensuring that you not just know how to do something but you also know why to do it. This is important because the how is what changes frequently but the why evolves at a much slower pace (and sometimes not at all).

3.) Focus on Good User Experience Instead of How to Win Within the Current System

While the rules and tools change, mostly the aim of the changes is to improve the experience of the person conducting a web search or browsing the Internet (expect for Enhanced Campaigns, which was a revenue play). That means that focusing your paid search and display strategies on how to give people what they want will keep you ahead, or at least on par, with the bulk of industry changes.


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6 thoughts on “Are There Any Real PPC Experts?

  1. Lukas Hietkamp

    Very true. Blogging about ppc also helps with staying up to date with the newest developments.

    I find that if you are truly compasionate about helping other ambitious companies with PPC, you’ll gain the knowledge quick because you’re investing most of your time in finding new innovative ways to help companies with PPC (and that includes reading PPCHero during toiletbreaks 😉 )

  2. Matthew Umbro

    Hi Jeff,

    Thank you for this post! I’ve long felt there is no such thing as a “PPC Expert” (or expert in any field for that matter) because to be at this level it implies you know everything there is to know. To truly be great at PPC, you must always be learning and willing to test new ideas out.

    A huge pet peeve of mine is when someone calls himself/herself an expert. When I see someone who has this title I immediately sigh. As I stated above, there is so such thing! In fact, when clients refer to me as a “PPC Expert” I will say that I am passionate about my job, but am always learning.

    We are all PPC Specialists and Enthusiasts, but not experts.

  3. Calin Sandici

    So true.

    1) I should clearly do more. There comes a time when memory alone no longer serves you.

    2) I’ve realized it very quickly when starting my journey on the former AdWords forum, now the AdWords Community. No matter how many and how varied problems you are faced with when managing your clients’ accounts, there’s always something to learn from other people’s experiences and, best of all, when trying to solve their problems. Live account audits & discussions are also very helpful.

    3) True, again. Many people focus too much on tools and are distracted by feature A or feature B and try to find a way to use those features even if they are of no help to them instead of thinking of what they want to solve and which is the most rewarding path to the solution. But we get that in other situations as well, when people ask what software you used to process a picture, or what camera to take a photo, because they think that it’s mostly the gear that matters, not the experience / technique.

    Thanks for taking the time to put it “on paper”, Jeff.

  4. Spook SEO

    This is a clear example of the more you know, the less you know case.
    As your experience grow broader, you will realize that you are missing on out
    on a lot of possible ideas, that there are more complicated things than just
    getting traffic.

  5. Rina Ashton

    I’ve spoken with a lot of PPC companies, but the most important thing that
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    best marketing company to go with since they not only create solid ppc
    campaigns for you, but they also do landing pages, CRO and remarketing
    which are all 100% necessary elements of a successful online marketing
    campaign. Most companies sell you 1 single thing such as CRO, or just PPC,
    or just popups, etc. This is completely ludicrous because while 1 thing may
    make a difference in a stable marketing campaign, there is no single
    element that is a make or break element in online marketing, you need the
    entire package, and then hone/optimize from there.

  6. Steve Squier

    It’s really a useless conversation to go into the specifics of to fix any particular elements in PPC or landing pages etc…there are so many ins and outs to online marketing nowadays that the most important thing you can do as a business owner is start working with a company that really knows what they are doing, has solid communication, and is able to work with you to make sure key metrics are being measured and more customers are being sold your products at the end of the day. Honestly, this stuff changes every day. Also, are you willing to work hours every day to block the bad keywords, block the bad sites, create and experiment new display banners, and research new keywords? Most business owners burn out trying, I tried to keep up with it for a while, but i ended up calling Simon after one of my friends referred me to have his team setup some remarketing for my shopify store. Doubled my sales in under 90 days. Simon’s number is 325-446-1507 , I’m always willing to pass along a referral to someone who takes pride in what they do.


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