Four Reasons to Trust a Life Scientist with Your PPC Account

By Pat East | @pateast | CEO at Hanapin Marketing

This is the second post of a series called “why to trust a (insert stereotype) with your PPC account.” The first post profiled Amy, the “farmer’s daughter,” and this post profiles Jessica Niver, an Account Supervisor at Hanapin and the “life scientist.”

First, it would probably help to define a life scientist. Life sciences “comprise all fields of science that involve the scientific study of living organisms, like plants, animals, and human beings.” A life scientist would naturally be someone who studies in the field of life sciences, and, prior to Hanapin, Jessica earned her degree in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

As you may have read in the first post of this series, we’ve been hiring people for eight years at Hanapin, and we’ve determined that one’s personal traits and characteristics are more important in determining their success as a search marketer than one’s background or degree. Thus, we thought it’d be important to exemplify this idea by profiling our three Account Supervisors who all fall into some kind of stereotype. Below is our profile of Jessica Niver, the “life scientist!”

Natural interest in how parts of a system work together to make a whole: There are many facets to a high-performing paid search program. From keywords, to ads, to landing pages, to bids, to budgets, and countless more buttons and levers you can push and pull in an account. Beyond interactions within a PPC account itself, you must account for the interactions between SEO and PPC and the ways in which changes in one area of online marketing can affect the performance of another. Even beyond those parts of the system, the best paid search program can’t help a bad website or bad business model. Great search marketers make recommendations to their clients on fundamental changes they can make to their business, whether it’s something as simple as changing the offer (e.g. free shipping on orders more than $50) based on lifetime customer value or what competitors are doing or a bigger wholesale change like targeting a new customer segment (e.g. market to Christian authors and setup a new publishing imprint) based on high search volume (customer demand) and lack of competitors (market gap).

Everything plays by the rules of evolution: Data doesn’t lie, and the best ads are the ones that have the highest click-through rates. They’re the ones that resonate most with customers. They offer something competitors don’t (otherwise, they would have clicked on those ads, right?). The best ads aren’t the ones that the boss likes the most or that are the freshest. “It needs to be refreshed” is a standard reason that marketers use for writing different copy. The same thing applies to keywords: the best ones generate the most conversions within the client’s high/low cost per conversion range. They’re not the ones that best describe the business (though they sometimes are), they’re not the ones that have the highest search volume (though they sometimes are), and they’re not the ones that are most or least expensive (though they sometimes are). The data tells you what is best, and whatever isn’t best gets paused or deleted in favor of the ads, keywords, landing pages, et. al. that do.

Interest in identifying a “disease” and “curing” it: Because there are so many facets of a PPC account, and because there are so many moving parts (new advertisers coming into the space, searchers’ habits changing, Google or Bing making a new announcement, and countless other variables) a paid search account is a living, breathing thing. What works one day doesn’t always work the next day. Sometimes there’s a discrete and identifiable reason, like a setting you inadvertently changed that you can simply change back. Sometimes there’s a less visible reason, like a high cost per lead after you’ve added new keywords but the high cost per lead isn’t attributable to those keywords. What if some were duplicates? Google should display the one with the highest quality score, thus generating a good cost per lead, and we’ve found that this doesn’t always happen. Duplicates can confuse Google, and removing the ones with poor quality score can make the entire system perform better. It took a while to find that one out, particularly because it shouldn’t happen and because it takes a persistent mind to find the root cause.

Ability to focus on both the tiny, “cellular” level and big picture “ecosystem” level while balancing the best interests of both: Google likes to throw lots of curve balls at us by having several different types of quality scores. There’s the visible quality score, which is the keyword-level quality score. There’s a landing page quality score. There’s an account-level quality score, which is the overall health of the account, and there’s even a historical quality score, which is kind of like a crowd-sourced quality score from all advertisers for a single keyword. All of that is a long and complicated way of saying you have to keep an eye on lots of different parts of the account and determine which ones matter and which ones don’t. Also, you often have to make a decision on which ones matter most and prioritize the “curing” of them ahead of others and establish the time frame for when you do not just assess and triage them but when you can work on them.

That’s a wrap for our second “stereotypes” profile! We hope you now know that you can trust a life scientist to do great work on your PPC account. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s profile about the “hockey player.”