The Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts in 2014

By , Director of Inbound Marketing at Hanapin Marketing


It’s that time again, PPC Heroes.

As most readers know, every summer we release our list of the Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts for that yearit’s a nice way to honor some of the hardest workers in our tight-knit community.

This year’s list has already generated far more interest than in previous years. More than three times as many people voted for or nominated their favorite expert this year compared to last year!

Of course, voting is only one part of the complex, mostly boring (but fun for us!) formula that goes into calculating what makes someone truly influential in our industry. We’ll go into significant detail describing how we calculated the rankings below the graphic, but the quick and dirty versions is: We stayed true to the formula from last year, plus added a metric for Social Impact (so we’re measuring more than just follower counts).

We had quite a few movers and shakers from last year! Some very big names are missing from the list, which we’ll explain below, but also we saw lots of shuffling among the entire 25. The competition for being one of the most influential experts in the PPC industry is fierce!

But enough preamble. Let’s get to it, shall we?


The Official Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts:

Please note: As always, employees of Hanapin Marketing, the creators, owners, and writers of PPC Hero, are not eligible for this list. 


PPC Hero's Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts 2014 Infographic



The Results

The list was created based on our custom “Influence Score” ranking, which takes no fewer than ten different metrics into consideration.

It’s always a close race for who will be at the “top,” but you can see there were incredibly small Influence Score margins throughout the entire list–typically only a few points decide where a particular PPC expert is ranked.

This year, we were exceptionally mindful in limiting the list to purely PPC experts, so while you might notice certain highly influential individuals are not included, even compared to last year, we assure you it’s because we’re keeping it 100% PPC geeks only (and not because we don’t think they’re experts or just plain cool people).

And who knows. Maybe those experts will end up on a different list one day…

Moving on. As mentioned, we stayed pretty close to the methodology used in past years, for obvious reasons. We did tweak a few things, chief among them adding a metric for Social Impact. It’s become clear that fans and followers are not what makes an expert influential. It’s also how those communities interact and react to the expert.

To learn more, read about our methodology below.


The Methodology

All metrics are normalized into a standard scale so that they can be compared and tallied using the same rubric. Some of the measurements we list below sound a little like apples and oranges, but we used a weighting and normalization scheme specifically to ensure that no single thing created a bias for any particular PPC experts.

The metrics we measured can be roughly defined as belonging to four categories:

  • Social Influence
    Followers, fans, circles, etc.
  • Traditional Influence
    Speaking engagements, books, blog posts (both frequency and variety of sites), etc.
  • Social Impact
    Influence measurement using tools like Moz’s awesome Social Authority metric.
  • Vote Totals
    The votes, nominations and enthusiasm of you, the PPC community!

Let me explain Social Impact a little more. The entire point of it is to discover who is truly influencing their social community, and thereby the digital advertising industry as a whole. Using multifaceted influence trackers like Social Authority by Moz (our favorite), it’s easier than ever to see who is engaging, conversing with, and generating responses from their communities.

We thought it was vital for the Top 25 list to add metrics like these to our overall formula. Followers might be a dime a dozen (sometimes literally), but evoking a response is priceless. Someone who is constantly impacting their followers is an influencer, whether they have 200 followers or 20,000 followers.

There is plenty of room for debate (we have certainly learned that much), but we always do our very best to ensure that the scores are objective and that they rely on actual data, not opinion. The list is crafted from a 1:1 comparison of the numbers in our formula, and nothing more.


The Reaction

We want to hear from you! Love the list? Tell your friends! Hate the list? Tell your friends! But most importantly: Tell us.

Leave a comment below with any questions, kudos, congratulations, complaints or commentary.

Tweet @PPCHero or @Hanapin with your thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Mail us a letter with a picture of your face reacting to the list.

We want to hear it all!


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20 thoughts on “The Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts in 2014

    1. Matthew Umbro

      Hi Martin,

      Thanks for taking a look at the list! Marc Poirier is the only member based outside of the USA, however, we did have many candidates based all over the world that just missed the cut.

      1. Lauryan Feijen

        Maybe that can be explained by the fact that most features are first launched in the USA: no experience with new features and beta’s makes it also harder to be the first to tweet about it.
        Not saying that you guys in the USA don’t deserve it: we (in my case Europeans) just may have to write and blog more about strategic stuff to make up for the posts about new features 🙂
        I do like the list, especially that it’s now really a PPC list.

  1. Samantha

    Does this take into account other media like radio shows and TV appearances? I know David and Brad have highly syndicated radio shows, and I’ve seen Brad, Larry, and Perry mentioned in articles like Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, and I’ve seen Brad on TV before. Just wondering if this is mostly online social influence or if it takes into account offline influence as well.

    1. Matthew Umbro

      Hi Samantha,

      The list does take into account offline media via the Traditional Influence metric. However, this metric is only one piece of the puzzle. Thanks for checking out the list!

  2. Ryan Grant

    It looks like most of those guys are over 35. I am not sure that is because it takes years to become an influencer or years to become great at Adwords. We never see “16 year old whizz” like we do for developers or SEO.

    1. Matthew Umbro

      Hi Ryan,

      Thanks for the note and interesting observation! Perhaps next year we will have one of those “16 year old whizz” kids on the list 🙂

  3. Larry Kim

    PPC Hero Top 25 List Change History Report (vs. 2013)

    New To List in 2014 (congrats!)
    Justin Freid (#7 in 2014)
    John Ellis (#12 in 2014)
    Aadron Goldman (#13 in 2014)
    Jeff Sauer (#17 in 2014)
    Megan Leap (#19 in 2014)
    John Lee (#20 in 2014)
    Melissa Mackey (#21 in 2014)
    Bryant Garvin (#24 in 2014)

    Big Movers
    David Szetela (#12 -> #4) +8!
    Marc Poirier (#18 -> #9) +9!
    Lisa Raehsler (#25 -> #11) +14!
    Aaron Levy (#23 -> #16) +7
    Jeff Ferguson (#8 -> #18) -10
    Justin Seibert (#11 -> #23) -12

    Off The List in 2014 (rats!)
    Bryan Eisenberg (#3 in 2o13)
    avinash kaushik (#4 in 2013)
    Joanna Lord (#13 in 2013)
    Martin Rottgerding (#15 in 2013)
    Pamela Lund (#17 in 2013)
    David Rodnitzky (#19 in 2013)
    Joe Kerschbaum (#20 in 2013)
    Heather Cooan (#21 in 2013)

    anyway, congrats everyone and thanks hero folks for compiling this infographic. I’m gonna work my PPC ass off and beat that guy next year! 🙂

  4. Jim Banks

    It’s interesting that there are no European PPC influencers on the list. Bit like the World Series of baseball.

    Is social influence restricted to just Twitter?

    Are speaking engagements restricted to just speaking about PPC?

    I’ve never liked ego-bait, in any form.

    1. Sam OwenSam Owen

      Hey Jim,

      I didn’t put the list together but I can comment on a few things. I complained in the office when there were no British people on the list,

      FIrst – the list was calculated with a formula. Whether people agree with the formula or not is one thing, but it still *tried* to be objective.

      Second – There are probably more Americans because they naturally have a wider audience for social media, speak English (universal language), go to more conferences (there are lots more here in than in Europe) and get access to interesting Google stuff before other markets (so tend to be thought-leaders with new stuff).

      Third – PPC Hero’s audience is primarily American (although it does come from all over the world). This means that when it came to the voting portion of this list, Americans voted in greater numbers and therefore had a bigger sway.

      Hopefully that helps clear it up a little.



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