01Editor’s Note – Today, we present the second submission in our Hero Conf Guest Blog Post Giveaway. The winner receives a free conference pass to Hero Conf Philadelphia. Today’s post is from Gil Hong, PPC Account Manager at SEER Interactive.

Let’s just face it, the PPC industry can be a scary place.You have competitors lurking around every ad position, clients/bosses that mandate all graphs go up and to the right, and most frightening of all….. INDUSTRY WIDE CHANGES. After all, it’s the search engines’ sandbox, and we’re just playing in it.

I must confess that I too fall victim to social media rants and sensational click bait instilling fear and anger. But just because there are a bajillion posts and scheduled retweets on the latest industry change, doesn’t mean we should blindly follow them. Let’s go over some tips on how to overcome the fluff and get to the facts.

Let’s take the recent announcement by Google on killing right side text ads as an example. It was a Friday morning on 2/19 when unconfirmed news broke that Google would be getting rid of all text ads on the right hand side of the SERP (Google has yet to publish an official release on the matter as of a week after the change). Much speculation and rants ensued forecasting higher CPCs, less traffic for SMBs, and the death of organic listings.

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How does one survive in an industry like this?!

Look First At The Data

This should be the first thing you do in any industry change situation. Look at your own data and assess if what you hear is true. For the right side ads update, did you look at your Top vs. Other report or benchmark Auction Insights for potential competitor movement? No one likes a lazy data-driven less marketer!

And if you do not have access to large enough data sets that are statistically relevant, be sure to put extra scrutiny on what others post (after all, the blog medium is not necessarily a peer-reviewed source).

Engage With The Content You See

What are people commenting about on social media and blog post comments? Often times additional questions on impact can be thoroughly debated and discussed. There are also valuable insights in seeing what others from different industry verticals, client sizes (SMB, Enterprise, etc.), and specialties (SEO, Social Media, etc) have to say on the matter. If you can not vet the comments and potential opinions that you see, get a second opinion from a trusted source, colleague or community.

As a word of caution: Take all advice from anyone with a grain of salt (do not forget to ALWAYS LOOK AT THE DATA) and be wary that bots and scheduled tweets can often bury your search for follow up info.

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There Can Be Benefits To Early Action

If you are bold enough to test, is there any way to get ahead while the competition catches up? It might be worthwhile to bid up to position 4 if you used to get by cruising at the right corner of the SERP.

If you are more cautious, you can at least start benchmarking your data to see how impacted you are by the change over time (if any). And who knows? Maybe your early actions or data will enable you to help others!

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Industry changes are a fact of life, but we do not always need to give in to the hype and hysteria that can follow. We may wish we had a crystal ball to tell us exactly when things will change and what we should do about it, but reviewing the data, doing research, and taking action is what being a PPC marketer is all about and to tell you the truth, it excites me on a day to day basis!