The world of PPC can drastically change based on who the client is. Large budgets, small budgets, well-known brands, emerging startups…Recently, we discussed PPC for Small Businesses, so today we wanted to focus on Enterprise-level clients. We talked with Lisa Sanner, Director of Paid Search at PointIt, an SEM agency based in Seattle.

PPC Hero: Welcome to today’s Heroview! Real-time interviews with PPC experts from around the industry! Today, Lisa Sanner will talk with us about Enterprise PPC and the differences in management for such clients. We are really excited to have you with us today, Lisa! Thanks for joining PPC Hero!

Lisa: Thanks so much for having me as @ppchero heroine today. I have my tiara and cape on, and hopefully my fingers are ready to fly.

PPC Hero: Perfect! What would you say is the highest priority task when it comes to managing enterprise level accounts?

Lisa: As an agency lead for an enterprise client, my highest priority task is making sure everyone has clear goals & action items. Communication is key. I manage 10 acct managers. I’m solely dedicated to this client, but my team works on other accounts. Sometimes my most important task is just keeping everyone on the same page, or at least aligned & moving in the same direction. Personally, as this client has grown, my job has become more about project and team management & less about campaign mgmt. But it’s still important for me to know the details and best practices of implementation to identify opportunities or hurdles. Performance-wise, our highest priority task is usually whatever creates the most bang for the buck, efficiency metrics. Or, if there’s a new client initiative beyond normal account maintenance that needs development and integration with tools and publishers.

PPC Hero: Totally understandable! Would you say you approach all paid search tasks with a different strategy when applying them to an enterprise client?

Lisa: No, not really. Best practices still hold true, but I do consider replication across accts and scaling in everything we do. For reporting & bidding, we automate as much as possible. It saves time & also standardizing processes allows for scaling accts. Our accts are ginormous; it would take too many human hours to do it all manually. We do heavy lifting but we’re not robots. I guess the one big difference is the amount of preparation & planning that is often needed to make changes bc accts are so big. It’s also critical to have clear project start and end dates particularly for promotions, and a process for knowing those details.

PPC Hero: You’re not a robot?? Whaaa?

Lisa: Haha! Far from it! Seriously though, a lot of what we do can be done by machine or algorithm or whatever. But brain power makes magic happen

PPC Hero: Brain power makes magic happen. Love that!
How do you find big picture opportunities (new channels, keywords, engines, etc.) for enterprise accounts?

Lisa: Probably the way most others find them. Read blogs like PPC Hero, sources like #ppcchat, conferences, my reps, other acct mgrs. We often get approached about betas because we have sizable accounts that engines can get data fast for feature development. And I’m open to testing betas, IF they make sense. I think that often is where the fun & creativity comes into play. The new stuff. The new stuff for me keeps it interesting. Always testing, always learning.

PPC Hero: In terms of ad copy, brand is important for enterprise clients. How do you tackle maintaining brand and PPC messaging?

Lisa: Brand is HUGE. Harvesting demand for those brands/product names is what PPC does best. You directly answer the user’s question. At the beginning of any program initiative, we really hammer out what our value proposition & key benefits/motivators are. Then, we test that & if it performs, we stick to it to maintain consistency across accounts as well as communicate to other BGs. Once we have controls established, we test other ideas to try to tweak/beat it. I like to run multiple texts per ad group. When you have other BGs across the org running SEM too, it’s important to be consistent, methodical in messaging. We stay pretty conservative with text, not wanting to get in trouble with legal, etc. If it’s slightly questionable, we ask. 🙂

PPC Hero: Good to stay out of all grey areas! Would you say you speak to your enterprise level clients more or less often than smaller accounts?

Lisa: Yes, we probably do. Just because the size of what we are doing and the number of balls we are juggling at any one time. Although I wouldn’t say “speak.” We do a lot of communication by email and reports. Have to deal w/various geos, time zones. Very hard to schedule mtgs. Plus my clients are in enough company mtgs as it is. I don’t have meetings just to have meetings. Our aggregate reporting goes out to a lot of stakeholders. They each are interested in specific pieces of data and progress. We do our best to provide rolled up data and then specific local, channel data to interested parties across the org. We have bi-weekly meetings with regional directors just sync and stay on task. Weekly mtgs with platform reps.

PPC Hero: Do you apply more or less account segmentation for enterprise accounts (ex: segmenting tablets to their own campaign)?

Lisa: We probably apply more segmentation bc we work with sizable data sets where optimization is possible in shorter timeframes. Also, for brick & mortar accounts, segmentation really allows us to target users wherever they are with appropriate messages.

PPC Hero: In your opinion, what is the most difficult thing about managing enterprise level paid search accounts?

Lisa: I think prioritization is the hardest part. There’s an overwhelming number of things you could work on to fill your day. I try to help my team figure out what they should be working on. Sometimes you have to make tradeoffs & back burner items, re-allocate staff where the need is greatest. That’s probably difficult for anyone in paid search, not just enterprise level.

PPC Hero: Very true! “Make it work!” Any quick and dirty account structure tips to help keep enterprise (and often large) accounts more manageable?

Lisa: Breakout content network, breakout devices, make sure your architecture makes sense & is meaningful so you can replicate it. Make sure tracking tag structure across accts allows you to rollup, filter, segment data to provide actionable optimizations. Be as consistent as possible w/architecture when you launch new accounts, but open to market by market optimizations & expansions.

PPC Hero: Aside from client KPI, is there a particular metric you keep your eyes on no matter what for enterprise accounts?

Lisa: We are very performance driven. I have my first cup of coffee with dashboards & review %change in profitability metrics. Also I watch traffic volume carefully, especially if volatile or if something is new. Impression share is pretty impt too.

PPC Hero: When you test account elements for enterprise clients, what’s the difference in time needed to make the right call?

Lisa: We can often make go or no-go decisions pretty quickly, depending on our ability to roll up data between accounts. Sometimes we can know if something works in a few days or sometimes in a few weeks. If it’s longer or multi-step sales, then longer. We also test new things on our largest accounts or sometimes most profitable accounts, and then rollout best performers to other accounts. If we plan things right, we can test things more quickly. But, often decisions in large orgs can take time. So, it’s a balance.

PPC Hero: How frequently do you conduct account audit tasks, such as SQRs, for enterprise accounts?

Lisa: Most auditing tasks, we probably do bi-weekly on average size accounts, unless there’s a push or focus for some reason. Sometimes on big, new, shiny campaigns that are getting loads of impressions, much more often, particularly during launches/holidays.

PPC Hero: What are your favorite 3 things about managing large, enterprise level paid search accounts?

Lisa: 1) I enjoy the challenge of project mgmt & driving new programs to market & seeing success. It’s a beautiful thing 🙂 2) I love seeing my team members owning & managing aspects of the program & growing professionally themselves. Very rewarding. 3) I also like the scale. I’m comfortable dealing with big money as long as we’re making big money & users value our products.

PPC Hero: Alright- last question: How do you see enterprise account management changing in the next year?

Lisa: I think mobile and display are going to really grow & become much more integrated w/ traditional search efforts. Multi-channel, multi-touch attribution, multi-conversion types/values are where we are headed and it’s a fascinating puzzle. There’s always something new to learn and test. It’s what fuels my fire in what I feel lucky to call a ‘job.’ 🙂

PPC Hero: That’s great, Lisa! Well, that’s all from us. Do you have anything else you’d like to add, or does anyone have any questions?

Lisa: Nope, that’s all from me. Sorry I was so chatty. Can’t help my enthusiasm. 🙂

PPC Hero: That’s a good problem to have! Everyone, make sure to check out the recap on our blog a little later. A huge thanks to Lisa for participating today! And next month, we will be discussing Facebook ads with @MerryMorud. If you recall her Hero Conf presentation, you should be excited! Finally, if you have some time on your hands, pop over to check out #crochat with @Realicity. See ya next time, folks!