I’ll admit, the PPC grind can get lonely, whether you’re trucking along in the rhythm, or in a rut—staring at your screen trying to come up with ideas.
Alexa, play “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd.
Before you get in your “feels” calling out for anyone out there like Roger Waters, I’ve got good news for you. You don’t have to do it alone. There are plenty of PPC influencers you can follow on social media to ask questions, discuss updates, share ideas (and even laughs), and continue your learning.
But who are they? What platforms do they hang out on? There are too many to cover in one post, but here are a few of our favorites!
For each influencer, I’ll be providing:
- Who they are
- What their specific areas of expertise are
- Where to find them on social
- A sneak peek at their expertise
Aaron Levy is the VP of Paid Search at Tinuiti. His 15 years in the industry include teaching at Drexel and University of Vermont, writing for publications like Search Engine Land, and speaking at events like SMX and Hero Conf. He’s a PPC Hero top 25.
Awesome update. The simple action of changing AWAY from last click as default will save us from a lot of time consuming education conversations later.
Now add view throughs to modeling plz 🙂
Data-driven attribution is a multi-touch attribution model that credits each conversion differently based on tons of different data signals that make up each conversion action. Aaron acknowledges this will be helpful, for example, if a visitor downloads a whitepaper to learn more but doesn’t move further down the conversion funnel. DDA will credit that action accordingly to help advertisers better understand the value behind each conversion.
However, I agree with Aaron that there’s still more work to be done. View-through conversions are a game-changer for advertisers since they credit actions towards assets that were seen first before sparking a conversion elsewhere, but they’re still not included in conversion modeling…yet.
We’re kicking off our list with AJ Wilcox, founder of agency B2Linked who hosts his own podcast The LinkedIn Ads Show. AJ is a PPCHero Top 25 Most Influential PPC Expert and regularly speaks at industry events.
- What: All things LinkedIn advertising.
- Where: Twitter (@wilcoxaj) and , LinkedIn.
- Sneak peek: AJ’s two Linkedin ads tips for 2021 that still ring true today:
I have to pack 2 tips in here. ALWAYS turn off Audience Expansion (it’s on by default), and always start bidding significantly less than what LinkedIn recommends. #Agency#Chat
This is great advice. While Audience Expansion is helpful for reach, it automatically tacks on folks you may not have originally targeted. This could decrease ad efficacy as you stretch your budget further across a wider, yet possibly muddier, audience.
And his advice on being conservative with bids reminds me of something I tell clients myself: You can always raise your bids or add more budget, but you can’t get back what you’ve already spent.
Akvile is the president of her own social media advertising agency AKvertise and a frequent speaker in the PPC community. She’s also a WordStream blog contributor, published author (You can find her Small Business Guide to Facebook Ads Kindle book on Amazon), and one of PPCHero’s Top 25.
- What: Event marketing, mobile apps, and lead gen by way of paid social including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and TikTok.
- Where: Twitter (@AkvileDeFazio) and LinkedIn.
- Sneak peek: This tweet on Reels ad placements:
IG Stories CPCs and CPMs high?
Give Reels-only placement ad sets a test, too. We’re doing this for some accounts & while impression volume is lower, the benefits that we are seeing are lower costs, excellent & healthy CTRs, and they’re driving additional sales.
Akvile argues that while Instagram Story ads are a popular ad placement, the Instagram Reels placement has proven to be a lower-cost alternative without sacrificing quality engagement—even when bringing in fewer impressions than Story ads.
With this Tweet, Akvile is reminding advertisers to always be testing and explore all ad placement options they may have been previously ignoring.
Amalia is a digital marketing strategist and professor at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. She writes her own biweekly leadership newsletter, The Wholehearted Manager, and is also a PPCHero Top 25.
- What: PPC, copywriting, social media, and more.
- Where: Twitter (@AmaliaEFowler) and
- Sneak peek: This Twitter thread:
Seven signs you’re about to hire a sh*tty digital marketing partner:
They won’t give you access to your accounts
The reason for that being “proprietary”
They want to track everything as a conversion
These first three points are my favorite. First off, without having a full view of your account, how can you know for sure the efficacy of your marketing partner’s efforts? Plus, if an agency or consultant is trying to pull the wool over your eyes for “proprietary” reasons it immediately establishes a lack of trust within the working relationship.
Her third point resonates the most with me: just because you can track basically anything you want as a conversion doesn’t mean you necessarily should. This is a classic trick to boost conversion numbers.
On the screen, your PPC metrics look great since you have so many actions counting as conversions. However, as you dig deeper you find that the ROI isn’t truly there since not all conversions equate to value for your business.
We also offer tips on finding a great marketing partner here.
Known for her weekly PPC roundup posts on social, Amy is a PPC writer for industry staples like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, WordStream, LOCALiQ, and more. She is the founding owner of Cultivative Marketing, a PPCHero Top 25, and an international speaker on paid search and social.
- What: ecommerce, lead generation, and localized site-to-store strategies
- Where: Twitter (@Hoffman8), and LinkedIn.
- Sneak peek: This answer to a FAQ from her SMX presentation on Facebook Ad tests and the learning period.
The question was “How long is Facebook’s learning curve? If we test something, should we let it run for at least 30 days?”
To paraphrase her full response:
I hate to give an “it depends’ answer but this can vary from one account to the next —even from one ad set to the next within the same account. But if you draw out the test too long, you can hit creative fatigue. This also varies from one campaign to the next. Audience size and frequency play a role here. So, an ad set with a large audience and low frequency will typically hit creative fatigue slower than an account with tiny audiences.
I always joke that the hardest part about PPC is patience, but at some point, you have to know when to pull the plug on an ad test. Amy knows that will look different for every account or even ad set, so I applaud her for not giving a “one size fits all” answer.
She also makes a good point about ad frequency playing a role in the learning period and the need to refresh ad content or copy before it gets stale (this is one of our Facebook advertising mistakes to avoid). Of course, this is dependent on your audience targeting.
Anu is an international speaker who also hosts the #PPCchat Roundup Podcast, where she dives into the topics covered on the popular Twitter channel each week. She’s an active board member of the Paid Search Association, was recently a judge for Search Engine Land’s 2021 paid search awards, and a PPCHero Top 25.
- What: Google Ads, data, automation, and leadership.
- Where: Twitter (@TheMarketingAnu) and LinkedIn.
- Sneak peek: This answer to a #PPCchat question about whether to follow Google Ads’ recommendation to use one only RSA and no ETAs per ad group:
I do agree that multiple RSAs per ad group aren’t strictly necessary – but I put a post about this and some ppl did give me good testing scenarios as to why to have multiple. We still need to drop ETAs all together soon – maybe start testing that? #ppchat
While advertisers are often quick to disagree with Google, I like that Anu gives it the benefit of the doubt by saying multiple RSAs may not, in fact, always be necessary.
While she has seen proof that there is no clear right or wrong answer as to how many RSAs you have, she also brings up an excellent point about the sunsetting of ETAs.
With ETA editing capabilities eventually being limited, Google is suggesting to stop the use of ETAs in favor of RSAs instead. Anu says this makes sense in light of the sunset date creeping up, and her suggestion to test this in preparation for the end of ETAs is a smart move.
Brett is a senior paid media specialist at Elumnt and known for his frequent participation in #PPCchat. He’s a Silver Google Ads Product Expert, a Google Ads Help Community Participant, and a board member of the Paid Search Association.
- What: Google Ads, Google Shopping, Amazon Ads, and more.
- Where: Twitter (@brettbodofsky), LinkedIn, or Instagram (@paid_search_guy).
- Sneak peek: His input on what not to do when starting out in PPC, from first-hand experience.
A big mistake in my PPC career was launching a new campaign on a Friday & not checking it over the weekend to make sure all was well. Learned it’s not the wisest move to launch on Fridays, if you do it’s important to be vigilant to ensure it runs as expected #ppcchat
When you feel like you’ve checked your setup 100 times it can be easy to assume a campaign will start out with stellar results. Brett sheds light on this rookie mistake the hard way.
In the hit show Deadliest Catch, the fishermen never leave port on a Friday. The same logic applies to Brett’s advice, but for reasons beyond just simple superstition. Audience activity during the workweek versus the weekend can be two totally different things. Pair that with a PPC manager who’s off the clock and you’ve got the perfect storm for disaster—unless you take heed of Brett’s advice.
Speaking of mistakes, are you making any with your Google Ads account? Find out with the Free Google Ads Performance Grader.
David is president of his own social advertising company Hermann Digital, LLC. The experienced media buyer and paid social strategist specializes in helping DTC (direct to consumer) brands find a home in the social media marketing space.
- What: Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok ads; content and KPIs.
- Where: Twitter (@herrmanndigital) and LinkedIn.
- Sneak peek: This interesting take on marrying Google Ads and Facebook Ads insights.
I use Google Trends for my Facebook Ad campaigns. If I see a dip in my target’s search intent I pivot, if I see signs of increase and five year data verifies that in search intent I double down.
These campaigns typically have the quickest buying intent of any campaign with 1 day click ROAS higher than evergreen.
David backs a common gut feeling many advertisers have: What goes on in the search space reflects what’s happening on the social space.
David suggests using Google Trends to find out what folks in your targeted area have been frequently searching for more recently. Based on that information, you can make assumptions about changes in your audience’s behaviors on Facebook and adjust your targeting accordingly. What a foolproof way to unify your search and social efforts!
As one of Google’s first 500 employees and a contributor to the creation of Google Ads, it’s no surprise that Federick is a PPCHero Top 25. He is also the co-founding CEO of one of the first PPC companies, Optmyzer.
- What: Advanced technical Google Ads topics like scripts, reports, and automation; entrepreneurship.
- Where: Twitter (@siliconvallaeys), LinkedIn, and Instagram (@fvallaeys).
- Sneak peek: In a recent interview, Frederick was asked what skill PPC professionals should be learning in 2022. His answer was:
PPC pros should learn how to help the machine. Be a teacher who feeds the algorithms better data so it can do its job better. If you teach it right, it will handle many of the details that you used to spend a huge amount of time on, and then you can recoup that time to be more strategic. And of course, learn how to be a pilot who monitors these automated systems. And how to be a doctor who knows how attribution models, targets, and a variety of automations can all work together to achieve business goals.
It’s no secret automation is playing a larger role than ever before in advertising, but how can an advertiser win when everyone has the same tools?” Frederick’s advice answers that exact question—learn how to master the machines.
While Ginny identifies as a marketer at heart, she’s also a full-time Google Ads Product Liaison, answering advertisers’ questions about Google Ads and taking their insights and perspectives back to Google to continuously improve the PPC space. She’s the former Editor-in-Chief at Search Engine Land and Marketing Land as well as a conference speaker and PPCHero Top 25.
- What: All things Google Ads.
- Where: Twitter (@GinnyMarvin) and LinkedIn
- Sneak peek: As a Google Ads Liaison, Ginny can’t really give out advice but she is invaluable in helping advertisers make sense of confusing announcements. Remember the DDA update I talked about in Aaron’s sneak peek? This was one of those confusing ones.
As you can see, Ginny will answer individual questions to help users understand the details of platform updates that aren’t always made clear in Google’s official announcements.
Greg is the CMO at Cypress North Agency, a certified Google Ads partner, and a speaker at industry events. He also co-hosts a popular industry podcast Marketing O’Clock and is on the Search Marketing Expo (SMX) programming team.
- What: Google Ads and ecommerce, organic search, content and social media marketing.
- Where: Twitter (@gregfinn) and LinkedIn.
- Sneak peek: This tweet about optimization technology and features:
When all options become ‘smart,’ ‘performance maxed,’ or ‘optimized’…then none truly are.
A key takeaway from this tweet is that a good advertiser questions everything. If Google continues to push fully automated and optimized features, how will one know what the next move should be? I think what Greg is trying to say here is that, contrary to Google’s terminology, there is always room for improvement in PPC—don’t let those “smart” features fool you.
Joe is an international paid media writer and speaker and the co-founder of Paid Media Pros. He is a regular WordStream blog contributor, a PPCHero Top 25, and has also written for Search Engine Land, SEMrush, Marketing Land, and more.
We’ll let you read the post, but the three methods involve using custom audiences and targeting competitor URLs on YouTube. Here’s a brief excerpt:
One of the best feelings I get in this industry is showing a client the placement report for a particular ad group and showing them what awareness, views, and conversions we’re getting from their competitors’ YouTube videos or YouTube channel.
But be aware of the fine print. If you’re targeting placements solely on YouTube or the Display Network, your ads will now be eligible to run on both, so monitor your placement reports.
Advertisers are always looking for new ways to take down their competitors, and Joe makes a great point here that there is still high intent to be found on channels other than search.
Julie is a professional speaker and the Managing Director of the popular Twitter #PPCchat where she hosts regular discussions for any and all to join. She’s also the founding president of Neptune Moon LLC, and a PPCHero Top 25.
- What: paid search and social trends, but also discusses topics like website optimization, lead generation, and targeting.
- Where: Twitter (@NeptuneMoon) and LinkedIn.
- Sneak peek: This Tweet on an experiment with RSAs.
I am currently running an experiment with RSAs in one of my accounts.
I have 2 RSAs in each ad group, with identical assets. One has some assets pinned, the other does not.
So far? The non pinned RSA is getting almost all impressions. Will run for a bit more & share.
Pinning helps you control the order in which your ad’s assets are shown, rather than giving Google full control over your ad’s variations. Google advises against over-pinning, as this can interfere with its ability to experiment and find the best asset combinations, but Julie’s hypothesis is that Google is actually penalizing pinning.
In similar Tweets, Julie has also noted how RSAs with more pins go down in ad strength, according to Google. The proof is in the pudding through Julie’s test so far as the non-pinned ad has been shown more by Google. This type of ongoing, helpful update is a taste of what you can expect when following Julie.
Jyll Saskin Gales
A Google Ads Partner, expert, and former employee, Jyll runs her own marketing business jyll.ca. Along with coaching clients, she is also a digital marketing instructor at Jelly Academy.
- What: Google Ads for small businesses, start-ups, entrepreneurs, and more.
- Where: Twitter (@jyllsaskingales), LinkedIn, and TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube as @the_google_pro.
- Sneak peek: Jyll is known for her Google Ads “unpopular opinions” as they bring to light thought-provoking PPC topics, like the future of keywords.
#GoogleAds unpopular opinion from an ex-Googler: We’re moving toward a keyword-less future. It’s not a matter of if, but when. Start preparing now! Ensure your client’s website is optimized so Google Ads can understand it and properly automate your targeting. #ppcchat
I applaud Jyll for addressing something that I think has been on the back burner for many advertisers.
Honestly, I could see it. With all the keyword changes we’ve seen in the past year, and Google’s machine learning getting smarter and smarter—plus the evolution of automatically generated content—it makes sense down the line.
For help following Jyll’s advice, use our free website grader to make sure your website is optimized.
Kirk owns the micro-agency Zato Marketing and hosts the philosophical PPC Ponderings podcast. He’s also a published author, an industry blogger and speaker, and a PPCHero Top 25.
- What: Google Ads, Shopping Ads, and more.
- Where: Twitter (@PPCKirk), LinkedIn, and TikTok (@ppckirk).
- Sneak peek: This Tweet on what goes on behind the scenes at PPC agency:
Just had a (monthly) call with a research company to discuss industry trends in CPCs, supply chain, channel comp, etc. Just one example of something that won’t get “billed” to any single client or shop up in Google Change History, but that an agency does to help all clients.
Kirk highlights that agencies who want to build strong relationships with their clients should always be looking at the bigger picture in their industries, but you should be doing this for your own account too.
People can often get so sucked into the Google Ads interface they forget to take a step back to look at external factors, like competition and supply. When you’re trying to piece together your (or your client’s) PPC big picture, you’ll want to look not only at the tweaks you’ve made directly in the platforms, but also industry trends and outside events that can equally impact performance.
You can get a head start with our industry-specific advertising benchmarks.
What makes Larry an amazing PPC influencer? He founded WordStream, of course! Larry is currently the CEO of chatbot solution company Mobile Monkey and a guest lecturer at Harvard’s MBA School, MIT, and Boston University. He’s an industry author for key publications like Inc. Magazine, Medium, and CNBC and has been a Search Engine Land Marketer of the Year and PPCHero Top 25.
- What: PPC, social media, marketing growth, lead generation, entrepreneurship and startups.
- Where: Twitter (@larrykim), LinkedIn, Instagram (@kim_larry), and Facebook.
- Sneak peek: In an interview with WebMechanix, Larry recently gave his number one growth hack for 2022:
We’ve actually come full circle and it’s back to building your brand. Yeah, I love Facebook ads but it’s like, an audience I used to pay 50 cents per thousand impressions is now closer to $200.
And organic algorithms for social and search used to have these loopholes that you could exploit, but now, there’s all this machine learning and artificial intelligence, and all these new brand signals where if you don’t have a ton of branded searches, then it doesn’t matter how many links you get.
The most discriminating factor for whether a person will click or buy from you is whether they’ve heard of you. They’re 3-5x times more likely to click on your ad, your organic listing, your emails.
Algorithms have evolved to quantify brand signals and peoples’ propensity to trust and click and open and buy. And then o reward organic and paid visibility.
So the best way to leverage these algorithms is to build your brand.
Larry makes a great point here, and it’s also in line with the growing trend over the years of building a brand that aligns with your customers’ values. For help building your brand, you can check out this post on how to build your brand, and this one on the importance of brand consistency.
We were lucky enough to have Mark on the WordStream team for seven years, where he went from PPC Analyst to Director of Strategic Partnerships. At WordStream, Mark regularly went out of his way to provide data-backed insights for our readers, most notably during the peak of COVID-19. He is currently the Director of Paid Media at SearchLab an international speaker, and a Skillshare instructor. Mark is also a PPCHero Top 25 and a Microsoft Advertising Influencer of the Year.
- What: Google, Facebook, and Microsoft ads, data anlaysis.
- Where: Twitter (@MarkIrvine89) or LinkedIn.
- Sneak peek: This response to Amalia’s Tweet regarding common Google Ads account structure mistakes.
A comical number of problems in PPC are solved with basic math and simple budget management. That’s not even an SMB problem – “just move money around” is a 10 minute solution that can fix accounts of any size.
Half the time – it’s a problem of someone aspirationally bopping for these campaigns Ad groups, keywords working but…..
Sometimes that strategy/ad type/beta/guru you bought a class from* was wrong
(*my skillshare is still available for $9.99/month)
Maybe my professional mantra shouldn’t be “do less” but it hasn’t failed me.
I love the simple key takeaway Mark leaves viewers with here: “do less.” Overthinking your PPC can lead you to make a slew of unnecessary changes that could overcomplicate your original problem.
Mark is right that dumping budget towards a campaign you expected to perform better isn’t necessarily a smart solution. Knowing when to move budget to where you’ll see results, and when to leave things be, is a crucial lesson Mark provides.
Michelle is an international paid media consultant, writer, and speaker. She’s the co-founder of Paid Media Pros and a regular WordStream blog contributor. A certified Google and Microsoft ads professional, she also writes for publications like Search Engine Journal and Social Media Examiner and is a PPCHero Top 25.
View full post
So many times clients will come to me and say, ‘Our budget is $50,000 this month. We want to spend $20k on Facebook, $25k on Search, $5k on LinkedIn.’
Great. Wonderful. I’m happy you’re prepared for this meeting.
But I always push back on this. It’s nice to be organized, but in any given month, one channel can drastically under or over-perform its historical average. Start with a plan, then be flexible to maximize performance in the time range you’re given.
If there’s one term I think we’re all sick of hearing, it’s “unprecedented times.” However, that is sadly the reality many advertisers are in. Michelle makes a great point about the need to be nimble with budget, as historical data isn’t always a clear reflection of what’s to come in future. If you don’t have budget flexibility, you could end up limiting your ads across platforms.
To round off our list, we have another ex-WordStreamer! Navah spent five years at WordStream as a team lead and services innovation strategist. She’s currently the president of her own consulting business, Navah Hopkins LLC and Search Engine Journal’s residing PPC expert for their “Ask Me Anything About PPC” column. Navah is also an established international speaker, PPCHero Top 25, and regularly contributes to industry publications.
- What: Ad copy, message mapping, audience segmentation, account structure, landing page optimization, and digital marketing trends.
- Where: Twitter (@navahf), LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram (@ppcpuppy).
- Sneak peek: This retweet where she both encourages and warns advertisers about the beauty of Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs):
This! You cannot pull in DSA if you haven’t invested the time on #SEO. Yes DSA works almost across the board for ecommerce, real estate, auto, and other feed based industries…if you’re not in a feed based industry, get on your SEO.
Navah backs the fact that DSAs can be a profitable Google Search strategy across many industries. However, since the ads are curated from your website’s content, it makes sense that a strong SEO foundation is necessary for equally competent DSAs.
What Navah is saying here is that, for industries that don’t have feeds of products on their site that easily get plugged into DSA, you need to have the right keywords targeted within your content marketing strategy in order for your DSAs to mention those same core terms.
Have fun following for fire PPC advice
So yes, the PPC grind can get lonely, but the next time you’re sick of talking to a Google bot or find yourself calling out “is anybody out there?” you know who will answer: PPC influencers.
No matter where you are in your PPC journey, there is a PPC influencer out there fit for you to follow. There are so many inspiring PPC influencers I could never fit them all onto one list, but use this guide as a starting point to foster your own sense of belonging within the PPC community. And of course, you can always get PPC tips, news, and insights from us over on WordStream’s LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook pages.
Who are your favorite PPC influencers and thought leaders? Let us know in the comments!