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A Day In The Life Of A Paid Search Marketer
Not everyone who deals with search engine marketing is a full-time SEMer. There are vendors, publishers, small business owners who dabble in the art, brand managers who oversee agency teams, etc. So what do full timers do all day?
There’s plenty to do…such as:
- Managing delivery (pacing)
- Testing and Optimizing for performance
- Building keyword and creative lists
- Mentoring/training team members
- Attending internal and client meetings
- Reoccurring reporting deliverable
- Brainstorming new ideas
- Tracking time
- Implementing tagging & tracking
- Staying on top of the industry
- Being involved in new business research
As you can see, there can be a lot on the plate for a dedicated paid searcher. Let’s check out one day in the life of Max, your friendly, neighborhood search marketer, who works for a full-service agency.
When Max first gets to work, he pop opens the computer and does a idiot check of all of his accounts. This is just a quick, ten minute exercise to make sure that everything is still going according to plan. He knows the KPIs of the accounts like the back of his hand, so a quick glance tells if yesterday’s CPCs, impressions, spend, conversions, etc., are within standard benchmarks. Sometimes there are fluctuations, especially if any major changes were made yesterday, but by monitoring everything each morning, Max can catch any potential issues early and fix them.
Team meeting. Max is also the backend project manager for his team under the direction of the Account Manager and she runs the meeting. The Account Manager is in constant contact with all of the team’s clients and relays to Max the various new initiatives that he needs to plan for along with any client feedback which affects the direction of the search accounts.
After the team meeting, unless there’s something pressing, Max starts going through email. There are various company admin tasks that need taking care of such as a mistake that was found in some billing sheets that needs to be corrected. Max also sees he’s been put on a 2pm interview with a new-hire candidate (he doesn’t do the hiring here but they do value Max’s opinion).
It’s time to start reporting duties. For Max’s larger clients, there are daily reports which have to be in the hands of the Account Manager by noon so she can QA it and then forward along to the client. For the medium and small clients, there may just be weekly or even monthly reporting which is strategically scheduled so it’s not all due on one day.
While pulling today’s report for the agency’s biggest client, Max notices an issue. Conversions have severely dropped off from one of his AdWords campaigns. Why is that? He does some digging and then calls his Google rep. She can’t figure it out either. After twenty minutes or so, Max goes to the conversion page, views the page source, and realizes the conversion tag has disappeared. He lets the Account Manager know immediately–turns out the client’s web team was making some changes and accidentally erased the code. Max resends them the conversion code so they can implement ASAP.
Max gets called into a new business strategy meeting. The agency is pitching a big retail client next week and wants to get some competitive intelligence on the search marketing efforts of the prospect. He hurries back to his office, prints out a few Compete.com reports. “Good job,” they say. That means Max can get back to work.
One of the coordinators under Max has an issue with Excel. Turns out he’s been working on the same report for the last hour completely frustrated. Max walks over to his desk and shows him for the third time how to build a pivot table. He thinks he finally gets it, but maybe not. Max thinks: I’m going to have to keep my eye on that guy. Most of the time when he sends me reports, there’s always one or two things wrong. My Account Manager has requested that I QA everything he does before I send it to her. Bummer.
Lunch Time! Max pulls out the brown bag and opens up a webinar that’s just about to start on Enterprise Level Search Engine Optimization. He mainly deals with paid search, but likes to follow SEO, as it’s important for a search marketer to be well-rounded.
Ah, this webinar is a bit boring. He continues to listen but he opens an RSS reader and starts going through the trades. When he sees an interesting article, he emails it to the rest of the team.
Since Max project plans out every account before they launch, he has an optimization schedule for each. Overall, he manages one large account, two mid-sized accounts, and four smaller ones. Whether it’s adjusting bids, analyzing performance, or building out new creative, he is able to affect all his campaigns very quickly and efficiently.
Shoot! Just as he was getting going on a keyword expansion, Max has to stop and meet with this potential hire. He’s a pretty cool guy. Fresh out of school with a marketing degree and a good internship at one of the other agencies down the street. The conversation turns to music until the time is up. Max emails thoughts on him to the hiring manager.
Max finishes the keyword expansion project and uploads it. He sets a reminder in the calendar to check back on it tomorrow to see if it’s getting any activity. He continues on with the rest of his account work. One of his clients is launching a new line of toys. They’ve sent some of the product info, so Max pulls in one of the coordinators that he manages and together they brainstorm some keyword and creative ideas. Once he has enough to get started, Max lets him run with it.
Ah, the first fire drill of the day. Max’s largest client contact just got back from her lunch (west coast time) and she has a concern on some of the bidding strategies. Didn’t we decide that Content Targeting didn’t work for this campaign? Why did it get turned back on last week? The Account Manager comes in to discuss the issue before giving the client a call. On the call, Max explains how he excluded the main bulk of the URLs that were low performing so this maybe has a chance to work now. The client agrees–crisis averted!
Rep meeting. Not really sure why he’s in this one, but Max’s whole team is there. The vendor is a DSP that wants the agency to consider using their search retargeting data to buy banner impressions. Ah, okay, now he gets it. It’s actually a pretty cool meeting and he’s impressed by their platform as they run through it on the projected screen. One of Max’s new team members actually worked with this vendor at her previous job and explains how well it performed for her last campaign. Max is very interested and asks the rep to email the presentation after the meeting.
Weekly integrated team meeting for the largest client. The search team meets with the other marketing managers on the account (email, online display, etc) to make sure everyone on board with the current initiatives. It’s important for them all to check in with each other as the entire account has many moving parts. For example, the search team finds out that the client just launched a new Facebook page for one of its divisions and they all need to be ready next week for some campaign recommendations to support that effort.
Max gets back to his desk. There’s a bunch of emails that have accrued since he’s been away. He quickly answers the ones he can and then flags the ones that can wait until tomorrow. One of his ex-colleagues who now works at another agency, forwards an interesting article on paid search match type testing. He reads it through and bookmarks it in a browser.
His large client’s web team calls because they’ve re-implemented the conversion tracking and want Max to check it. He navigates to the page and verify that the code is now there. As a test, he searches for a less expensive term and completes a conversion so that he can check it tomorrow. Max has a few more things to finish, so he gets started immediately.
The Boss is walking around in a chatty mood. He stops by Max’s desk and they have a quick conversation about some new business he’s pitching soon. He picks Max’s brain for some ideas and tells him to email him with one of the thoughts he finds useful. He writes it up and sends it off.
Max is trying to wrap up the day, but of course, he gets an email from one of the smaller clients asking a question. The Account Manager encourages him to contact them directly, so he picks up the phone and makes the call. He just happens to have a well-crafted response, as a different client had the same issue a few weeks ago. He searches for that email, tweaks it to be personal to them, and fires it off. He’s glad that this advertiser is starting to ask the right questions–it shows that they’re starting to understand SEM which means they can have more meaningful conversations about what he can help them with.
One last idiot check of all accounts and then he fills out the timesheet. He’s been keeping track of it all day in a notepad so he simply inputs it into the system.
Time to go! Back tomorrow morning to do it all over again.
On the train, he suddenly realizes that he forgot to pause a campaign that ends tomorrow. He pulls up AdWords on his iPhone and makes the change. Thank goodness for smart phones!
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.