• http://www.blogation.net David Rodnitzky

    “I have also found that when your ad spend reaches a certain threshold, representatives from Bing (Microsoft Advertising) and Google Adwords will assist you in creating your campaigns. Google was willing to help after I reached $10,000/month in ad spend, however, Bing was willing to assist regardless of my campaign size. . .

    I must note that my representatives from Google are especially friendly, helpful people; I cannot say a bad word about them. They do rotate all the time, and I have a new person working on my account every 6 months, but that is what you ought to expect with a giant company like Google”

    I believe the IRS will also do your taxes for you if you want.

    No doubt there are a lot of snake oil salesmen in the SEM space, I’ve definitely heard my share of horror stories, but the notion that “The right person for PPC management on your team does necessarily have to be an expert in PPC” is just misguided. SEM – at a basic level – can be done by an intern. A complex campaign – one that includes search query analysis, proper account structure, ad text and landing page testing, multi-channel attribution, and geo and day-parting cannot be done by a non-expert.

    Find the right SEM agency and they will beat your internal ‘smart people’ any day.

  • http://www.empirecovers.com Jake Goldblum

    It’s your opinion and i respect that. However i have hired two SEM experts and neither of them are experts in SEM. I have been doing SEM for 7 years and it is not that complex and i do have a great analytics system. Think of the money you can save if you spent 15% of the ad cost it cost for a firm on more advertising or figuring out how to optimize a campaign.

  • http://www.blogation.net David Rodnitzky

    I think it’s a bit of an oxymoron to say you’ve hired SEM experts who aren’t experts.

    If you’ve been doing SEM for 7 years, you probably know your stuff. Then again, if you really think it’s “not that complex” you probably don’t know what you don’t know.

    The thing about SEM is that it *looks* easy. And, in fact, just adding keywords, negative keywords, ad text, and basic bidding are easy. Its the rest of the stuff – the stuff that can actually drive huge profit – that isn’t easy.

    Poker is an easy game to understand and learn. Trying going up against a pro and you’ll understand that a game that seems “not that complex” is anything but. But every day in Vegas folks come in for the weekend convinced that their mad skillz they’ve perfected playing their buddies in the basement are going to make them big bucks in Sin City. Usually doesn’t work out that way.

    Its the same thing with SEM. There’s a lot of ‘dumb money’ on AdWords – completely mismanaged campaigns by folks who have read the AdWords Learning Center and are convinced they know all they need to know about SEM. They may even make a little profit too, assuming they are either in a low competition vertical or happen to have a very cool product that sells itself.

    For the most part, however, they are 25-40% under-optimized. Google makes a lot of money that way. Again, not saying that this is you, but I am saying that true SEM experts can crush anyone who thinks SEM is straightforward and can be handled by a bunch of smart, non-experts.

  • http://www.adventuresinsearch.com Elisabeth Osmeloski

    Jake, David – let me bridge the gap a little between you on one point – David, you pointed a quote out in your first comment, “…notion that “The right person for PPC management on your team does necessarily have to be an expert in PPC” is just misguided.” –

    You are completely correct there – the fact that the word “NOT” was left out of that statement completely changes the meaning of it – and I missed that when editing, so I apologize to you both. It’s fixed now.

  • http://www.blogation.net David Rodnitzky

    Actually Elisabeth, I meant it with the “not” in it. My point was that hiring people who don’t know anything about PPC is a bad idea, unless you want a pretty basic and sub-par result.

  • http://www.adventuresinsearch.com Elisabeth Osmeloski

    I would have to disagree with you there David – people with an aptitude for math/statistics/economics and analytical & modeling skills are a natural fit to figure out the more complex problems you’re speaking of –

    For example, there’s a likely a mass of students coming out of college with these skills (and needing work) who likely have no prior experience in PPC – but they can be taught, and learn by going to conferences, other training, etc – and you’ll probably come out ahead, esp considering they’ll start on the lower end of the salary grade. Not to mention the fact that they’re tech savvy as well.

    Where I would agree experience comes into play and is NOT commonly associated with those analytical skills – is the creative side of PPC management.

    Good ad creative & landing page content probably is not best served by a math geek. I think you need a team of at least two smart ppl (to cover both left & right brain thinking) to be successful in this area.

  • Jeremy Mayes

    PPC and online marketing is a profit center if managed properly, not an expense. Employees, agencies….whatever your model the people running your accounts should be able to show how they are adding value to your business that more than offsets the costs associated with maintaining a relationship with them.

    Seems to me the focus here is about saving money. If that’s the goal then absolutely, hire the cheapest folks you can find with skills that are useful in PPC and cross your fingers that you can develop and train them well enough that they can meet your needs. Set your expectations and you won’t be disappointed.

    If your goal is growing your business (winning!) then recruit top talent, internally as employees or via an agency. You wouldn’t cut corners elsewhere in your business – HR, finance, customer service, etc to save money because it would be detrimental to your business. Should be no different with online marketing efforts. Talent wins, and that’s true in almost every area of business.

    An amateur can do good things for your business. A true expert can revolutionize your business.

  • http://www.blogation.net David Rodnitzky

    Elisabeth, if you were accused of a crime, would you hire someone right out of a law school or the most experienced lawyer you could find? If you were diagnosed with an illness, would hire a medical student or the top sub-specialist with years of experience? If your car broke down, would you post an ad on Craigslist and choose the cheapest person who responded, or would you go to the top mechanic in your city?

    There is a difference between knowledge and experience. Malcolm Gladwell has this notion of 10,000 hours of experience to become an expert. I believe that is a good benchmark. It equates to five years of full-time employment. It applies equally to SEM as it does to law, medicine, or any other service. Experts make smart decisions that only come from experience in making the wrong decisions in the past. That’s the difference.

  • http://www.empirecovers.com Jake Goldblum

    i am not escaping the meeting but i have a lot of experience in ppc. It really does take a detailed oriented person with good math skills. I am not saying to hire anybody but i have always hired people at around 50 to 60k to do the job. They are handling over a million dollar account. With a big firm it would have cost me 150,000 dollars. This person also has an mba from a good school and helps out with other reports. It can be taught but you need a smart person to learn how to do it.

  • F.C.

    $50,000 year salary does not include insurance, paid time off, training time and more. It is also much more difficult to fire a full-time employee if they are not performing.

  • Ian Howells

    Good post. I think, for me, the whole thing can be summed up as..

    Your $/hour spend on management will always be less with someone in-house.
    The level of industry knowledge will eventually always be higher w/ in-house.
    If you’re in/around a major city, you have access to the same talent as any agency there (though they’re not likely to apply – you’d need to seek them out).
    You can likely offer a PPC manager a similar salary, for less hours (agency life is 50+ hours/week. 9 hours a day is a reduction in work hours for a lot of folks) if you can afford an agency.


    You have to have time to train someone, or the money to hire someone ready to go.
    If you’re in a talent-shallow area, it’ll be tough to hire someone who already knows their stuff.
    Your manager will be insulted – only seeing how Google changes impact your business, vs. the larger view you can get from an agency.
    Your manager won’t be in an environment that’s 100% online marketing – staying sharp will be up to their own motivation, or their supervisor.

    If the talent is there, you can definitely scoop up someone who would otherwise be working at an agency just like one you would hire – except you’ll get more hours, and pay less for it. You just need to make sure they stay sharp, and stay hungry.

  • TSM

    “Your $/hour spend on management will always be less with someone in-house.”

    That might be true but what about the quality of work? If you could spend $50k to make $150k or $100k to make $400k – what would you chose?

    “The level of industry knowledge will eventually always be higher w/ in-house.”

    If you are working with the wrong agency, there’s no doubt. However, if you find a partner (not just a vendor), you’ll find the gap is much smaller.
    In house SEMs have a narrow view of the PPC space. Expertise in your business’s vertical is limiting. Exposure to SEM tactics for a variety of businesses sets agency SEMs apart.