Case study

PPC specialist — Dexter Reeds

Dexter studied a business management and marketing at De Montfort University. Discover how he secured his job at the Nottingham digital PR agency, Tank

Why did the role of PPC specialist appeal to you?

At university, I found that while I liked to be creative, I also enjoyed the security that numbers and statistics gave. I began looking for a role that would combine the two. PPC seemed to do this the best, and the world of digital PR enticed me because it was a relatively new and dynamic industry.

How did you get your job?

I was working part-time in a bar while studying, and one of my regulars happened to be a client of Tank. She recommended that I applied and so I did.

Originally, I applied for a role as a PR executive, as that was the only vacancy at the time, and the digital team wasn't quite ready to recruit. I intended to move into the PPC role as soon as it was advertised but when I mentioned this at interview, the directors decided to create the position with me in mind.

I applied directly to the company and since the business is small, I didn't have to jump through an assault course of psychometric testing. I had one face-to-face interview, which included a copywriting test. Then they invited me to a second interview just to tell me I had got the job and let me meet the team I would be working with.

What were your first weeks like?

It started slowly, as I was introduced to the more straightforward accounts, which were clients that already had well-performing ads. I studied the basic build of the best-performing PPC ads, so I could see how well they were put together. Then, as I got more confident, I was given more accounts, some of which were not performing as well as projected and needed improvements, all the while shadowing a senior PPC colleague.

What do you do in a typical day?

The average day usually consists of a good deal of client contact, campaign creation and research. When it comes to clients, I generally discuss performance, recommend changes on copy and get new ad creatives approved before making any campaign live.

Before I create any new ad, I study the stats from existing campaigns and work out where improvements can be made to drive better performance.

Since I work across both paid search (Google) and paid social (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter), the ads I create and manage take many different forms. You have to create a lot of versions of ads to fit different platforms and audiences. If something looks good on a desktop it probably won't work as well on mobile.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Being able to combine creativity such as making videos, editing images and writing copy, with numbers and stats. I find statistics very comforting because they give you great backup for all of your decisions. You can go and show a client the exact return on investment from their PPC campaigns, therefore showing the value of your work.

What are the most stressful parts?

At the beginning of every campaign, there is a learning period where you try to figure out whether your keywords and audience are as good as it can be. Understanding whether your ad copy and creative will resonate with that audience also takes some time. Campaigns typically won't become successful until you've worked out the initial kinks and you have to manage client expectations during this period.

Any career highlights?

Our campaign once saved a client's business by bringing in crucial new contracts at a difficult trading time.

How do I get a job as a PPC specialist?

Nothing beats actual hands-on experience so try and intern in as many digital marketing roles as possible. Live campaigns will spend a businesses' money, so running PPC campaigns in a controlled environment is the best preparation you can get for doing the job.

There are great courses online, like Google Skillshop and Facebook Blueprint. They're both free to do and help you prove that you have a level of knowledge and competency with each platform.

Finally, brush up on other skills which will be useful in the job. Get a good understanding of Excel (including pivot tables) to report on data from your campaigns, and learn how to edit images and videos. This will help you maximise the effectiveness of any creative ad you might be running.

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