How Valuable Are PPC Skills Anyway?

Art vs Science Brain MapI’ve read a couple of interesting pieces lately and they’ve gotten me thinking about my PPC skills. How valuable are they? Do they have staying power or a short shelf life?

The first post was by Andrew Goodman on SearchEngineLand titled “The Death of Search Marketing Expertise“. He relates an experience with 2 successful agency owners who were generally unaware of basic industry expertise such as PPC bidding methods and important figures in the industry. While he laments the situation, he does a good job of pointing out that expertise is indeed still needed and will continue to give some a leg up.

I then came across a report from Thumbtack on the “gig economy”. They use the term in reference to low-skilled, on-demand work that I’m guessing is a direct jab at sites like TaskRabbit or Uber though they don’t “name names”. The report basically says that the gig economy is unsustainable, which I generally agree with. It also spends a majority of the report demonstrating how skilled labor/workers will be the new place to be in the future, which I also agree with.

But that got me thinking about my own skills and industry; PPC.

How Valuable Are PPC Skills

The short, short answer is that PPC skills are worth whatever you can convince someone to pay you. I’ve seen some clients willing to pay 20% of spend for management and I’ve seen some clients with single-digit % of spend. Some pay retainers and some pay flat monthly fees. It’s all over the board.

Despite the variance, this graph was enlightening to me:
StLouisFedEmploymentGraph

This pretty clearly shows that employment growth is coming from “nonroutine” areas, whether manual or cognitive. And this makes perfect sense. Routine manual or cognitive tasks are the perfect situations for automation via software or technology. For example, think of ordering kiosks at a fast-food restaurant.

But nonroutine is a different story. This requires thinking and, in my opinion, expertise. You probably haven’t encountered this exact situation before, so you need to apply the principles from previous education or experience to solve the issue. This is where the job growth is. This is where intuition lives.

Routine Vs. Nonroutine PPC

This is where the rubber meets the road. If you are doing routine PPC tasks all the time, you’re not in a good position. That is the kind of stuff that scripts or software or foreign workers can do for less expense than you can and probably with virtually the same results. This is where PPC is somewhat commoditized.

But nonroutine PPC tasks will continue to be a major need for advertisers. Here are some examples that come to mind:

  • New products/features of existing platforms (i.e. remarketing or PLA)
  • New advertising platforms (i.e. Pinterest or Snapchat)
  • Changes to existing platforms (i.e. enhanced campaigns or death of right-side Google ads)
  • Broken things (i.e. tracking lost with new site launch)
  • Performance aberrations (i.e. everything else)

These are all situations where expertise is needed. The problem may be similar to other issues that other people may have had, but is likely unique to you. You need PPC help that has deep knowledge of principles, solid experience and the ability to bring that to bear and find a solution. That’s real value!