Paid search teams operate differently as inhouse (within a large corporation) and within a search marketing agency. Roles of members who are required in an inhouse PPC team are also slightly different to those of an agency. Paid search marketing challenges in 2008 are no less than those in the previous years, and being able to build a world class PPC team is one big step closer success.
Over the years, with the experience that I gained by working in and leading PPC teams under both circumstances (inhouse and agency), I believe when setting up an effective inhouse PPC team, the roles below must be included.
Head of PPC (Strategist)
The strategist is the leader of the PPC team, due to both his thorough overall knowledge in this field and his leadership ability. This role oversees the entire PPC operations and is responsible for the overall strategies. He/she must fully understand the corporate’s business model and is to incorporate paid search into the overall marketing strategies for the corporate.
PPC Campaign Manager / Specialist
A campaign manager works with all members of a PPC team and involves in the setup, optimization and maintenance of PPC accounts. He/she is responsible for monitoring account budgets and ensuring the correct daily/monthly spending.
Not only does a campaign manager operate with the paid search platforms, his/her possession of the “know-how” in optimization is essential. He/she should also be able to provide clients consultations and communicate with web developers and designers for creating landing pages.
Depending on their knowledge, a campaign manager may be more specialized than others in managing platforms other than Adwords. If this is the case with a team, he/she is assigned to manage for instance the Y!SM platform or the Adcenter platform. Some campaign managers are more specialized in managing and optimizing content-targeted campaigns than others.
Some campaign managers may have multiple language skills. In that case, he/she is able to provide assistance to other members of the team (keyword specialists or copywriters) when setting up non-English campaigns.
A copywriter is mainly responsible for creating and updating text ads for PPC campaigns. Professional copy writing can greatly improve the CTR and conversion rate of a paid search campaign. A copy is the key role to involve in ad text split testing, in which he/she is to work closely to campaign managers and keyword specialists.
Keyword Database Specialist
A large corporate’s website usually consists of over thousands of web pages of products. In some cases, a company has multiple websites and hundreds of brands. Maintaining the lists of product names with keywords becomes a full time job, as this is equivalent to building a keyword database.
Essentially, managing a keyword database is similar to managing a product database. The tricky part is that the relationship of keywords-to-products is many-to-one, and it makes maintaining the keyword lists being most updated a difficult task. To add to the complexity, the keyword specialist is to work closely with the campaign managers in providing them support in new keyword suggestions.
Paid search is a numbers game. Receiving an accurate report about the performance metrics of your campaigns on a daily basis makes decision making of campaign optimization much easier.
Trend spotting is another task that belongs to a data analyst who should be able to identify unusual fluctuations of traffic and notify the campaign managers almost immediately. The campaign managers will use the data analyst’s input and assistance to pinpoint the possibly affected area, and apply actions to their campaigns.
With a software engineer on board, his/her responsibilities should be to create applications / tools that will improve efficiency in campaign management. Building an inhouse performance tracking system with a fully integrated campaign management system is this role’s mandatory task. Enhancing the tools for spotting click fraud is also one of his/her tasks.
With the large search engines like Google and Yahoo providing API access, nothing is impossible anymore. Eventually, you may want the software engineer to build an auto bidding system so that your business can be more financially profitable. The involvement of campaign managers with the autobidding tool is necessary, as no matter how smart machines are, expertise and flexibilities of human are difficult to be replaced.
Graphic Designer / Video Producer
With the addition of Google’s other ad formats such as images and videos, some advertisers are setting aside marketing budgets for branding campaigns. Effective branding campaigns will require expertise in the design of videos and images. However, unless your corporation is moving big towards branding, you may want to employ graphic designers and video producers on non-permanent and contractual basis.