PPC Manager: 13-Point Guide
To How A Stellar Manager Drives Results

Joel Neustaedter
Joel Neustaedter

An effin’ awesome PPC manager is a rare breed. As Director of PPC at KlientBoost, I’ve interviewed my fair share of applicants and I learned really quickly that finding a good one is like finding a white peacock. But when you do find that elusive majestic creature, you hold on to them tightly and make sure they learn to spread their beautiful plumage.

Look at our beautiful peacocks.

Look at our beautiful peacocks.

That’s pretty much what life at KlientBoost is like — full of peacocks and an occasional game of ping pong. Working at KlientBoost has its privileges (as you can clearly see from the above pic), but we don’t just grant access to anyone. Oh no, we only accept the creme de la creme after they go through several rounds of interviews from both KB and Google themselves. Occasionally, we’ll bring on peachicks whose feathers have yet to grow–but when they do, boy oh boy, are they a sight to see.
So how did we get so lucky to have such a fabulous flock of feathers? Well, we have some pretty clear values that we abide by over here that make up our 13 KB Commandments. When you find the right person and these values are put to practice, you get…a “stellar PPC manager”.

Why Is Going Stellar Important?

Knowing what it means to be a stellar PPC manager (or to the younger crowd, the lit AF PPC manager) could be important to you for several reasons:

  1. You’re looking for or currently working with an agency, and you want to know if your account manager has what it takes to get you to that PPC paradise.
  2. You’re considering getting into digital marketing as a career and you want to know what it takes to be the next Johnathan Dane.
  3. You’re just a PPC enthuthiast, love all the great content we put out there, and you want to see what we’re made of.

For whatever the reason you’re here, we welcome you to get an inside sneak peek of what we’re made of. If you’re from our competition, that’s fine too. As you’ll note in this post, one of our values is transparency and we’ve never shied away in the past from letting our true colors show in our blog posts. Plus, in our goodwill efforts, we’re simply trying to save the world from poor conversion rates, so this is us doing our part.

Choosing a New Agency

So you’ve been burned once again and it’s time to search for a new PPC manger or PPC agency. It’s always challenging to start something new and this is even more true when it comes to starting up with a new agency. There’s the sales process, then the onboarding, followed by the learning curve, and you can’t forget about the adjustments along the way. Once you finally start seeing a glimmer of hope, it seems you’ve already entered the mindset of “well, that didn’t work out the way they promised”.
Through my years of experience in the PPC world and from hundreds of conversations with clients I’ve worked with, I’ve heard this same story too many times. Heck, if I earned a nickel every time I heard it, I’d probably be able to afford a real life white peacock by now.
So how are you supposed to know if this time you really found the right partner? After all, it’s very common that you don’t even know who you’ll directly be working with when you sign on. Sure, the sales guy was very convincing and charming. Yup, he can promise you those glorious numbers that’ll convince you to increase your advertising budget tenfold. What’s that, want to actually decrease your budget AND increase conversions? No problemo.
Sign me on, right? But what happens once the actual work finally starts and the PPC manager that was assigned your account begins to skate around those goals? Do you skate with him/her until the ice finally cracks and you sink?
Obviously, the answer is no.

How Did We Find Them?

We’ve solved this problem of uncertainty with your agency by ONLY hiring people that fit into our core values and preaching the hell out of them.
With that said, only the right type of person can fit this mold. We understand that the personable “soft” skills are many times just as important as the technical “hard” skills. During an interview, we only have a limited amount of time to decide if the candidate has the potential to be a white peacock or not–and if they want to ace the PPC interview, they’ll need to prove it during this time.
Sure, we’re ready to probe them on the technical questions such as asking about the difference between the keyword match types or the importance of quality score. However, the perfect interview is a conversational one and we don’t have to revert to simply reading off of the list of questions. During an interview, we try to put ourselves in our client’s shoes and if the candidate can make us feel comfortable, confident and excited, there’s usually a good chance they’ll be able to do the same with their clients.

The 13 KB PPC Commandments

Now that you understand why you’re even reading this post, let’s get into the good stuff and discuss what a stellar PPC manager looks like. However, before we get into that, let me tell you a little something about what an “awesome Director of PPC” looks like, whom is yours truly.
At the time of writing this post, I’m 32 years old and the proud father of 2 beautiful children. And one of the OGs of KlientBoost from the early days. I still have a Hotmail account, am not active on “The Instagram,” and I think my dad jokes are hilarious. If you ask me, these are all wonderful traits. However, when you’re working at an agency full of millenials where the average age is 26 years old, using phrases like “totally tubular” doesn’t seem to resonate. In my effort to relate to all those 90s babies out there who are the future of our industry, I hope this list will make perfect sense for you. For those of you who are more familiar with these things, I recommend you bookmark this post as a dictionary for you. 🙂

1) Gets You “TURNT” When Talking PPC

A critical trait of being a PPC all-star at KB is your outgoing personality and getting your clients to feel the same excitement that you do when you get some Ws for them.
Sure, our case studies are pretty dang impressive and they alone should be able to get you “turnt” all the way around (Don’t hate – I’m trying my best to use this hip lingo). But that excitement will only last so long if your account manager can’t keep that flame a glowin’.
We truly have a passion for PPC and we only hire people who we think can share that same passion. Some might say that this is a pretty lame passion and some might be right. However, after a few minutes listening to us talk about PPC temperatures in terms of a poop emoji scale, I’m willing to bet that we can turn your brown poopy attitude into a diamond poopy attitude. So if you can make things like cross domain tracking and Google Tag Manager fun, you’ll probably fit right in here at KB.

Diamond poop gets us turnt.

Diamond poop gets us turnt.


2) Understands The “Squad Goals”

It’s all about the benjamins.
One of the most important questions we ask our clients is a very simple one:
“Are you making more money since working with us?”
Now, don’t get me wrong, the enjoyment you get from simply shootin the sh** with someone from your account management team is worth its weight in gold. However, we’ve surprisingly found that talking about how little Joey is growing so fast can only keep our clients on for so long until they actually want to start making money. I know, crazy, right?
As simple as this may sound, too many agencies get lost in analyzing the “other metrics,” such as average position and CTR, that they forget to ask about that most important one: “ARE YOU MAKING MORE MONEY WITH US?”

3) Isn’t “Basic” With The Data

Although making more money is the end game, we do understand that optimizing the account by analyzing all other metrics is vital to success and therefore, you must be able to analyze the numbers and understand their meanings.
At KB, we’ve partnered with funnel.io to provide analytical dashboards for our clients. In addition to reporting through Google Analytics or simply through the individual platforms’ dashboards, funnel.io allows us to aggregate all performance across platforms in one location.

All advertising platforms in one report

All advertising platforms in one report

You must also have the ability to analyze those numbers and understand their meanings, as well as the ability to create effective reports that will allow you to dissect results and lead strategy for the clients.

4) “Savage” Honesty

Have you read this post of ours? Or how about this one? And there’s also the one you’re currently reading.
As you can see, we’ve had quite a wild and exciting ride getting to the point we’re at today, and we’re extremely open and transparent about it. Many often find this to be unusual, risky, or even reckless that we can be so open and show our cards while we’re still in the hand. We think it’s refreshing and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Oh, are we not supposed to show these?!?

Oh, are we not supposed to show these?!? – image source

This “savage” honesty and transparency is what we base our relationships on with our clients. We tell them how it is and we expect the same honesty from them. If we’re not doing something right, we want to know what we need to do to fix it. If we’re kicking some bootay, well, then our clients can send us gifts at 17922 Fitch, Ste. 200, Irvine, CA.

5) Speed of Execution is Straight “Fire”

From the moment clients sign up with us, we know the clock has started to tick for us to prove that we are the the sultan of sales, the king of cash, the colossus of conversions, THE GREAT OPTIMIZOS (OK, I admittedly reached on that last one).

WARNING: millennials may not get this reference.

WARNING: millennials may not get this reference. – image source

Even if you’ve read all our great content and heard about how we’re the best out there, you’ve been burned before and the burden is on us to prove to you that we really are made of diamond poop.
We understand that 0 to 1 is much more difficult than 1 to 100 and once we get to that 1, look out ‘cause it’s full speed ahead from there. However, the trick is getting to that 1 quickly enough, so our clients can sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
We’ve mastered how to use efficiency, organization, and time management by utilizing the benefits of tools like AdWords Editor effectively or organizing our email inboxes to avoid any clutter, so we can knock out tasks like it’s nobody’s business.
Sometimes “Basic” is better when it’s faster.

Sometimes “Basic” is better when it’s faster.

Additionally, we’re not romantic about what we do. We most definitely do love what we do, but our love is more like how a fair weather sports fan loves his team — love it until it starts sucking and then on to the next best thing. Pivoting and pivoting fast is essential to bringing results for our clients. We’re always testing new strategies and ideas. However, if something isn’t working, we’re always ready with the next test in our arsenal of tests.

6) Is “Woke” When it Comes to Solving Problems

“Don’t freak out, figure it out” – Joel Neustaedter circa. 2016
This has been a motto of ours since the beginning.
We understand that “a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor” and we don’t just brush the problems under the rug. In many respects, this trait helps support many of our other traits that build this list.
Just as our first test isn’t always the winning one, we realize that there could be several attempts until we hit the jackpot–but you can sure as hell bet that we’ll continuously keep trying to solve it until we figure it out.
We also realize that in many situations, it’s much easier to brush potential problems or issues under the proverbial rug–but we choose to hit them head on and are transparent along the entire way.
This is who we are. This is how we thrive. We stay “woke” and accomplish the task at hand.

7) Doesn’t Get “Fufu Lame” When You Give Feedback

Just as we dish out “savage” honesty, we expect the same from our clients. Communication is huge when it comes to success and hitting goals together.
Believe it or not, we have lost clients before and, as rare as it may be, the worst feeling in the agency world is losing a client and not knowing why or having the opportunity to fix whatever was broken.
In order to address this, we make it very clear to our clients that we want NEED to know how we’re doing. We’ve set up many processes that help us get this feedback from our clients, among them being doing QBRs where we discuss what we’ve been doing and also set up goals for the next quarter to make sure that everyone is still “turnt” to be working together.
In addition, we’ve also partnered with AskNicely in order to collect our Net Promoter Score and get a deeper insight into how we’re doing.

No issue goes unresolved. :)

No issue goes unresolved. 🙂

In the above screenshot, we received great feedback after something was missing during the initial communication. If we didn’t get the honest feedback from the client, we would’ve had no way to resolve this. But instead, we were able to turn a brown poopy situation into a diamond one.

8) “Thirsty” to Continuously Learn

We’ve literally written entire blog posts about what we’ve learned — this one and this one.
We’re continuously learning, because we know that the moment we become complacent or stagnant is the moment we stop pushing the needle for our clients and then, well, things can get fufu lame pretty quickly.
We’re so obsessed with learning that we actually all write and help contribute to our amazing KB Blog. Having our own people become experts of their own domains has allowed us to keep the bar raised. I mean, who knew that there were 58 points to learn for text ad anatomy?!? Ally McDeavitt knew, that’s who.

9) Makes You Feel Like They’re Your “Bae”

Did you know that our senior PPC manager, Matt Nelson, was once on an MTV reality show? Or, that account manager, Arik Ozden, despises Starbucks? If you want to learn more cool facts about our insanely talented team, it all can be found in our team section of our website.
Even though sometimes we can seem like machines with how inhumanely effectively and efficiently we work, the truth of the matter is that we’re actually humans. As humans, we have feelings, and it’s important that we feel good about what we’re doing and that we come to work with a smile everyday. We also want our clients to feel the same way about working with us — excited for what else we have in store for them.
As an agency, there’s no secret that each of our account managers has their own portfolio of clients. However, our goal is to have each of our clients feel like they’re our one and only. When we can turn the connotation of the word “portfolio” to “por favor” in our clients’ minds, we know we’ve done a good job.

10) Always Shooting to be The “GOAT”

Some might say that Lebron is the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) in basketball. However, we don’t think it’s enough to just make the championship game, but rather it’s all about being number one.
The path to number isn’t always a smooth one. We’re our own toughest critics–because we believe that when we practice harder than we play, the game will be that much easier.
We’re continuously auditing our work to find new and better ways to do things. Just when we think we got it, it’s already on to the next win. In fact, each one of our clients has constantly has at least 5 sets of eyes on their account proactively looking for new ideas to test and strategies for success.
Understanding that success is not handed to us on a silver platter, we choose to make the success a reality. As the true GOAT, Michael Jordan, once said “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, and others make it happen.”

11) “On Fleek” With Communication

Effective communication is a two-way street.
Here’s a list of people our account managers communicate with on a daily basis:

  • Clients
  • Google reps
  • Bing reps
  • Other agency reps
  • Designers
  • Director of PPC
  • CEO
  • Sandwich King” cashier

As you can clearly see, there’s a whole lotta communication going on here and in order to make sure that there are no dropped balls, it’s critical that our AM’s communication is “on fleek”. As previously discussed, it’s also incredibly important that the communication is transparent and clear on all sides. This ensures that everyone understands what their role is and they have what they need to execute their tasks properly. Because if you ask for no mayo on your sandwich, the Sandwich King better make sure there is no mayo on your sandwich.

12) Says “Bye Felicia” to Excuse Making

To continue on from the trait up above, effective communication is necessary in order to ensure that all parties have all the information necessary. It’s each individual’s responsibility to ensure that this transfer of knowledge/information occurs. With that said, with so many moving parts and in such a dynamic industry, it’s inevitable that some things can and will be missed. However, instead of making an excuse, we’re all held accountable for the mistakes that may happen. If and when they do happen, we own them and learn from them to ensure that they don’t happen again. After all, it’s the ability to learn and grow from testing and making mistakes that separates the weak from the strong.

13) Exclaims “Yaaas” When a Friend Needs a Hand

All of our traits until now have been about what the individual account manager does in order to kill it for our clients, but one that we haven’t touched on yet is probably the most important of them all — teamwork.
In addition to owning one’s own mistakes, our account managers also know when it’s time to call for backup. As much as we value self-starters, we still very much emphasize the team aspect. In fact, everyone in our office, including the CEO, are all sitting out in an open space settin–so we can get the knowledge sharing juices flowing. There’s literally knowledge juice everywhere.

Wrap Up On Finding The Right PPC Manager For You

Now that we’ve unveiled a little bit of our secret sauce recipe for the world to know, we hope that you’ll feel a little more well armed when going to battle out in the PPC war of attrition.
Since there are so few barriers to entry in this industry, every Joe Schmo can open up shop and call themselves an “agency”. Unfortunately for us, too many clients have been burned by these Mr. Schmoes and therefore they come to us with a bit more hesitancy and are bit more guarded when handing us their keys to their kingdoms. Hopefully, this blog post will be a cheat sheet for you when trying to separate the wheat from the chaff, because nobody wants to waste their time with chaff (whatever that is).
With that said, I’d love to hear what your experiences have been with working with agencies. Please let us know if there was anything missing from this list down in the comments below, as we’re always looking to improve in any way we can. Because whatever the new slang for the stellar PPC manager will be next year, we definitely always want to be that.