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What is the state of the PPC Marketplace Currently?
In line with most of digital marketing, the PPC market has been consistently buoyant despite fluctuations in the stability of the economy. As companies rely more and more on Paid Search as a major source of income for their business, the market can only increase in stature and stability.
With Christmas approaching, many people wrongly think that the market for PPC jobs would be slowing down. The opposite in fact has been happening! If anything, there has been an upturn in the number of PPC roles during December, with the majority of roles being agency side although we do have a number of client side opportunities (the main protagonists being price comparison and travel companies).
What are Employers looking for?
This clearly differs depending on employer preference and the level of the role; however there are a number of themes that regularly occur. The days of “handle turning” PPC professionals are numbered! In a data heavy industry like Paid Search, junior level roles are always going to have an element of certain day-to-day tasks, however employers are starting to look for juniors who have/want a deeper understanding of the strategic side of search.
Each company has an opinion on which 3rd party tools should be used, if any, however the more strings you can have to your bow on that front; the more attractive you will appear to many employers. Not only will it mean transition between different accounts or companies will be viewed as easier, you will also be able to provide a more flexible offering on the ones you are currently working on.
That being said, no employer wants to hire someone in their PPC team who relies so heavily on 3rd party tools that their understanding/knowledge of the PPC processes is seriously hampered!
How do I get an entry level position?
Something we are regularly asked is “how can I get in to PPC?” or, “my friend wants to start a career in PPC, they have the same background and qualifications I do. Why can’t they get a job like I did?” The answer to this used to be simple; Send me a CV, take the GAP fundamentals exam and we will be on our way. This has changed somewhat and due to the competitive nature of the market place. We highly recommend partaking in a 3 month internship at a top agency. The majority of them offer these positions on a relatively regular basis and it makes you 100 times more attractive as a candidate compared to someone with no hands on experience. You never know, you could even end up with a permanent job at the end of it!
Progressing your PPC career
The problem level for many employers is that £27,000 - £35,000 range. A lot of clients are asking for individuals with between 18 and 36 months experience. There are two driving factors behind this:
1. People try to diversify too early: they complete a year or so working purely in PPC and decide that they want to “expand their skillset” or “broaden their horizons”. This may initially sound attractive, but our PPC consultant says the same things to candidates on a daily basis. “Think of your career as a T-shape’” “Keep your specialism”. The driving force behind these statements is, EMPLOYERS VALUE SPECIALISTS! It is very easy to think of your career in the short term. But if you diversify you skillset too early, unless very lucky/exceptionally talented, you will likely find yourself putting a ceiling on where you can go in the future. If you look at a lot of the leading agencies or well-known in-house teams, the individuals sat at the top of the pile with the great title and big pay check more often than not come from a specialist background where they made their name and then they diversify their career at a much later date. So if you see yourself down the line, sitting on the top of the pile, calling the shot; bear in mind that having a specialism is often the fast track.
2. Strategic knowledge is essential in a junior level role when an AM or AD or Online Marketing Manager is driving the strategy, it is all too easy to switch off, do the day-to-day and not consider the grander scheme of things. In the short term, this is unlikely severely hinder your career. In the long run however, this lack of appreciation of the overall process could put the brakes on you making the next step. As I mentioned, the value of strategic knowledge of PPC is an ever increasing commodity at more junior levels. Even if it is just keeping an ear out or asking the odd question, IT WILL DEFINITELY HELP IN THE FUTURE!!!