The 23 Habits of Highly Effective PPC Experts

The 23 Habits of Highly Effective PPC Experts

How often do you take a step back and look at your daily habits? How often do you get a peak into the daily habits of some of the brightest PPC experts out there?! Well, I was curious what other PPC experts do that make them so successful so I asked them a simple question… what is their “best habit/tip for doing PPC?”. (don’t tell them I’m going to copy them!)

If you don’t know all the people I’ll summarize it: many have been in PPC Heros Most Influential PPC Experts list in at least one year, most have spoken at SMX, MozCon, SES, Pubcon, State of Search or another conference, many have been published on PPC Hero, Search Engine Land, Wordstream, Unbounce, and other blogs. In short, this group of thought-leaders freakin’ rocks and you should copy them too (and follow them on Twitter)! Let’s get to it…

The 23 Habits of Highly Effective PPC Experts

Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) – My most importamattnt habit is more of a mentality. I review my tasks by prioritizing which ones will have the most impact. I want to ensure that my time is being spent on tasks that will move the needle.

Pamela Lund (@Pamela_Lund) – The most important thing I do is actually what I don’t do. I don’t pampack my days with meetings and busywork so I have space in my day to think and work creatively. If we’re always stressed and rushing to the next task we don’t get those great ideas that only show up when your mind isn’t occupied. My most successful strategies came out of ideas I had when I wasn’t even working on that client, and some even came while I was sleeping.

rfpb5db6_400x400JD Prater (@jdprater) – Everyday I have a goal of implementing at least one new “thing.” To accomplish that goal, I read far and wide. I set up a Feedly with over 100 high quality news sources that cover the latest industry news, social media, analytics, CRO, and copywriting. I don’t read every single article published, but I do set aside time everyday to sift through them gleaning new updates, best practices and cool tips. With an industry that this moves super fast, this is one habit that has helped me the most with managing PPC.

Brad Geddes (@bgtheory) – All our accounts are setup with alerts and project management. So if tbradhere’s no alert to take care of, then it’s just a matter of glancing at the PM system to see what needs to be done next. If your alerts, calendar, or PM system isn’t telling you what to do, you probably need to take a step back and get organized. This can help:

melMelissa Mackey (@Mel66) – I check ad test results every day in AdAlysis. I can easily pause losing ads and create new tests, right in the interface. AdAlysis also gives a quality score snapshot and warns me of keyword conflicts. It’s my go-to tool for optimizing accounts.

Garrett McGregor (@mcgregor212) – One habit I feel is important and what I try to implement dailgarretty is knowing where my accounts stand each and every day. This can be related to budget, performance, current to dos for the month…etc but it’s important for me to know how each account is doing and where that account stands. Getting into each and every account daily and doing something is important to me. Whether it’s switching up bids, overlooking budgets or reviewing ads I want to make sure I do something that benefits the account and keeps me on track for current goals.

Johnathan Dane (@JohnathanDane) – So I just stumbled across a new thing that’s absolutely destroying my ADHD brain, in johnathana good way. I picked up the Productivity Planner at a Paper Source store and started using it. It allows me to batch my focus on 25 minute intervals, called Pomodoros. So before the day starts, I use the planner to write down what I want to accomplish for the day, and then break the tasks up in 25 minute chunks. This helps me turn off email, phone, Slack, etc. to get things done in a super effective manner. So far so good, and I can tell that my brain is slowly getting used to the focus without craving distractions. Squirrel!

Purna Virji (@purnavirji) – tip is to read for at least 30 min everyday. purnaThings change so often that it’s best to constantly stay up to date. I read Barry Schwartz’ daily summary email everyday and just that one thing can go a long way. Also try to read marketing articles from other disciplines.

AJ Wilcox (@wilcoxaj) – My favorite habit is to evaluate campaigns and ads from multiple angles as part of the normal flow. If ajyou sort ads by most efficient or least efficient, you’ll generally have to wade through a bunch of statistical aberrations that are super low-volume samples. I generally like to sort by highest spenders and start evaluating by CTR, CvR and CPC simultaneously. Making this part of my flow gives me a more complete picture of performance and allows me to take the most beneficial actions with my time.

Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk) – I think the most important thing I do is to know when to research/learn/read and when to gokirk nose down into accounts. I.e., check out Twitter for news/tips/etc… and then shut down Twitter and Email when it’s actually time to work on the accounts so I’m not distracted. I also have begun using SteadyBudget daily to immediately see where my client spend is at across Google/Bing. Helps me keep up daily on any changes before diving into accounts. (I don’t get paid for saying that).

Amy Bishop (@Hoffman8) – Choosing just one thing is tough. I know this is a bit of a broad response, but truly the most rjwvt4zg_400x400important thing that you have to do is monitor trends and create action items based upon those trends. Look at performance trends from a high-level but also in a more granular fashion (time of day, geography, ad copy, sitelinks, landing pages, etc.). Find out where you might be leaking money with things that aren’t working anymore and keep a pulse on changes to ensure that they’ve made a positive impact. Use these analyses to plan out your upcoming tasks and continuously re-evaluate. Rinse and repeat.

Travis Johnson (@PPCSuperSaiyan) – I always take a step back and look at the big picture. While doing an audittravis on one of my accounts, I noticed one adgroup had a significantly higher conversion rate of 30%. The conversion rate was so high because out of the three total clicks there was one conversion. It is easy to be fooled by the numbers but by taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture you are able to see things as they really are.

Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysemThe most important thing I do every day is look at the daily ROI of the campaign. mark_pic_400x400Testing new features, ads, campaigns, etc are all important on a large scale, but the daily in-the-weeds task is looking at the actual data and making the immediate adjustments based on that data (if/when needed) – adjusting a bid up or down, removing/adding a keyword (or negative), seeing the bounce-rate or time-on-page of a visitor, etc.  So it makes sense to have an expectation of your daily performance and then measure the actual performance. What did I expect to happen to day, what did happen today and why did that happen. From there you can adjust. And that daily data also leads to larger strategies as well. Not every decision should be based on daily data, big-picture data helps with trends as well. But it makes you a stronger manager to have this understanding of your account.

Sean Dolan (@_seandolan) – You caught me mid-workout, so exercise is the first answer that comes to mind, it helps me sit at a computer for hours seanat a time without getting mentally burned out. Other than that, I check yesterday, last 7 days, and this month (or last month depending on when i’m checking it) for the most important KPI, usually CPA or Cost of Revenue if conversion values are tracked. That’s our most important guide for performance, so that is what we monitor on a daily basis.

Ginny Marvin (@GinnyMarvin) – One of the first things I do is check a task tracker, which is just a Google Sheet that captures ginnytasks for clients on a master sheet. An add-on I found, called rowCall, splits that sheet into separate tabs for each client. It makes it easy to enter tasks in one place and have both a global and client-level views of what has happened and what needs to be done. I’m working on making a habit of checking the new Assistant tab in the Google Analytics app to get insights quickly and to see how it starts responding to feedback.

Christi Olson (@ChristiJOlson– Knowing what you need to do and the frequency in which to do it is crucial. I created and snqda2bd_400x400used an audit check list (broken down by things to check and do every day, week, month, quarter) for each client I managed to make sure that I wasn’t just doing “busy work” – but work that would have an impact on the account. BONUS – Become an EXCEL ninja. Learn the shortcuts, be able to write multiple embedded functions in your sleep, and use plugins like Google Analytics, PowerBI and BingAds Editor to save yourself time (and sanity)!

Robert Brady (@robert_brady) – robertPlan For Success: Each morning I take a few minutes to plan my day and prioritize my work. That includes building in breaks to keep myself at peak efficiency.

Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem) – My tip would be: Follow your instinct. When managing accounts and clients, michellesometimes your spidey sense (that I’ve written about before) is your best tool. If something seems off, whether worse than you think it should be or too good to be true, listen to your gut and let it guide you to investigate and find the answers you need.

James Svoboda (@realicity) – Conducting regular and methodical Search Query Analysis is a habit that I highly recommend frl_hxpy_400x400every PPCer develop with the fervor of a cult fanatic. By researching the search terms that your keywords are mapping to you can better understand your potential audience and how performance is affected by the queries they are using. Habitual query analysis is an investment that will benefit you for months and years to come.

Luke Alley (@LukeAlley) – I do a stand-up meeting with my team everyday. In an agency setting it’s easy to get pulled to lukewhatever fire comes up so we try to control our days rather than our days controlling us. We report on how the previous day went and what we’ve got in place for that day. I rarely am ever able to get to everything but I can prioritize tasks better this way.

Joe Kerschbaum (@JoeKerschbaum) – I think one of the best habits of an effective account manager as if waiting burnout. joeWhether you work in-house or headed agency search engine marketing can be a fast pace High intensive field. If you are not careful you can burn yourself out. I think account managers need to achieve a work-life balance so that they can maintain their focus. I can tell you when someone is working too much and too hard one of the first things to go is creativity and the quality of work will suffer too. So I encourage people to have that habit.

Dallas Stevens (@DDP_PPC) – Question the good and not just the baddallas. Being critical of my results helps me think of new ways of how to treat my data and often leads to new strategies.



Larry Kim (@larrykim) – Find the loopholes.






Steven Covey coined the phrase “Sharpen the Saw” in relation to self improvement. He said, “Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you.” Hopefully you found at least one tip that will help you “Sharpen the Saw” that will help you improve everything else you do throughout the day.

Do you have something to add? Comment below!

  • Matt Van Wagner

    Great tips & nice write-up, Luke.

    • Luke Alley

      Thanks Matt!