The PPC Snobs Blog

Hiring Guide

What you need to know about sourcing PPC talent. When to hire an agency, consultant, freelancer or employee.

Table of Contents

Part A - Finding Someone to Help With PPC

Everything You Need to Know About PPC Advertising

There is a Growing Global Demand For PPC. Competition for Talent is Intense.

Hiring for PPC is an important decision. That individual’s impact as a single contributor will be massive for your organization. A single PPC professional could add millions in additional revenue to your business and introduce your brand to millions of people.

This person will develop deep insight into how and why your customers buy from you. They will understand what your audiences are searching for and the levers that drive them to buy. They will gain an instinct for what media formats and social channels influence the shopping journey, and they will become powerful at impacting decision making at every stage of the funnel.

Every vendor that you partner with, every customer that you acquire, and every employee that you hire increases the ecosystem of stakeholders that you’re accountable to, so I encourage you to engage with partners from communities who are often overlooked. It’s precisely these communities that have the innovative solutions that we need for many of the problems that we need to solve. Don’t be afraid to embrace diversity.

PPC Advertising Salaries & Benefits

Working in the PPC industry has some of the best pay, nicest benefits, and most flexibility of any industry. Not to mention that the work itself is fascinating.  The knowledge is in high demand and all types of organizations are recruiting for PPC. The average PPC salary can start around $55k/year in the US (but remember that this is a global role). It’s not rare to see starting salaries at $85k. Much more can be earned if using PPC to grow our own businesses. Many PPC roles are even remote, meaning that high quality talent can be sourced from anywhere. PPC touches all parts of the globe. It’s a truly international career with no limits to where it can take you.


When to Start Looking For PPC Expertise

  • You lack the expertise to setup technology and processes
  • You need a dedicated person to manage campaigns
  • Your budgets are too massive for one person to manage
  • You require a deeper level of measurement and analysis
  • Your growth or performance is stagnant and you need a refresh
  • You’re entering a new market or need localization
  • You need a website or landing page designer
  • You need a display and/or creative specialist
  • You need a video and/or YouTube specialist
  • You need to test and implement new approaches

Part B - Outsourcing vs. Inhousing

Hiring an Agency

Hire an agency when you lack expertise and/or need to outsource the PPC account management, but don’t have the time or resources to hire someone in-house. Agencies are generally a lower-cost option versus hiring a full-time PPC professional.

Some agencies offer full-service management, meaning that they can handle your entire PPC strategy from A-Z, while others only manage specific functions within PPC, such as only working within search or display, or e-commerce vs. lead generation.

The benefit of working with an agency is the access to a highly-skilled, dedicated team that would require a significant investment to build in-house. See below a common agency pod structure:

  • Account Manager – They own the [Discover] process. Their job is to align the PPC engine with the clients business objectives. They understand the organization’s growth ambitions and are hyper aware of how PPC can contribute to that success, so they’re constantly exploring opportunities in the industry you serve and the PPC industry as a whole. Most importantly, they’re on top of business KPIs. They are often the bridge between an organization’s needs and how the PPC engine is performing. Consider them the face of the PPC process.
  • Account Strategist – They own the [Setup] process. Their job is to manage the PPC strategy, tech and tactics. They’re responsible for outlining how the core pillars of PPC performance (organization, measurement, infrastructure, targeting, content, automation) are to be designed and executed.
  • Account Executive – They own the [Optimize] process. Their job is to maximize the PPC account performance. They know what levers drive optimization and what levers drive growth. Their never-ending goal is to drive a more efficient ROAS while increasing volume.


The Biggest Marketing Agencies WorldWide:

Hiring a Consultant

(Example: Standard Industry Pricing Models)

Use a consultant when you need an outside perspective or new set of eyeballs. They are best for when you lack specialized knowledge or need to evaluate in-house expertise. Consultants are also good for a second opinion when there is stagnation in your growth or performance, and/or uncertainty with your current agency, freelancer or employee. 

Consultants generally charge by the hour or as a % of your advertising spend. My opinion is that the best consultants are priced by value, meaning that they charge as a % of the value that they will bring to your organization.

Think of it this way: You can pay a consultant for 10h of work at $150/h = $1500, and end up with little to no quantifiable impact, not even sure what that 10h consists of. Instead, if you pay a consultant as a % of ad spend, that means that their payment is contingent upon the success of your PPC engine (you won’t logically increase your budget if your campaigns aren’t driving impact).

But as with anything in life, you get what you pay for.

Hiring a Freelancer

Freelancers are best for temporarily fulfilling a gap or expediting the need in a process, for example someone to write new ads, restructure campaigns, or other one-off optimization tasks. Freelancers also fit in well for employment covers, for example during maternity leaves or in-between PPC professionals. Upwork is an online marketplace where employers can post jobs and freelancers can look for work. Employers and freelancers can negotiate rates, but Upwork takes a cut of the final payment. Another great platform is Fiverr.


Hiring an Employee

Hiring a full-time member of your team to handle PPC is a big investment and a big decision. Would you really hand someone $100k without establishing any trust?Certifications are the usually the best place to start. The Google Ads and Google Analytics certifications are free, and illustrates demonstrates with those platforms. Many recruiters start here. Do remember this, a certification is like a driver’s license, just because you have one doesn’t make you a good driver.

Many organizations recruit PPC professionals through the typical employment platforms, such as indeed. LinkedIn is my preferred platform for finding talent and Glassdoor is my preferred platforms for researching company reviews.

Resources for finding PPC talent:

Part C - Finding The Right PPC Talent

Channel Specialist

The Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Manager or Paid Search Specialist is what generally comes to mind when people think of hiring for PPC. The SEM role is for someone who purely deal with search engines, such as Google and Bing. There’s often some cross over with Organic Search, which play by an entirely different set of rules to PPC.

The channel specialist includes a narrow focus with other PPC mediums too, like paid social, display, programmatic, video or affiliate marketing. There are also people who focus entirely on one platform, like Google Ads or Facebook Ads.

Job Openings:

Media Generalist

The Paid Media Generalist has a wider scope than the SEM Manager, Paid Social or any other channel specialist. They are very similar to digital marketing managers except that they tend deal specifically with paid channels, whereas earned and owned channels will usually sit with a different remit.

Because the generalist is usually involved with 2+ channels, they are uniquely positioned to leverage multi-channel attribution tools for a better understand of how storytelling, branding and acquisition is achieved across several mediums. They are usually one step removed from execution, and tend to lean on agencies, vendors, freelancers, and/or other forms of outsourcing to execute channel tactics.

Job Openings:

Growth Hacker

The Growth Hacker of Growth Marketer has a mandate to quickly scale a business (usually at a reasonable ROI). Others are commissioned to quick capture market share (sometimes at the expense of short term ROI). They are often found in startup and scale-up organizations looking to grow from $0 to the $10M+ revenue category.

The Growth Hacker also has a wider scope than the channel specialist. They usually understand enough about each channel to launch a test strategy or at least source the right expertise. Their main value is in creating scalable processes for their organization while testing and finding success on new channels. 

They can work across paid and organic, but are most generally most effective when focused on one medium. They tend to use creative, out-of-the-box thinking to come up with innovative and effectives approaches to PPC marketing.

Job Openings:

Performance Marketer

The Performance Marketer is there to improve efficiency in your PPC ad spend. They are passionate about improving the customer journey and enjoy optimizing conversion funnels. Their impact could mean saving millions in acquisition costs or adding millions to customer life time value.

The Performance Marketer understands the levers of conversion rate optimization. They build systems that enhance the way their organization leverages data, personalization and automation. They tend look at marketing from the bottom up, focusing on the operations, tactics and technology that move their KPIs. 

Performance marketers measure and optimize paid marketing using different dashboards and web measurement tools such as Google Analytics. They seek to continually improve campaigns performance through running tests, measuring results, learning, and iterating based on outcomes and KPIs.

Job Openings:

Digital Marketing Managers

Digital Marketing Managers generally have the widest scope among the PPC career paths. They can have some or heavy involvement with PPC (usually determined by how heavy PPC weighs into the customer acquisition strategy), but usually oversee owned and earned media channels as well.

These professionals are driven by metrics and function through developing processes and leveraging team expertise, rather than the direct involvement that you might expect from a Channel Specialist or Paid Media Generalist. 

Marketing Managers measure, optimize and report on campaign performance from an ROI and customer lifetime value perspective. They oversee the short and long-term campaign expansion strategies and day-to-day tactics that increase traffic, leads, and buyers, and are responsible for delivering on revenue goals.

Open Job Roles:

Startup Guide

Training Guide

Module 1: Discover