How to Thrive as a Top PPC Manager

In Paid Search by Kaomi Team

PPC marketing is one of the greatest business levellers in the 21st Century. Small businesses run from a tiny garage can realistically compete for the same customers as a billion-dollar corporation. The success of their marketing campaigns, however, hinges on one very important factor: the skill of the PPC Manager.

Whether you are looking to hire a PPC Manager or a PPC marketing agency, or if you are personally considering PPC management as a career, we’d like to offer some essential information to grease the wheels off your decision.

What is a PPC Manager?

Pay per click (PPC) advertising makes use of google’s algorithm to deliver the right information to the right audience at the best time. As a PPC Manager, you are responsible for the oversight of these ads, and in many cases will run the entire process from setup to reporting. 

Far from being a one-dimensional role, a PPC Manager needs to have a range of skills and wear many hats to be effective and remain at the top of their game. HR and recruitment professionals understand this and will be looking closely at both your technical skills as well as your soft skills.

What hats are we referring to, and what skills would you need to be the best of the best?

PPC Manager Responsibilities

Define a target audience

Determining what the ideal customer looks like, where they live, what search terms they are likely to use and at what time of day they are likely to be active online is a common jump-off point.


Research, analyse, and target the right keywords to achieve your goals. There are multiple tools available to do this and is a fascinating process as you unpack the intent behind each search term and how best to use them.

Negative Keywords

Just as important as knowing what words to target, is knowing which words to omit. Irrelevant keywords can eat away at your budget, impact your bounce rate, and reduce your ad quality. You will find that your list of negative keywords will grow as you optimise your campaigns and examine the search terms which have triggered your ads with a low chance of conversion.

Match Types

Understanding and making smart use of keyword match types can make or break your PPC campaign. How so?

What Are Match Types?

There are four match types available from Google AdWords:

Broad Match

An example of a broad match is the term marketing agency. Any search query which contains either the word marketing or agency or similar terms will trigger your ads. This means that if a user types in “recruitment agency” there is a chance that your ad will show up in their search results. You can see the problem with this, right?

Modified Broad Match

A modified broad match term looks like this: +marketing agency. This tells Google that the search query must contain the word marketing but can find similes for the term agency. Therefore, search queries such as “marketing company” or “marketing business” would trigger your ads. 

Phrase Match

Phrase match terms are shown as “marketing agency” and will contain both these words in that order, as well as other terms. Therefore, “marketing agency near me” and “good marketing agency in Durban” would trigger your ads. 

Exact Match

Exact match keywords are set as [marketing agency] and will show this exact match or something very close, taking into account spelling errors. So, “advertising agency” would not trigger your ads, but “agency marketing” would. 

Competitive Analysis

As a PPC Manager, you will need a keen understanding of who you are competing with in the ad auctions and take careful note of what their ad strategy looks like. You will need to explore the value of going head to head with a competitor or whether it would be more cost-effective to find a competitive gap to target.

Monitoring and Optimising

A good PPC Manager will keep a close eye on the ad campaigns, and monitor things such as:

  • Budget and pacing
  • Search terms and negative keywords
  • Expensive clicks or terms
  • Removing keywords with a low-quality score or low click-through rate (CTR)

A/B Testing

Split testing, or A/B testing, is a highly effective method of optimising campaigns. You basically test out elements of your ad which you feel may enjoy better results. 


Google has some pretty awesome reporting tools which allow you to pull out statistics on all elements of your ads. You will need to generate, understand, and be able to translate these reports into actionable insights for your team. 

So, we understand what this role includes, but what else would you need to succeed in the fluid world of PPC management?

PPC Manager Skills

While PPC Managers are considered specialists in their field, the best ones are far from “inch wide mile deep” professionals. When we consider the skills which make for a successful PPC Manager, we start to understand that if you’re hiring, then you’re looking more for a “who” and less of a “what.”


Once the ads are set up on your Google AdWords account, the real technical part starts. Setting up and installing tracking codes, retargeting codes, pixel tracking, and conversion metrics isn’t an easy task without a deep technical understanding of the associated platforms.


When you’re trying to capture the attention of a stranger, you need to be creative. Your words and imagery must be emotive and captivating. 


An understanding of the workings of the business world grants you additional insight into how to best communicate your solution in a professional yet personable manner.


Analysing PPC campaigns is all about data which makes it easier for those who have an affinity for numbers, percentages, and ratios. 


No ad campaign will be perfect, and a wise PPC Manager knows this. Therefore, the flexibility to listen to other viewpoints, change tactics, amend ad copy, and try different angles is critical. 

Good Communication

Excellent written communication (knowing the difference between your and you’re), as well as good verbal communication, allows top pay per click professionals to work seamlessly with clients and the rest of the digital team. 

Willing to Learn

PPC management is a constantly evolving process with no finish line. Those that are willing to learn and experiment are far more likely to succeed in an increasingly competitive market.

Understanding the Business

It’s clear that a deep understanding of the industry and the individual business which you are working with is critical. 

A successful strategy and the ability to optimise ads requires a deep dive into the pain points that the product or service solves. An understanding of the Most Important Thing to the customer, why they should buy from you, and how to talk to them will motivate all your PPC decisions.

PPC Managers certainly need to know how to set up ads, but from what you’ve read so far, it’s apparent that there is far more to the role.

Who Should Use a PPC Marketing Manager?

If you are a business owner who has very little experience in digital advertising or pay-per-click ads, then we suggest that your first experience in this realm should be under the watchful eye of a professional. 

Google AdWords is a rabbit hole and mistakes can be costly. Therefore, if you’re on a limited budget then look for a PPC Manager or a reputable marketing agency which satisfies the above criteria and will hold your hand as you start out.

PPC Marketing in the Real World

While we remain impressed by the muscle of PPC ads with their super-intelligent algorithms and the quality of the reporting tools, we are acutely aware of the fact that the perfect ad campaign does not exist.

Your campaigns will differ from anyone else’s as will your success. 

However, PPC marketing remains an excellent tool for business branding, sales, and lead generation and done right, can turn your business around in a surprisingly short time. 

If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to call on our team who will be happy to help.