This article first appeared on Display Ads Deep Dive

To find a good Pay Per Click (PPC) expert or specialist to manage your campaigns or merely just help guide you on them, you can use a lot of different criteria. Who is closest to you? Who can you pick up the phone and call? Who is cheapest? And so forth.

Let me tell you my favorite criterion: to look for specialists.

There are a few ways to think about this question. The first is more generally and abstractly: for any professional you’ll hire, do you want the generalist or the specialist?

Let’s take some examples. You want plastic surgery–do you want to go to the doctor who specializes in plastic surgery, or the general MD who does a bit of everything? You want to put new pipes in your house: do you hire a plumber, or a general handyman (like my grandfather was!) who does a bit of everything? Or imagine the fate of the planet revolves around disarming a nuclear bomb about to explode in front of your house–assuming such things exist (do you really have a house?)–do you hire the world-class expert in disarming nuclear bombs, or do you just hire the generalist bomb disarmer who happens to have an office in your city’s downtown? The question answers itself.

But this last (perhaps silly) example makes the point clear, which is this: you hire the specialist in two cases:

  • The more difficult or complex the task is;
  • The more important for you the task is.

(The example works well because disarming nuclear bombs that are in front of your house satisfies both criteria.)

SO the real question is: is your pay per click difficult or complex? And is it really important for your strategy? If the answer to both of those is “yes” then: go west, young man, and find a specialist! If not, then… why are we here, just hire someone in [insert name of a place where the average salary is pennies per month] and pay them [insert amount of money needed to buy a fraction of a cup of coffee]?

So let’s look at both questions, starting with: how complex or difficult is PPC?

It’s interesting: too many outsiders don’t realize that it’s more than just pressing a few buttons. Yes, it does include pressing some buttons but that’s the easy part; the hard part is all the strategy and thinking that goes behind it. Remember Picasso’s classic line: his napkin drawing he drew in a few seconds was worth some large amount because he knew exactly where to draw the lines? (I’ve heard variations of that with Tesla and a few others; who knows which one is real or not, but Churchillian Drift teaches us that one day we will hear a version attributed to Sir Winston!)

– Do you choose keywords early or late in the buy cycle?
– Where and how do you choose what negative keywords to use?
– Does your ad copy test particular hypotheses as to what will get more sales or not?
– What pages do your ads go to, and how do you optimize them (and how on-target are they with the search queries)?
– Do you have any sort of display campaign to go along with the search campaign?

And so forth, and so forth. The less sophisticated PPC will jsut set up a few campaigns and voila. The more sophisticated PPC will think through the above issues, and many many more. So perhaps the question is: is your campaign worthy of that sort of sophistication? (And there’s no shame in the answer being “no”; often people just do quick, cheap tests because… why not?).

The second question is: how important is the Google Ads campaign for you and your business?

If the answer is, “not much” then you don’t need a specialist. No harm in just throwing out some tests, especially if you’re not cost sensitive (and if you’re not, feel free to burn some of your dollar bills as well because, why not? It sounds fun!).

Note I am biased here: I think that if it isn’t important for you, it’s just not worth doing, so you shouldn’t bother. In case you missed my sarcasm!

Framed more seriously: most Google Ads campaigns fail. Why? They’re not approached in a serious way or they’re not prioritized by anyone: not by you, not by your clients, then no one will give it the TLC (Tender Love & Care) that it needs to grow.

Perhaps, this is what has led to the syllogism in my mind that I think it always makes sense to hire an expert: only do it if it’s important; if it’s important, then an expert is much more likely to lead to a successful outcome; therefore, anything you do, you should hire an expert in. “QED” as the mathematicians say at the end of their proofs!