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The Art of #PPC Poetry: Joe Kerschbaum Interviewed

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Interviews  /  SMX Advanced

Joseph Kerschbaum, Director of Client Services at Clix Marketing, is a familiar face on the search marketing landscape, both at mainstream conferences and in noteworthy trade publications a la Search Engine Watch, Website Magazine, and Visibility Magazine. One of the most fascinating elements he brings to the PPC table is a background in creative writing; Joe’s a published poet, and that serious grip on the mechanics of the English language gives him a unique edge in the ad copy department.

A week outside of SMX Advanced, aimClear shared a casual Q&A with Joe, who’s also heading west to speak at this Seattle-hosted event. Read on for the full scoop.

| aimClear: Thanks for your time today, Joe! The online marketing industry is constantly evolving. Regarding the PPC landscape specifically, what are some of the most significant changes you’ve noted, and how have they affected the online advertising community?

Joe Kerschbaum: There have been so many changes in PPC recently; it’s difficult to determine which are most significant. Personally, I think remarketing in Google AdWords has had a great impact on our accounts. I recently gained the cross-channel attribution feature in Google Analytics and this will be extremely important in the future. Also, the conversion funnel feature in AdWords is extremely important when trying to understand how users are interacting with your PPC ads. Topic targeting on the Google Display Network is a great, new feature. Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media PPC are starting to show positive results for advertisers so this channel has been expanding. The search alliance of Yahoo and Bing is starting to yield higher impressions and more traffic.

Those are just a few changes that have shifted our strategy recently.

| aimClear: Right on. So, you’re a writer for Clix Marketing blog along with aimClear’s great pal, David Szetela, a columnist with Search Engine Watch and author of various PPC guidebooks. As it happens, you’re also a published poet. How does your experience with creative writing impact your profession in online ad writing, if at all?

JK: Very interesting question, Lauren. I suppose in an applied manner, poetry writing does inform PPC ad writing. When writing poetry, there should be no wasted words. You’re trying to convey big ideas with as few words as possible. The same goes for PPC ads. With PPC ads that only are only 95 characters, you’re certainly more restricted than poetry, but the objectives are similar – saying something important in small space, trying to grab someone’s attention and holding on their imagination, and leaving a lasting impression. Was that pun intended? Perhaps.

| aimClear: Well played, sir. Now… PPC vs. SEO; it’s a debate that frequents search marketing conference agendas. In your opinion, will this debate ever end?

JK: Probably not. Honestly, it should be stopped as quickly as possible. Does it really matter? Shouldn’t the answer always be, “do both.” This debate is tired and boring. Really, what does anyone who witnesses one of these discussions come away with? Or anyone who participates, what do they get out of this? Does anyone come away with a new perspective or some new insight?

What we should be debating isn’t PPC vs. SEO – but PPC and SEO. A debate on how to bridge the two together in a unified, cohesive strategy. Now, that’s a discussion worth having! Sadly, perhaps this isn’t as sexy.

Also, instead of this debate being a 1-on-1 boxing match, hopefully soon it will be more like a demotion derby. The two titans will probably always be the “big two,” but I think that social media marketing will come into its own and it will be a third alternative. Retargeting (even though it’s a flavor of PPC) should probably get a spot in the derby. Conversion optimization should be a strong contender. Let’s throw them all in the pit and see which one comes out on top as most important.

| aimClear: You’re heading to SMX Advanced in Seattle to speak on the Quality Score: The Unwritten Manual For Google AdWords & Bing adCenter panel. Can we get a sneak-peek of what you’ll speak about?

JK: I’m the lone wolf on this panel discussing the adCenter Quality Score. This works out great because this means no one else on this super awesome panel won’t talk after me and make me look foolish. Seriously, there are some heavy hitters in this group!

Anyway, yes I’ll be reviewing the adCenter Quality Score. I’ll be going over the attributes of the Quality Score; what these scores mean to your account and performance; how this new quality algorithm compares to the much-discussed AdWords Quality Score; and I’ll also cover optimization tactics in order to improve Quality Score in adCenter.

We’ll laugh. We’ll cry. It will be the feel good event of the year!

| aimClear: What are your predictions or expectations for PPC in the coming year?

JK: Doom! Strife! Not really. I just wanted to gain back the reader’s attention by being scandalous and alarming. I’m not really good at predictions. After predicting that Google Wave would replace all other forms of communication, and a few years back I predicted that MySpace would have bought Google by now, I started to shy away from making such bold statements.

However, I think there are some trends that will become more prevalent over the coming year. I think mobile PPC will continue to gain momentum. This trend will gain steam in this year, and especially in the next two years. Cross-channel attribution is going to become more important, especially with social media gaining more prominence. On that note, social media PPC will continue to be more widely utilized and competitive (especially as cross-channel attribution comes of age). With Google, they’ll continue to focus on expanding into new ad formats such as product-related ads. Also, Bing will continue to gain marketing share. Of course, it won’t dethrone Google anytime – but it will grow in popularity (I like it!).

OK, those are technically predications – but we’ll put them in the expectations category. Either way, it’s going to be a very exciting year!

| aimClear: Thanks much for your time today, Joe! Safe travels westward, and we’ll be seein’ ya in Seattle!

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