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Book Reviews

Book Review – “Ponderings of a PPC Professional”

By April 3, 2024No Comments
ponderings of a ppc professional

The cover of the book captured my attention right away – it aligned so well with the title “Ponderings of a PPC Professional”. The silhouette of a man sitting (on a stump?) hunched over a laptop resonates deeply with how I see myself when pouring over analysis of some client’s account. I think the author, Kirk Williams, made a great choice with the yellow background and black font – simple, contrasting and most importantly, it works. The book delivers on its promise: lots of ponderings steeped in the author’s experiences with a few surprise tidbits for real-world application.

It’s upon the professional PPCers to talk through the pain points most of us reach in the PPC agency industry to mature the space.

Kirk starts at a bird’s eye-view (really starting to like this phrase) and guides us to more salient topics as you move through the book. Two-thirds of the book covers common challenges any PPC agency will encounter. Each of us has had to come up with solutions on our own, but the author emphasizes the need to do so collectively. While he offers up his own agency’s recommendations, his humble demeanor comes through the words on the page recognizing this may not be the best nor only way to do things. The last third of the book delves into challenges that are outside the craft of PPC and relate more closely to running the business side of things; an often ignored, but crucial part of finding success in this industry. Getting started, pricing, contracts, choosing clients – all these areas are unavoidable and how you handle them is vital to your success.

“What data do we advertisers have the RIGHT to access?”

He starts out with a doozy – this question stems from the age-old debate between those who do the advertising, pay for the advertising and host the advertising. As those that do it, Kirk is firmly in the “we are only owed access” camp and I agree. But access to what? Everything? That’s a bit of a stretch. I think, and as he points out, making every data point accessible is not feasible and every data point is not useful. However, we are advertisers and data access are essential to doing the job well so of course we always want more. Sometimes, we’re all just greedy little buggers.

“I think that our belief that we can track everything is the dot com bubble.”

Talk about hitting advertisers right in the gut – this statement stings. We want to track everything, every moment with anything we put out there to be consumed. I think it’s driven by both a need and a fear to judge user intent with a certainty approximate to the existence of gravity.

“Regardless, being able to spend less time invoicing and chasing down overdue invoices is worth its weight in gold.”

The quote is self-explanatory and if you’ve been there, you know. I have heard too many stories of businesses starting and ending because chasing down payments tipped the scales too far towards “This s*it is not worth it.” I’ve been there myself. In my first successful run at building a PPC agency, I ramped up 10 clients. Two months later, I let half of them go because I was tired of chasing them down for payments. It’s not so much an awkward conversation as it is an infuriating one when you know you’re making them money, they agree, but somehow the invoice remains overdue.

Moving from pseudo-philosophy to self-accountability to actionable insight is an accomplishment.

Don’t let the easy read fool you – there are deep insights. You’ll start off provoking thoughts on lofty, ongoing debates happening within the PPC industry and land at concrete recommendations to unavoidable roadblocks as you build your own PPC agency.

You’re going to have to push through to the meat on this one, as those first few chapters don’t really pull you in. But the pondering quickly starts zeroing in on issues you’re probably facing right now and the solutions he came up with for his agency are damn good. Hell, I’m rethinking my pricing model right now. Thanks Kirk.

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