I started my career as an Intern in a digital marketing agency. I was fresh out of college and got a call. Frankly speaking, I didn’t have an idea what exactly digital marketing is back then. Perhaps, I heard a couple of times about online marketing. As things turned out, I found it damn interesting. It is a world in itself.

On the first day of the internship, we had a brief induction session. Soon an instructor arrived with a MacBook Pro. He gave us a look and got back to work. The front white screen was glowing with “Introduction to SEO”. I didn’t know what SEO was although I still remember MOZ logo in the bottom of the slide.


In case you still don’t, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is a series of manipulative techniques that brings more traffic to a website, hence conversions, by raising its visibility in a search engine results page (SERP).

For the whole week, we went through various aspects of SEO. Turned out, SEO is a form of search engine marketing, which itself is a subset of internet Marketing and is consist of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) in addition.

SEM or “Paid Search” refers to paid listings, which appear on the top of a search engine results page (SERP), often with ‘Ad’ or ‘Sponsored’ tag.

When I asked the instructor more about SEM, he told me PPC is synonymous to SEM. Pay Per Click or PPC is an advanced subject that requires a lot of training and is often can’t be explained by the means of a single PowerPoint presentation

A few months had gone and the company hire a dedicated developer For PPC. Tony seemed like a competent guy. Among the first few tasks, he was supposed to handle the ongoing PPC campaign of a platinum client. Before he came, the conservative SEO manager was struggling keep pace with so many ‘keywords’ and ‘locations’ Peter was making him target in the campaign. So, they had to hire somebody experienced.

The company hired Tony with great hopes. Peter was fed up with SEO not working for his websites; PPC was the only hope to retain him. After all, Peter was depositing checks worth more than $30, 000 every month in the firm’s name. Peter was the primary reason Tony was brought in.

They could not risk that amount of money flowing into the company. They were ready to hire not one but three such Tony-s just to make Peter content. Tony was the first time the company ever hired a PPC manager and perhaps the last time.

Peter was initially on a PPC budget of $4, 000 every month. Tony somehow negotiated him to bring it to $7, 000 and, subsequently, $10, 000. With more budget came more commission in the form of various fees and surcharges. The management literally fell in love with Tony. So much, they sponsored his entire Spain trip.

Peter was receiving more leads than he could handle. He hired two sales guys in Canada to call those ‘leads’. His website traffic was at an all-time high. As a precautionary measure, we upgraded his server and made ever more money. Peter was turning out to be a cash cow the company could base the whole financials on. Of course, that is gonna be short-lived but still a lot of money. The management had other plans.

Once Peter had made enough money with the PPC services we are providing and  Customer is happy, Tony is gonna fly all the way to Toronto, strike a million-dollar deal with Peter and open an actual office there.  Management had put every stake on Peter, hence, Tony. He was just a PPC manager and this where they went wrong.

Arrived June and companies around Canada were either crying foul or celebrating the Q1 results. To Tony’s surprise, Peter was in the former category. Management was perplexed. For the first time in its five years run, Peter’s firm reported losses going well above $50, 000.

It was soon realized that although a lot of leads came Peter’s way and many were converted, Tony’s choices of ‘keywords’ blew the entire campaigns to ashes. He chose too broad keywords on a national PPC campaign. That was bound to hurt. Those keywords brought too many low-quality leads that added little value to Peter’s firms even when they were converted.

Too much reliance on a PPC manager costed the company a lot, Peter revoked our rights to the PPC campaign and outsourced it to firm in Philippines.

That was catastrophic to company’s interest and lead to sacking of the newly recruited staff at Peter’s and three of our high paying employees, including a project manager.

The management couldn’t close down on Tony after all he was just a PPC manager. His work was to bring the leads. Converting them remained entirely with the team at Peter’s. The management team’s over enthusiasm with a single person was to be blamed.

Tony went on a couple of vacations after that debacle. One could see him for like three of four days before he would be on another. Various gossipmongers indicated, Tony visited Canada a couple of times before he resigned.

That chapter taught me a great number of lessons:

1.Basics Matters

Some PPC campaign managers oversee the obvious, ignore the basic rules and just jump right in. What would be a simple trial and error for them could be a matter of thousands of hard earned dollars for a client. In this case, this made five people lose their jobs.

Ad ranking, bid adjustments, keyword types, etc. are fundamental to any PPC campaign’s success.

2.Don’t assume, use data whenever in doubt

Google insists on automating a PPC campaign because it wants to make maximum out of every. Still many experienced PPC manager fall for the trap.

Micro-manage the campaign. Do not leave even a single aspect to Google.

Tony never talked to the guy who was managing the PPC campaign before he came. Had he talked his way ‘what’s going on with the campaign’, things might be different for him and the company today.

Preparing Yet another copy

During the ’60s, advertisement agencies in Madison Avenue used to hire copywriters by hundreds. They were to create hundreds of unique copies every day. Advertisements may have moved from print media to digital media, the message carries the same weight.

If you believe you cannot create alluring copies, seek help of a freelancing copywriter. A bad copy no matter how many people it reaches to with a clever selection of keywords and other cool tricks won’t help your PPC campaign.

Targeting too many but no one

Broad keywords on a national campaign is a recipe to disaster when it comes search engine marketing be it Search Engine Optimization or Search Engine Marketing.

The “fade away” factor

A profound mistake that Tony made was he created a campaign on a Friday, left for a fortnight (remember the all paid trip to Spain), and lost the track. By the time he came back, it was too late.

How my company could have stopped the mayhem?

By asking a simple question at the time of interview, what is Return on Investment (RoI) we can expect of a PPC campaign. It may be a difficult question to answer but interviewees often exaggerate the figures in thrill of seeking a high paying job. But an experienced PPC manager, who has managed hundreds of PPC campaign, can easily give an approximate figure which you can pass on to your client and make sure he has the clear picture.


Peter sued our firm a few months. A letter from his law firm demanded close to $50, 000 in SEO fees and damages under civil RICO. It was eventually settled out of court.

Tony runs a startup that delivers lunch on demand to home and offices. He is seeking funding.

Shahid Mansuri co-founded Peerbits, one of the leading mobile app development company, in 2011. His visionary leadership and flamboyant management style have yield fruitful results for the company. He believes in sharing his strong knowledge base with leaned concentration on entrepreneurship and business. Being an avid nature lover, he likes to flaunt his pajamas on beach during the vacations.

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