Nov 17, 2022

What Does a PPC Specialist Do?

Written by Dan Hughes

One of the main challenges of breaking into digital marketing is that many of the positions are not as "standard" as other jobs. 

These roles often don't have specific training, certifications, or degrees, which means if you are interested in breaking into the industry, you might not know where to begin. Digital marketing skills usually require an unusual mix of skills that can range from being extremely creative to highly analytical (or both).

If you are looking for an area you can consider in digital marketing, PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising could be an exciting place to start. PPC marketing specialists are in hot demand right now. Oh, to answer the question, does being a PPC specialist pay well? Salaries typically range from $50,000 to $80,000 per annum.

Interested? Here we look at a day in the life of a PPC specialist and explore what’s required to succeed in this most rewarding of digital marketing fields.

What is a PPC marketing specialist?

A PPC marketing specialist is a digital marketer that specializes in the art of paid marketing. Using a cohesive mix of creative and analytical strategies, PPC specialists are responsible for targeting specific audiences and earning the best possible return on investment from various paid marketing platforms.

PPC marketing is a varied, demanding, and rewarding role with many different duties as well as skills to consider.

Is PPC a good career?

In a word, yes. As a digital marketing skill that brands across industries are crying out for, being a PPC specialist is varied, lucrative, and full of opportunities.

The professional life of a PPC marketing specialist is positively challenging—and as no new campaigns are ever quite the same—you’ll always discover something new.

The Role of a PPC Specialist

A PPC specialist manages internet pay-per-click advertising campaigns including the strategy, design, implementation, search engine optimization (SEO), and analysis of ad performance. It is a challenging role that is also highly sought after because it takes a unique skill set to nail a PPC campaign. Some of the main roles a PPC specialist will assume include:

Keyword research

Understanding how people search for any product or service is a must for a PPC Specialist. You have to keep up with trends, constantly research and test your keyword choices, and be ready to change them when you do not see results.

Tip: Check out our infographic on the five essential stages of keyword research to improve your skills and strategy.  

Landing page design

Your ads will direct clickers to a landing page where you have a few seconds to engage and delight your readers. Perfecting these landing pages is an art that successful PPC specialists share. Without a strong landing page, all your efforts are for nought.

Read: The five best practices for landing page design for tips and guidance that will power up your PPC marketing campaigns.

Trend watching

This alone can prove to be a full-time job. SEO trends and understanding how to outsmart Google’s ever-changing algorithms will keep you busy when you are not mastering your campaigns. You will need an intimate relationship with consumers, so you understand what they will respond to and also what technology is driving them each day. You have to know all of this, along with societal trends, to keep on top of your keywords and landing page designs.

The recent big Google shift from Universal Analytics to GA4 is something to stay up to data with as a PPC specialist.

Read:  Our essential guide to GA4 versus Universal Analytics to keep your finger well and truly on the pulse.

The Skill Set of a PPC Specialist

According to our podcast with Brendan Almack of Wolfgang Digital, “PPC can be the most effective and measurable marketing channel. So, it's really easy to measure an outcome. And if you've got a good paid search team or good paid search marketers working on the accounts, it can be phenomenally profitable for you.

There is a lot required to master the art of PPC. Throughout your day you will be balancing a bevy of traits including:

Analytical Thinking

As already mentioned, you will spend a lot of time trying to figure out what works for your campaigns. Therefore, an analytical mindset is needed to look at the numbers and analyze the statistics so that you can improve your campaign's performance.

Organization & Time Management

This is expected in most jobs, but as a PPC specialist, you will be faced with many tasks that are more time-consuming than other positions. Namely, following the stats of your campaigns while researching diligently to remain on top of trends. You'll need a long to-do list and a massive day planner to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Read: 5 essential skills: time management for top tips on staying well organized as an ambitious PPC specialist.

Technical Expertize

There are many technical aspects to PPC management such as understanding HTML and JavaScript, deciphering, tracking, and retargeting codes, or the proper use of tags. You also have to understand technology from a user standpoint to keep up with the latest trends for browsers, devices, and so on.


Your creative mind will be directing the success of your campaigns. You have to write compelling copy and use creative visuals that fit into a very small frame.

According to Sarandrea, “Each ad is quite small, so you’ll need to be economical with your usage of the space.” You have to leverage emotions and FOMO (fear of missing out) to increase your click-through rates. That's the main gist of the job.

Read: Essential skills 2: creativity skills to unleash your full content writing and idea-making potential.

Consumer Understanding

You have to know your brand and the business(es) you are serving in order to determine customer intent. This way, you will come up with the right placements, keywords, and copy for your display ads.

Read: 7 tips on getting to know your customers better to get deeper under the skin of your target audience.


You will not only need to write good campaign copy but also communicate your ideas to clients and team members effectively. 

You have to keep on top of your campaigns to ensure you are adequately explaining your process. Validating your desire to make critical changes to concepts or campaigns (so people see that if changes are not made, the campaign will suffer) is also an essential skill for a PPC marketing specialist.

Read: Webinar: be a communication powerhouse to sharpen up your collaborative skills as a digital marketer.


Digital marketing is fluid in nature with changes at every turn. You have to be willing to make changes. You also have to recognize the need for change when things are not going the way you planned. 

Adapting to improve as well as adapting to meet changes to trends and technology are everyday occurrences you have to incorporate into your plan. In other words, plan to make changes to your plans.

Hunger for Knowledge

Your job demands you are learning every day. The research required is endless, so you must have an appetite for knowledge and be willing to learn new ways of doing things to remain at the top of your game. 

Lifelong learning will ensure you continue to thrive as a PPC marketer, so take the time to hone your skills and keep up with the industry's constant technological evolutions and changes.

Passion for Trying New Things

If you are not changing your mind and trying new approaches you are not doing your job. You have to be passionate enough to want to try new things, so you find out what gets the best results. 

Understanding the Psychology of PPC

A successful PPC specialist understands the importance of the psychology of language in PPC. It will be the driving force that keeps you investigating and looking for ways to generate click-throughs all day long. The slightest difference in the way you word your ads will make or break the success of your campaign. So, you will always be getting to know the consumers and targets for your campaigns.

The art of persuasion involves some PC thinking along with a bit of pushing the envelope, just enough to keep things interesting. You don't want to stir up too much emotion because that can turn ugly fast. So, understand what to say and how to say it perfectly.

The art of persuasion will allow you to trigger emotions to get the results you want. Consumers need to feel they have to learn more, and most importantly, they need to feel that they MUST have what you are selling. You need to remain consistent, and therefore an understanding of brand development is critical. Your experience has to develop so that you understand how to write a tagline that remains true to a brand, is repetitive but not stagnant, and that gets an emotional response.

Sewing It All Together

Your life as a PPC Specialist will require a lot of juggling, but it should seem effortless and become second nature.

Your ads will have to create a sense of urgency, be creative and clever, and incorporate keywords that can often prove awkward to position. The use of your keywords, copy, and visuals have to work together beautifully to encourage people to click through to your perfectly designed landing page. 

As you create each ad or campaign, you then get into your metrics and see where you can improve the campaigns you had already deemed ready to go. It can be a bit of a hit to your ego, but a true PPC expert knows this comes with the job. You will look forward to making improvements to the creative in order to see better metrics in your next analysis. 

Career Tips from a PPC Pro

You will need to learn the ropes not just for Google Ads, but also Bing Ads, and Amazon Ads

There are also industry-specific platforms to consider, but this will vary greatly depending on the industry you are targeting for a job. Many of them are social media platforms. In addition to keeping up to date with the latest news and industry publications, gaining the right credentials is essential to solid career progression as a PPC specialist.

If you marry your educational efforts while treating yourself as a personal brand, complete with a fully-optimized personal landing page with links to your social media profiles, your portfolio, and client testimonials (premium social proof), you will stand out from the crowd.

Ultimately, PPC advertising is a career where you have to learn by trial and error. You have to be willing to get your hands dirty and also be prepared to fail. 

Level up your PPC marketing skills with The DMI

If you want to embark on a rewarding career as a PPC specialist, our flexible, practical, and industry-recognized pay-per-click marketing short course will give you the skills, confidence, and credentials you need to succeed. Enroll in our PPC marketing short course

Updated 2022

Dan Hughes
Dan Hughes

Dan is a content writer specializing in digital marketing, emerging tech, music and looking after a toddler. You can find out more about him and his work by visiting his Catchy Space.

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