Azeem Ahmad was nominated by Aaron Levy in July of 2021.
How long have you been working in PPC?
I’ve been in the industry for pretty much 8 years now, and have seen so much change. One day I will tell the younger generation THAT WE COULD SEE ALL OF OUR SEARCH TERMS AND IT WAS A GLORIOUS TIME.
How did you get started in PPC?
So this is an interesting one – I always wanted to be a journalist. This is a common theme from people that I’ve spoken to on the Azeem Digital Asks podcast (shameless plug, sorry) – many people who were initially interested in journalism moved into marketing.
If you went to college, what did you study? If not college, do you have any other degrees or certifications?
So the official title was something along the lines of Media and Communication Studies – where I “majored” in Journalism, and “minored” in New Media (effectively what is now social media/marketing).
The link here is that my final year university project was to not only build a website, but to attract traffic to it. At the time, I was familiar with web building tools, so to push me out of my comfort zone I was asked to make it all about being green, and the environment. Luckily, there were a few PPC bolt ons to the tool that I was using. In one month it got 8k unique visitors and I ended up selling the website for $2k to someone in the states, and proceeded to spend it in the bar – I was a student of course.
I’ve got most of the Google qualifications, and have studied for a senior leadership qualification.
What was your first job that involved PPC?
I started out as a PPC Executive. My job involved all of the basics, keyword research, manual bid adjustments, device modifications, ad copy writing, full scale builds, reporting – you name it. The best way to learn.
What is your current position and how long have you been in it?
I’m currently a Digital Marketing Lead – and when this goes out it will be a few months in. An interesting time starting a new job during a pandemic but I was certain this was the right move for me.
What kinds of things do you currently handle or manage in PPC?
It’ll involve what I call – SERP – strategy, execution, research, and positioning to name just a few!
Has your career path had any hiccups or nontraditional aspects that you’d like to share?
Yes, absolutely. I was barely a few weeks into my first PPC job when the company suddenly collapsed practically overnight, right at the same time I was on bereavement leave. It was something that I found difficult to process. Fortunately, fast forward and the job I moved into was agency side and I applied myself as thoroughly as I could, soaking up as much information as possible and quickly progressed.
What are you most proud of in your PPC career?
I can’t decide between, so you can get all three, from oldest to newest:
- Manipulating a weather script for a client that demonstrated when the weather was good, to increase bids as more people would purchase. This was used as a case study for the entire company.
- When looking after a large auto account, I successfully hit a huge ROI target by taking their offline data, including GMB details, and demonstrated the link the website had on in store visits. Google used this as a case study.
- Understanding the cross channel impact that television advertising can have on PPC. Simply by bumping bids during ad spot times, not only was the brand present from both a paid and organic POV – we also had to ensure the website could handle the user load. This forced me to consider things from a multi channel perspective.
What, if anything, do you wish you could “do over” in your PPC career?
Not going to be too specific here (boooo!) but I wish I could do over the first few years of my career. I was unfortunate enough to work with some individuals who weren’t team players that were sadly in a position of authority. Instead of asking questions and being more inquisitive, I blindly followed.
If you could give advice to someone either considering or just starting out in PPC, what would that be?
Guess what – ask more questions! With new people joining my teams, one thing I will always say to them, is that there is never a wrong answer, as long as you have a reason, or a why (with a few small exceptions).
If you’re just starting out, get onto Twitter, follow the ppcchat hashtag, get involved with the chats and follow the brilliant and supportive community there is. If you’re ever stuck, post a question with that hashtag and a friendly member of the community will always help out.
In short, ask more questions, have your “why”, and never stop learning. PPC isn’t a one and done – the best practitioners are the ones who are constantly seeking to evolve and have opinions challenged, constructively.
Are you interested in speaking opportunities? If so, what topics are your jam?
The simplest answer I can give here is to check out https://www.iamazeemdigital.com/speaking/ – I’m happy to speak on any of the subjects listed there.
You’ll notice that HeroConf is not in those images. It is, and has always been one of the conferences that I would absolutely LOVE to speak at. If the people in charge are reading this – let’s talk!
Anything else you’d like to share?
Sure – I host my own podcast (did I mention that?!) called the Azeem Digital Asks podcast. I’m on a mission to amplify the voices of marginalised groups within the marketing community including women, and POC.
Whether or not you have ever done any public speaking, if you ever want to record an episode and have a great idea in mind – connect with me and let’s try to arrange something.
Where can people find you to connect (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)?
You can find me on Twitter @AzeemDigital
You can find me on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/azeemdigital/?hl=en
You can find the podcast here, or choose your favourite platform:
If you’d like to contact me, you can do so here: https://www.iamazeemdigital.com/contact/