Cory Henke was nominated by Azeem Ahmad in June of 2021.
How long have you been working in PPC?
Twelve years in the realm of PPC. In early 2018 I was provided the opportunity to work at ID Media, a direct response agency under the IPG holding company umbrella. Since then, I’ve only worked in digital media. Buying media within a platform wasn’t as prevalent back then; that for me started in 2015.
How did you get started in PPC?
In garnering a base understanding of advertising and digital advertising in 2018, the term PPC didn’t pop up often until 2015 in joining Molio (Molio.com), a small creative & analytics agency in Utah. This shop specializes in YouTube advertising, and I was able to apply my seven years of digital advertising experience with the power of PPC in-platform buying.
If you went to college, what did you study? If not college, do you have any other degrees or certifications?
I didn’t study much in college, to be honest. The extent of my additional degrees and certifications goes as far as the google certifications and YouTube organic certifications, which might not be around, but provided a good test of skill and platform understanding.
Much of my education on PPC and what I do today came primarily from trial and error with real clients. However, today, more YouTube channels (Paid Media Pros) provide real value and understanding.
My college degree was a bachelor of communications with an emphasis in marketing but again had no impact on my career choice or job function as I quit my first sales job out of college within a week of working there.
What was your first job that involved PPC?
Depending on how you view the word PPC my first job in the industry was ID Media and my first client was Mormon.org driving users to the website on a CPC (cost per chat). This was innovative and different from many other clients where the conversion was engagement vs. purchase. This sparked the brain.
If PPC is considered in platform buying within Google Ads or other platforms, then Molio would be the first job. In that case, YouTube buying for brands like Boogie Wipes, Orabrush, and later Purple Mattress helped me garner a greater understanding of the power of PPC.
What is your current position and how long have you been in it?
My current position is CEO/Founder of Variable Media and Analytics. I’ve been in this position for four years and six months. The longest of any job held to date. I genuinely love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for the world. We are innovating in a great space, providing clear and concise value to our clients, and developing tools to garner insights that were not possible in previous years.
What kind of things do you handle or manage in PPC?
I have a variety of positions as a leader of an organization. I have the core clients that I manage, which means meeting with clients analyzing and reporting on data. Next, I lead a team of 8 individuals helping them grow their careers and improve their knowledge base. I have the most fun in the people and development of their skill set. Next, I also provide growth and innovation to our agency through analytics development which again garners insight and helps us deliver data or clients that in turn help them make critical decisions for business growth.
Has your career path had any hiccups or nontraditional aspects that you’d like to share?
I’ve been fired. I’ve made two seriously bad moves. First, in-office relationships which led to an unnecessary move from a great company (Y!) to a radio station (Power 106 Los Angeles). Again a learning experience. Next, working for a horrible leader at an ad network who was not completely transparent with its clients. Furthermore, a learning experience, to say the least.
What are you most proud of in your PPC career?
Two points here.
First, I’m proud I can introduce my best friend to this industry and give him the ability to never go into an office again with a skillset for the future. Also, provide my entire team the freedom to grow, learn, and make some good money.
Second, the people in this community. The PPC community has been nothing but great to me from the beginning. Conferences, dinners, Twitter DMs, and much more. The group of people I’ve met in this small community mean the world to me, and I’m excited to see them all succeed. Cheers to PPC Chat and those many individuals; you all know who you are. I wouldn’t be at this point in my career without these people.
What, if anything, do you wish you could “do over” in your PPC career?
Nothing directly, to be honest. I think it’s been a pretty good run so far. Maybe not have put my heart on the line with a few clients who walked away, but we have to play this game at 100%, and sometimes you get your feelings hurt. I wish I could help more people understand PPC, but I think I have the opportunity in the near future to do that through education and hiring.
If you could give advice to someone either considering or just starting out in PPC, what would that be?
Please do it. Here’s the key to getting into PPC, there’s no ceiling. No one with 30 years of experience and the platforms changes so often you just need to have a passion and want to be the best at this, and you’ll never be without a job.
Are you interested in speaking opportunities? If so, what topics are your jam?
Speaking is a growing passion of mine—big shout out to Bryant Garvin and the Utah DMC for giving me my first speaking experience. The topic of choice today is PowerBI, Visualization, and Marketing / Advertising analytics, while I am most well known for speaking on the subject of YouTube advertising.
Anything else you’d like to share?
If you made it this far and you have any questions, comments, etc, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Where can people find you to connect (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)?