Ivan Walker was nominated for a PPC Spotlight Profile in July 2023.
How long have you been working in PPC?
10 years. Started using PPC for my own project site, then was hired in-house to run PPC & Affiliate Marketing for Sylvane.com. I’ve lived in agency world since then.
How did you get started in PPC?
I launched my first PPC campaign for my own engineering website back in 2013. I took PPC to the next level when I was hired on to run PPC & Affiliate Marketing with Sylvane.com in 2015. I moved to my current Agency in 2018. I started with Response Mine Digital as a Senior Manager and for the past 3.5 years I’ve served as some form of Media Director. – from Associate Director to Media Director.
If you went to college or university, what did you study? If not college, do you have any other degrees or certifications?
I have a Bachelors Degree in Marketing and another Bachelor’s Degree in Audio Engineering.
What was your first job that involved PPC?
Sylvane.com. I started there as PPC & Affiliate Manager. Initially I only managed Bing and then moved on to everything PPC as well as Affiliate Marketing.
What is your current position and how long have you been in it?
SEM Media Director. I’ve been in the Media Director role at my current agency for the past 3.5 years in various iterations.
What kinds of things do you currently handle or manage in PPC?
I work on all of our clients Media Strategy. We specifically focus on Digital Growth Strategy. We launch and manage everything in the Google & Bing ecosystem (Search, Shopping, YT, PMAX, Discovery etc) as well as Social, CTV, Native, DOOH & we are on the precipace of launching some RMN channels as well.
I lead the SEM Media team in the above channels along with working closely with our VP of Analytics on measurement, reporting & testing.
Has your career path had any hiccups or nontraditional aspects that you’d like to share?
I’d say I got started in Digital Media non-traditionally. I graduated college in 2008 when jobs were incredibly hard to come by. I worked in retail banking for a number of years and decided I wanted to venture out on my own. I was burnt-out from retail banking and it wasn’t what I went to school for. I put both my college disciplines to work and created an audio engineering website as a passion project. From there, I needed to market it, so I got into digital media. That led me to Sylvane.com and the rest, they say, is history.
What are you most proud of in your PPC career?
A few things come to mind. In 2018 we worked closely with the Pinterest team during their development of Pinterest shopping with one of our clients. We moved the needle unlike many others in that space since the channel was so new. Our client got a great write up in the Pinterest Annual newsletter for the strategy and business growth success.
I’m also super proud of a few of our O-to-O success stories. Working with a large furniture retailer we were able to prove the efficacy of digital media to drive in-store traffic & sales with one of our partners. With another client we worked closely with that organization developed an iROAS measurement equation to really evaluate the complete funnel of PPC & YT media on store grand openings as well as overall company revenue.
What, if anything, do you wish you could “do over” in your PPC career?
Not much, I really enjoy the impact we have on our clients and on our team at Response Mine Digital as well. If anything, I’d say, let’s do more and measure more. At any given time, we could be helping our clients grow and succeed more than we currently are, and it’s usually do to some inadvertent organizational blindspot. I truly belive that, and we often find that’s true when we meet. Helping clients understand how the world of PPC has changed and the impact all levels of the conversion funnel can have on their business outside of their website is a hill we are always looking to climb.
If you could give advice to someone either considering or just starting out in PPC, what would that be?
Be an auto-didact. It’s a saying I got from my college engineering professor. In that field it’s important to take initiative and always keep learning. An auto-didact is someone who is self-taught. Never rely on your day-to-day duties to comprise all of what you know. There are so many podcasts, articles and videos you could watch to get a leg up and speed up that learning process. It’s something I hold dear to our team’s process.
Are you interested in speaking opportunities? If so, what topics are your jam?
Sure, public speaking is not something I do a lot, but I’m passionate about Shopping Ads/PLAs. I’m also passionate about online to offline measurement of all digital channels and I’m passionate about paid search as a whole and using our learnings to structure and create strategies that work for client regardless of what Google or Bing throw at us.
Anything else you’d like to share?
The world of PPC & Digital Media is constantly evolving. It’s our duty to keep up. If you want to talk shop, feel free to reach out.
Where can people find you to connect (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)?