Jyll Saskin Gales was nominated for a PPC Spotlight Profile in February of 2022.
How long have you been working in PPC?
How did you get started in PPC?
Working at Google was my first job in PPC. I didn’t even know what “PPC” was before that, and I remember being so confused the first time I heard that acronym to describe what I do. I got the job at Google because of my business experience and international experience, and then had the opportunity to learn about Google Ads on the job, straight from the source
If you went to college, what did you study? If not college, do you have any other degrees or certifications?
I have a BA in Psychology and Child Development from Tufts University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
What was your first job that involved PPC?
I was an International Growth Consultant at Google for 6 years. In this role, I was part of the Google Ads sales organization, and within that, Large Customer Sales. Rather than being an Account Manager or Account Executive, though, I was a specialist; my job was to work across the entire Canadian portfolio of clients (mostly retail, travel and B2B), and help these customers expand their businesses into new countries by leveraging Google’s insights and ad products. Surprisingly, using Google Ads was not actually a job requirement to work in the Google Ads sales organization – in fact, if you spent too much time “optimizing” it was seen as lower value work, not being strategic enough to advance, get promoted, etc. But I learned quickly that the best way to build trust with clients and to actually drive revenue was to have a deep understanding of Google Ads, so I did. I loved connecting the strategic to the tactical, supported by insights. Gosh, I miss those internal Google insights tools!!
What is your current position and how long have you been in it?
I’ve been an entrepreneur for nearly a year. I teach Google Ads & digital marketing, consult on paid acquisition strategy, and coach business owners and marketers to help them improve their skills.
What kinds of things do you currently handle or manage in PPC?
When I first went out on my own, I did much more hands-on Google Ads management, but found that it wasn’t scalable, and that the businesses I was working with were all encountering the same challenges. That’s why I shifted into the consultancy/coaching model, so that I could do more “teaching people to fish.” My clients range from solopreneurs to a Fortune 50 multinational, but the thing they all have in common is they want to build their own in-house Google Ads expertise – and I help them do that.
Has your career path had any hiccups or nontraditional aspects that you’d like to share?
Absolutely. I actually didn’t leave Google to start my own business – I would never be brave enough to do that! I resigned from Google because I received a job offer I couldn’t refuse. Well, in hindsight, I wish I had refused it, because I only worked at that other place for 2 weeks. I’m not in a position to share more details than that, but April 2021 was one of the lowest points in my life. A month earlier, I worked at Google, earned $300k+ per year, and all the benefits, status and security that afforded. And suddenly I was unemployed. I wish I could say that the idea to start my business happened then, but it didn’t.
I started posting videos on TikTok @the_google_pro as a way to distract myself from my sadness and anger and self-pity, and was completely shocked when I had a video go viral and starting receiving DMs from people who wanted to hire me. It took another few weeks before I turned to my husband and said, “OK, I’m officially not job searching anymore. I’m doing this, I’m an entrepreneur now.” And then by September 2021, I was able to match my Google salary through my business, which was a milestone I never expected to reach so soon. I’ve scaled down a bit since then, saying “no” to more projects than I say “yes” to, in order to protect my mental health. I’m a work to live, not live to work kind of person, and I’m feeling good about the balance I’ve found in 2022 – some teaching, some coaching, some consulting, and some time for myself.
What are you most proud of in your PPC career?
To fill a gap in the market for those who saw me on TikTok or Instagram and want to work with me, but can’t afford my rates, I launched Inside Google Ads (learn.jyll.ca), an on-demand learning platform where I share my insider tips for success with Google Ads. I’m most proud of this because my goal when I left Google was to use my skills to help entrepreneurs grow, and this platform allows me to do that at scale.
What, if anything, do you wish you could “do over” in your PPC career?
I wish I had learned more about Facebook Ads and the other ad platforms sooner – and not just ad platforms, but things like conversion rate optimization and content marketing. When I worked at Google, I lived in such a Google Ads bubble. I feel so fortunate that I’ve been able to expand my digital marketing expertise over the last year, and I know I’m a much better partner for my clients now because I have a more complete, holistic understanding of marketing.
If you could give advice to someone either considering or just starting out in PPC, what would that be?
Just do it. The only way to become a PPC expert is to do it. There are plenty of courses, experts, tutorials, certifications, etc. out there, and these are a great starting point, but the sooner you open up Google Ads Manager (or whatever platform) and start playing around, testing and making mistakes, the sooner you’ll become an expert.
And… ignore the Optimization Score in your Google Ads account because it’s meaningless. Only implement Recommendations if you think they’re a good idea for your business. If not, dismiss!
Are you interested in speaking opportunities? If so, what topics are your jam?
Yes, I love speaking opportunities. I’m often hired to “supplement” the Google Ads certifications with practical demonstration and experience. Those of us who have the certifications know that they are quite theoretical and don’t prepare you to actually be a practitioner, so my workshop series helps businesses change that. I’m also a startup mentor with 2 accelerators in Canada (The DMZ and Elevate), so I frequently speak about topics like growth marketing, B2B marketing, ecommerce optimization and, of course, paid acquisition.
Where can people find you to connect (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)?