Liam Wade was nominated for a PPC Spotlight Profile by Chris Ridley & Anu Adegbola!
How long have you been working in PPC?
I have now been in PPC for almost 9 years, which frankly seems ridiculous!
How did you get started in PPC?
Pure chance, like most of us I think.
I saw a Facebook ad from this tiny marketing agency called Impression, and thought it looked interesting. They probably only reached about 100 people with their budget, and thankfully one happened to be me.
It wasn’t just PPC though – I was thrust into most aspects of digital marketing. I quite enjoyed securing high DA backlinks back in the day, but I’m definitely not suited to the difficult challenge that Digital PR is nowadays.
My first intro to PPC was being shown an ad split-test and I was instantly hooked! My brain naturally loves columns, rows and absolutes. This was the direction I wanted to go in.
If you went to college or university, what did you study? If not college, do you have any other degrees or certifications?
I went to university and studied Music, which often gets an eyebrow raise.
In my cover letter for my first role, I said: “I am aware that upon looking at my CV you may be disheartened to find that I am a student of music. This is normal. Music students are a rare breed that many people do not understand. My being a music student has many benefits to you…”
I am still obsessed with music, and I could spend a long time talking about the parallels between music and digital marketing. Another time maybe!
What was your first job that involved PPC?
What is your current position and how long have you been in it?
I’m currently Paid Media Director, which I’ve been doing since 2021. I love it!
What kinds of things do you currently handle or manage in PPC?
I work with a broad range of clients across the full paid media mix – Strategy, Paid Social, Programmatic, Search, and Shopping.
I don’t get to spend as much time in-platform these days, but will audit an account every now and then to keep myself sharp. Fortunately, the talented team we have at Impression are leaps and bounds ahead of me in terms of their PPC prowess!
A large part of my role now is ensuring we create an environment where the team feel motivated and empowered to do their best work. By achieving this, we’ll get the best results for our clients.
Has your career path had any hiccups or nontraditional aspects that you’d like to share?
Perhaps my longevity at only one agency is nontraditional in itself?
I’m very conscious of this and I spend a lot of my time trying to understand what I *don’t know*.
I also try to make sure the team has a good mix of Impression folk, outside agency talent, and in-house expertise to ensure we’re building the strongest collective group
What are you most proud of in your PPC career?
We’ve not done everything perfectly, but we have created an incredible culture over the years. Our team of specialists genuinely care – about each other, our clients, and the craft itself.
Every day I consider how lucky I am to be working with such talented, kind, fun (and often strange) human beings.
I think Impression is a great place to grow your career in digital. I feel we strike a good balance of excellence and autonomy, backed by a supportive atmosphere.
Some of my proudest moments are seeing team members grow in skill and confidence. Whether these individuals then find kick-ass senior roles at Impression, or leave to do great things elsewhere, I’m proud that we’ve played a part in their growth.
What, if anything, do you wish you could “do over” in your PPC career?
I’m not a big fan of regrets and “do overs” in general. I’ve definitely made mistakes, especially as a more junior manager, but I know that I have always done my best.
What would I like to get better at? Lots of things, but recently I’ve been trying to get better at pacing myself and taking time away *before I need to*. Our brains are very important, and I think mine gets neglected sometimes.
Oh, actually I do regret that time I inputted £4000 instead of £400 when I first started doing PPC, and took too long to catch it. I’m often asked why I always put in decimal points when they’re not compulsory – this is why!
If you could give advice to someone either considering or just starting out in PPC, what would that be?
Be ready for change – you can’t sit still in PPC as the best practice will change from year to year, especially with the speed of changes recently.
The key to a less stressful PPC existence is to find a healthy balance between skepticism and acceptance!
Whilst learning PPC, build on your skills outside of the discipline to protect yourself from automation. Data science, analytics, creative, marketing fundamentals, commercial awareness and client service are all example areas to look at. Along with PPC skill, pick 2 extra focuses like the above and get really good at them. The PPC job isn’t going away, but it is evolving and these skills will help your career develop.
And PLEASE be playful every day! By joining the PPC world, you’re in such a fun discipline – it’s basically a computer game with multiple opponents and real-world consequences. Some of our most innovative techniques were born from experimentation, and you don’t get that if you’re afraid to make mistakes or always play by the book.
Are you interested in speaking opportunities? If so, what topics are your jam?
Yes please! I try to be as actionable as I am entertaining.
I mostly speak about ecommerce paid media as this is what gets me most excited, but all elements of paid are my marmalade.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I love this community, so firstly thank you for having me. The online PPC community is so incredibly supportive. When individuals at the start of their career come online and ask questions, they’re instantly welcomed and never judged.
Maybe there’s something about the people that are attracted to PPC that makes them a great bunch. But then I would say that, wouldn’t I?
I’d like to actively encourage the conversation around diversity and inclusion in digital marketing. There’s a real need to amplify diverse voices, and we can all play a huge part in creating a diverse and inclusive industry by doing so. An example is the conference scene – I’ve seen a few events making a real effort to have more diverse line-ups, but there is still a lot of work to be done. It starts with education, but education has no impact without action.
For managers looking to improve the inclusivity of their own environments, I can highly recommend the book ‘Inclusive Intelligence’ – Furkan Karayel, from Diversein. Karayel makes you seriously question the way that you behave – as a business, a team, and an individual.
Where can people find you to connect (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)?