Luna Rocha was nominated for a PPC spotlight profile in February of 2022.
How long have you been working in PPC?
I started working in PPC in 2017 so… five years now.
How did you get started in PPC?
It’s definitely a long story! My first job after college was teaching high school history. From here, I transitioned to working at an education non-profit in NYC. This non-profit needed help with website management, and so I started learning SEO and content marketing. Learned lead nurturing, sales funnels, all that jazz. With that knowledge, I then transitioned into an in-house marketing department for a telecommunications company. Here is where I first learned basic PPC from my manager at the time. Intrigued by this new world of search engine marketing, I then joined an agency specializing in Google and Bing Ads as a PPC Specialist. This was in 2017 and I’ve been in PPC ever since! It never gets boring, that’s for sure.
If you went to college, what did you study? If not college, do you have any other degrees or certifications?
I went to Millsaps College in Jackson MS and double-majored in History and Communications.
What was your first job that involved PPC?
My first job that involved PPC was as Content Marketing Strategist at an in-house telecommunications company. My boss was handling our AdWords account and taught me the basics re: campaign structure, keywords, bidding.
What is your current position and how long have you been in it?
My current position is Targeted Display Specialist at Gatorworks, a full-service agency based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In this role, I’m learning about more about programmatic ads, which are fairly new to me. I’m still heavily involved on the PPC side though.
What kinds of things do you currently handle or manage in PPC?
Currently, my team and I handle everything PPC-related for our clients. This means keyword research, campaign structure, bid strategies, monitoring, reporting, implementation, etc. We are currently using SKAG but plan to restructure towards phrase and topic-based campaigns in the very near future.
Has your career path had any hiccups or nontraditional aspects that you’d like to share?
Yes – I would say it was VERY difficult to get my foot in the door in corporate America/agencies. I guess I faced the kinda classic-at-this-point uniquely millennial problem of being told I had to get a college degree, following my passions with my majors (History and Communications, which is the closest thing my college had to journalism), and then not being able to get a job with my degrees.
I think being a strong writer really sealed the deal for me – it was noticed pretty quickly at my first job that I could write, and then I started doing blog strategy and content, eventually segueing to PPC. I still pride myself on writing killer ad copy.
What are you most proud of in your PPC career?
So, last year I was chosen as an inaugural Search Engine Land mentee out of thousands of candidates. I was able to work with leaders in the industry like Carolyn Lyden and Eric Enge. My mentor, Melissa Liu at RPA, was essential in opening my eyes to the possibilities with a career in PPC. I would say I thought of PPC as just a job before the mentorship, and now I really think of it as a career. We probably spent an equal amount of time on technical aspects of PPC, as well as the soft skills like how to navigate client relationships and how to “pitch” PPC, which were integral to my personal growth as a PPC-er.
What, if anything, do you wish you could “do over” in your PPC career?
It took me a while to figure out which agencies have truly great, innovative PPC departments. I definitely wasted time in white-labeled agencies with quantity-over-quality, copy-paste strategies that I would never accept an interview for now.
I wish someone had given me guidance on how to weed out bad actors in the PPC field. Every industry has these sorts of businesses, but I think this may be more notorious in marketing.
If you could give advice to someone either considering or just starting out in PPC, what would that be?
That no one’s got it completely figured out. I used to get very discouraged when a campaign wasn’t performing well, but now I take it with a grain of salt and as a learning opportunity. PPC is, at its core, a constantly evolving landscape and trial-and-error is essential to “getting it right.” That’s as much true for the “experts’ as for new PPC-ers.
Also, get active in your community. There are tons of subreddits and Twitter hashtags full of paid search strategists who would love to help out a fellow PPCer – you’re never in it alone (even if you work in-house lol) !
Are you interested in speaking opportunities? If so, what topics are your jam?
Yes! I’ve given presentations on SEO basics, preparing for a cookie-less future, and app-based campaign best practices.
Anything else you’d like to share?
That I have felt very alone at times in my career journey. This exacerbated by the fact that I’m a first-generation American and college graduate. I’m especially thankful for the chance to impart knowledge on people in similar situations and plan to launch a YouTube vlog with career tips for these wayward souls with no built-in connections. Hopefully launching this year!
Where can people find you to connect (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)?