One day in the life of a contextual advertising specialist

My name is Sasha Pluzhnikov, I work as an Internet advertising specialist at the E-Promo agency. Today I will tell you about the working day of a contextual advertising specialist. The examples will be personal, so if your experience is different – share them in the comments: read and discuss.

How I got into digital

I started working in digital in 2012: I got a job as a marketer in a private company. I was not just a context expert, but a marketer: I built a sales funnel, tracked its work and a complete collection of statistics at every stage. Context was one of the areas of my work.

After that I got a job at an agency in St. Petersburg, where I started working only with contextual advertising. There I also began to share my experience with colleagues: I wrote articles, recorded videos, gave training lectures on contextual advertising.

Now I work at the E-Promo agency, where I continue to accumulate useful knowledge and share it with my colleagues.

What I do

It is my job to take care of clients’ ad campaigns in context. One specialist can have several projects, and each must be given sufficient attention to fulfill the KPI and achieve the set goals.

All tasks can be divided into three blocks:

  1. Client launch… This is the first big stage in working with a new project. First, I define what products or services we advertise, highlight USP, find landing pages for advertising. Then I collect semantics, group keywords and write advertisements. When everything is ready, I upload the campaigns to advertising accounts and check if they have been moderated.

  2. Planned optimization… These processes are often referred to as customer lead. To improve ad performance, I identify and minus non-targeted search queries, disable underperforming sites, and adjust bids for keywords, demographics, geography, and devices.

  3. Common tasks… These include scheduled reporting (for the day, week, month), calls and meetings, testing new tools and reports based on the results of the quarter, half year and year.

What my working day looks like

The working day starts at 10:00. First, I participate in a daily planning meeting with colleagues. On it we share the results of the previous working day and plans for the current one. Also, colleagues can ask for help if they have a large load on tasks, or help you if you have any difficulties.

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After the meeting, we get to work:

  • Planned optimization (2-4 hours). There is something to fix in any advertising campaign: change bids, clean sites, adjust bids by audience. For some clients, you need to make a report on the results of work: they can be daily, weekly or monthly.

  • Calculation of media plans (2+ hours). During the day, a request may be received to calculate the media plan for a new client. In this case, I look at the statistics on previous placements, estimate the current demand for the client’s goods or services, and form a forecast: what the client will receive in the end by investing a certain amount in contextual advertising.

  • Launch of new campaigns (1+ hour). I get the tasks for creating new campaigns in advance, so I can decompose them and include them in the schedule in advance.

  • Calling with clients (1 hour). Their availability depends on the specifics and format of clients’ work. For some, it is enough to communicate with an account manager, while others are ready to understand advertising campaigns deeper, and they need expert comments. I have about 2-4 such calls a week. By the way, this helps me to go deeper into the specifics of the business and better understand the client’s expectations from the accommodation and the specialist in particular.

  • Mentoring (1-2 hours). In my daily routine, I always have time that I devote to newcomers. We analyze incomprehensible moments in the work, get acquainted with the processes within the company, work on an individual development plan.

  • Customer development, new campaigns, experiments (2-3 hours). I try to keep an eye on new advertising tools, test them, or connect new directions with current clients.

What skills help in the workflow

Here I will not touch upon the skills that are directly related to the profession – knowledge of Yandex.Direct and Google Ads advertising systems. I want to talk about skills that will give a big plus in professional growth. I will divide them into two categories – hard skills and soft skills.

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By hard skills we mean professional skills that can be learned and measured, for example, using test tasks. Soft – skills that are difficult to measure with test items, they are related to character and personal experience. These skills are often referred to as “personality traits.”

Hard skills

Excel and Google Sheets… Possession of basic formulas will help you build reports and combine data from several systems in one table, as well as quickly create files with campaign templates for further uploading to advertising offices.

Analytics systems – Google Analytics, Yandex.Metrica. A specialist needs to understand what data he sees in the reports, where it came from and how to get the desired slice of site visitors.

Google Tag Manager… Setting up a simple goal for submitting a form via GTM will save a few hours, and sometimes days, of a specialist’s work and nerves.

Classic marketing: what is a sales funnel, the basics of competitive analysis, market analysis, how ROI is calculated, RRP and how CPL differs from CPO. This knowledge will help to understand the client’s tasks and the role of digital channels in their implementation.

Soft Skills

Teamwork… You are not alone. Even if you work as a freelancer, your team will be the marketing department from the client’s side. The ability to coordinate your actions and distribute part of the tasks between the whole team will speed up your work.

Sociability… Clients want to know what is happening with their money and what to expect from their investment. Arrange for follow-up calls once a week. This is more than enough.

Creativity… PPC advertising has two main tasks: to find a potential client and attract him. Creativity is needed precisely for solving the second problem. In the context, there are too many monotonous texts and offers: “discounts”, “free”, “cheap” and so on. You need to come up with something original, test different versions of ads with different catchy “chips”.

Logical thinking and analytical skills… After creating an advertising campaign, the stage of its continuous improvement and optimization begins. The ability to analyze the data obtained, to identify growth points is an important skill of any specialist.

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What difficulties arise in the work

The most difficult thing, in my opinion, is to avoid burnout and recover from it. It will definitely be. It’s like making mistakes: the only way to avoid making them is to do nothing. Therefore, it is worth accepting this phenomenon as one of the stages that you need to go through.

Normal sleep and sports helped me. The moment of my “peak” fell on the period of transfer to remote operation due to the coronavirus. I stopped separating work and rest and began to work until two in the morning, sometimes until the morning.

The gyms were closed and it was difficult to find a replacement for the usual activities. Running came up to me. I was knocked down to do this sport by a colleague who once suggested running 10 km as part of a team. We agreed, but did not take this proposal seriously. On self-isolation, I remembered the race and thought that I needed to prepare.

The first month was difficult and it is not obvious that it helps. But in the end it worked. In August, I successfully ran my first 10 km with a result of 1:16:54. Therefore, I recommend finding your own type of physical activity – this will help compensate for stress and avoid emotional overload at work.

Tips for a beginner

I would give a beginner four main recommendations:

  1. Keep your knowledge up to date. Digital is changing, and so are the rules in our profession: what was impossible yesterday will become possible today.

  2. Learn the basics of marketing. If you don’t know where to start, read Philip Kotler’s Marketing Fundamentals. The book is quite old, but it will help you understand how marketing works.

  3. Learn to correct mistakes, rather than panic when they appear. Your client or senior colleague does not need a cause, but a solution. Focus on them.

  4. Plan your work day. It can be difficult to remember a particular task, no matter how urgent it may be. Sometimes it just flies out of my head. Don’t take a chance, keep a plan for the day.

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