Another month, another new recruit

As regular readers might know we have had some amazing hires already this year and we haven’t slowed down yet. With an ever-increasing workload we put the call out again for a new team member. No experience was necessary, we just needed someone with genuine enthusiasm, an aptitude for learning and, most importantly, someone who is the right fit for the Optix family.

Well, the call was answered and we are pleased to announce that Samuel Skinner has now joined us as our new Digital Executive.

Hiring with a willingness to train the successful applicant is a great way of broadening the talent pool we can pull our next team member from while also giving us the chance to find someone with useful supporting skills for the team.

As a self-declared creative Samuel has over five years’ experience offering freelance graphic design and illustration services at www.samueltskinner.co.uk while also working for a software company in Somerset and boarding trainee guide dogs at his home in Devon. With an educational background in film and photography too Samuel has a broad skillset that we will enjoy putting to the test while also helping him to learn and develop in his new role (We think those dog-training skills might be especially useful for the office dogs).

We thought we would give the final word to the man himself, over to you Samuel:

“After spending the last year contemplating, deciding on and searching for my career move in marketing I’m absolutely thrilled to have got my chance to break into the sector and very thankful to Optix for the opportunity. I’m looking forward to throwing myself into new role. Please don’t get your hopes up about the dogs though, I’m fairly sure all the guide dogs that graduated did so despite my help rather than because of it!”

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Digital Excellence for Optix Digital Marketing Executive

By providing a high quality service, it's our duty to provide high quality people. One way to do this is encourage your staff to undertake courses and qualifications in their areas of expertise. When the digital frontier changes as often as it does, it's imperative to ensure your staff are on the ball.

 Last year, Chris Mastris undertook his Google Adwords Certificate and passed with flying colours! We asked Chris about his experience:

What does it mean to be Google AdWords certified?

Essentially, getting AdWords certified is a way of demonstrating expertise in Google pay per click (PPC) advertising. Or, to quote Google:

“The Google AdWords certification is a professional accreditation that Google offers to individuals who demonstrate proficiency in basic and advanced aspects of AdWords.”

More specifically, being good at using AdWords involves choosing the most suitable campaign types (e.g. search or image ads), setting up advertising effectively, and optimising AdWords campaigns once they’re live.

Beyond achieving the basic AdWords certification, I went a step further and passed the Google Specialist Challenge.

What did you have to do to get qualified?

To get the regular certification, you need to pass the AdWords Fundamentals exam (fundamental concepts and best practices) and one of the specialism exams (more advanced concepts for a specific campaign type) with a score of at least 80%.

However, for the Specialist Challenge I had to pass the Fundamentals exam plus all five advertising specialisms: Search, Display, Mobile, Video, and Shopping.

What does it take to pass?

The exams and study resources are free, so all it takes is a fair amount of time and perseverance.

It probably took me around 5 hours to study for each exam, and the exams themselves are between one and two hours long. However, it helped that I already had a fair amount of experience using AdWords. I found the best way of learning was to just read through the study guide material while also checking things out for myself in AdWords.

What was easy, what was hard?

The studying itself was probably the easiest part- Google provides a well-written study guide for each exam, including links to more information, which makes it easy to read through and digest the content. 

In terms of the material itself, it helped that I was already reasonably familiar with Search and Display advertising. However, I found the Mobile, Video, and Shopping exams a bit trickier.

Why did you decide to do the qualification?

For me, it was mostly about learning the material rather than getting a certificate- although being formally recognised for your abilities is great too. Essentially, I wanted to develop my AdWords skills so I can contribute to even better performance for the accounts we manage at Optix.

What have you gained since becoming Google Certified?

As well as polishing up my existing skills, I’ve learned a lot about the campaign types I was less familiar with before. I’m confident that this will really help, particularly when we’re exploring which types of paid advertising could be the most beneficial for a client.

How have clients benefited from you completing the qualification?

As well as being more effective when it comes to day to day AdWords optimisation, since passing the Specialist Challenge I’ve already contributed to a Shopping campaign, which I wouldn’t have known much about before. Soon we might also be looking at setting up a Video campaign too.

What next for Chris Mastris?

For now, I’m mainly going to focus on contributing to my personal digital marketing blog and Unwritten Digital, as well as generally keeping up with any important industry news. However, I might look at taking on the Google Analytics certification in the future.
 

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Gaining Work Experience in the Digital Marketing Industry

A few weeks ago, Chris Mastris completed an 8 week work placement with us after he tracked us down on social media and asked if we had any vacancies. We asked Chris a few questions about his time with Optix Solutions.

Who are you?

Although I’m now interested in digital marketing, I previously studied biology at the University of Exeter, and graduated in 2015. After graduating it took me a bit of time to figure out what I wanted to do, after deciding that a career in biology wasn’t what I was looking for. After experimenting with different things for a while (I can now write some basic code- maybe that will come in handy one day), I decided to capitalise on my interest in the digital world… and here I am! 

In my spare time, volunteering for a local community organisation keeps me fairly busy. Aside from that, I like playing pool (I recently got my own table!), try to get to the gym now and then, and (like a lot of “millennials”) enjoy some TV and gaming.

Why digital?

I’ve been asked this question a lot- although usually it’s because people can’t understand how I suddenly went from biology to marketing. It’s more common than you might think, however, and there are actually quite a few similarities when you look at what both science and digital actually involve. This is most obvious when you look at something such as analytics and conversion rate optimisation, both of which require a somewhat scientific mind-set. Beyond that, I’m really enjoying the opportunity to be a bit more creative, particularly when writing content on a variety of different topics.

What is your specific area of interest?

I’ve touched on this already, but I’m particularly interested in the analytical side of things- I guess it appeals to my scientific side. It really amazes me how much tiny changes (e.g. a single website button) can affect metrics such as conversion rate.

Any future predictions?

This might be a bit of a cliché, and maybe I’m just being nerdy about the latest hot topic in technology, but I think virtual reality (including augmented reality) is really going to revolutionise the world of digital. It’s already incredible what the top VR headsets are capable of, and within a decade I anticipate that VR will be fairly mainstream. Once it gets beyond being just a novelty, I think sponsored experiences (more so than direct advertising) are just one possibility of utilising VR in digital marketing.

What did you learn at Optix?

Honestly, it’s hard to summarise 8 weeks in a short paragraph. To list just a few things, I’ve learnt loads about on-site and off-site search engine optimisation, content, social, and some analytics. Aside from that, it’s been really interesting learning more about the general workings of a digital agency.

What next?

Generally, I’m looking forward to applying everything I’ve learned in a digital marketing role. More specifically, I’d like to learn more about PPC and delve into analytics a bit more, as I think it’s something I’ll enjoy. At this point, I’m pretty much going to explore the digital marketing industry a bit more, and see what happens from there. In any case, it’s been a great experience working at Optix, with a really good bunch of people.

Everyone at Optix was really impressed with Chris’s work… so impressed in fact that he is now a full-time member of the team! Follow Chris on his journey via Twitter or his blog

If you’re looking to gain more experience in an established, digital marketing environment get in touch by emailing hanna@optixsolutions.co.uk or call us on 01392 667766 and we’ll see what we can do.

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Digital Marketing Work Experience at Optix

Last week we had Brad Croasdell join us for a week of work experience after he asked Al what qualities were needed from a digital marketer at our seminar in February! We asked Brad a few questions about his time with Optix Solutions. 

Who are you?

I hail from Cumbria in a little town called Appleby-in-Westmorland. I began studying Marketing Management in 2013 at De Montfort University, Leicester where I’ve been playing rugby for the university. I’m currently on my placement year and I’ll be returning to graduate in 2017. 

Why digital?

I have a deep passion for all things digital. I am enthralled by the way consumers think and interact with brands digitally. I believe I have found an industry that matches my energy, creativity and enthusiasm.

What is your specific area of interest?

Everything Search. I find search engine optimisation as well as paid search advertising to be the most fascinating part of digital marketing. 

 Any future predictions?

I believe Google will continue to put the user before businesses and as digital marketers we will have to continue ethical work to get great results. Likewise I believe advances in technology will continue the age of digital disruption in more and more industries and as digital marketers we have to always ask “what next?".

What did you learn @ Optix?

Even after a near year in the industry I’m still learning new tools and methods. I really enjoyed the client aspect working at Optix and it was an amazing experience to build relationships with a range of clients and deliver great results. I can’t thank the team at Optix enough for this opportunity. 

What next?

Well, first I’ll be returning to Leicester to finish my degree and graduate then I'll be looking for a challenging role in a digital marketing agency for 2017. 

Everyone at Optix was really impressed with Brad’s work ethic and hope to get in touch with him once he’s completed his degree. Good work Brad!

If you’re looking to gain more experience in an established, digital marketing environment get in touch by emailing hanna@optixsolutions.co.uk or call us on 01392 667766 and we’ll see what we can do.

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Are You Wasting PPC Budget?

The Problem

“The average small business wastes 25% of their AdWords PPC budget” WordStream research

Many businesses don’t spend the necessary time optimising their accounts or don’t keep up-to-date with the latest developments. If any of the below apply to your business then you’re probably wasting at least some of your AdWords spend:

  • You haven’t logged in to your account for over a month.
  • You've never heard of “Ad Extensions”.
  • The person in charge of your PPC account hasn't had the necessary training.

If these apply to you then it is worth checking your AdWords account to make sure you are using the correct settings and everything is running well. Below are 7 things you can easily check and which could help you to make your account more efficient so that you can drive better results from your current level of spend. If someone is running your account on your behalf they should have implemented (or at least have tested) these settings/actions. You can see what has been tested by looking under Tools > Change History in AdWords or just ask! These are basic things which you could reasonably expect to have been setup or at least to be in your agency/freelancer’s plan.

1. Negative Keywords

Using broad match or phrase match Keywords increases the risk that your Ad will show up for unrelated search terms. To prevent this use tighter Keyword targeting such as Exact Match or add negative keywords. If you tick the box next to a keyword and click on ‘Search Terms’ then ‘Selected’ under ‘Details’ you’ll be able to see which search terms actually triggered your Ad. 

2. Mobile

Google AdWords Campaigns are now shown on all devices by default. If you’re sending mobile users to a non mobile friendly page chances are they’ll leave your site pretty quickly. You can bid down on Mobile devices by up to 100% with bid adjustments. If you do have a mobile friendly site look at your stats and see if mobile users convert or not. AdWords-Mobile-Bid-Adjustment  

3. Ad Extensions

Ad Extensions make your Ads more eye catching and result in a higher Ad Rank in AdWords. This helps you to rank higher for a lower Cost Per Click. Add as many Ad Extensions as you can. Sitelinks and Call Extensions are particularly useful.

AdWords-Ad-Extensions  

4. Geographic Targeting

With AdWords you can easily geographically target areas as large as the UK or as small as a 1 mile radius. If your business operates in a small area then there is probably no reason for you to show Ads outside of that area. Exclude areas in your Campaign settings or if you’re feeling particularly advanced bid up or down on geographic areas.

AdWords-Location-Bid-Adjustment  

5. Ad Schedule

With AdWords’ Ad Schedule settings you can set when you want your Ads to be shown either by day or by hour. For example, if you operate in a B2B industry you may decide that you’re best of only showing your Ads during the working day.

AdWords-Ad-Schedule  

6. Landing Pages

It’s important that you send users to a relevant Landing Page with a clear call-to-action or next step. If you’re not doing this you’re paying to send people to your site and they might just leave straight away. A good first step is to review the Bounce Rate of PPC visitors by Landing Page – this shows you what percentage of users land on a page and then leave again without continuing to browse the site.

Landing-Page-Bounce-Rate  

7. Account Structure

The best AdWords accounts use a careful structure with clearly defined Campaigns and Ad Groups arranged around defined topics. If you throw all of your Ads and Keywords into one Ad Group you won’t be able to properly optimise or achieve a high Quality Score. Avoid wasted spend by splitting out your account structure with as much granularity as you can and using separate budgets for different ca,

AdWords-Campaign-Budgets  

About Us

We're proud to be official Google Partners – as an agency we are recognized by Google for the quality of the Search and Display Advertising we run on behalf of our clients. In the words of Google “The Google Partner badge shows the world that Google trusts your company and that potential clients can too.”

If you would like to know more about what we offer please get in touch.

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