Welcome to Getting Granular

The podcast where digital marketing experts from the agency Granular talk about the latest trends, tried and true best practices, and share their unfiltered thoughts about the digital marketing industry.

PPC Origins – MacKenzie Krantz


In this episode, MacKenzie Krantz shares her story on how she started working in PPC and how she made her way to Granular. MacKenzie is PPC veteran that loves to travel and hang out with her dog Lucy. Listen and get to know more about the Granular team!


What you’ll learn in this episode of Getting Granular: • MacKenzie’s background and how she started learning PPC • Why MacKenzie likes working in the PPC space and what keeps her motived • MacKenzie’s outlook on how paid digital media has progressed overtime • The future of paid digital media and how privacy policy can impact paid media • MacKenzie’s approach to balancing brand campaigns and shopping campaigns • How analytics and reporting factor into building PPC accounts • Her specializations or unique skills in regards to managing paid media accounts • Unique challenges of marketing in the health care space • Facebook ads and the importance of remarketing strategies • What brought MacKenzie to Granular and her favorite aspects of working at Granular


Narrator: Welcome to Getting Granular, the podcast where digital marketing experts from the agency Granular talk about the latest trends, tried and true best practices, and share their unfiltered thoughts about the industry. Whether you’re here to learn how to grow your business, improve your digital skills, or just want to hear some Midwest PPC experts rant about digital media. You’ve come to the right place.

Matt: Welcome to the Getting Granular Podcast. My name is Matt Freter. I am your host today. I am the Marketing Operations Manager here at Granular, and we’re going to be continuing on with our interviews of people on the Granular team. Today we have Mackenzie Krantz, and she has been at Granular for how long?

MacKenzie: Almost two years.

Matt: Almost two years. So you’ve been with Granular for most of the life of Granular, which is pretty cool. So we’ve got somebody that’s been here for a while. Why don’t you introduce yourself before we jump into some questions?

MacKenzie: All right. My name is Mackenzie. I’m currently 27 years old. I’ve been in Milwaukee for the past five-ish years and been doing PPC that entire time. When I’m not working, I like to travel. I have a little dog named Lucy that I spend a lot of time with and just at home with my friends and family.

Matt: The first question we always like to start with is how did you get into PPC, into managing paid media? There’s still not really a lot of programs in school that teach you this. It’s still relatively new. What is your story? What does that look like?

MacKenzie: I started in PPC because that’s actually how I started after work. I got an internship after school and it started as just SCM, so PPC and SEO. And from there I just really realized I liked the PPC, the marketing side a little bit better. SEO takes just more time to see that reward and I’m kind of impatient. So I liked the PPC part where I could see the results right away. The only weird thing is though that I had done PPC in college. I took an internet marketing course and I was a really good student. So I was doing really well in this course until we got to this project, and it’s like a Google AdWords project, and I ended up with a group that just did terribly. Our teacher literally wrote on our paper there is no excuse for such poor work. I had it quoted out for my friends for years. I was like, “I hate this teacher. I’m so bad at PPC.” And then I ended up going into it and actually getting good at it and understanding all the things I did wrong.

Matt: Yeah, failing first can you that motivation like, “Okay, I’m going to go figure this out now.” So you actually did have a program where, or at least one class where you’re looking into this. Where did you go to school?

MacKenzie: I went to school at UW-Whitewater. In their marketing course they have an internet marketing emphasis, so they had one internet marketing course that I took. And I did mention PPC and SEO and email marketing, all of those things, but the big project was a Google AdWords project. So that was what stuck from that class.

Matt: So you’ve been doing this for about four or five years. What makes you want to keep going in the PPC world?

MacKenzie: It’s just always changing. That makes it exciting. You can do something different every day. You get to read about what other people did and what worked and didn’t work, and you get to decide if that would work for your clients. And because we work at an agency and there’s so many different clients, you get to take in all the things and really sit through and think if this would work for them and it’s like a little puzzle.

Matt: Yeah, that kind of challenge of it’s always changing is definitely, definitely fun. One thing we always like to look at is the past. What did PPC look like when you started? What did that landscape look like? What tools were available and how has it changed over the past four or five years in your career?

MacKenzie: The biggest change that I’ve noticed is just the prevalence of more competitors and more avenues to advertise in. When I started, you really focused on Google Search and Display, and YouTube was like a shiny new thing, and Facebook was a shiny new thing, and over the past two years, more and more people are getting into search and display. So it’s getting more and more competitive and really moving into these other spaces that now are still getting more and more competitive as well. But that’s the biggest thing. Just more and more people are able to do this now and so it gets more and more competitive.

Matt: When you look at the future of PPC, you touched on at the time, or it’s still kind of Facebook as this new shiny new toy where you can advertise, LinkedIn, YouTube, all these other social channels. What do you see the future of paid media looking like five, 10 years down the road?

MacKenzie: It depends on how privacy policy goes. If we don’t get a lot of privacy policy, I see it being really personal, really specific and even just more integrated into daily life. They talk about smart devices, so you might get a milk ad on your fridge. Just crazy things like that. I can see it going that way. If there’s more privacy laws, then I see it going the actual opposite way of you just get a lot more general broad brand awareness type ads.

Matt: People are often squeamish when it comes to PPC and paid media because they think, “Oh they have too much information on me, Google knows everything about me. I looked at one pair of shoes and now that’s all I see on these display ads and in my email.” How do you reconcile that and what’s your approach when you know Google has all this information?

MacKenzie: My approach is to balance it out between the remarketing side of it, where you get the I’m going to show you the exact pair of shoes you looked at, and some more brand awareness type of things. I think it’s useful to do the remarketing in general. If I look at a book, I’d probably want to buy that book at some point, so it makes sense that they follow me around with the ad, but it definitely needs to be more staged.

MacKenzie: You can set up lists so that you show ads more often within the first few days and then you taper off, which is usually helpful and cuts down on that creepiness factor because you’re not following people around forever. And then you can also just mix it in with some brand awareness. You don’t always have to show people the exact same pair of shoes they were looking at. You can show a video ad instead that’s just about… I mean, Nike does a great job of just great video ads of just athletics and doing something like that where people aren’t as creeped out of, “Oh yeah, they’re following me around.” But like, “Oh yeah, that brand that I know and like.”

Matt: Mixing up the media as you said, it’s perfect. Okay, I’m looking at shoes, I see the ad again, and then I get another brand ad. And I think that kind of… Well, you’re right, cut down on, “Okay, these people are following me around, but I am still getting a lot of value out of this.” Well, it’s kind of creepy, it’s not helpful. That’s how it goes. That’s definitely a good point there.

Matt: Granular definitely prides itself on not only our PPC paid media expertise, but analytics and reporting. That’s something that’s really big here. We really push that. What is your approach to analytics reporting, determining KPIs, how do you like to set all that up?

MacKenzie: I really like to look at the landing page first in the website and just look at how users are going to interact with this page. Are they going to play the video, are they going to click on this, are they trying to schedule an appointment, reach somebody? And so you balance what the user’s are going to do and what the business wants them to do. You hope that the business built the website to funnel them towards what the business wants to do. And I try to go on the edge of track more things than less things. Having somebody fill out a form is always great, but knowing that we’re bringing people to the landing page, or at least watch the video, maybe they don’t always fill out a form. At least we know we’re driving relevant traffic. So I do like to track as many things as possible.

MacKenzie: When reporting to the client, I do try to keep their main goal in mind. So I make sure that that’s what I’m presenting first. And then if we have a client that has a longer sales process or maybe the website is just not built friendly, so they’re not getting a lot of their goals, I do like to still track the other things and be like, “We do have engaged users, we just need to keep moving them down the funnel, which usually involves more remarketing or trying to engage with them at different points.”

Matt: I like your point about starting with the content or where the users are going to land. If you can really understand that, then you can really guide a PPC strategy around that. What’s your approach when you see, okay, they don’t have a landing page, or things aren’t set up, what your approach to working with a client on that?

MacKenzie: You just have to be upfront and honest sometimes and it always sucks to tell a client, “Look, I don’t like this landing page.” Especially since you don’t know how much time and effort they put into it. But it’s always good to just look at a landing page and say, “Here’s what I see.” And let them know that there are changes you could make.

MacKenzie: We also use other services that help us build landing pages, which is really helpful, so we can always work with them if they’re willing to let us build a landing page and at least test the difference between it.

Matt: Right, right. One of the things that I’ve written about in blogs is really looking at what happens after the click. We can get your message in front of the right audience, we can get some of your content in there, but what happens after that click? And that’s something at Granular we definitely try to push as well.

Matt: The Granular team is pretty diverse in terms of our skillsets and our specializations. Everybody has some different experience and they bring some special skillsets to the table. What are some of your specializations?

MacKenzie: One thing I’m pretty good at is setting up conversion tracking, goal tracking analytics, Google Tag Manager. Not one of my favorite things to do because if anybody’s ever used it, you know how finicky things can be especially when they’re not working exactly how you want them to. But I am really good at that and thinking through the strategy part of even on a brand awareness campaign where your goal is just to get as many people to see the ad, you want the right people to see the ad. So trying to push clients even at that point to a KPI of instead of impressions, let’s say landing page video views because that’s a more engaged, better user that you’re actually showing impressions to, versus just somebody who doesn’t care but saw an impression. And I think one of the things I’m best at is thinking of the overall strategy and how things work together.

Matt: Yeah, it’s one of those like PPC nerd things of like setting up all the different tracking and triggers and all that kind of stuff. It’s like nobody really wants to go in there and start to set all that up because it requires so much time and testing and verifying. But that’s something that the people over on the Granular team like to do. I was called PPC nerd stuff, but it’s always interesting.

Matt: You mentioned before in the past that you’ve worked a lot in the healthcare space. What have you learned from working in that particular vertical?

MacKenzie: Working in that vertical actually shows you how to not rely on remarketing and not rely on the very targeted aspects that we get used to targeting when we do other types of paid media. A lot of times we try to be as specific as possible, but with healthcare marketing, there’s a lot of legal reasons around it. And also you just don’t want to be that creepy person that’s like, “I know that you are in the market for a knee surgery.” It’s weird. So being more broad and trying to think a little more outside the box in those ways of, “Okay, maybe we can target based on this or this.” And really seeing that you can still get results being broad as long as you have really good creative.

Matt: Healthcare marketing has always been one of those things that is very unique and tough all the way from a traditional science, and then… You kind of touched on it. It’s weird to be marketing to somebody who’s looking for a knee replacement. Like it’s not going back to the shoe example, it’s not just a pair of shoes that you just buy. It’s a whole decision and you’re working with doctors. What are some of the strategies that you’ve seen be really successful? You said having really strong creative and taking a broader approach. What else makes digital marketing for healthcare different?

MacKenzie: Also it’s a lot of location based. So we do see a lot of search queries with, “Near me, in the city, in this zip code.” And one of the always interesting things is how people refer to their own cities. You get to learn a lot of different abbreviations for a different city or different neighborhoods and different cities. And another thing that people really look for is insurance. That’s a big part of your healthcare decision, if this is going to be covered by your insurance or not. So being able to qualify people with those types of queries when you’re doing the search marketing aspect of it is also really interesting.

Matt: That’s a really good point about the localization of it. I mean, I just was thinking about when I moved to Milwaukee and I was like, “Okay, I got to find a new doctor.” And you have to find all the things that you need to live. I remember searching, I was like, “Doctors in Milwaukee.” And I definitely spelled Milwaukee wrong because I’m typing too fast. But you got to put that in there because people are searching that way.

MacKenzie: Right. And they’re also searching, “Doctors MKE. Doctors Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Doctors East Side, Milwaukee. Doctors Third Ward.” So there’s all these different variations that you learn

Matt: I have here in the notes that you really like working with Facebook. You want to talk a little bit about that?

MacKenzie: Sure. The really fun part of working with Facebook is that you can do so many different types of strategies and start in so many different areas. So you can do the remarketing and be very specific and very goal oriented. You can show videos, images, or you can even just be very broad and do content posts. One of my most successful clients on Facebook right now is a travel agency. They have great blog posts about the different locations that they recommend traveling to, and some of the itineraries they have, and things to do in those areas. We just target people in their market with interests that are similar to these areas, and we actually get a lot of very cheap traffic on it, and it makes a great display remarketing list. We know these people are interested in that content and they’ve read the content. They know the brand know. So when they see a display remarketing ad, it’s not as weird.

Matt: You’ve been working in the paid media space. We were working in agencies prior to at Granular. What brought you to Granular? How did you find out about Granular?

MacKenzie: When I came to Granular, I was looking for a place, but I was being very picky. I actually was considering moving out of state, going to some bigger, well-known agencies. But I was just doing my research, I wanted to go to a place with people who were really good at what they did. I wanted to be challenged and to learn and to grow. So when I learned about Granular, I was interested but hesitant because agencies can be really good marketing themselves. When you market, you’re good at what you do. So I was a little hesitant, but then we live in small walkie, so you know somebody who knows somebody. So after talking to a few people I knew, somebody did end up knowing about Granular and had told me, “Yeah, no, they actually know what they’re doing. It’s not all marketing talk. They’re actually really good.”

MacKenzie: So, I was really excited to learn more about them and I met with Jordan and Steve for coffee, and they do a really good job of just introductory interviews, where you just figure out if this is the right fit or not. After that I was very excited, I thought it was a great fit. Kind of reached out every few months, I’d be like, “Hey, so is there anything going on yet?”

Matt: That’s a great way to put it really. So you can fast forward two years, you’re now at Granular. What are some of your favorite aspects of working here?

MacKenzie: I really like the freedom Granular gives me. I’m free to make decisions on my own clients. I get to talk directly to the client, figure out what they need, and I can recommend whatever strategies I see are best. I can still get input when I want it as long as I’m doing well. I’m free to make the decisions and work on my clients. But I just really like the freedom, being able to work from home when I need to, or take a vacation day here or there. I’m also not going to lie, I’m really looking forward to my one-month sabbatical next year. It’s a whole year away, but I’ve all ready started the planning.

Matt: Thanks for listening to the Getting Granular Podcast. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on any of the PPC tips, tricks, or news from the digital marketing world. This is your host, Matt Freter, and thanks for getting Granular with us today.