PPC Origins - Meagan Guse

Today we sit down with Meagan Guse, a Senior Manager of Paid Media, to discuss her PPC background and chat about her personal approach to client strategy and relationships. Tune in and get to know Meagan!


What you’ll learn in this episode of Getting Granular:

  • How Meagan got started in the industry (1:27)
  • Why she is interested in paid search (2:57)
  • What the PPC landscape was like when she started (4:00)
  • Her take on the future of PPC(6:57)
  • Her personal approach to client relationships and strategy (9:36)
  • Meagan’s specialties (14:00)
  • What brought her to Granular and what she likes about working here (17:50)


Narrator: Welcome to Getting Granular, the podcast for 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.

Chris: Thanks again, for tuning into the Getting Granular Podcast. Once again, Chris Cesar, your host. Senior manager of paid media here at Granular. And I’m joined today by Granular’s newest hire, I believe. Is that right?

Meagan: I think so.

Chris: All right. Yeah. For now. For the very brief foreseeable future. Meagan Guse, another senior manager of paid media. Welcome Megan.

Meagan: Hi, thanks for having me.

Chris: So I guess Megan, to kick things off, I guess just tell us a little bit about yourself.

Meagan: Of course. So I grew up in Lomira, which is a really small town in Wisconsin. I graduated in a class of 90 people. So I grew up in a really small town. Went to college at Concordia, Wisconsin in Mequon, and double majored in mass communication and public relations and minored in marketing. And then ever since then, I’ve been working in different agency spaces in social media and search marketing.

Chris: Very cool. So I guess that’s a good segue into how you got started in the industry and how you got here. I guess, do you want to just walk us through a little bit, how you got into this whole space, or was it college, was there an internship? Things like that. Just walk us through the process of how you got into paid media.

Meagan: Yeah. So there was some show on MTV back in the day that was like a public relations firm that a bunch of girls worked at. And I thought it was so cool. So I’ve always wanted to do that ever since I saw that show. So I knew that going into college. So I did some internships at a travel agency and at the Journal Sentinel, to get different experiences with event planning and email marketing and that kind of stuff. And then after school, I got my first job at an agency that specialized in patient recruitment for clinical trials, which is a very niche market, as you can imagine. But we did mostly social media there.

Meagan: So that’s where I really got into that and realized how cool social media marketing is and how much targeting there is, and the creativity that you can have with it. So that basically got me hooked. After being there for a few years, I went to a different agency in Milwaukee and that’s where I learned the search side of things. And ever since then, I’ve just been really into it because there’s so many different things you can do so many businesses that it can help. And it’s just, you got to to do something different every day. And I really like that.

Chris: Yeah, definitely. So I guess, you touched it on there, but that leads really well into the next question that I had was, how did you get into paid search, and then what got you into it and then why?

Meagan: Yeah. It was always something, advertising is something I’ve always wanted to do. I like being creative, and I like writing, and designing things and this was a way to combine all of those. And I like to do something different every day, which is why I really like this agency life that I’ve been doing for the past few years now. Because I get to work with different clients and have more of a variety than the first job, which was patient recruitment for clinical trials. That was the same thing over and over again. One asthma clinical trial is the same as the next. So I think it’s cool just being able to work with so many different clients and get a wide breadth of experiences.

Chris: Yes. I’ve definitely worked in the in-house side myself and there are, it has its days where, sure it’s fun. But the other days it’s like, like you said. It’s like, one day it’s going to be the same as the next day, is the same as the next day.

Meagan: Yep.

Chris: Oh, yeah. I think we can all identify with that in one way or another. So I guess when you did get out there and get started in the industry, what did the PPC landscape look like?

Meagan: It was really different. So I started mostly in social media, like I mentioned, and at that time there were so many more targeting options. That was when they were still working with the credit card companies on Facebook, where they could tell how much someone was making.

Chris: Back when Facebook was stealing all our information.

Meagan: Yeah. Exactly. So that’s changed a lot. A lot of that targeting has gone away. There used to be a really cool tool that they had where you could plug in your own audience and get back what the interests for that audience were, like you had your own customer list. That was super cool for targeting ideas. That’s gone now. And Facebook’s obviously just really cracked down as everyone has on privacy and their rules around what you can say in ads and things. So that’s just changed a lot around trying to just protect people’s privacy and everything.

Chris: So I have to get your take on this, because again, this is something, it’s one of those conspiracy theories that may be out there may not. So when I talk about things, or you talk, anybody in a normal conversation, we’re talking about whatever, and then two days later you see an ad about that. Do you think that they’re actually listening to us or do you think that’s just a bunch of baloney. And it just so happens that their targeting is good enough to know that we’re in the market for those types of products anyway?

Meagan: I go back and forth on this. At first, I thought it was total malarkey. I was like, no, there’s no way they’re doing this. But then I’ve had a couple experiences with it and it’s very weird. And I really don’t know. I would not put it past them, that they are listening. I do have three Google homes in my house. So if they are, I would not be surprised.

Chris: See, here’s my outlook on it. If this really existed, it would have to have been leaked out by now or something. At one point or another, some engine, some disgruntled engineer would have had gone to the feds or somebody and explain that by now. And that’s just where I get hung up on it. And there’s no way that this conspiracy can go so deep that just no one actually knows about it, but they’re still somehow doing it.

Meagan: That’s true. That’s a good point. Yep. Yeah. I don’t know.

Chris: I guess time will tell, in 20 years when some disgruntled engineer actually does come out and then we all find out that they’ve been doing this since the internet was invented.

Meagan: Oh, my gosh.

Chris: So anyway, back on topic. So again, that was how we came to be in the digital advertising space here. But I guess, looking forward to the future, aside from the crackdown of our Google homes listening to us. What else do you foresee happening in the future in terms of what advertising is going to look like, be it, Facebook or Google or just the overall platform in general?

Meagan: Yeah. I think, obviously this privacy thing is a really big issue at this time. And all the different platforms are taking different steps to fix those issues. And I think at first, I think all of us marketers are a little bit scared we’re going to lose remarketing and things that might be more difficult for us. But I also think that there could be some really cool new things that come out, that the platforms come up with to give us different opportunities for targeting. So I’m excited to see basically what comes out of this and what other options were given and how this basically evolves as time goes on. Because if capitalism is a thing we’re going to have advertising in some form. So I’m excited to see where it goes.

Chris: Well, the last time I checked the United States is not a communist country where capitalist country. So I think that’s a pretty accurate assessment of what may end up happening. So I guess touching a little bit more on that, in terms of the things that you’re excited and concerned about. I think that privacy thing really sticks because I’ve talked to however many people at this point. Given an intro of each individual. Go back and listen to those if you haven’t, by the way. There’s some pretty engaging stuff. That goes, yes, and if you think I’m not talking to you in the audience, yes, I’m talking to you.

Chris: But yeah, no, at the same time, I think that’s something that obviously everyone’s bringing up. Especially with the first party cookies, and the third party cookies and the distinguishing between how we can keep track of everyone’s information. And you think about things like small businesses where they don’t have that first party tracking, where they can collect this large amount of information with people to apply it in an anonymous way. So I think I, again, this is just me spitballing left and right, where people are always going to have concerns about that. So yeah, I mean, I think that’s probably the hottest topic in the industry right now. And probably will be moving forward for pretty much anybody we talk to.

Meagan: Yeah. It’s going to be a big deal.

Chris: Definitely. So let’s talk a little bit less about how you see things and more about you specifically. So obviously, you’re here at Granular, which means you’re a great worker, and you’re smart and intelligent, at least as far as I know. As far as I can tell so far, you’re passing all the tests. But I guess, talk a little bit more about how you work with clients. What’s your approach? How do you approach a new client, difficult situation, things along the lines of that?

Meagan: Yeah. I mean, I think for me, it’s really important just to build that trust. I always work on that in the beginning of a relationship. I don’t expect a client to just out the gate, trust everything I say and recommend. Obviously, I’m being hired as an expert, but their business is important to them and they’re usually wanting to be involved in those decisions. So just building that trust in the beginning, to let them know that I’m working for them. I’m here to learn about their business and do the best I can to drive their goals. And once that trust is built up, I’m able to bring a lot more ideas to the table and really just take their account above and beyond. And that’s important to me, is just having those good relationships.

Chris: Yeah, definitely. So I guess then to touch a little bit more about the, less on the relationship side and more on the actual account side. What’s your ideal approach when A, setting up and running and managing an account specifically. But then also, how you bring back the analytics in the ROI portions of reporting back to your clients, who you’ve obviously built up this relationship of trust with, over a period of time?

Meagan: Yeah. I mean, when I’m first building out an account, I like to keep things as simple as possible, as far as the account structure goes. But while still being able to maximize quality score by having the breakdowns all set up through different campaigns. And then what’s important is just testing, to me. I like to test a lot of different things using experiments, test bidding strategies or ad copy, that kind of stuff. To find what’s working the best and making those small tweaks just to continually hit our KPIs. And then reporting that back, I just try to focus on what the client’s main goals are. And I pride myself on being able to explain things in a simple way. So you don’t have to be an analytics person or person with a marketing experience, to be able to understand the work we’re doing, and the results that are coming from that work and how that affects your business. So I try to basically, bring back what we’re doing and the results to their business in a way that they can understand.

Chris: I think that, keep it simple, as well as like you said, the whole, bring it in a way they understand, concept, is actually something that’s super important to highlight. Because one day you could be talking to a CEO who just needs to know, how much revenue did we, well, what was our return on our investment here? That’s where you’re reporting just the ROI and just the high level numbers. Or you could be talking to somebody two or three levels down. Who’s just a marketing manager. And who’s really involved in depth with the day-to-day operations, and needs to know things like, okay, we’re lowering our cost for clicks, or we’re gaining impression share and we’re beating our competitors overall. So I think that’s something that’s really important is keeping it simple at a level that makes a lot of sense to both you and the audience. Be it, again, whoever your client may be at the time, that you’re talking to. And that’s something that obviously is going to be important every day.

Meagan: Yeah. That’s one of my favorite parts too. With the variety of clients, it’s the variety of different people we get to talk to and just the different experiences you get from that. I think that’s really cool.

Chris: Yeah, for sure. So again, you’re doing great at making these segues, as we’re talking about the different people you like to work with. So going in a little bit deeper to the client’s specific topics. What verticals and industries, obviously, it sounds like you’ve worked a lot in the healthcare industry, when you were doing those clinical trials. I mean, maybe that’s not what you like. Maybe you actually absolutely hate that and want to work in something else. But I guess what verticals do you find yourself most interested in specializing in?

Meagan: Yeah. I do have a lot of experience obviously, in the health industry. It’s not my favorite to work in because of the restrictions and everything, but I do know how that works. And how do you have the internal review boards that have to approve the copy and everything. So I’m always happy to work with those clients because I can usually make it easier than someone who’s not familiar with that stuff. But some of our clients that I have had and liked, I have a lot of clients in the past that were in the home improvement space. So a bathroom remodel or a roofer, that kind of thing. I think those are cool. I got to do a lot of the local service ads that are new on Google search. And those were really interesting. Being able to drive search results for people searching for a roofer in Milwaukee, for example. And those special little local search ads, you know what I’m talking about, at the top?

Chris: Yep.

Meagan: Yeah. Those are cool. And then I also just have some, had a bunch of clients in the financial space. So mortgages and financial advisors and that kind of thing. So that’s what I’ve had the most experience with. But I like anything that’s interesting and fun to work on. So I’m not too picky.

Chris: I like things that are going to keep me interested in the gigs, go figure.

Meagan: Yeah.

Chris: The financial industry. So it just sounds like you liked to work in all the industries that have a lot of restrictions, huh?

Meagan: Yeah. I like a little challenge.

Chris: Yeah. As someone who has also worked extensively in restricted verticals, yeah, a challenge is a good way to put that. And then I guess talking a little bit more about specialties, in terms of what platforms do you see yourself as an expert in. Obviously you work at Granular, so you’re great at everything. But if you did have to pick one or two specific platforms that you would say, I’m the best at this. And if anybody on the team had a question, they can come to me. Where would you put yourself on that spectrum?

Meagan: I like to put myself in a social media category of that spectrum. It’s what I’ve been doing for the longest. And it is what I enjoy the most. I obviously like search and all those other things. But I just think social media is a really cool, and it’s different and it’s more of that like passive advertising. Where people aren’t searching you out and you really have to sell them on what you’re trying to sell them on, because they’re not even really looking for it actively. So I just think that, that’s really cool. And then the different targeting abilities. And yeah, I would say social media would definitely be my specialty.

Chris: Sure. So social media is still a fairly broad category. I guess, you’ve obviously touched a lot on Facebook already. Would you still consider yourself the Facebook expert or are there other platforms that you find yourself enjoying using?

Meagan: Yeah. I would say, definitely Facebook, Instagram, all the stuff that they own. And then probably LinkedIn as well. That’s really good, then really good for B2B type clients. I know it’s more expensive, but if that’s the audience you’re going after it can be worth doing for sure.

Chris: Yeah. I’ve definitely had that experience as well. Where if you’re reaching out to the right people in the right industries, with the right content or the correct offering, like you said, it’s going to be more expensive to reach them. But knowing that you’re in front of the right people, the ROI on that is, you can’t, I was going to say you can’t put a price on it, but that’s exactly what we’re support on. So you definitely put a price on it. But the return is great.

Meagan: Worth it.

Chris: It’s worth it. That’s a good way to put it, worth it. I was trying to think of these great adjectives. But again, it was still more of the whole immeasurable and indispensable, but at the same time. Those are the exact metrics that we report on. So yes, they are measurable and they’re just great. They’re great. Right?

Meagan: They are. Yes.

Chris: They’re great. So, cool. I guess talking a little bit more about Granular as a company specifically, what brought you here?

Meagan: Yeah. So I was a manager at my previous agency. So I managed a team of five people. So coming to granular was an opportunity to get back into deep account management myself. So it’s been really cool. Obviously, the platforms are changing all the time. And so for the past couple of years, while I was a manager, I hadn’t necessarily been building out a campaign. But it’s fun to get back into it, and see the changes and the new things that are available. So basically, it’s just giving me a chance to really get to deeply know accounts, and clients better and start working from that perspective again.

Chris: Cool. Awesome. Yeah. I guess now that you’re here, you’ve been here for what, two months, three months, four months?

Meagan: I started on January 4th. So three months.

Chris: Okay. So three months. So about a quarter. I guess, aside from the fact that you’re still just in your house and so are the rest of us. What else, what do you like about granular so far?

Meagan: Yeah. I wish I could be in the office. I stopped in there a couple of times and it’s such a cool office. And I could see how it could be really, a fun, collaborative space. So I’m hoping to get back there soon. But from what I can tell now, I just, I love that Granular. Everyone that works here is super knowledgeable and has their own specialty niche, which is really cool. And they’re all willing to help each other and help solve problems. So I just, I think that’s really awesome. I really love a collaborative work environment. And I just love the autonomy to make decisions for my own clients and really own my client relationships. I think that’s really cool too.

Chris: Excellent. That’s great to hear. Yeah. Well, Megan, we’re glad that you’re here and we’re glad that you’re enjoying it as well. I guess before we wrap up here, is there anything else that, if there was one thing you wanted to let people know about you, that you may not have already talked about, is anything you want to leave us with?

Meagan: I’m just excited to be here at Granular. I’m really proud of that. We made it through this podcast without my dog barking in the background. So I’m happy about that. And I’m just happy to keep learning more and being part of the team.

Chris: Right. Awesome. Again, thanks for joining us, Megan.

Meagan: Thanks for having me.

Chris: And everybody else out there, thanks for listening to the Getting Granular Podcast. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on any PPC tips, tricks news, or great interviews like this one with Megan, that may be going on in the digital marketing world. I’ve been your host, Chris Cesar. Thanks for getting granular with us today.