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Why Every PPC Manager Should Learn to Code SQL

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Why should every PPC manager learn to code SQL?

‘PPC manager’ can be one of the most difficult and thankless tasks in Digital Marketing at times. You’re usually the largest or second largest source of traffic and normally the biggest source of Marketing Cost.

This can make you a magnet for Directors and heads of department when they’re skim reading a P&L and see just how big the numbers are that a lot of PPC managers have to deal with.

In order to keep on top of high spending and high traffic accounts in a world of increasing CPCs and intense competition, you need to use every trick in the book. You need regular SQRs, clever usage of remarketing lists, and seasonal ad scheduling just to keep up with the Joneses.

One of the most overlooked aspects of PPC is how SQL can be used to help you make decisions before high spend or poor conversion rates make them for you.

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What is an SQL?

SQL pronounced either ‘Seequl’ or phonetically ‘S-Q-L’ (depending on your preference) stands for Simple Query Language. It’s the foundation of a big chunk of ERP back end systems and allows for easy report building, querying and decision making (when you know how to use it).

So how can a PPC manager bring SQL into their toolkit?

Well, by learning the commands; select, join and where, you can start building tables and reports that add context to your PPC performance.

Working at Cloggs, a footwear retailer, a gospel e-commerce fact is that if one of our styles is out of stock; you can pretty much guarantee that it’s going to have a poor conversion rate. By being able to jump into SQL and run a query to find all of the styles with poor size completion, we can then use that to pause all of the keywords that have poor availability as it happens and before the performance starts to tank.

This way you can really start saving yourself some money.

Managing Data Feeds

Also, knowing the basics of SQL makes it much easier to get yourself a smashing data feed.

Feed management has grown rapidly in importance over the last 5 years, with Google becoming tighter and tighter on their specifications and the battleground of PLAs becoming immensely competitive.

Whether your feed is built in house, or via an agency, a bare-bones knowledge of SQL allows you to communicate in a shared language with whomever is developing your feed to really get what you want for a high performance feed.

Managing your Google Shopping Campaigns

Where this really comes into play is through custom labels. If you have factors that you know impact your conversion rate, your SQL knowledge empowers you to pull them into the feed and then segment your PLA Campaigns using them, do you know for a fact that new products convert better than old? Pull stock age into one of your custom labels, set your shopping campaigns up to bid on the custom label and then reap the benefits in conversion rate.


All in all, though it can be very intimidating. Learning to code SQL through W3 Schools and Codeacademy you can learn the basics in a couple of weeks and begin using business data to make your decisions before poor performance makes them for you.

Author: Andy Lockley

PPC hubbub - Andy Lockley








Andy is Digital Marketing Manager of Footwear brand and packs 5 years PPC experience and counting. Andy is obsessed with Marketing automation and goes to great lengths to simplify day to day reporting and bypass the need for repetitive tasks via creative use of technology

Andy Lockley
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