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SEM Interview Questions and Answers for 2024

SEM or Search Engine marketing is one of the most powerful ways to grow an online business, used by millions of businesses. It is gaining importance with good career opportunities for people seeking well-paid career options in the digital marketing landscape. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or experienced SEM professional, you will have to face some SEM interview questions. Even if you possess sound knowledge about SEM, you will have to prepare yourself well with the possible answers for cracking your interview. With this set of SEM interview questions and answers that have been covered in-depth at all three levels i.e. freshers, intermediate, and expert, along with the tips and tricks of how to prepare for the interview, you will be able to face the interview confidently. Hope, you will find this well-researched and well-framed questions concepts, levels and the covered hints immensely helpful.

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Beginner

SEM is Search engine marketing. It is a digital marketing strategy when we use paid online advertisements on search engines to direct visitors to a website.

This is one of the most frequently asked SEM interview questions and answers for freshers. The answer is -

  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) or Sponsored Search Results. 
  • Local SEO 
  • Organic SEO.

Both are important for a business. SEO brings customers/visitors without paying money or organically, and SEM is the paid advertisement.

Impression means when an advertisement flashes out on the user’s screen. It doesn't matter whether the user clicks on it or not, and it will be treated as an impression.

To get more traffic on websites, brand awareness and Lead generation.

Google AdWords is an online advertising platform developed by Google to help businesses reach online target markets through its search engine platform like Google Search and on non-search websites, mobile apps, and videos. The partner or third-party sites place a text ad or an image or video ad that appears on the page once a searcher/user searches for keywords (or phrases) related to a business and its products or services. Through Google Ads, a business can reach its target audience whenever and wherever the business wants to share and promote its products/services. 

The advertising services are offered under a pay-per-click (PPC) pricing model. Google AdWords is Google’s “Pay Per Click” or PPC advertising platform and the main source of revenue for Google. 

Google AdWords allows advertisers to place bids on keywords and then display their ads using the selected keywords to the audience conducting searches on the Google search page. It is like a digital online auction marketplace where people bid for clicks. Though it is not that always the highest bidder wins. Because, apart from money, Google considers the quality score to ensure that the people clicking on the ads have the best possible experience. 

After a successful win, the ads will be automatically displayed on search results pages or the pages with those keywords. As far as the types of Google ads go, there are four different categories - display, video, search, and app. 

With a Pay Per Click (PPC) model of Google AdWords advertising, advertisers pay only when a person clicks on the ad, and it leads the clicker to their website or desired goal. The advertiser pays Google (the host or the publishing platform), which facilitates the ad placement. Such an advertising model is an effective option if a business wants to reach specific people who are actively searching for terms related to the business. 

For creating a PPC campaign, the budget will be determined by the target audience, the competition to rank for the keyword(s), and the types of products/services a company wishes to drive awareness of. 

Talking about why to use Google Ads there are many advantages.

First, the traffic that comes from Google ads behaves a little differently from those coming from Google surfing. Because the traffic coming from searching or surfing often visits the website for information or further details. The traffic via pay-per-click, on the other hand, knows what they are clicking on and what they want to buy. In other words, they are highly focused, and their numbers are obviously lesser than the visitors who keep surfing wildly and are yet to know what they want and act on them, or they are general compared to the focused traffic coming via PPC.

Second, because Google Ads works for all types of businesses – big and small, it’s a very affordable form of advertising that can target qualified, highly focused prospects when managed correctly.

Third, small businesses can start with small capital and make necessary adjustments based on the results obtained and then can double up if ad campaigns are found to generate profitable sales or the desired outcome.

The full form of PPC is pay-per-click, which is a model of digital advertising where an advertiser company pays a fee each time one of its ads is clicked. Essentially it is a payment we pay for targeted visits to a company’s website (or landing page or app).

If a PPC is made to work correctly, the fee is trivial because the click worth is more than what an advertiser pays for it. For example, the advertiser pays $3 for a click, but the click results in a $300 sale. Here the advertiser makes a huge profit out of almost nothing.

PPC ads have various shapes and sizes. They can be framed out of text, images, videos, or a combination and can appear on search engines, websites, social media platforms, and more, depending on where the advertising company wants to use them.

Paid search or search engine advertising, or search engine marketing, is one of the most popular forms of PPC. Advertisers can bid for ad placement in a search engine's sponsored links, and they can be seen when someone performs a search related to one’s business offerings. 

For example, the company Wordstream wants to market its service “Stop wasting money in Google Ads” and designs its ad campaign for that purpose. Say, it bids and wins for the keyword “google ads audit.” This ad may appear on the SERP for anyone making such type of search or a related search. 

Talking of how PPC advertising works, it varies and looks different from platform to platform. In general, the steps involve choosing a campaign type based on its objective, then refining the settings and targeting (audiences, devices, locations, schedule, etc.), providing the budget and bidding strategy, providing the destination URL (landing page) and building the ad.

A must-know for anyone looking to prepare for sem interviews, this is one of the frequent questions asked to SEM managers.

A. Search Ads and their character count 

Search ads are the most common format of Google ads that we often see. Such a type of ad can consist of up to three headlines, two descriptions and ad extensions. 

The character limits are: 

One can add up to 30 characters per headline for an expanded text ad, and they will appear next to each other, separated by a vertical line (|). For the two description fields, the character limit is 90. The display URL path (up to 2) of 15 characters. 

B. Responsive Search Ads and their Character Count

Here the option to add multiple headlines and descriptions is there. Using machine learning Google will then automatically mix and match them to make the best ad it thinks will perform at that moment. The advantage is instead of creating multiple text ads, and an advertiser just needs to create one single responsive search ad and let Google automatically produce variations. 

Responsive search ads allow multiple headlines and descriptions at once, which the Google algorithm mix-matches to reach more potential customers by matching the ads with more queries. The ads are highly adaptive and can fit easily into different device widths without truncating anything, thus giving more room to communicate the exact message to the audience. 

For a single responsive search ad, Google allows users to add up to fifteen headline variations of 30 characters each. For descriptions, up to four variations of 90 characters each and up to two display URL paths of fifteen characters each. Google will show users up to 3 headlines and two descriptions in different combinations or orders for any responsive search ad. Time-saving is the greatest advantage of responsive ads 

C. Google Call-Only Ads and their Character Count

Google call-only ads generate phone calls to a business and not clicks to the website. These appear on mobile devices. Searchers can connect to a business on call instead of going to its website. Such an ad consists of a headline, description, and phone number. 

For a call ad, up to two headlines of 30 characters each, a business name of 25, and up to two descriptions of 90 characters each are allowed. Google call-only ads can also add ad extensions as well which are additional pieces of information that can be included in the ad to help searchers with more information about the advertising business. 

These extensions can be site links, callouts, structured snippets, locations, call buttons, etc. Since such extensions are not a part of the description character limit, businesses can freely use them.  

The character limit for the headline is 30, and for the description, it is 25 for a site link ad extension. Whereas for a callout ad extension, the character limit is 25, and for a structured snippet ad extension, the character count is also 25. 

D. YouTube Ads Character Count

YouTube instream ads are shown at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of an ongoing YouTube video, and viewers can choose to skip the ad after five seconds. Such ads when non-skippable. The user must see the entire ad before watching a video. 

Instream ads consist of a headline with 15 characters or 90 for a long headline, a description with 70 characters, a display URL of 15 characters, a call-to-action of 10 characters and a companion banner.  

E. Google Display Ads Character Count

Such visual ads appear on different websites, apps and Google-owned platforms like YouTube and Gmail. The character limit for the headline is 30, the description 90 and for the business name 25. 

F. Google Performance Max Ads Character Limit 

Companies use Google’s Performance Max goal-based campaign using Google’s smart bidding and automation technology. Designed to complement keyword-based search campaigns, the advertisers get access to all of Google ads inventory from a single campaign to find leads with the facility of optimizing ad performance in real-time for better conversions. It allows up to 5 headlines of 40 characters, up to 5 descriptions of 90 characters and a business name of 25 characters. 

G. Discovery Ads Character 

YouTube, Google, or Gmail apps show such visually appealing Google Discovery ads. The headline number is up to 5 with 40 characters, up to 5 descriptions with 90 characters and a business name with 25 characters.

Google Ads extensions extend a company’s ad with information that helps searchers make decisions and bring the highest quality audience experience possible. These are additional resources applied in real-time to a company’s Search Ad placements as they appear in search result pages. 

These are free and can be applied to all Search ads within an account, campaign, or ad group though not guaranteed to show every time an ad appears to a viewer. When to show and not to is determined by Google’s algorithm, depending on various factors. 

There are many benefits of using them: 

  • They help to provide more information to the audience building up a stronger case for why they should be clicking on the ad. 
  • Increase a company’s visibility on search engine ranking pages or SERPs.  
  • Help to increase clickthrough rate (CTR) significantly. 
  • Help in improving lead quality by self-disqualifying poor-quality leads and thus reducing irrelevant clicks. Because visitors clicking on the ad are more likely to take the desired action intended by the advertising company. 
  • As extensions provide Google with additional information, Google can offer a better variety of ad formats. As a result, the company gets better ad ranking as Google uses various factors like ad position, CTR, relevance, and experience. 
  • Optimization of the PPC budget. As CTR improves due to ad extensions, this helps lower the cost-per-click (CPC,) which means a company gets more out of its ad spend. 

A total of nineteen extensions are available; eight are dynamic, and eleven are to be set up manually. Some of the very common extensions are Sitelink extensions, callout extensions, structured snippets, Call extensions and more. 

Don't be surprised if this question pops up as one of the top sem interview questions in your next interview.

The full form of CTR is the click-through rate. It is a measuring metric to measure the number of clicks advertisers get on their ads per number of impressions. CTR is the percentage of people who view an ad impression versus those who actually go on to click the ad. The formula for calculating CTR is: 

CTR= (Total clicks on Ad) / (Total ad impressions) 

Click-through rate matters because for a PPC success, a high click-through rate is required, as a high CTR means that a good percentage of people are seeing the ad and clicking it, which in turn means a higher quality score. CTR directly influences both quality score and ad spend or the money spent each time someone clicks the ad. 

In other words, a high CTR leads to a high-quality score, and a high-quality score leads to improving or maintaining ad position at lower costs or lesser ad spending or more savings. 

A high CTR could be bad in certain cases, like if a keyword is not relevant to the business concerned or is not generating sales, leads, branding gains or other objectives of the ad. The reason is loss of money as the business is paying for the clicks and lots of clicks mean lots of ad-spend. Besides, the purpose behind the ad remains unfulfilled or brings any additional business. Additionally, if very high-priced keywords are used, then to it will fail to generate profit because of the price even if they convert. 

The method of marketing a business by using paid advertisements that appear on search engine results in pages or SERPs is known as Search Engine Marketing. Advertising companies bid on keywords that visitors use in the search pages of services like Google, Bing, Yahoo or others when looking for certain products or services. The advertisers get to know what the visitors might be looking for, and it gives them the opportunity for their ads to appear alongside the search results for those search queries. Typically known as pay-per-click ads, they come in various formats like texts, product listing ads/shopping ads and product-based visual ads that allow the visitors to see handy information, such as price, reviews etc., at a glance.

The importance of SEM lies in the fact that it allows advertisers to bring their ads in front of motivated customers who have already made up their minds to make a purchase just at the right moment when they are ready to buy. No other advertising medium can give this opportunity to the advertisers, which is why search engine marketing is so popular and effective and is an immensely powerful way to grow a business.

Google search results contain both paid search results and unpaid or organic search results. Both SEM and SEO have ‘SE’ in common, which stands for Search Engine.

In the case of SEO, O stands for optimization, which is the process adapted to improve the ranking of a website or any online content for high search results on Google or higher ranking on the result page so that it can be found easily or first by the visitors to click. It is a method to attract traffic organically. That is, without making any payment, a business gets visitors, clicks, leads etc.

For example, if someone is looking to know about Spirulina and types the word, Google flashes some paid ads but also some articles/blogs, which could be hundreds, but only a few stand out at the top and are more likely to get clicks as against the rest. Therefore those sites are getting visitors and may be getting further objectives fulfilled as well as the visitors clicking on their sites. This is SEO, where some sites rank higher than others without having to spend anything for it.

On the other hand, in SEM, marketing stands for the M, and it is paid marketing and refers to a number of different paid search advertising models like pay-per-click (PPC) to gain increased visibility in the SERPs.

My keyword price, or cost-per-click (CPC), will be determined by a combination of factors like my bidding strategy, keyword competition, Quality Score and a handful of other factors. 

My keyword bidding strategy: Since all search engines utilize a maximum CPC bid model for calculating ad position and, thereby, my final cost-per-click if I bid low, my keyword price will be low, and it will increase if I bid high. Therefore, I will focus on the right keywords not bidding too high or low, look at the competition volume, look for other relevant keywords etc. 

  • Competition factors: I will consider this since the ever changing-presence of competitors will affect my bidding strategy, ad position and cost per click. Here I will need to consider the seasonal factors as well. 
  •  Quality score: If I get a good quality score, then my cost per conversion will be low. That is, Google will say that my PPC ad meets the potential customers’ needs, and Google will charge me less for the ad click. 

Expect to come across this important search engine marketing question in your next interviews.

While bidding on a keyword in a PPC campaign, we need to choose a keyword match type that tells Google how aggressively or restrictively we want it to match our advertisements to user or visitor queries. 

Keyword match types fall under four categories. 

  • Broad match: is the default match that reaches the widest audience. If a user’s search query has any word in the key phrase, irrespective of its placement order, or any word that relates to that keyword, the ad will appear.

For example, if I use broad match on “sports car,” my ad might appear if a user types “sports cars,” “fast cars,” “luxury cars,” “speedy cars,” as well as “expensive vehicles.”  

  • Phrase match: here, my ad will appear on searches that include the implied meaning of the keyword. For example, for the keyword lawn mowing service, the phrase match types could be lawn mowing services near me, hire a company to mow lawn, landscaping service to cut grass, and the Ad will be shown for those searches.
  • Exact match: it is quite a tight match. For example, for the keyword lawn mowing service, the ads will be shown for searches like lawn mowing service and grass cutting service.

Google KPI key performance indicator that is a measurable and transparent performance indicator that is used to monitor, analyze and optimize the performance of selected strategies and measures related to SEM. Google KPI list includes: 

  •  Click-Through-Rate (CTR): How attractive do the ads look? 
  •  Quality Score: How relevant are they? 
  •  Cost-per-Click (CPC): How much does an ad-click cost? 
  •  Ad Position: How the ad position affects the CTR? 
  •  Conversion Rate: Which are the campaigns that convert the best? 
  •  Cost per Conversion: Which are the most effective? 
  •  Budget Attainment: How is the budgeting strategy implemented? 
  •  Cost per Mille (CPM): How costly is the CPM for specific placements? 
  •  Impression Share: How well do the ads perform? 
  •  View-Through-Conversions: How often do the visitors convert without clicking?

A common and most common sem question for interview, don't miss this one.

CPC is a pre-set price that Google charges an advertiser each time someone clicks on the company’s posted ad. For example, if Google charges .25 cents per click and a total of 10,000 people click on the ad, then the advertising company will have to pay .25 x 10,000 = $2,500 to Google. More than 10,000 people might see the ad, but the advertiser will only be charged if someone clicks on the ad. 

 CPM stands for cost per million. It is the model that offers a pre-set price for every 1,000 impressions made, and the number of impressions to be made is up to the advertiser.  

For example, if Google charges $5 per 1,000 impressions. 

  • Total campaign cost = Total Impressions / 1000 x CPM 
  • Total Impressions = Campaign cost / CPM x 1000 
  • CPM = Campaign cost / Total impressions / 1000 
  • CPC is better as it gives a greater ROI than CPM, as the advertiser pays only for the clicks made on the ad and not otherwise. 

Google AdWords helps advertisers to drive as many conversions as possible by bidding on keywords. In other words, by defining bids at the keyword level, companies can achieve conversions at a specified or below Cost-Per-Conversion or cost-per-action or CPA.

If a company specifies a relatively low target Cost-Per-Conversion for a campaign, Google Conversion Optimizer will bid on only those keywords that it thinks are a sure probability to convert, thus resulting in cheaper conversions.

On The other hand, if a business opts for a high target CPA, the conversion optimizer will bid more aggressively, competing for higher ad positions on broader keyword terms. This probably will bring more conversions but at a higher price.

I know that the success of a marketing campaign does not come from flashy ads or funny or creative commercials. But it depends on keeping track of measurable indicators of a campaign and following a process. 

  • Audience Identification

Identifying the audience, checking the demographic and psychographic characteristics of the buying decision-makers, geographical factors and much more get into this process. 

  • Budgeting

Setting up a monthly/annual budget depending on the business size, industry, and what stage a business is in.

  • Developing the message.

A clear and impactful message has the potential to get a higher response rate,e and it must address three things: 

  1. using testimonials 
  2. emphasizing how a product/service will benefit the audience 
  3. evoking emotional response
  • Setting a social media strategy.

Since marketing is incomplete without involving social media, the interaction with social media helps in creating more awareness, and generating sales and revenue if done rightly choosing the appropriate medium. 

  • Implementing the strategy.

It also involves scheduling the right time, proper coordination between all team members and also the activities needed to launch the campaign. 

  • Result in analysis

The success of any campaign, if all other things go right, will depend on proper tracking, analysis and optimization as per the feedback received. Even if a campaign is successful, constant work is needed to make it better and extend its reach. 

1. Launch campaigns

 Very popular with startups. Such campaigns could be: 

  • Blog post was written by stakeholders. 
  • Syndicated content on LinkedIn or Medium 
  • Advertising campaigns on social platforms 
  • Influencer or network support 

2. Sales promotion campaigns

Useful in getting more sales by reducing the price of service for a limited time or product upgradation etc. 

Such campaigns could be done by: 

  • Promotional Email communication  
  • Blog post (depending on the duration of the campaign). 
  • Shareable social media assets 

3. Event promotion campaigns

Useful for a webinar, buying tickets to the upcoming conference or event etc. It could be done by Emails, a landing page with a registration form, and shareable social posts. 

There could be other types of campaigns like: 

  •  Re-Engagement marketing campaigns -to bring back old or dormant customers.  
  •  Product or service-specific campaigns -to promote an existing product or service that needs re-marketing. 
  •  Rebranding campaigns- in case a company’s product/service goes rebranding, such campaigns are useful. 

The Old Spice "The Man Your Man Can Smell Like" campaign. 

It was a massive success because of the hilarious and clever ads that were created for the campaign. From this very successful campaign, Old Spice continued to produce new and fresh ads, each outwitting the last. 

Some popular ads of the campaign, like "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like," "The man your man could become if he used Old Spice," "Old Spice Swagger," and "I'm on a horse!" were hugely successful and won awards including a Grand Prix Award at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. 

Absolut Vodka: "The Bottle" Campaign 

The brand is famous for its creative ad campaigns, and one of the most well-known as "The Bottle" campaign. Here Absolut Vodka creatively featured a series of print ads showing people doing things with vodka bottles that were impossible with any other bottle. The ads received a lot of attention because of their creativity, and it was a huge success and made Absolut Vodka one of the most popular vodka brands in the world.

The stages of a sales funnel can vary dramatically, but typically, it captures the process of awareness, interest and evaluation (or consideration), desire, action, and re-engagement or advocacy.

A sales funnel helps to understand the prospective customers/buyers and at which stage they are in their buying journey. Such insight helps to invest in the right marketing activities and marketing channels and create the most effective content/copy/message for each stage. This, in turn, helps in turning more leads into paying customers.

I create a sales funnel in seven stages: 

  • Defining the problem or the pain point that my product or service will solve for the customers. 
  • Defining the goals like more leads, product demos, e-newsletter sign-ups, or purchases. 
  • Create a preliminary lead generation offer to attract the leads, such as a free trial or an ebook in exchange for contact info. 
  • Qualify leads to confirm interest in the product- Not all leads are equal or a good fit for my company. So, I determine what a qualified lead looks like, then follow up with only those who meet my criteria.  
  •  Nurture the qualified leads- sometimes a simple email drip campaign or using social media or paid retargeting and lull them with an offer such as an extended trial or special discount to bring them closer to deciding. 
  • Close the deal – at this stage, a lead has either become a customer or decided not to make the purchase, but in any case, I keep the communication lines open. For customers, I shift my efforts to retention and loyalty building, and for the drop-outs, I return to nurturing strategy and reach out every few months. 
  • Track the final results and analyze sales data- my sales funnel isn't set in stone. It needs constant optimization because even the most qualified leads may disappear. The best thing I do to prevent this is to look for areas for improvement or missed opportunities and fill the gaps. 

To become an expert in digital marketing, I think I will need and have the skills like: 

  1. Data Analysis: that is using procedures, techniques and modern software as well for collecting various data from different online interactions in the form of content consumed, online transactions, search queries and other relevant footprints relevant to the business I am working for. It is important to analyze and arrive at relevant marketing details.
  2. Content Creation: I think content is at the heart of digital. I aim to create high-quality content and SEO-friendly content and also try to implement the process of how to get audience engagement.
  3. SEO & SEM: Digital marketing is not possible without adequate knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). I may not have in-depth technical knowledge of SEO which is better handled by more technically oriented specialists, but I have a solid knowledge of the dynamics of SEO and knowledge about how to optimize the content or copy for effective marketing campaigns, paid or organic.
  4. CRM or customer relationship management or involving strategies to monitor and maximize customer experience by connecting emotionally with the audience. I use skills like empathy and timely and effective communication with customers.
  5. Social Media skills: No digital marketing can happen without social media in some form or the other. It is not just about daily posting but about quality posts. Engaging with the audience, timely response, and the right content to the right people are very important, I believe. Besides skills for creating posts for paid advertising, boosted posts, hashtags, and business groups with the help of tools are also needed.
  6. Basic Design Skills: Creating visual content is also a must requirement. Therefore, I have gained the basic knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, After Effects, Illustrator, InDesign), Canva and some basic video editing skills as well.

The goals keep changing and may vary from business to business depending on a company’s business objectives, but in my view, the basic goals should be new customer acquisition, better leads, and brand awareness. The goals should be achievable within time. They should be specific and measurable.

I think digital marketing challenges are both unique to every organization and also somewhat universal. Overall, I think the challenges are. 

Purchasing, integrating, and implementing the right kind of technology. 

  • Getting the right talent. 
  • Using and scaling marketing best practices. 
  • Continuous innovation. 

Marketing automation software primarily increases return on investment, saves time and brings efficiency. It understands customers better, streamlines the process of lead management, makes marketing activities more scalable, helps brands increase their revenue and helps generate qualified leads.

Analytics and reporting, integrations, contact management, and visitor tracking should be the main features to look for.

Google DSA is Dynamic Search Ad. It offers a very unique way of lead generation by finding customers searching on Google for precisely what the advertiser offers. DSAs are a very useful advertising platform for companies with a well-developed website or a large inventory, as they use the website content to target the ads and bring them in front of the right customers. It actually fills in the gaps of traditional keyword-based campaigns.

Intermediate

It is the position of a company’s ad on the search result page or SERP. For example, an Ad ranked 1 puts an ad at the top of the search result page, ranks 3 in the third position and so on. It is also known as pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. 

Ad rank depends on various factors like: 

  • The bid amounts. 
  • Ad quality. 
  • Competitiveness of auction. 
  • Context of a user’s search. 
  • The impact of extensions. 

Google analyzes each specific keyword search using these factors to give an Ad rank. 

There are three ways I can improve my Ad rank without spending any money on it. 

  • Improving the Ad Relevance- I will review and improve the ad copy in context to the keywords and optimize the headlines. I will use Google reporting on headlines and descriptions and identify the “low” and “best” performers to find the best fit. 
  • I will use keywords that match the search intent of the users. 
  • I will use the Ad extensions aligning with the searched terms and not just use them for the sake of using, which could lower my ad rank. For example, if I am targeting lead generation, then I will add a lead form extension to my ads, especially if I do not have a landing page. 
  • I will focus on creating a superb landing page. Here I will keep in mind the device of the users, white space, call-to-action or CTA and at appropriate places, the number of clicks the users need to use to get their final action, speed of the site.

Paid search interview questions are a constant player in SEM interviews. Here is your answer.

PPC software or tools allows companies to better manage and analyze their advertising campaigns, making them more effective while potentially cutting costs in the process. The most important reason behind using a PPC tool is to reduce costs and create maximum ROI for online advertising efforts. 

PPC tools are used for various purposes: 

  • Attribution and analytics: Help to measure the performance of ads and provide insights to help with budget allocation. 
  • Campaign and bid management: Help to automate the time-consuming and manual tasks related to campaign management and bid management also, which otherwise consume lots of time if done manually. 
  • Keyword tracking: Keyword tracking is a very important element of effective PPC advertising, and keyword tracking helps to find new keywords to target and attract the right audience.  

PPC reporting for creating visually appealing, valuable and insightful reports that can be shared with others like executives or clients. 

Optimizing campaign performance- depending on the performance of a campaign, it needs to be constantly monitored and optimized for various parameters. Tools come in very handy and are effective for such purposes giving fast outcomes. 

In fact, one needs to find the right kind of tool that will best serve the campaign’s purpose and objective. 

The standard tools that everyone uses are Google, Bing or Facebook-owned tools. But there are other tools that can be used to maximize the campaign results as per the different campaign objectives. 

For example, 

  • Ruler Analytics, Adinton, AttributionApp or Oribi can be used for attribution and analytics purposes. With such a tool, we can monitor and extract actionable data to uncover important insights and trends to improve campaign performance. 
  • Agencies or marketers looking for time-consuming PPC campaigns and bidding management can use AdEspresso by Hootsuite, Adzooma, Captivise, Outbrain, adCore, Wordstream Advisor etc. 
  • For competitor research to boost the performance of campaigns and stay up-to-date with the latest trends, tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, Adbeat, iSponages, SimilarWeb or SpyFu could be very helpful. 
  • For targeting the right kind of keywords and placing the ads in front of the right and profitable audience, tools that can be helpful to optimize paid search campaigns are Uber suggest, Keyword In, KeywordSpy, Mergewords or Wordtracker. 
  • For building custom landing pages in order to create a stronger relevance between advertisements and propositions to generate a higher conversion rate, the helpful tools could be Instapage, Leadpages or Unbounce. 

Optimizing PPC campaigns could be very challenging, which can be better handled by using tools like Optmyzr, Tenscores, Webtrends Optimize or Tenscores. 

For reporting purposes, especially for agencies, some helpful tools are Tableau, Databox, NinjaCat, Octoboard or Reportgarden. 

So far as free tools are concerned, there are quite a few good ones. For keyword and topic research,h Ahref's Keyword Generator, Answer the Public and Keyword Tool.io. For PPC analysis and management, Hubspot's PPC Management Template, Google Ad Preview Tool, and Microsoft Advertising Editor could be used. 

For effective monitoring and insight gathering, Google's Anonymous Ad Preview Tool could help. 

For Ad placement, Bing Ad placement, in addition to Google, should be used and also Microsoft's Advertising editor should be tried. 

Again, for managing and planning PPC, it can be just good enough to use a template to create and monitor the PPC campaigns. HubSpot's PPC Management Template could be very handy in such cases. 

Other Free PPC Google tools are Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and Google Search Console. 

My company uses Google because: 

  • Google gets billions of daily searches and unique visitors, plus it is the most popular website out there. 
  • With Google PPC or pay-per-click platform, our business drives traffic from the search engine’s homepage to our website straight, and we can target the right audience and analyze and improve our ads over time. 
  • Google paid ads to get 65% of clicks and a CTR or click-through rate of around 8%, which are huge considering the volume of traffic on Google’s site. 
  • We have different types of ads like Search, display, shopping, video, and App covering B2B and B2C. 

Paid media allows the promotion of content on different platforms. Instead of gaining exposure in organic ways (without spending any money), businesses often choose to reach out to more people within a short time and gain exposure and revenue fast, and this can happen via social media ads and search engine advertising as well.

Display ads on websites, sponsored posts on social media and paid search results on search engines are examples of paid media. Paid media ensures reaching a larger audience, building brand awareness, generating more traffic to a business website, and converting leads into customers.

Paid social is also a form of paid media but focuses on social media channels like Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.

Because it helps in building business via omnichannel or multi-channel approach. For example, my consulting firm has a website, but alone it may not be as effective as most of my customers or clients say on Facebook or LinkedIn. But they all use Google for quick answers to their queries or detailed information on things. So if I use a cross-channel approach that connects Google, my website, Facebook, and LinkedIn, it will be much better because my presence on all these platforms gives me a broader opportunity to create touchpoints throughout a prospect’s or a potential client’s journey. 

For example, Vikram, a lead, sees my ad on Google and clicks to visit your website, browses for a while and decides to find me on Facebook to know my business better and also checks my credentials and work history on LinkedIn and maybe sponsored ads as well to ensure that he has found the correct place to do business. Researching further may be for a few days. He is satisfied with what information he has gathered and decides to fill out a contact form on my website for a free consultation. 

Such multi-channel exposure brings a win-win for both of us. Vikram got all the information he needed giving him confidence, and I have got a new leader who is on his way to becoming my loyal client. I have achieved this by using both paid media and organic content strategies. I might not have gotten this so fast, depending only on organic marketing. 

Google auction is a process of Google’s choosing which ads should come for a particular search and in which order they should get displayed on the google page. It works this way: 

  • When a visitor gives a search, the Google Ads system looks out for all the ads that match the search keywords. 
  • Out of the selected ads Google Ads system rejects the ads that do not qualify, for example, the ads that target some other country. 
  • Out of this narrowed-down list, only those ads selected which have a high Ad rank. 

From my experience, I see that both inbound and outbound marketing complement each other. Businesses do need inbound strategies like social media and blog content to attract customers or leads and need outbound strategies as well, such as email marketing and paid search ads, to attract clients more directly in a comparatively short time. A well-rounded digital marketing strategy should include both.

I am fluent in social media, content marketing and PPC. For social media tools, I use Agorapulse and Hootsuite for scheduling posts, follower engagement and generating monthly reports.

For content marketing, I use Google keyword planner, Semrush, Ahrefs and WordPress for content publishing and management. I am also a Facebook and Google Ads certified professional.

The modern sales landscape has changed dramatically, y and it is the customers who are in control of the sales process as a modern customer spends more time researching before engaging with a salesperson, thereby reducing the value of information sharing.

Instead of information that a modern buyer already gathers, a person expects different skills from a salesperson and frequently shows different behavior than buyers of the past. A buyer may get very excited about a purchase, do a lot of research work and then suddenly stop, ending the sales process, which could sometimes be without any reason.

To avoid such situations, I prefer using a flywheel instead of a sales funnel where customers’ success and happiness are my focus after acquiring them. If I do this, they will either buy from me again or bring in a new customer by promoting my company/business to their network.

My flywheel keeps spinning without having to invest all my resources and time in acquiring new customers or saying it differently. Instead of engaging the sales team to explain my product/services, I use the momentum of happy customers to drive referrals or repeat sales. It helps me to build an ecosystem/community of customers who help other customers.

They both work together but play different functions. Marketing automation drives the activities of the top-of-funnel and drives quality prospects toward sales. On the contrary, CRM stores all the information about a prospect and at which stage of the sales funnel they are in.

The constant evolution of the field due to the influx of new technologies or platforms that always keep digital marketers on their toes, the newer marketing challenges and the algorithm changes throwing everyone off gear. I find the field very exciting and challenging as well, with huge opportunities to learn new things almost daily.

Yes, a couple of months back, we did a retargeting on Facebook. If I am to explain the steps, they would be like this: 

  • Created a list of existing contacts. 
  • Uploaded the list to Facebook's Audience Manager. 
  • Created a Destination URL. 
  • Did segmentation of our Ads for specific audiences. 
  • Discussed and set a budget. 
  • Created the ads. 
  • Tracked our campaign's progress. 

Yes, I have done remarketing a couple of months back in my current company.

Since my company offers a membership, we did run a remarketing campaign to reach out to those whose memberships were expiring and needed renewal. We ran an email campaign.

In the email, we mentioned the benefits of being on a member list of benefits like: 

  • How much a member saved by using our grocery service reminder in a creative way.  
  • Where and how the membership money was being spent.  
  • Special promotional offer to renew with a 15% discount on renewal price. 

We added an interesting and helpful CTA, "Browse our options here,” to get everything just in one click. 

Besides, the mail also served as a renewal reminder in a creative way. 

These two terms remarketing and retargeting are often confused with each other. Though they have similarities, these are two different marketing approaches. 

Remarketing focuses on renewing the interests of a company’s current or inactive old customers. In contrast, retargeting focuses on reaching new prospects, those who have never heard of a company, the product/service or how it fits into their lifestyle or removes a pain point with ads having a more personal message. 

Therefore, I use remarking if my company wants to give our already existing or old or current customers an incentive to purchase by creating a personalized message to reignite their interest. 

When my company wants to generate awareness, drive conversions, complete a buyer's journey, increase customer lifetime value (CLTV) or introduce new products, we do retarget campaigns. 

  • HubSpot 
  • Search Engine Journal 
  • Online Marketing Blog 
  • Internet Marketing Strategies 
  • Web Traffic ROI 
  • MOZ 
  • Search Engine Watch 
  • BacklinkO
  • SEMRush 
  • Google Keyword Planner 
  • DataFeedWatch 
  • WordStream 
  • Optmyzr 
  • HubSpot’s Ad Tracking Software 
  • Google Ads Editor 
  • Moat 
  • Unbounce 

Yes, I know how to use it. The steps are: 

  • Step 1: Download the AdWords Editor and launch the application by accepting the license agreement. 
  • Step 2: Account downloading from the "Accounts" section and download the campaign data after signing in. 
  • Step 3: View and edit the campaign information in the tabbed pane at the bottom of the screen. I can add or delete campaigns as well. 
  • Step 4: Managing Ad Group and Keyword Info from the "Ad Groups" or "Keywords and targeting" in the Manage pane. 
  • Step 5: Checking the changes. 
  • Step 6: Posting, using the "Post" button. 

I saw my friend’s AdWords campaign fail due to keywords and an incorrect target audience. He decided to run a test to see if a well-placed ad would drive traffic to his book Gap to Great in the US market.

He thought when searchers want to learn about gap years, they would like to see an ad for a resource that helps them decide if a gap year is good.

  • Therefore, he titled his ad: “Is a Gap Year Right?”
  • The copy read: “Download ‘Gap to Great: A Parent’s Guide to the Gap Year’ to find out.”
  • He used keyword variations on “gap year” search terms such as gap year travel, best volunteer abroad programs, gap year ideas, gap year programs, gap year jobs, taking a gap year, and gap year opportunities.
  • Using the free credit to test the $150 that Google gave me $150 he set his budget at a $15 daily average with a $456 monthly max.
  • The ad received 85,000+ views, and 232 people clicked for a total of zero sales. He paused the ad after spending $139.
  • The problem was “gap year,” although a popular keyword and Google is serving other more relevant and popular ads to people searching that term, clearly, such an audience was different from his target customers.
  • Website quality improvement. Ensuring that the site is mobile responsive. 
  • Creating an Ad with a great description so that it is relevant to people searching. 
  • One language, one campaign in case a business uses multiple languages. Different campaigns should be created for each different language. 
  • Easy accessibility of the content. 

Unlike traditional keyword-based campaigns, DSA campaigns do not use keywords for targeting. Instead, based on a searcher’s search query and the content of the advertising company’s website, they trigger text-based ads. There is no need to create all keywords manually. Not only this, but DSA campaigns also pick the most relevant landing page to generate an ad headline and also display the URL. It means website content is the chief component of DSAs.

This, along with other similar questions for search engine marketing interview, is a regular feature in sem interviews, be ready to tackle it with an approach mentioned below.

Quality Score means Google’s rating of the quality and pertinence of both the keywords and PPC ads, for example, Ad copies, landing page, and, the user. It is measured in terms of a grade from 1 to 10 and 10 being the highest.

Depending on the score, Google can apply a bonus or even a penalty to the price paid per click for a specific keyword. The higher the quality score, the lower the cost per click. Actually, the Google algorithm checks the bids plus the Quality Scores of all competing ads and ranks them in order to decide the ranking of a company’s ads in the Search Engine Result pages or SERP. 

Quality score depends on various factors like click-through rate or CTR, the relevancy of each keyword to its ad group, landing page quality and relevance, the relevancy of the ad text in the ad and also the historical Google Ads account performance. 

However, the click-through rate or CTR is the most important component of the quality score. Because it means the visitors clicking a company’s ad is a strong indication that the ad is relevant and helpful to them. Google, therefore, rewards the company with higher ad rankings and lower costs. 

To determine the ad rank of a company in the ad auction, Google uses the quality score to ascertain the cost per click or CPC and multiplied by a company’s maximum bid. So, quality score affects a company’s ad rank. 

The formula for calculating the quality score is as follows: 

Max CPC X Quality Score = AdRank 

This is one of the classic PPC interview questions asked.

It should be: 

  • Attention-grabbing 
  • Give all the information users will look for. 
  • A stunning image resonating with the campaign theme 
  • User-friendly in layout 
  • Disable all alerts or pop-ups. 
  • Benefits should be mentioned instead of features. 
  • Include lead capture and click-through action. 
  • Shouldn’t be too crummy. 
  • Call to action should be at an eye-level position. 
  • Have a hooking headline. 
  • Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) Ad formats are available. 
  • Facebook Ads (now known as Meta Ads) 
  • Instagram Ads (a part of Facebook Ads) 
  • Microsoft Ads (formerly Bing Ads) 
  • LinkedIn Ads 
  • Twitter Ads 
  • Pinterest Ads 
  • YouTube ads (a part of Google Ads) 
  • TikTok For Business 
  • Snapchat For Business 
  • Common PPC mistakes to avoid on any platform 
  • Pick your platforms and head for success 

It will depend on the number of targeted keywords, and we can make an ad group accordingly.  For instance, we can have 10-15 keywords in an ad group.

Advanced

A staple in search engine marketing interview questions for managers, be prepared to answer this one using your hands-on experience.

The five types of Google ads are Search, Display, Video, App, and Shopping. 

1. Search Ad Campaigns

These are the text ads that we get to see on Google results pages. For example, a search for “best digital marketing agency at Pune” gives the following sponsored results: 

The benefit of search ads is companies get to display their ads in the place where most searchers look for information. First, that is, on Google. Such ads are shown in the same format as other organic results, except for marking them as “Ad”. Users can click them if they want further details. 

Responsive Search Ads 

These types of ads allow users to enter multiple (up to 15) versions of headlines and ad copy up to four variations. The purpose is to show a different mix-match of titles and descriptions for different users depending on their search queries and search history. It can produce more than thirty-two thousand variations of an ad and selects the best performers to display. Such campaigns are very useful in PPC marketing and help in engagement and reaching out to more potential customers with the most effective version of the ad. 

While traditional ads allow the creation of only one static version of an ad, using the same headline and description each time, responsive ads allow for a dynamic ad that is auto-tested until the most suitable version is achieved that is the most appropriate for the target audience. It means getting maximum clicks. 

2. Display Ad Campaigns

Typically image ads are displayed on the network of websites that Google has in various industries. The website owners where the ad gets displayed are paid per click or impression on the ad, while the advertisers can get their message right in front of the right kind of audiences that are aligned with their campaign personas. 

3. Video Ad Campaigns

YouTube itself is a search engine. Hence the right keywords can place a business’s ad in front of a video, disrupting the user’s attention to grab attention. 

4. App Ad Campaigns

Google App Campaigns are used for promoting a business’s mobile application through an ad displayed on Google Search Network, YouTube, Google Play, Google Display Network, and more, encouraging the audience to install the app or do a certain action within the app as directed if they are users already. 

Here the app information and the audience details are given to Google, and a bid is made. The rest is handled by Google to get the app in front of the right audience. 

5. Shopping Ad Campaigns

Such campaigns are used to sell or promote products or product lines. They get displayed on the SERP and include product information and imagery. It is run through Google Merchant Center, where specific product information needs to be given, and Google creates the ads based on the supplied data.  

For example, search words like "running shoes" bring Google Search ads on the top, but the specific products or the shopping ads are advertised on the side optimized for the keyword "running shoes". 

Keywords can be broadly organized into four: 

  • Brand: containing a brand name. 
  • Generic: terms relating to products, for example, e-commerce keywords or services offered. 
  • Related: the nearing or similar keywords. 
  • Competitor terms used by competitors offering similar products or services. 

For example, if I was researching a campaign to advertise sports shoes, my list might include the following: 

  • Generic Terms: Running shoes. 
  • Related Terms: Jogging  
  • Brand terms: Nike Shoes, Nike.com, Nike shop, Nike online store, Nike Products 
  • Competitor terms: Adidas shoes, Reebok shoes, Puma shoes, New Balance, Brooks shoes 

Then I decide upon the exact audience I would be requiring. For example, if my company sells sports shoes, then I decide upon the kind of people who wear sports shoes. Then think like a customer of sports shoes and try to visualize what I might be looking for, say, for example, in terms of quality, material, sole, pricing, brands etc. 

Next, I use Google search and other keyword search tools like Ahrefs, Wordstream, Semrush etc., to get particular relevant keywords to target particular customers. 

I select some generic keywords as well to reach out to more people. I also use long tail keywords like “what’s the best sports shoes?” or “where can I get jogging shoes…?” or other search query combinations like “How can I…?” “How do you…?” “Where can I…?” and “What is…?” etc. 

I group the related keywords into different ad groups. 

Choose the right number of keywords I would need and then make the precise numbers of them and choose only those which relate to the website or apps that visitors generally see. In other words, I do the refining work of the keywords. 

I use Google Ads Keyword Planner to understand the competition in terms of high, medium or low volume to decide upon the keywords that I can use. 

I Set the Campaign Goals 

This is the first step that I follow. I choose one of the objectives: 

  • Getting more calls 
  • Getting more website visits, sales, or signups 
  • Getting more physical visits 

Since my company wants calls and website visits, depending on the campaign, I choose either more calls or more website visits. 

  • I Research and choose the keywords. 
  • I prepare a root keywords list and check keywords’ presence, search volume, competition, related keywords, long or short tail keywords, and negative and positive keywords. 
  • Fix a daily budget. Keeping in mind the overall ad spends, I ensure a daily budget. 
  • Create a business description-I ready my company description content that I enter into the "Describe your business" section. 
  • Create a buyer persona- so that I do not waste money by targeting the wrong audience or end up in campaign failure. 
  • Setting up the keyword themes 

Since Google determines different themes based on a website's content, I customize my keywords based on their suggestions or, to say; I list out the keywords that can reach people who are ready to buy. For example, instead of using “luxury shoes” in my PPC ad, I use keywords like “red leather shoes”. Yes, this way, I risk reaching out to people who are looking for shoes of any type, but I will at least narrow down to the right customers who want or who can afford luxury shoes.  

That way, my chance of success increases more as it is more likely to end up in a purchase and will more than compensate my cost per click. Often, I use negative keywords to save money on clicks. For example, I wear red leather heels, not stilettos. 

One of the most asked ads interview questions. Here is how to answer this.

Yes, this happened with my company last May. Till then, we were achieving strong, steady increases in revenue over several months till the performance dropped in May and then recovered quickly, only to drop again in August. I wanted to find the root cause. Therefore, I took the following steps. 

  1. I nailed down the date that marked the start of the decline. 
  2. I observed the change history and (possibly) reverted – with the dip start date in hand, I looked for change history in Google Ads to find any changes that I made around that time that might have caused the ad performance to dip. 

Here I considered all the changes, big or small, because even the smallest and the most innocent ones, could create problems; for example, a simple change in the landing page update could impact conversions, and overlooking a wrong keyword affecting the impression rate etc. 

But I could not find anything at all. The only one I could spot was a change in the bidding strategy and to see if it caused the issue, I looked more closely at the data pre- and post-change. Here again, it was fine overall, though to be extra cautious, I reverted to my previous bidding strategy for some campaigns and stayed with the new for others.  

  1. Then I studied the competitive metrics.
  2. I started looking for causes outside our actions, and one of the most obvious places to look was changes to the competitive landscape. I looked at relevant competitive metrics, like top impression share and lost impression share.

I saw a definite dip in top impression share and a similar trend in exact match impression share. It clearly told me that my ads were imprisoning less than they had been before, which could explain the dips in performance.  

Having identified the increased competition as the main issue, I started exploring additional ways to optimize and compete. 

Finally, I made two main adjustments: 

  • Demographics: Excluded the 18-24 age audience segment since it wasn’t converting well across.  
  • Schedule: Mondays to Thursdays were the peaks but not the weekends. So, I retained the weekend’s presence but adjusted bids down.  

Because these campaigns were using manual bidding strategies, we used these optimizations. But for automated bidding campaigns, we might have chosen some different optimization ways. 

Also, if the competitor analysis hadn’t revealed anything responsible for the dip, the next thing I would have looked at was tracking code or seasonality, dip or dips is seasonal demand or even observing the other marketing channels to see if a similar dip is occurring in other marketing channels as well.  

Though a performance dip is not always easy to find, I feel we need to go all out and find every nook and corner to find the bug and even if it is fixed, it needs continuous investigation to eliminate all possible contributing factors. 

A common and most important ads interview question, don't miss this one.

I took several steps that actually helped in improving the Ads conversion rate of my employer. 

  • Reverse engineering 

First, I factor out the desired outcome of my ad. Then I choose keywords, write the ad and tweak the landing page to achieve the end goal of conversion. Once I understood how our customers' shop gives a better edge in running our Ads campaigns. 

Obviously, I consider the five general phases of the marketing funnel or the customer buying cycle because customers at each stage ask different questions. My ad, therefore, irrespective of search ads or display ads, should contain elements that are appropriate for customers in each stage of the marketing cycle.  

If I know how my customers are shopping at each stage, then I can design my highly targeted ads accordingly and definitely, such ads bring more business.

For example, if I want to target customers at the awareness stage or those who do not know my products I target them with an Ad that has my product name in my ad copy title or headline.

Whereas if my product is already well known and my customers are at the preference stage, then mentioning the company name in copy title helps. Again, I can woo them with a copy that shows the better benefits of our products/services or offer a discount then I can expect better sales. But such an ad copy will not be valid for would-be customers at the awareness or consideration stage.

I analyze the Google Analytics dashboard “Behaviors” tab, as well as acquisition and conversion flow, to better understand how my prospect’s needs can change when they visit your site.

For example, if I notice that the number of new visitors exceeds the number of returning visitors as a trend, it simply suggests that the majority of our visitors don’t know our brand or product before coming to our site. Therefore, I need to educate them.  

  • Remarketing  

I use remarketing as a conversion rate optimiser or CRO tool to persuade indecisive visitors to come back to my site. It saves my time and marketing budget. What I do here is simply show the same ads that visitors viewed earlier a few more times and increase the odds that they click our display ads and buy our products. 

  • Landing Page Split-test 

Because landing pages influence conversion rate, I focus on it. I test each and every element of a landing page and split-test the CTA placement, shape, and color. 

  • Aligning Ad Copy with landing page 

I ensure that the copy of my landing page mirrors the copy in my ads so that visitors can relate. Of course, I look beyond the keywords and pay attention to user experience and optimization, as these affect the search funnel and, ultimately, the sale. 

  • Implement best CTR practices. 

I take care of the title capitalization, use the right keywords appropriate to the funnel stage, and take care of the ad placements and frequency. 

  • Group and Organize   

I sort and organize campaigns based on their characteristics, like the budget and bidding strategy (e.g., cost per conversion. Then I organize the keywords in each ad group and ensure their relevancy as well. Finally, I ensure that congruence remains between the landing page, the ads, and the targeted keywords so that conversion tracking becomes easier and relevant to conversion types based on keyword phrases. 

I also aim for small and highly focused ad groups, for example, four ads in a group based on a particular offer, model, product or service. It helps in developing the right ads for each ad group focusing on the different stages of the search funnel. It increases CTR and makes it easy to track keyword performance and other metrics. 

  • Use negative keywords. 

I believe using negative keywords (like free, cheap, and torrent) that exclude certain search terms from triggering the display of our ad is a smart way to improve Ads conversion and revenue. 

For example, when I use "free" as a negative keyword in my campaign or ad group, Google will not show our ads for any search containing the term "free."

I have some ways of keeping myself up to date on social media marketing trends. Like: 

  • Created a stream on Twitter with popular social media

A very good place to get recent news is Twitter. I use hashtags like #jobs, #business, #sales, #economy, #marketing, #socialmedia, #startup etc. 

  • Made a Twitter list of influencers in the industry

Since influencers keep discussing any new happenings, announcements or updates on Twitter, I have listed out some of the most active people on Twitter. I have allotted 15 minutes a day to watch out, running through the list to see what they have to say 

  • Set Google Alerts on terms and influencers

I have set Google Alert on my selected list of terms or hashtags or topics, and influences so that I keep getting regular updates once a day when they post something on social media. 

  • Keep watching the Instagram Explore tab 

I can watch what content people are sharing on Instagram from Instagram’s Explore tab, which allows them to search for terms and hastags and trending content on them. Sometimes I  search for terms like "social media" or #socialmediamarketing to see what's going on: 

  • LinkedIn Groups 

I find LinkedIn discussions about social media for business extremely lively. 

Whether there's an update to Facebook, a new social network gaining traction, or a new theory on the future of social media, surely, I find it in LinkedIn groups. Not only that, I meet a lot of other social media enthusiasts with whom I network sometimes and ask questions. I have some favorite groups like Social Media Marketing, Social Media Marketing Strategies for Business Professionals, Innovative Marketing, PR, Sales & Social Media Today, Digital Marketing: Social Media, Search, Mobile & more. 

  • social media blogs subscription 

I have subscribed to some blog sites that keep posting content about social media, new features or trends. Of course, I have set aside half an hour or so on Friday evenings for reading these. My favorite blog sites are Social Media Examiner, BuzzSumo, Buffer, Social Media Explorer, HubSpot Blogs, Simply Measured and Social Media Today. 

I work for a shoe chain outlet company. 

When I build any SEM campaign first do the search intent targeting. 

  1. For search intent targeting, I first define two things:

What are our potential customers/users searching for? 

How close are they in the buyer’s journey to buying something? For example, are they just looking for information (awareness) or considering something etc? 

  1. I build my campaigns to target the highest possible search intents. I create different ad groups targeting either the “branded” terms (“Nike tennis shoes”) or highly specific “unbranded or non-branded” searches (“athletic tennis shoes”).
  2. Then, I go for real-time auction-based advertising. Of course, I aim for a quality score via
  • Estimated click: through rate (CTR)- will the user click the ad? 
  • Relevance: how closely does my ad match the search intent of the specific search 
  • Landing page: how relevant and useful it will be once a user lands there by clicking the ad. 

Goes without saying that as an SEM specialist my aim is to get a high-quality score (thereby lowering cost-per-click) on the high-intent keywords by creating stellar ad copy and landing pages that match the keywords.

I can understand if my business needs SEM from certain observations: 

  • When I realize that my product is ready and fit for marketing and messaging. My business is ready with the kind of target audience who will buy my product/service, or I am able to build a clear audience persona and understand what resonates with them. Unless I do this first, I will not get a good Quality Score which means my ad spend will be very high, making it difficult to succeed. 
  • When I gain expertise in capturing a category instead of creating one because SEM relies on high-intent searches and I must know whether people are searching for my kind of product or service and, if yes the location and other factors as well. For example, if I am into the business of selling tennis shoes in India, then tier-1 and tier-2 cities should be my hot destination instead of tier-3 or 4. 

Now if I am trying to create a category instead, like selling cozy or light slippers, it might be quite difficult to market since not many people might be searching for it or are purchasing from local small shops, and I might find it tough to get the right keywords to target. 

In that case, I might have to create category awareness through other types of marketing and then run SEM campaigns once the market is more aware of my product.

Earlier this year, I led a campaign that I believe is by far the most successful campaign so far. I work with an ad agency and this time, I had to work with a start-up client that needed a complete marketing funnel to be set up to sell a new product.

I worked with the client and, crafted out each stage of the funnel, hired some experienced professionals to create and manage every part of it. Finally, we were able to increase the revenue goal of the company by 150%. The client was so happy that our agency was hired for its coming year’s digital marketing projects and gave us an uplifting video testimonial.

Campaigns do fail and it happened to me last year when I was working with a client on a social media campaign that centered around the Diwali holiday season with the objective to create brand awareness. The campaign finally could achieve only 50% of its goal.

In my belief the campaign failed because we were targeting too high a goal in a limited time that too with a shoestring budget. Nevertheless, it taught me the lesson to be more realistic while setting goals, take a more proactive approach and appropriate measures to fix the issues that were responsible for its underperformance.

Extremely crowded marketplace, cut-throat competition and ever-changing consumer expectations, choice and demands are bringing serious challenges for digital marketers. To my belief, now they need to dedicate 15-20% of their work time to monitoring new trends, experimenting with new techniques, technologies and tools.

Only by keeping track of the new developments and trying innovative methods, the best digital marketers can survive and succeed as well even though the digital marketing landscape keeps changing fast.

It happened to me last year when my team disagreed with my marketing automation campaign strategy. I was in favor of using a few marketing automation tools for better control and campaign performance.

I had a meeting with all the team members and asked everyone to explain one’s concerns. Having gathered all the information, we as a team discussed the pros and cons. Ultimately we modified my previously set strategy, kept only one marketing automation tool and did away with the rest and decided to concentrate on the performance of this one tool and its effect on our campaign performance. The campaign came out very successful and is still running.

I hold a master’s in marketing and nine years of experience in managing social media accounts and running paid search advertising campaigns. For the past five years, I have been leading digital marketing teams in my present company which is a renowned digital marketing agency in Mumbai with a few awards. My leadership skills and experience have contributed to a 40% hike in revenue for my current company, for which I have received a trophy. I believe my education and experience will make me a very competent fit for the position.

Yes, I have worked on four collaborations with other companies and led two campaigns with other departments. From my experience, I can confidently say that the most important part of a collaborative campaign is agreeing on objectives, strategy, and roles during the first meeting, as well as establishing the timelines and metrics.

Often I need to help my clients in setting a digital marketing budget. I follow a few steps for this: 

  • Document the sales cycle. 

Documenting each of the stages of a sales cycle gives me a clear idea of where I will be spending the marketing money and how. 

Stages
Digital marketing material

Awareness 

Ads, landing pages, video content 

Interest 

Blog posts, social media content, outreach emails 

Decision 

Webinars, videos, tutorials 

Action 

Freebies, discounts, testimonials 

  • Cost identification 

For making a digital marketing budget, I consider other aspects that require financial input, like the cost of hiring an SEO specialist, a content/copy specialist, campaign costs and miscellaneous costs. 

  • Goal setting 

Setting SMART goals helps me articulate the budget, focus on the areas that need more attention and remove the unnecessary elements from the budget. 

  • Reviewing options and strategies 

I assess the available options and decide which ones work best for the business, like which digital marketing solutions/strategies appeal to my target audience and capitalize on them. Then I decide how much each strategy will cost and allocate the budget accordingly. 

  • Reviewing the past results.

I assess the strategies that were used in the past and their performance with budgeting tools, then decide if they're still viable. 

For this, I have a list of questions to answer: 

  1. Which ads generated the most leads? 
  2. Which channels drew the most traffic? 
  3. What ones did not work? 
  4. Which strategies worked in the past? 
  • Allocating budget

I follow the 70-20-10 rule while allocating money to my strategies; that is, 70% of the budget should go to strategies that worked in the past, 20% of the budget on the new strategies and 10% of your digital marketing budget to experiment with new strategies. 

  • Experimentation budget

Marketing being an ever-evolving process, I must stay updated with the new trends and technologies coming in the industry, for which I need to set aside some money to try them on, which will not affect my principal budget. 

I think there is no perfect time frame for it. Mostly in the company where I work, we do it during our annual marketing planning. But in my previous company, we used to do it quite often as and when needed, especially if something major happened in the sector or the company itself. For example, in the case of one of our competitors releasing a new product mimicking ours, which has the possibility of going after our leads or customers. So we needed to re-evaluate and re-design our marketing goals to prevent this encroachment on the market share.

We depend on third-party cookies for data. Google is going to block these third-party cookies in 2023. In this case, it is a challenge for us as we will have to focus only on first-party data collection. This is the greatest challenge I am going to face in my current company.

But in my previous organizations, I faced a few challenges, like executing an omnichannel digital marketing strategy which was not easy as we needed a technology platform to address this, which posed budget challenges.

I guess following Google’s algorithm changes is yet another biggest challenge that all businesses face.

I work for a marketing agency, so I will share my experiences and views of my way of doing things: 

  1. Involvement: I have experienced that sitting together at the end of every month, evaluating client performance, looking at the accomplishments, pending work, and what we need to do the following month is just not sufficient. I realized that people didn’t want to just be told. They wanted to feel involved. I ask the team for input and creative ideas. They feel engaged and motivated to perform better, plus we gain some innovative ideas.
  2. Result from sharing and accountability: An agency has multiple marketing departments with multiple marketing leaders, and getting teams on the same page and motivating them to help one another is a challenge. For example, content is an integral part of SEO, but what happens if the team feels left out of accountability for SEO? Even after hosting the training and providing guidelines and best practices, we were getting pushback.

Then I started creating special reports to show how the work of the content team was impacting our site performance and business as well. I highlighted the new clients achieved, the satisfied clients, and shifts in ranking and traffic. That made the difference, and since then, I have kept this practice. 

Apart from these two major things, I also ensure that we celebrate wins together by way of thank-you emails, gifts, happy hour, and excursions. Goes without saying that company-sponsored training programs are also an integral part of keeping the members motivated. 

Yes, I have influencer-reaching experience. I apply different strategies for reaching them in small numbers or a cohort of new influencers, ten or more. 

For reaching out to 10 influencers or fewer – I manually by 

  • creating a spreadsheet and adding the names and Instagram profile links for each influencer. 
  • Either send each influencer a direct message on Instagram, or an email received from the contact section of their profile in order to send them a proposal. 
  • Keep a record of the time and date they were contacted for further follow-ups.  

For reaching out to more than ten influencers- I automate the process by using software that has an integrated emailing tool, list building, and directly contacting the influencer without having to search for contact information or struggle with spreadsheets.

Dishonesty, hype, false promise or cheating, to put it in another way. There are lots of businesses that provide low-quality products or services and do not deliver what they promise.

The use of artificial intelligence in digital marketing. AI-driven digital marketing campaigns that provide better, faster, and more accurate insights into customer behavior and increase the campaign success rates. Then automating mundane tasks of data collection and analysis. Marketers can devote quality time to more complex tasks like creative strategy development.

For example, Jasper is an AI-powered software used for creating relevant content for ad campaigns, email campaigns, blog post writing etc., without having to manually search for content ideas or create new content from scratch.

My answer is yes. The reasons are: 

  • SERP authority

After initiating a search, the first thing a user sees is the search Ads.  

It is PPC that provides full autonomy over the presentation of a brand’s message, while site content can be optimized for search results. Combining search ads with the top organic listing due to great SEO work will help a brand control the top of the SERP and, with it, a prospects or a lead’s entire attention and probably future business too. 

  • Glueing the customers

Search visitors seek out additional information about my brand. They are telling me about their interests that I should be learning more about. As such, search is a pull channel where we need not push ads in front of the users. Rather it is an opportunity to meet those interested eyes with a catered message. Failing this, I might lose an important customer. As if someone is approaching my store, but I don’t have the lights on and have pulled the blinds down. 

Search is often referred to as a pull channel because we do not need to push ads in front of users. This is an opportunity to meet those expressing interest in your brand with a catered message. I need to open my store and keep it lit with my best offers for them. 

I would rather use it for conversion optimization. The simple reason is I already have an ad-spend budget ready, say $500 a year. Increasing it to $550 will not make much of a difference, as it is just a 10% increase.

But spending the $50k on conversion optimization that wasn’t in the budget will be a significant investment. I feel the money will be better spent on providing a better experience on my site to convert more of my existing traffic that, in any case, will be coming from our advertising, email, social media, search engine optimization or any other acquisition approach.

 My ways to improve conversion rate are mix and match of: 

  • Adding a pop-up to the site 
  • Deleting unnecessary Form fields 
  • Adding video testimonials and reviews 
  • Removing distractions 
  • Making the initial step extremely easy 
  • Adding a third-party signup service 
  • Optimizing CTA copy 
  • Adding a live chat option to the site 
  • Trying out various offers 
  • Offering a money-back guarantee 
  • Including a countdown timer 
  • Adding up the selling point of purchase 
  • A/B testing of headlines. 

Yes, I did when I was working with an eyewear company. I always used some strategies for this: 

  1. Ensured that the upsell product was relevant to our customer’s original purchase. For example, to people who brought eyeglasses, we used to offer glass cleaner solutions. Everyone who wears glasses needs a glass cleaner solution.
  2. Ensured that the upsell happened at a discounted price. For example, the glass cleaner solution that we offered had €100 as MRP, but we offered it at €50.
  3. Assured that we always sold things that solved a problem. For example, for those who did not opt for a glass cleaner solution, we offered cleaning cloth at a discounted price.

Description

Top Search Engine Marketing Interview Tips and Tricks

Here are some SEM interview tips and tricks for you to help you walk through your interview with confidence. 

1. Research the Company

Knowing your prospective employer company gives you a different level of confidence. Learn the vision and mission of the company, its business and the market, how it is marketing its product or service, what the followers are talking about the company in social media, company reviews and recent milestones achieved. 

2. Analyze the Job Description

Understand the required skills mentioned in the job descriptions and assess the factors that make you fit for the role and the gaps, if any. You can try filling up the gaps, if possible, by researching, reading, watching videos or if possible, by attending some short online courses as well. 

3. Prepare the potential interview questions

For you, we have already covered all the potential questions that are usually asked at each level of the interview. You can even practice the answers facing a mirror and record your answers. It will help you to notice your own body language, accent and throw, and confidence level of your voice and give enough scope to improve wherever required. 

 4. Customize Your Answers

Craft your answers naturally and creatively while answering different questions, and do not be repetitive. As per the requirement, you need to customize your skill set, interests and objectives behind seeking the job. When mentioning your skill set, instead of speaking out loud about your skills, explain politely how you can be beneficial for the role and how you can add value with your particular skills. Sell the benefits, not skills. 

5. Do not Waste Time

During the interview, if you don’t know any answer, accept it instead of trying to guess. Sometimes interviewers ask tough and tricky questions just to see how smartly you respond and keep your calm under pressure and how you react to something which is unknown to you. They do not intend to scare you or fool you around. They are there to hire the right candidate. 

You can ask questions but know what you are asking 

You may be given a chance to ask questions. Use the opportunity to ask. You can do some prior homework on this that if you are given a chance to ask anything, what should you ask and keep your question(s) framed accordingly. Some examples could be: 

What will be your expectations from me if I get selected? What are the things that you will not expect from me or the challenges for the role, or what will be my career path ahead in this role etc.? 

Such questions will give the impression of your seriousness about the role and your interest in the company. Want to improve your skills further, you can attend our SEM Course to understand the nuances of SEM that you can put into practice 

6. Leave with a positive note

Irrespective of how your interview goes, take a moment before you leave and express your gratitude to the interviewer for the time and consideration. It will have a very positive impact and impression on your candidature. 

Last but not least, dress well so that you look professional and be polite in your approach. Arrive on time so that you have enough time to settle down and let your mind and body adjust to the new environment. 

SEM Roles

  •  SEM Specialist 
  •  PPC Analyst 
  •  Digital Marketing Executive 
  •  Manager Digital Marketing 
  •  Manager Ad Sales and others 

SEM Top Companies

  • TCS 
  • Accenture 
  • Crimson Interactive 
  • Coalition Technologies and others. 

What to Expect in an SEM Interview?

Once the initial formalities, like the HR manager greeting and escorting you to the interview room and all the little formality talks (ice breakers), get over and the department manager takes over the charge, the core interview begins. 

The interviewer may give you an idea of the position or expect that you already know since you have applied for the role. The next thing the officer will want to know is how qualified and fit you are for the role. 

Here you can expect a series of general, behavioral, situational, and then in-depth questions pertaining to the technicalities of the role. Therefore, be prepared to answer all these different varieties of questions. We have also covered SEM specialist interview questions so that you have a clear idea of what to expect in these interviews. SEM can be easily learned from any best online Digital Marketing Courses

In case you have any employment gap or educational gap, do prior homework to frame an appropriate and reliable answer. 

Some extremely common general interview questions that are asked almost in every interview are: 

  1. Tell me about yourself? 
  2. Why did you leave your last job? 
  3. What are you looking for in a job? 
  4. How did you hear about this position? 
  5. What do you know about our company? 
  6. Why do you want to collaborate with us? 
  7. What do you expect from your manager and team? 
  8. Where do you wish to be in five years? 
  9. Why should we hire you? 

As we discussed a while ago, at the end of the interview, the hiring manager might ask if you have any questions. Be prepared with some relevant questions regarding the role, the work environment, and the company. In the end, you can also ask how much time it will take to finally conclude your candidature. 

Summary

The PPC interview questions and answers that we have crafted especially for you will hopefully be good enough to lead you to success. We have covered everything from beginner, middle and advanced level SEM interview questions in-depth and also discussed additional tips on how to face the interview and things you can expect from the interview. 

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