Editor's Note: What lies behind the great and powerful search engine marketing curtain? A lot of smart search planners! In our ongoing "Meet a Media Planner" series, we’re catching up with search and media planners to hear their perspectives on digital advertising. This week, we’re speaking with Jai Amin, a senior PPC manager for Jellyfish in Baltimore, Maryland. Jai began his search career in the U.K., shortly after university graduation. In 2010, he took a job as a PPC Manager with Jellyfish and was relocated “across the pond” in late 2011 to help open a U.S. office for the agency. Jai now oversees search campaign management for one of Jellyfish’s largest accounts, Laureate International Universities.
Yahoo! Ad Blog: You started out doing search in the U.K. and then came to the U.S. Are there any major differences in the way you run campaigns here?
Jai Amin: Yahoo! and Bing are an even bigger focus for us in the U.S than in the U.K. We discovered we actually generate cheaper cost-per-leads through Yahoo! and Bing on average, so we’re trying to expand the amount we invest in those channels every month. Another interesting difference is that we have to be more careful with the words and phrasing we use in our ads for the university. There are subtle differences in spellings in the U.S. and the U.K., such as optimization/optimisation and enroll/enrol. To keep words and phrases from being misinterpreted, we always make sure our ads and landing pages are reviewed in a thorough approval process.
YAB: What appeals to you most about search engine marketing?
JA: I like the responsibility, managing high budgets, and the pressure. I also like the fact that we can track everything down to a click. We can know exactly how much we’ve spent on a keyword, how many students it brought in, and how much money it’s actually making for our client. Being able to measure all of that is great, and the tools we have for analytics and tracking are constantly improving.
YAB: When you look at your search clients---in the U.K. and U.S.---what would you say is most challenging or concerning for them?
JA: I think the biggest issue at the moment is attribution. Someone can search a really generic term like “online universities,” go to the website and then leave. Then later they remember the university’s name, type it in and convert. Because they convert on the brand term, it gets all the credit. But the first generic keyword, “online university,” was what first got them to the site. A lot of advertisers give all the attribution credit to the last click, when really the first keyword should get more of the credit. You could find that one generic keyword brings in a hundred clicks and only gets one conversion---but that a huge number of people come back again on a different term and convert.
Jellyfish has actually developed an attribution system called Infinity that tracks the whole user journey, and makes sure every aspect of that journey is given the credit it deserves. It even gives us the ability to track phone calls back to the keyword level.
YAB: Are there other technologies or trends out there right now that you think would benefit advertisers?
JA: I’d say one thing to look for in the coming months is cross-device attribution. Right now we can’t track users who, for example, search on their mobile phones and later check out the site on a desktop and make a conversion. We can only follow a user on one device at a time. So I think the next big thing will be being able to follow a user from one device to another.
YAB: If you had to change careers tomorrow, and you could do anything at all instead of search planning, what would you do?
JA: I would be a center midfielder for Manchester United. They haven’t got enough good ones in their squad right now. I think I could help them out.
YAB: Whose place would you take?
JA: Probably Michael Carrick. He’s had a good season so far, but he’s getting a bit old. He’s coming to his final couple of seasons so…
YAB: Good timing for you then, huh?
JA: Yeah. I’m expecting their manager to call any day now!