Day One – Aayushi’s Blog
When you hear the words ‘Boot Camp’ you think of a gruelling week getting your body into shape. You know your trainer is going to work every muscle in your body and you can bet you’ll be exhausted by the end of it!
Anicca’s AdWords Boot Camp isn’t so different, except this time our trainer is one of the top PPC specialists in the UK, Ann Stanley, and it’ll be your mind exhausted not your body. Ann will fry your brain with so much information to process on your first day, but this is preparing us for the week to come. One thing Ann said at the end of the session is, “I know you guys will get through this process because you come from a marketing background and are used to taking in so much information”.
Day one took us through our introduction to PPC, an overview of the main PPC techniques, setting up LinkedIn ads, Facebook ads, setting up Google AdWords and an introduction to display advertising.
Whilst LinkedIn and Facebook seem very easy to understand, Google AdWords is an intense and complicated program, meaning it took us a lot longer to begin to understand.
There are many options as to how your ad will be targeted, who it will be targeted to, where, when and why. Fascinatingly you suddenly become aware of how and why Google ads are displayed to you the way they are. You notice the smallest things when searching for something on Google. For example, ad extensions, containing a business’s contact details, location, website, etc. It’s like a whole new world opening up to you.
Day Two – Bhavesh’s Blog
Eager to learn, we returned to find out more about Anicca’s insatiable appetite for digital.
We began the day with an introduction to TALC – a PPC model aimed to teach us the fundamentals of running a campaign. This would form the basis of the day’s session. Ann proceeded to explain the various steps, all the while sharing case studies of previous and existing clients.
Next, we looked at conversion tracking which, with the help of a few diagrams kept looks of confusion to a minimum, before venturing into the world of Google Ad Extensions. Here, the group was shown everything from site links to merchant centre ads. It was interesting to see not only the number of extensions offered by Google but also the rate at which these features are updated.
Our next exercise was a practical competition that required us to create Ad Groups in pairs. After much deliberation and debate, the winners were crowned and with the majority of the group beaten, we broke for lunch.
After lunch, Darren Wynn, Senior Account Manager, guided us through the complexities of the AdWords Editor tool. He helped to dissect the highly sophisticated program, subsequently allowing us to build on the campaigns we had created on day one.
Another highly informative, highly intense day as was promised!
Day Three – Kushtrim’s Blog
Day three of Anicca AdWords boot camp really got the wheels spinning as we accelerated through the course – taking on new information whilst using what we have previously learnt over the past two days to aid us.
The team at Anicca demonstrates great knowledge and passion for digital marketing. Today they covered some features of eCommerce which related to our current AdWords project, teaching us how a website is operated and utilises the requirements of potential customers.
The information intake on day three has been the most extensive so far; from the use of AdWords Editor to implement Proper Groups to set up text-based ads with the help of Excel. We were introduced to new methods and formulas demonstrated to us how easy mistakes could be made.
However, the great thing about boot camp is the interactive learning. Ann Stanley, the MD of Anicca, has the perfect balance of being sociable and informative when conducting the boot camp. Although most of us had a good understanding of marketing terms and some aspects of online marketing, it was good to see Ann build on our foundations and slowly progress from there on – encouraging us to be practical and hands-on with the tools we discovered. Their natural ability to teach is clear to see and helps us a lot when we have her directing us.
In addition to Ann’s help, the group dynamics are strong – within three days of boot camp, we have all developed great friendships with each other and are able to learn from each. The greatest thing we all have learnt (especially today) is that mistakes will be made and that it’s all part of the learning process.
It is the drive to understand what we are learning which makes us so eager for tomorrow.
Day Four – Krishna’s Blog
Day four at Anicca’s PPC Bootcamp involved an introduction to Google Analytics. We started off by learning how to track certweb pagesages so user interaction can be easily monitored via Analytics. It was fascinating to see how a code inputted into various web pages can trace what traffic is actually interacting with, how long they spent on that particular page and also how a user has navigated themselves to your site or a specific web page.
Throughout the day we had the chance to explore the features of Analytics and extract information about the progress of the various campaigns we then accordingly suggested changes that could be made to improve these campaigns.
Google Analytics can also tell you where your audience are from (both geographically and digitally) and whether they are a returning visitor and how many of those converted. It provides complex and interactive results to illustrate data, which makes it easy to interpret and productive.
Ann’s explanation of the Google Analytics functions made it very easy to understand how they work and what you can do with the information it gives. A good example of this is when we found a sudden rise in bounce rate on a particular page. Ann had explained that a minor change on the company website had caused their bounce rate to rise.
Day Five – Scott’s Blog
If Friday could be described in one phrase, “roller coaster” would be quite suitable. With Thursday’s bomb shell (fundraising presentation task announcement) still fresh in our minds, candidates got cracking on with the seemingly challenging project that will really tell the difference between the “boys and the men”. “What about the two girls?” asked a candidate. “They’ll be fine” said Ann in a comical tone.
In the morning, Sam and I got the chance to join the PPC team and get more insight into what the team does on a normal days work whilst the rest of the group stayed in our class room.
As the day went on, we all got to rotate between us to go sit in the PPC room and get a feel of the working atmosphere within the room. It was kind of like gathering a small taste of what actually working for Anicca in the PPC team would feel like!
After lunch, one by one we all went to go speak to Ann about any questions we have about the task.
Whether it be a question related to content, or opinions on how we’re each approaching the task, Ann has been most informative and really wants to see each of us succeed in doing this presentation. Her knowledge is very valuable to everyone’s success on the course.
After everyone had gathered all the information they could possibly get, it was time for us to start leaving for the weekend. A perfect time to reflect on what ideas we came across and plan ahead for the presentation and to revise for our Fundamentals exam.
Practical Sessions on Setting up PPC Campaigns and Case Studies – by Ann Stanley, Boot Camp Commander
The candidates have completed 5 days of taught workshops on PPC and Analytics theory and have now moved on to the second part of the course – the case study, AdWords exam and practical!
They were set the following challenge:
- create at least 2 campaigns in their own PPC account, following the brief below
- prepare a presentation on their strategy and approach to the brief
- revise and pass the AdWords fundamentals exam (by Thursday morning)
- present their work to the staff (on Thursday afternoon)
We have been involved in a project with the Leicestershire domestic abuse charity LWA; to develop their new website and also a revenue generating site called Giving-Back.co.uk.
This charity fundraising site has many similarities to Justgiving.co.uk and VirginMoneygiving.co.uk, but due to the low joining fee is targeted at smaller charities and other non-profit organisations.
It also has the additional benefit of allowing the organisation to set-up their own 5 page website and also pages to promote and sell tickets to their events. Finally, all the profits of the site are channelled back to LWA, so it the only fundraising site “for charities run by a charity”!
The site is now ready to launch and we have successfully secured a Google charity grant of $10,000 per month (approximately £6,400) to promote the site. We wanted to use this as a case study and if the candidates’ campaigns were good enough; we could incorporate them into the live PPC account.
2) The task
The candidates were asked to produce at least 2 campaigns following the rules of the Google grant:
- to raise funds for LWA
- to attract users to Giving-back to generate as much revenue as possible
We deliberately provided limited information; as we wanted the delegates to do their own research, ask questions and get further snippets and details to see if they were on the right course.
Progress so far…
The task was announced on Friday morning and that day was allocated for them to carry out their research and to try and put a plan together. Immediately it had the effect of splitting the group by their ability to understand the problem and work out what they were doing. However, by 11am the first candidate was able to present their ideas, had worked out the target market, the USP’s of the Giving-back site and formulated a plan.
Many in the group struggled with the concept of doing the research on their own, asking the right questions and formulating their plans.
One by one the penny dropped and they started to understand the exercise. However, by the end of play, two delegates were still struggling and they needed some help to get enough information to allow them to work on their own over the weekend.
By Monday morning we had our first casualty; one of the team decided that they were looking for a career in design and the creative side of internet marketing and PPC was not for them.
It was also apparent that some had been able to do more work over the weekend and their campaigns were looking promising; whereas the task was beginning to separate the less able (or focussed) candidates.
Monday was another day of personal study. By Monday evening it was becoming obvious which candidates were able to focus and juggle the mix of revision, campaigns set-up and preparing their presentation.
This included 4 or 5 hours of taught workshop (having rescheduled this from Friday). This started to cement some of the team’s knowledge (their revision from the AdWords Learning Centre was paying off).
One of the delegates also found an old AdWords exam paper on the internet, which we went through as a group to illustrate the types of questions they might be given in the live exam. This helped them realise that they knew more than they realised but also illustrated how quickly Google changes, as about a quarter of the question were no longer relevant due to the changes in the functionality!
Unfortunately, this left 2 of the candidates looking very nervous about just how much they still had to get done in time. So I offered the group a “get out of jail free card”, and said that any of them could resign if they felt that PPC was not for them.
As expected another candidate decided to withdraw. This left 5 from the original 7 that started the week before.
In order to ensure that they got the most from the day, we started by clarifying the skeleton for the presentation.
Nearly everyone is looking confident today, however with their exam first thing and the presentation tomorrow afternoon; we are expecting some blurry eyes in the morning!