A day in the life of… a head of paid media at a digital marketing agency
Ian Hyde is head of paid media at Ayima. But what does a head of paid media do?
Here’s Hyde to tell us more…
(As usual, a reminder that Econsultancy has a jobs board, runs paid search, social and programmatic training and has paid media best practice guides (social and search) as well as display advertising template files.)
Econsultancy: Please describe your job: What do you do? And who do you report to?
Ian Hyde: I’m the head of paid media at Ayima, a specialist global digital marketing agency, where I report to the managing director, Nicky Applegarth. Our Paid Media team is made up of specialists across paid social, paid Search (PPC) and programmatic display who create and implement ad campaigns for clients in various industries such as finance, ecommerce, charity and gaming. My role within the team is to ensure those teams work cohesively, driving fantastic results across our entire client base while keeping up to date with the latest trends and platform releases.
E: What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
IH: Passionate: With so much change happening within the digital realm on what seems like a daily basis, you need to have a genuine love of the industry. If you don’t, you will be left behind. Having true passion for the job makes it a whole lot easier—whether it’s recommending a new tool for the team to test or a new platform for our clients to try out.
Adaptable: Overseeing a varied client base requires an assortment of skills on a daily (or sometimes hourly) basis. In the morning, you could be leading a cross-channel strategy meeting and in the afternoon, you may be working with the data science team to create machine-learning modules. You need to be able to manage multiple tasks while giving each your full focus.
Strategic: Whether results are good or bad, I always push the team to think about what else we could be doing. It may be looking at the most minute detail of a campaign or the overall strategy, but it is my role to make sure we are always on the lookout for what to do next and how we can make our campaigns achieve greater results next time.
E: Tell us about a typical working day…
IH: Most days start as soon as I wake up, if I’m honest. I tend to check into the team Slack first thing in the morning and catch up on emails I received overnight from our global clients to update any project task lists for the day or week ahead. Generally I try to get into the office before the rest of the team but, in London traffic, this plan isn’t always successful.
On Mondays, I have a stand-up meeting with my team to discuss the priorities for the week and any key things the team wants to share such as new client projects, interesting platform updates or even general results we’ve seen on some of the less traditional platforms we work with (Snapchat, Instagram Stories, etc.). Every other day of the week, I usually start the day in the office off with a client meeting or call.
At Ayima, we make communication between my department and any other department or global region extremely easy by using tools like Slack, Skype and even instant messenger. That being said, I still love a good face-to-face chat! Because of this, it’s pretty rare that we have any long-winded internal meetings which makes dedicating time servicing our clients the focus of my daily routine. Typically, I’ll have a new business proposal to work on alongside our business development team or some new marketing initiatives to brainstorm with our internal marketing team.
After all of that, the most important part of my day is always working with the various account teams in Ayima—listening to any issues, opportunities or performance challenges they might be having and helping to resolve them.
To end the day, I typically set up meetings with any of the latest platforms or ad tech in the market to ensure we are at the forefront of anything new and testing out the latest developments for our clients.
E: What do you love about your job? What sucks?
IH: Love: Seeing the genuine pride from team members when they get to present our clients with results that go beyond their initial objectives. My team varies in skill sets and experience levels so it’s equally incredible to witness a recent graduate help to win their first paid media client or a manager get results for a campaign that exceeded the initial objectives.
Sucks: Not being able to be in two places at once. If there were cloning machines, I’d be first in line!
E: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
IH: As cheesy as it sounds (though I do love a bit of cheese!), my goals are the client’s goals. Our team is always focussed on the KPIs set out at the start of any campaign and as we are performance-focused by nature, success and failure is black and white. Retention is also a key goal with both clients and within the team, so continuously ensuring both are satisfied is always my number-one priority.
E: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
IH: Ayima have some proprietary tools that I’m honestly not sure how I ever worked without! Query, our automated dashboarding tool, and Ayima Intelligence, our bespoke account auditing and performance tool, have become part of everything I do to ensure client results are achieved and, ideally, exceeded. Also, as I mentioned before, having all of our internal comms via tools like Slack is a massive time-saver and reduces the time I would normally spend writing and waiting on emails.
E: How did you become a ‘head of paid media’, and where might you go from here?
IH: I started out as a PPC exec and worked my way up to client partner over the course of six years, leading some of my previous agency’s biggest cross-digital accounts. The head of paid media role allowed me to combine two of my preferred roles; managing a team and helping clients solve their marketing problems. The aim is to grow the team to the same levels as the organic side of our business and help us achieve rapid growth for the clients we work with as well as for Ayima.
E: What work has excited you in the past year? Which brands?
IH: The growth of Amazon as a competitor to Facebook and Google. This will be the most significant change in digital and the whole of advertising since Facebook increased their focus on advertising.
E: Do you have any advice for people who want to do a similar role?
IH: Be curious. Accept the industry is always going to change. Don’t forget the fundamentals of what we do are to drive performance. If you’re starting out in a generalised digital marketing role, try to find ways to incorporate paid media into your current projects.