A Freelancer's Journey in Performance Marketing: Insights from Calum Devitt

Journey in Performance Marketing: Insights from Calum Devitt

Welcome to Marketer Interview, where we talk to the most exciting marketers in the industry.

Today, we’re thrilled to have Calum Devitt, a performance marketing freelancer with expertise in PPC, YouTube Ads, and Display Ads.

Calum has seven years of experience working in-house for high-growth VC-backed start-ups and recently transitioned to freelancing.

We’ll discuss his journey into marketing, career, and field of expertise.

First, can you tell us about your background and how you got into marketing?

Since a young age, I’ve wanted to work in marketing, specifically for startups.

I’ve always loved the idea of building out a business from an idea in my head.

I quickly realized that marketing and customer acquisition was fundamental for startups, so I decided on a career in marketing.

I did the Google Ads certifications online and landed a few free clients. From this I managed to get some great experience which allowed me to land my first-ever marketing job.

What are some of your biggest challenges as a performance marketing freelancer?

One of my most significant challenges is keeping up with the ever-changing performance marketing landscape.

With all the marketing platforms quickly introducing new features, keeping current and understanding what should be implemented in the accounts is essential.

An example of this is testing out Performance Max campaigns in Google Ads. I’m seeing excellent client results by testing this new campaign type.

Another constant challenge, particularly freelancing, is managing multiple business aspects simultaneously.

Previously my job was to manage performance marketing at one business. I now have to do business development, client management, and all the day-to-day elements involved in managing a business, like taxes. It can quickly become quite overwhelming.

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What do you think are the most critical skills for a performance marketer?

The most essential skill for a performance marketer is to be curious.

Performance marketing is a fast-changing industry. Therefore, you must constantly test new strategies and channels to optimize performance.

How do you measure the success of your campaigns?

It depends a lot on what the objective is for the business.

Generally, the main focus is to achieve a lower CPA or a strong ROAS. Still, the objective is sometimes to increase a company’s brand awareness and consideration by using channels like YouTube ads.

These metrics can be measured by running uplift tests. For example, at Carwow, we ran YouTube ads targeting consideration and brand awareness.

Over 28 days, we estimated that we got 117k new consumers newly aware of the brand.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to start a PPC marketing career?

I recommend going out and doing some of the Google Ads certifications.

Then, approach family and friends who are business owners or may be able to refer you to some business owners and ask if you can help them with Google Ads.

Even if they haven’t run them before, you can give them some great advice, having recently done the Google Ads certifications.

How do you stay current with the latest industry trends and changes?

The best way to keep updated on industry changes is to have a close relationship with account managers at Google and Facebook.

This, however, is not always possible, so one thing I’ve found works well is following influential people within the performance marketing industry on Linkedin.

An example of someone who gives excellent advice is Miles McNair, who gives great advice on PPC trends.

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Can you walk us through a successful PPC campaign you worked on?

At Secret Escapes, I launched YouTube ads while working closely with the team at Google.

We created weekly deal videos highlighting the best hotel offers of the week and built out custom audiences based on our best-performing search terms. This allowed us to target specific audiences with relevant creatives.

I managed to scale YouTube ads to multiple 6 figures with a strong ROAS. In addition, Google created a case study following the success of this campaign.

How do you approach targeting and audience segmentation in your campaigns?

It depends a lot on the marketing channel you’re using.

I used to test various interests on Facebook, but I now go quite broad as this works best.

For example, I test various audiences from the get-go on YouTube ads. These can include In-Market, Custom Segment, and Topic audiences, to name a few.

I’ll then run these for a few days, and you’ll quickly start to understand which audience is working best, and you can iterate from there.

What tools and software do you use for your job?

The main tools I use are the ones provided by Google. For example, Keyword Planner is fantastic for building paid search campaigns but also helps you identify and build custom segment audiences for display and YouTube ads.

I’m also a big fan of SEMRush for paid search competitor analysis, and I’ve also found Vidtao is excellent for YouTube ads competitor analysis.

What is the future of performance marketing, and how are you preparing for it?

The future of performance marketing is going towards a more automated and AI-driven future.

Over the last 7 years, I’ve noticed considerable changes in the platform, with Google slowly taking control from advertisers and pushing people towards more automated marketing campaigns.

This is evident with their new Pmax campaigns, which combines all their marketing channels with little control.

This is why it’s so crucial for performance marketing specialists to become less channel-specific and understand the entire marketing mix and how each channel can play its role in the marketing funnel.

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