You may have read some of the SEO books suggested by Brian Harnish a while back. But perhaps an overlooked area for books is PPC.
After all, what more could you learn about paid media from a book when all the knowledge you need is online?
The issue with that is your webpages can 404 without you knowing or you might forget to bookmark them.
A book stays with you.
But the downside is books can become outdated pretty quickly. And unless a revised edition is published, you’re stuck with pages of knowledge from the past.
There’s also the problem that the majority of PPC-specific books are self-published.
That’s why you need an array of books to cover all bases and touch on the fundamentals which also make you think outside the box a little.
So this is my list of 12 “alternative” PPC books you should have on your shelf.
(Note: This list will include both physical copies and ebooks.)
Books for PPC Beginners
As a beginner in paid advertising, the breadth of knowledge and resources can be overwhelming.
If you’re on the lookout for literature targeted at beginners, or you want a refresher, these books are for you.
Paid Search Boxset by Click Consult
Why have one ebook when you can have 10?
Click Consult’s Paid Search box set contains a variety of ebooks to help you future-proof your campaigns and analyses your progress.
The set also has guides on Google Data Studio, Amazon Advertising, and Microsoft Ads, as well as a display ads cheat sheet.
The Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising by Brian Meert
With more than 1.5 billion active users every day, Facebook has a large pool of potential customers. That’s why the advertising platform is so good.
But advertising on a social media network is different from a search network.
Guides like “The Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising” by Brian Meert can help if the learning curve is a little steeper.
Meert gives step-by-step advice and tips on how to create the perfect Facebook ad.
The Art of the Click: How to Harness the Power of Direct-Response Copywriting and Make More Sales by Glenn Fisher
This book isn’t strictly about PPC but the art of copywriting and sales plays into online advertising.
“The Art of the Click”, says Glenn Fisher, lies in the power of direct-response copywriting. He gives some “industry secrets” on how to get better at copywriting and ultimately get more clicks.
This is perhaps geared more toward landing pages, but that’s all part of the sales funnel – and PPC professionals play a vital role in that.
The Copy Book by D&AD
Originally published in 1995 but updated for a modern audience, the D&AD’s “The Copy Book” showcases the art of ad copy.
There’s a reason it was a best-seller. “The Copy Book” features industry greats like David Abbott, Barbara Nokes, and Dan Wieden amongst many others.
While this is geared more toward print, the advice from “The Copy Book” is easily transferrable into paid media. It’s a must-have for any PPC professional.
BookBub Ads Expert: A Marketing Guide to Author Discovery by David Gaughran
David Gaughran is a writer and his tally of Air Miles would make Carmen Sandiego blush.
In his book, “BookBub Ads Expert: A Marketing Guide to Author Discovery,” Gaughran takes a look at the niche market of online advertising for books.
You might not be writing ads for books but there’s plenty of transferable information for any industry as Gaughran runs through how to make passive users into paying customers with the right images, optimized targeting, and enhanced bid strategies.
Books for Intermediate Users
At an intermediate level, you know the basics well but you’re not an “expert” (whatever that means anyway). That means there’s still room to grow and bolster your expertise.
And some literature can help you get there. The following books will add to what you already know and build on it.
Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
In the world of advertising, David Ogilvy is a legend. Although he passed away in 1999, and advertising has changed a lot since then, his words of wisdom still ring true today.
“Ogilvy on Advertising” contains over 200 pages of insight for anyone who needs it, from beginner to veteran – and the intermediates in between.
The purpose of the book is to learn how to gain more success with the ads you write.
As it says in the blurb, Ogilvy was “brutally frank and witheringly opinionated,” so keep that in mind.
Anti-Sell: Marketing, Lead Generation & Networking Tips for Freelancers Who Hate Sales Paperback by Steve Morgan
This is possibly one of the most unorthodox books in the list but it’ll speak to a lot of freelancers out there. “Anti-Sell” looks at sales from an unfavorable perspective.
In fact, the author Steve Morgan uses the word hate.
So why is a book about hating sales on the list?
Because freelancers still have to work and “Anti-Sell” gives helpful advice on how to increase sales, lead generation, and marketing.
What I like about “Anti-Sell” is the fact it has case studies from freelancers to bolster the points made. It’s a book of realism for the millions of freelancers out there.
Read Me: 10 Lessons for Writing Great Copy Paperback by Roger Horberry and Gyles Lingwood
As soon as I read the blurb for “Read Me,” I had to buy it.
At just under 200 pages, Gyles Lingwood’s book gives 10 lessons on ways to write top quality copy.
Again, not a PPC book in itself but knowing how to write good copy is a great additional skill for a PPC professional and it goes hand-in-hand with writing paid ads in terms of:
- Promoting a brand message
- Solving a customer’s problem
- Conveying ideas in a powerful way
How Brands Grow: What Marketers Don’t Know by Byron Sharp
To be at your best in PPC, you’ve got to know how the industry works.
“How Brands Grow: What Marketers Don’t Know” gives “evidence-based” information about how brands really grow, as well as insights into marketing and advertising as disciplines.
This book is about demystifying preconceived notions and getting to the heart of what actually works.
Books for Advanced Users
The following books take PPC into the technical realm.
AI is a major player in paid advertising with its versatility and automative capabilities.
That’s why the next three books are worth your time if you’re looking to take your PPC skills to the next level.
Digital Marketing in an AI World: Futureproofing Your PPC Agency by Frederick Vallaeys
One fundamental text on the subject of PPC and AI is “Digital Marketing in an AI World: Futureproofing Your PPC Agency.”
Frederick Vallaeys of Optmyzr gives his expert opinion on how to stay ahead as AI and machine learning become more ingrained in paid online advertising.
The book details what AI can and can’t do in PPC, what you can learn to boost your skill set, and where an agency can place itself in the future.
It’s relatively short at 155 pages, but there’s enough information to cover the essentials.
Paid Attention: Innovative Advertising for a Digital World by Faris Yakob
The key to a good PPC ad is grabbing and maintaining attention.
“Paid Attention: Innovative Advertising for a Digital World” by Faris Yakob gives real-world examples of campaigns that used behavioral marketing to grab eyes and turn that attention into sales.
It’s another general advertising book but the ideas from this book could work wonders for boosted lead gen and sales metrics.
The Choice Factory: 25 behavioural biases that influence what we buy by Richard Shotton
The final book in my list is also related to behavior but from a more esoteric perspective. The Choice Factory looks at how our decisions are influenced by learned behavior.
From there, Richard Shotton looks at how those behavioral biases can be used in terms of marketing.
It might sound manipulative but you won’t need a tinfoil hat to read this. It’s an interesting read about the unconscious ways we act with research and analysis.
PPC Is More Than Just Writing Ads
There’s a divide between organic and paid search and that there doesn’t need to be.
PPC isn’t like it was back when flashing banner ads populated your CRT screen. It now uses sophisticated technology and careful planning based on user data.
But none of this happens in a vacuum. And certainly not on an individual basis.
That’s why the aforementioned list of books can help widen the scope of what PPC means to the community, from beginner to advanced level.
And because some of the books are more generalized, they can be read by other digital marketing professionals and form a link where there wasn’t one before.
So get reading!