PPC is a growth industry. From humble beginnings in the dim and distant digital past (2000), paid search has grown to the point where in 2013 advertising represented an enormous 85% of Google’s $50+ billion revenue, and is likely to surpass that point in 2015.
Constantly evolving, PPC has become a multi-channel discipline. Search engines other than Google have now got in on the act, and the rapid development of mobile technology is a new frontier for PPC marketers to explore. Add to this the movement towards viewing PPC as an integrated marketing function, as opposed to a separate search strategy, and you have a lively and thriving industry — that just happens to be something of a Brighton speciality.
Dubbed ‘silicon beach’, Brighton and Hove are a hotspot of market-leading digital agencies. Home to the annual Digital Festival, the UK’s largest celebration of digital culture, each September Brighton buzzes with coding workshops, open studios and networking events. Year round, Brighton has freelancer and digital industry meet-ups attended by digital and marketing professionals from across the region. As a result, Brighton has become synonymous with digital innovation and creativity.
Brighton’s high density of digital agencies creates a high demand for PPC skills and experience. The additional ‘brain drain’ effect of London being an easy hour’s commute away, means homegrown Brighton PPC talent can be lured away by the bright lights (and salaries) of London. But in recent years, the ever growing demand for PPC skills has meant that London weighting aside, Brighton PPC salaries are roughly commensurate with London. This bucks the more general trend for Brighton, where the city’s popularity and high living standards can work against salaries in certain sectors.
Lucy Freeborn, Insight and Strategy Director at Brighton digital retail marketing agency Leapfrogg explained, “Finding younger and less experienced budding rocket scientists to join a PPC team is usually never a problem, as having two good Universities on the doorstop and great internship schemes in the city makes it very accessible for agencies looking to ‘home grow’ talent. But finding key senior hires does seem to be getting harder, which is a challenge we often scratch out heads about. We’d certainly welcome an influx of more experienced PPC professionals.”
At the moment, the PPC skills gap is filled by freelancers. In late 2014, the Telegraph listed PPC as one of the Top 10 highest-paid jobs you can do from home, listing an average freelancer salary at £23.97 per hour. The long hours and uncertain working conditions of a freelancer are not for everyone though, and Brighton’s charms should count for something. A former Londoner, Freeborn agrees, “Brighton (and Leapfrogg!) offers candidates great opportunities, working conditions and a fabulous work/life balance that I certainly welcomed after the experience of working in London agencies for more than 15 years.”
The relaxed working culture, high standard of living and cluster of world class digital agencies must surely mean the best PPC jobs are in Brighton and Hove. With it’s crucial mix of lifestyle and career opportunities, it’s difficult to think of anywhere else, certainly in the UK, with so much to offer experienced PPC professionals.