jacob owens unsplash

SMX West 2018: Interview with Brad Geddes

This interview is part of our SMX West expert interview series taking place between March 12 and 16th, 2018.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Brad Geddes, Founder of AdAlysis and industry legend. In fact, he’s so well known and respected in the search community that he may in fact be the busiest person at SMX this year.

Brad is giving an all day workshop on advanced AdWords certification and training as well as either presenting or moderating the following workshops:

  • Beyond Text: Mastering Other Ad Formats
  • Perfect Your SEM Testing: How & Why To Evaluate Everything
  • B2B SEM: Meeting Specific Challenges With Really Smart Tactics
  • Must-Have Reports For Search Advertisers
  • The Great SEM Toolbox Roundup
  • Advanced Audience Targeting & Management Tactics
  • Winning More Customers With E-commerce Offer Testing

Let’s hear what he had to say about his role in SMX and how he feels about his 2018 prediction:



Chandal: Hi everyone, I’m back at SMX West 2018 with Brad, the co-founder of AdAlysis. Thanks for joining us today for a few minutes. I know you’re involved pretty heavily in the PPC track this week. Tell us about your role at SMX.

Brad: I do a lot with SMX, even with the programming, what session we’re going to put on, and so forth. I’m moderating six sessions and I’m speaking at a session and I did a full day workshop on AdWords yesterday. I’m pretty involved with SMX overall.

Chandal: Wow! I didn’t realize you were involved in that selection process.

Brad: When you think about it, people come for the content, so what should be in the current content? We have calls – what sessions did we want? How well were they attended? What’s new in paid search? What are the topics that are going to be coming up soon? Then we lay out a session grid, talking through what needs to be programmed so that everyone is getting the information, and what is it against – because some people are not solo in just paid or organic. How does that need to layout so someone can have a good day with your program?

Chandal: That’s really interesting! Lots of tips there for anyone who’s hoping to speak here next year in the paid search track. Brad, you talked in our Digital Predictions 2018 and your ‘off-trend’ prediction was that humans will play a more important role than machines in PPC campaigns – this year anyways. Do you still think that’s the case?

Brad: Yes! Machine learning is great, right? I’m not going to derail against machine learning. But machines don’t have empathy, they don’t have prior knowledge, they don’t detect strategy, and they only work from how good the code is to how well it makes associations. CPA bidding is a straight trend that it is very good at, but marketing is about connecting with humans – it’s about empathy. So, humans I believe are going to continue to play a more important role than they are probably given right now. Everything is about ‘you’re going to lose your job’ – no. I mean, ten years ago, I had an employee who’s entire job was search forms – managed 40,000 search forms a month. That job shouldn’t exist. But ten years ago, it needed to be a job. It’s been automated now. Is he out of a job? Not by any means. Now, we’ve automated the stuff no one wants to do anyway, so what can we do that’s more creative? So machine learning, and machines in general, let humans be more human. How can I think about this creatively, what can I write that connects to the person? And let the machines manage things like bids and budgets. They’re fantastic at that!

Chandal: So still standing behind his prediction! We have gone as far as calling you ‘the father of Quality Score’.

Brad: That’s probably too much.

Chandal: Maybe it’s too much. But if you had only one piece to give to a PPC marketer to improve their quality score, what would that be?

Brad: Can I give two? Quality score is about how consumers interact with your ads. Step 1: organization of the account. This is such an important part. The next step is how they interact with the ads – so ad testing, ad creative (the human components!). These are the parts that people miss, yet it’s proven that if you write better ads (which is the only part of accounts users see), more people interact, you get better quality score and you get more customers as a business. It’s a win-win for everybody.

Chandal: Two really good pieces of advice there for everyone. Thank you so much for joining us. Thanks Brad, we appreciate your time!

Brad: Thank you so much.


Stay tuned for more coverage of SMX West to come!


Image Credits

Feature Image: Unsplash/Jakob Owens

Video property of Acquisio by Web.com

Chandal Nolasco Da Silva

Chandal Nolasco Da Silva

With nearly a decade of digital marketing experience, Chandal has created content strategies for both the biggest and sometimes the most unexpected markets, while developing strategic relationships with editors and publishers. Chandal contributes to some of the highest authority industry publications, has been featured in industry events and is thrilled to be Acquisio’s Content Director.

The First Machine Learning Marketing Platform
Built to Scale Search for Local Resellers & Agencies

Automate, optimize and track more campaigns, more profitably.