This month we chat to Kate Kuilman, Vega Brand school graduate and freelance paid media specialist. Expert in Google Ads (Search & Display), YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter advertising, Kate uses her specialist knowledge to help a range of clients, including Ole!Connect, Hoorah Digital and Names & Faces to reach new users and increase their e-commerce performance.

Describe yourself in 3 words

Kind, analytical and ambitious

When I was little I wanted to be a…

I could never decide on one thing I wanted to do that was able to combine the creativity I craved (despite my complete lack of technical artistic skill) and the analytics I naturally leaned towards. But when the adults would ask, “a vet” seemed to be the most easily accepted response.

What exactly does a freelance paid media specialist do?

As a paid media specialist I help brands get their creatives and messaging in front of their target market. Depending on the KPIs set by the client we work together to optimise the targeting, messaging and overall consumer journey to help boost awareness/leads/sales/revenue.

What do you love most about your job?

I love the certainty and accuracy in which we can attribute the spend used on advertising to overall performance. Being able to understand the impact the ads have had and report back exact numbers to clients that help understand how users are engaging with their content is always rewarding.

How do you stay on top of all the changes and developments in the PPC landscape?

I am lucky to have clients that span industries, business sizes and KPIs. Working in different spaces and objectives means naturally staying on top of what is happening to ensure the accounts are performing at their best. Having strong relationships with my clients also means a lot of time is put discussing strategies and learnings from each other that help increase everyone’s knowledge.

What are the longer term challenges facing e-commerce in South Africa?

The long-term challenges facing e-commerce in South Africa are tricky to predict. South Africans are the 3rd most discount obsessed shoppers in the world, and the constraints of our economy mean that shoppers are becoming more selective of where their money is spent. Going online means they are able to compare prices and discounts far more easily. While we are still lagging behind other developed nations in regard to our e-commerce penetration, we are catching up fast. Last year’s Black Friday saw South Africa record one of the biggest percentage growth in Black Friday specials and sales internationally.

As a country, South Africa faces multiple challenges when it comes to the growth of e-commerce. Historically the biggest obstacles have generally been high prices, poor quality and access of internet services, and the reliability and cost of product delivery. In addition, South African users are also concerned with online fraud and the security of their transactions. Continuing to address and improve upon these issues will be the main challenge. We are seeing online retailers offer more payment options to help cater for users with varying access to financial resources; and delivery times and accuracy are improving as technology develops. There has also been an increase in online discounts and sales, especially from the bigger retailers that have the resources to offer discounts on some of their products. Ultimately, retailers wishing to take advantage of the e-commerce boom will need to figure out how to overcome these hurdles at scale.

What makes a good PPC marketer?

There is no one thing. Everyone has their own way of structuring accounts and targeting users. Each channel has their own best practices, but depending on what the client is looking for will depending on the set strategy that a PPC marketer will use. Ultimately, being able to understand the users you are trying to talk to and how they behave online will be the most important aspect. Deciding how to use which channel, device or messaging and which stage in the consumer journey will help boost the overall digital strategy and results.

I absolutely despise…

Being late. I will be annoyingly early to every meeting.

My favourite TV show is…


My favourite tech gadget is…

Besides my iPhone? My Fossil Hybrid Smartwatch 🙂

When I’m not working, I’m…

Planning my next trip or meeting up with friends for a glass of wine