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S2 E2: Account Suspensions, PMax, and PPC - with Hannah Lewis, Lounge Underwear - PPC Ponderings Podcast

S2 E2: Account Suspensions, PMax, and PPC - with Hannah Lewis, Lounge Underwear - PPC Ponderings Podcast

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In this episode, Kirk chats with the Head of PPC Affiliates at Lounge Underwear, Hannah Lewis. Hannah is a razor sharp PPCer who is also a self-acclaimed outdoor activities enthusiast. Hannah’s job at Lounge Underwear means she is always looking for a new way to target the right person through PMax, while handling the inevitable ad suspension sure to haunt her work. How does one utilize PMax with creative limitations? Listen on for some tips!

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Guest Biography

Head of PPC and Affiliates at Lounge Underwear with extensive knowledge in Paid Search, Shopping, Display and Analytics. Hannah is also experienced in other Digital Marketing channels including Paid Social, Affiliates and SEO and is located in historic Birmingham, UK.

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Episode Transcript

Chris Reeves (00:02):

Welcome to season two of the PPC ponderings podcast. In this season, we're platforming people we don't personally know well. But who do know PPC? Kirk is a big fan of making new friends. So look at these episodes as friendly chats between two new friends learning about PPC together. Today we join Kirk as he has a conversation with the Head of PPC and Affiliates at Lounge underwear, Hannah Lewis. Hannah has great experience navigating ad restrictions and Google policies, and is just generally knowledgeable about all things PPC. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy our conversation with Hannah.

Kirk Williams (00:41):

Yeah. So Hannah, maybe you just start by giving us a little bit of intro on like where you come from, where you're based who, who is the real Hannah?

Hannah Lewis (00:49):

Perfect. So I'm Hannah Lewis. I am based in the UK in Birmingham, and I work for a company called Lounge Underwear, a UK based company but operates globally. So a bit about Hannah, I’m British if you can't tell by the accent. <Laugh> love everything. All things British, I guess I enjoy the weekends in the great British countryside and lots of walks would be everything like that really. So, yeah,

Kirk Williams (01:21):

So I apologize for not knowing my, my UK I've been to the UK a couple times, mostly London and then Brighton. There was a conference down there. I would love to visit just more, you know, of different around the countryside Is Birmingham in the country

Hannah Lewis (01:36):

Technically. So Birmingham's the central of the UK. So it's as far from any sea as you can get. But I'm actually from Manchester originally between Manchester and Liverpool. So very cool place of the country really. That's where obviously a lot of good music's produced.

Kirk Williams (01:54):

Okay. Yeah, absolutely. Chris and I are both big Beatles fans, so definitely some point. I would love to you know, love to make it back there and make it the Liverpool and, you know, walk Abby Road and all that stuff. And, and, okay, so then yeah, what do you, so you're, you're the farthest from the ocean in some ways, but still probably not that far. Be in the UK. About how far would it be?

Hannah Lewis (02:20):

Far is like two hours <laugh> <laugh>. So it's really not far.

Kirk Williams (02:24):


Hannah Lewis (02:24):

Awesome. It's essential of the country. Essential as you can get.

Kirk Williams (02:27):

Yeah, that's, that's really funny. So we're in, so Chris and I are based in Montana. Sorry, my camera kind of sometimes goes fuzzy. Chris and I are based in Montana in the US and like the nearest other city. I mean we're a fairly small city. How big is Birmingham? How many people?

Hannah Lewis (02:46):

We're the second biggest city in the uk so just behind London, so 5 million I think.

Kirk Williams (02:52):

Oh, okay. So yeah, small, very small town. So we're like, we're the biggest city in Montana and there's like 150,000 people here. And we are the next, you know, the next city over Bozeman is about the next biggest one. That's where a lot of people think of Montana cuz they ski and stuff and that's like a two hour drive, so that's like, it takes us like two hours to get just to the next city. So that's, that's amazing. Yeah. Oh cool, cool. Are you into like water sports or you said you like walks around the, do do you like biking or?

Hannah Lewis (03:26):

Yeah, absolutely. Anything outdoors really. So water sports, I did snow sports for a while cause it's super easy to kind of fly over to the Alps and things like that from where we’re based. But yeah, anything where I can get outside when it's not like minus five degrees. So

Kirk Williams (03:43):

Yeah, that's, that is an amazing statement. That's easy to just quick zip over to the Alps, do some. It is,

Hannah Lewis (03:49):

It's like an hour on the plane. <Laugh>.

Kirk Williams (03:52):

That's amazing. Ugh. Cool cool. Yeah, the nearest I'm not a skier, but a lot of people here are in the nearest place as Red Lodge for us, which is about an hour drive and so, okay. Not too bad. They get to do their scene and I, I choose life.

Hannah Lewis (04:08):

Yeah. <laugh> <laugh>.

Kirk Williams (04:12):

Well cool. Well great to meet you Hannah. I'm excited to, yeah, learn a little bit about what you all are doing with PPC you know, some of the tactics, ex, that sort of thing. What, what specifically do you do for for Lounge, what’s your role?

Hannah Lewis (04:28):

I am head of PPC and affiliates, so I'm really stuck into the every day of ppc, everything from managing like the team who kind of work on the day-to-day or the way up to the strategy and how that kind of oversees against all the other digital marketing channels. So yeah, I've been at Lounge now for three years, but lounge is only seven years old, so it's like half the time that lounge has been alive really. So I've seen it go from something so small to really getting on that global platform like it is now.

Kirk Williams (05:05):

Yeah, that's really cool. Yeah, and congratulations for that and you know, what, what you've contributed as well. What would, okay, so what would be maybe like the greatest PPC challenge that you all have there and, and, and how are you solving it?

Hannah Lewis (05:20):

Obviously being a lingerie and underwear brand, it poses a lot of cha challenges with approvals and disapprovals and obviously negative keywords and everything like that. I would say probably the biggest challenge that we have currently is with the move over to Performance Max and first party data, we actually are not able to jump on those as quickly. We have a lot of limitations where we can't actually integrate first party data into Google. We have issues where we can't really win a lot of assets on pax, so it's very, it's trying to find solutions around it and trying be as out of the box as we can be in the space that we have. But obviously with the future of PPC really going towards that like first party data, it is certainly a challenge. And I know it's a challenge that a lot of our competitors have too, so it's just trying to remain as agile as we can be.

Kirk Williams (06:21):

Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> let's see. Yeah man, I have, I have so many questions. One, one question maybe like a big one for me would be how do you solve the problem of, you know, your audiences being so broad in PPC? Because in some ways, like, you know, for the most part, every single person on the planet, hopefully <laugh> is potentially a customer right at, at some level for underwear, right? And so like how do you solve the problem of, I mean that can be a budget constraint too. Like some people would look at that and say, wow, that's really cool. You know, anyone can be our customer. Those of us who have been marketing long know that that's, that can actually be a challenge cuz like when everyone's your customer, especially if you have a lot of competition, it can be really difficult to actually determine who it is, target them and sell to them. So, so like what are some ways that you solve that challenge? Do you have like specific personas within the broader market of, you know, everyone that you're, you're targeting? What are some thoughts there?

Hannah Lewis (07:21):

So, although I guess under West for everyone, what we cater for at Lounge is mainly women's lingerie. So obviously that's more like more so a certain age bracket that's looking for like the more lacy and sexy terms. So it's very much, we layer a lot of demographic targeting over it, especially when we can't use the likes of first party data to get insights when directly inputting that into Google. So we layer a lot of demographics, but we also really try and be a little bit out of the box with how we use like search data in that as well. So we'll create like custom intent audiences based off people searching for our competitors. I mean our competitors are the biggest household names out there. I mean they're, they're massive fashion brands. Mumbai, some of the most famous women in the world really. And so to try and kind of jump on that, we use a lot of like custom intent to try and build something from the, that search data. And then a lot of demographic layered on top of that as well.

Kirk Williams (08:28):

So with match types kind of changing how they have been, you know, I think most people probably listening to this would be a little bit familiar with how match types have just kind of increasingly gotten broader in a sense. Right. In terms of like utilizing intent stuff and not just, this is the, you know, especially like exact match phrase match, this is the exact phrase someone typed in. What like, like what, how are you utilized, how are you thinking about match types along with those audiences that you had said?

Hannah Lewis (08:57):

Yeah, it's a little bit tricky because with the products that we sell can come a lot of problematic terms at the same time. So when you have something like broad match you really, it's really tough to stay on top of like negate and out search terms and things like that. What I would say is we use a, a combination, so we have like campaigns that are made to be that cast in the net wide and bringing in like those new terms, whether it's like looking for trends or a new product that people are searching for out there because it's trending on TikTok. So that's where a lot of our audiences anyway. And then we use that and apply it to other campaigns that are, are more an exact match and phrase match. So we just ha it's a lot easier to control when you've got a more generic campaign that's cast in that broad net and then applying it and across other campaigns as more exact and phrase to really drill down further what that customer wants and give them the best user journey as well.


Cuz that's what I found with Board Match you are, they might be looking for a very specific type of underwear or loungewear and you are gonna end up placing them on the website in, there's very different location and we've seen that that affects conversion rates and bounce rate and things like that. So it's just really trying to create as much of a, a hybrid strategy as we can to really make sure that we're remaining relevant in Google's eyes and we're not kind of dropping ourself out of any auctions by not adapting, but also using a more manual process laid on top.

Kirk Williams (10:41):

Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. and so then do you have Yeah, I really love that, that strategy. Like do you have then different performance targets for let's say more of the broader net you know, broad match audiences stuff as you do like more of the focus here are core terms, let's hit 'em with exact and that sort of thing?

Hannah Lewis (11:00):

Yeah, exactly. We definitely allow broad match to have a lower return. It's more of our, it very, very generic anyway, extremely upper funnel, it tends to be. So we allow that to kind of sit a little bit lower and in many cases it ends up when you look at like lifetime value or how they perform once they get to the site, you end up making that back just not necessarily in the attribution model that is set. So when we started to look beyond PPC it definitely made sense to kind of have that approach and then we just allowed the other campaigns to maybe set a little bit higher to really balance out and create something that works for the business.

Kirk Williams (11:42):

Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, I I love that. And I think that's something that I, I think it's something like, I've been in the industry for like 10, 11 years, something like that. And I feel like I've definitely seen a really healthy trend of, to like digital marketers becoming more and more aware of how I important it is to manage their channels well, but also like, pursue overall business growth and how their channels are affecting other things too. Right. And I think that's just such, such a healthy thing. So rather than just trying to always like only silo and grow our channel seeing like, hey, if we push, you know, this broad campaign with all of these you know, these ROAS targets and these audiences and we see like our email list growing and we see like organic search, brand growing and things like that, that's like a huge win for the business and like that's what's gonna help grow the business overall. Absolutely.

Hannah Lewis (12:32):

And we're such a small brand that, well I say small brand, we're, we're definitely growing, but we're still in that growth phase and we're still very much super reactive to these things and able to really look at that gr wider like scheme of things and we can really measure like that brand uplift and sat every day with the paid social teams, the SEO teams we're all together. So we can really share that insight and I think that's what's really helping kind of have that business growth mindset instead of just putting my PPC hat on all the time.

Kirk Williams (13:07):

Yeah, I love that. So then, you know, you had mentioned performance Max pax where does that, like, where's that working in your strategy right now? Like what do you, what do you think about pax?

Hannah Lewis (13:19):

Yeah, so I think as everyone, I was very skeptical to begin with and I cannot tell you how many tests I've done to compare it to standard shopping and really try and create something that works for us. We're very, very limited with how we use PMax. We actually mainly use it just for shopping because we can't, we just get rejected assets all the time. But and we really wanna keep search as it is, although we're testing those elements of, of trying to see the incremental value of adding search into pax. But I would say it, it's definitely, it definitely really works for us. We, we see, obviously shopping as a whole is a lot more visual. We've got some great products out there and people really wanna see detail and how it's gonna look and how it's gonna fit before they purchase a product that's so personal to them.


So I feel like that side really works. So it's just really trying to create something with PMax that we, that works in the way that standard shopping works and still trying to apply as much of a manual approach to it as we can, but then really leaning on how, like those great parts of the algorithm, they're actually genuinely work. So we have strategies in place, so we have like our, our normal products that are, are filtered in, but then we have a campaign for new end products that we want to push a little bit harder because they might not have reviews yet. And we want to really get that name out there that we now do this type of product all the way down to campaigns for high discount because we know that that's gonna work for conversion rate. And we also have like a brand campaign to really apply like negatives from PMax into like that brand campaign as a standard shop to really keep that separate. So we're, we've been really testing different areas and at the minute it's really working for us.

Kirk Williams (15:17):

I love that. And, and just to be clear, so when you were talking about PMax and you noted, you know, you have asset disapproval issues, so you're, you're building like you're leaving the assets out and kind of that tactic that's almost serving it like smart shopping campaigns, is that, is that what you mean?

Hannah Lewis (15:31):

Yeah, yeah. It is because of our limitations mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, we have been testing flat lays and things like that in there, but com we don't, we just don't have that creative available always everything shop very campaign heavy on models and, and Google just isn't, it really struggles to allow that, especially in like a display in YouTube format.

Kirk Williams (15:51):

Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So being a, being a pro on facing disapprovals within, within Google, what are maybe some yeah, what are some tips you have for other people who also in their industries for whatever reasons, sometimes they can, they can struggle with disapprovals constantly?

Hannah Lewis (16:08):

Yeah it can be extremely frustrating and what I've really learned is that it's okay that we might have disapprovals, let's lean into something else that really works. So we might not be able to run assets, but how can we really change our shopping imagery to be as strong as possible and really stand out? How can we really optimize the feed to, to, to be that next level and to really expand our like impressions and impression share and how we're, we're shown on the SERP in a way that we wouldn't be able to do with other assets. So it's just really leaning into the things that the other areas and making them the best possible way that they can be. And in the meantime, really trying to fight to throw away around approvals, whether it's, and if the problem is an image, we'll then look at ways around it. Like we started shooting flat lays because of that, or if the problem is a certain, like key word or search term, looking at ways that you can like, pivot that message into really work. We've, we've noticed if you just take out lingerie and put underwear, it might get past the Google Service. So it's just a test and learn mindset and just really not giving up on it. There is something out there that works for everyone. I believe that.

Kirk Williams (17:30):

That's awesome. It, it's not a surprise hearing, you know, all of how willing you are to just adapt and figure things out in that, that, you know, the business is growing like it is. So it sounds like you guys are, you guys are scrappy and figuring it out. I love that. So

Hannah Lewis (17:41):

<Laugh>, absolutely.

Kirk Williams (17:43):

Cool. Cool. I, I think that's about all I have for today. Like, you know, our objective is to just get in chat, like learn what we can. We've learned so much from you, so thank you so much. Where can we, where can we find you online? Do you, are you on Twitter or Yeah. Do you talk PPC anywhere or?

Hannah Lewis (18:01):

Yeah, mainly on LinkedIn. I'm Hannah Lewis, Hannah, Jade Lewis on LinkedIn, I believe. So that's the best place to find me. If, if you struggle and apply the filter that I work at lounge underwear, that's how I get to Google. And that's the place, that's where I really interact with all things Google and definitely share insights of like everything like what I do and how we can, we can really better our strategy.

Kirk Williams (18:27):

Fantastic. All righty. Yeah. Head, head over to LinkedIn and give Hannah a follow. So thank you so much Hannah. It was it was a delight to talk to you today.

Hannah Lewis (18:34):

Yeah, so nice talking to you too. Thank you.

Chris Reeves (18:38):

We hope you enjoyed today's conversation. Stay tuned for the next episode of the PPC Ponderings Podcast. Keep learning PPC, if you are a person with a brilliant PPC tactic that the world needs to know about, please apply to be a podcast guest online at If you're enjoying these podcasts, please make sure to leave us a review on whatever your preferred podcast provider is. But in the meantime, may the auctions be ever in your favor.

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Kirk Williams
@PPCKirk - Owner & Chief Pondering Officer

Kirk is the owner of ZATO, his Paid Search & Social PPC micro-agency of experts, and has been working in Digital Marketing since 2009. His personal motto (perhaps unhealthily so), is "let's overthink this some more."  He even wrote a book recently on philosophical PPC musings that you can check out here: Ponderings of a PPC Professional.

He has been named one of the Top 25 Most Influential PPCers in the world by PPC Hero 6 years in a row (2016-2021), has written articles for many industry publications (including Shopify, Moz, PPC Hero, Search Engine Land, and Microsoft), and is a frequent guest on digital marketing podcasts and webinars.

Kirk currently resides in Billings, MT with his wife, six children, books, Trek Bikes, Taylor guitar, and little sleep.

Kirk is an avid "discusser of marketing things" on Twitter, as well as an avid conference speaker, having traveled around the world to talk about Paid Search (especially Shopping Ads).  Kirk has booked speaking engagements in London, Dublin, Sydney, Milan, NYC, Dallas, OKC, Milwaukee, and more and has been recognized through reviews as one of the Top 10 conference presentations on more than one occasion.

You can connect with Kirk on Twitter or Linkedin.

In 2023, Kirk had the privilege of speaking at the TEDx Billings on one of his many passions, Stop the Scale: Redefining Business Success.

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