5 Ways PPC Accounts Are Like Toddlers

By Amanda West-Bookwalter | @Amanda_WestBook | Senior Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing

Sitting down to write a blog today, I felt totally frazzled and unable to focus on any of the amazing account work I’ve been doing or any of the cool features that have been released lately. Of course I’m an over-analyzer, so I thought about what the contributing factors to this could be. Have I eaten too much junk food today? Did I not get enough sleep last night? No, I just felt totally drained with anxiety and exhaustion. Then, it hit me. At home, I’m constantly dealing with my toddler and at work I’m dealing with my PPC accounts. Both of them are similarly draining for remarkably similar reasons. I thought all you PPC parents out there would appreciate reading a blog about this, as it might help you address your own PPC parent fatigue!


1) They Can’t Be Left Alone For Too Long


Every parent of a toddler knows that if things get quiet, it’s time to worry. You realize you’ve been quietly reading your book without any sticky little fingers grabbing your leg or anyone throwing legos at you for a solid 10 minutes. It’s panic time. You KNOW you’re walking into the other room to this:




PPC accounts are very similar! I can’t even remember the number of times something totally unexpected has happened to completely mess up my account. Once, a very even-keeled account blew up in terms of CPC and spend while biting the dust on conversions out of nowhere. I discovered it was because some article had gone viral about something very similar to our product. If I had not checked-in on this account, it could have totally tanked beyond anything I could salvage for the month or even the quarter.


Here are some ways you can prevent this kind of metaphorical flour from getting all over your account.


  • Set campaign budgets very close to what you expect them to spend daily
  • Set-up campaign alerts in the automated rules to at least email you if CPCs increase beyond normal or conversions are very low
  • Get daily account snapshots emailed to you or download an app that lets you easily check them from your phone, even if you think nothing is going to happen


2) There Will Be Unproductive Times During The Day


We all know babies sleep a lot, have a lot of trouble learning to go to sleep on their own, and have general crankiness than can make doing things during certain times of the day pretty useless. For instance, I know after a long day at daycare, my toddler is going to be super grumpy if I try to take him to the grocery store afterward. It’s just not effective.




My accounts are the same way. After getting to know an account through analysis and testing, I can start to know when it’s just going to fall asleep in the car instead of bringing qualified visitors to my site. If I try to manage my accounts like this won’t happen, I’ll be wasting tons of money.


Here are some suggestions to best optimize your account according to when it’s going to work best for you.


  • Use Heat Maps to determine your bid modifiers for day-parting
  • Consider all the ways to use day-parting data


3) Leaving Them With Someone Else While You Relax Is Never Relaxing


Like toddlers, your PPC accounts are fragile little things that are important to you. Leaving them in the wrong hands can cause a disaster, so it’s really hard to relax when you’re just thinking about all the things that could be going wrong while you’re gone.




Our own President Jeff Allen wrote this awesome post on how to ensure you can take a real vacation from your accounts without freaking out the whole time. It’s really all about putting in time to prepare everything while you’re out!


4) You Just Want To Talk About Them


It’s really hard when you’re a parent of a toddler to shut up about them. They do all this new and adorable stuff every single day. Tonight, my toddler went into his room and got into his rocking chair by himself when he was ready for bed. It was so amazing. If you don’t have a toddler, you might have fallen asleep during that sentence.


PPC is exactly the same. I bore my husband to death chatting his ear off about account stuff sometimes, and he can never give advice or insight into my issues. He just very politely nods and pinches himself to stay awake.




Most of us try to keep account talk to just other account managers the way that parents try to keep baby talk to other parents. But, never fear, if you happen to be a solo account manager at your company, there are some GREAT resources for chatting with the industry. Well, for starters, you’re on PPC Hero and our comments section is a good place to start!


  • #PPCChat on twitter. This is a weekly chat about a pre-selected PPC-related topic. It happens every Tuesday at 12 PM  EST, but you can jump on to chat about any other PPC-related item at any time!
  • Reddit.com/r/ppc is a forum for chatting about PPC that’s pretty popular. 5,409 readers the last I checked!
  • Of course, if you want the ULTIMATE social PPC experience, you really need to go to Hero Conf. I’ve been every year except for the year I was literally having a baby at the same time, and it only gets better.


5) Sometimes They Defy Logic


You won’t always understand a toddler. Sometimes they just bust out some weird stuff that leaves you saying “uhm…ok…?” and that’s on a good day.




PPC accounts are no different. Best practices are what we all tout as the thing to do on your account to make them awesome, but they don’t always work. Our own Kevin Klein recently wrote about the “epidemic” of best practices. The point is that not all accounts will react the same way to optimizations.


Once, I had an account that was such a mess when I inherited it that it needed to be totally restructured for me to even make sense enough of it to begin optimizing. But, it performed SO MUCH worse after I restructured. I reverted right back and woefully began learning the terrible, awful structure someone I could only assume was themselves a toddler had created.


To avoid this pitfall, ensure you research and test, test, test everything, especially huge optimizations like restructures. I wrote an article on how to make the case to clients for a restructure that can be helpful if that’s what you’re planning!


In Conclusion


PPC accounts and toddlers obviously have a lot in common, and both can be a huge drain on your time, energy, and money if you aren’t careful with how you manage them. I’m not here to tell you how to manage a toddler, but hopefully this post helped with some of your PPC account management woes!