A team interested in testing our software told us,
“We are a company of 50 total employees. There are 7 of us in the PPC department. A perk of working here is over the Christmas holiday, employees are given 1 week to completely unplug. This break is offered to everyone except for 8 people that work here. Those 8 are 1 person in support and all 7 people in the PPC department.”
After hearing many variations of this story we started calling it the,
“Empty Hammock Problem” - PPC professionals who want to unplug but don’t have the freedom to without creating stress for themselves, colleagues and clients.
Whether or not it is important to be able to completely ‘escape work’ is a complex topic. But for many people working in PPC, unplugging isn’t even an option.
4 Unfortunate Truths Contributing to the ‘Empty Hammock Problem’ in the PPC Industry
1. Going on Vacation Isn’t an Excuse for Missing KPI Goals
Great analysts care deeply about the performance of their campaigns and know the day-to-day grind it takes to get results. The nuances of spending large amounts of money causes many analysts to fear unplugging.
2. PPC Work Gets Done on a Larger Screen Than a Phone
The major ad platforms have put energy into their iOS and Android apps. It’s a lot easier to sit in a hammock with a phone than a laptop. But bulk edits are still difficult to make using the apps. It could take hours on a phone to complete tasks that take seconds using tools like Adwords Editor or Excel on a laptop.
3. Great Reports Have a Human Touch
Analyzing, interpreting, and communicating data takes time. You can’t fake it. For many consultants and analysts they may be the only person with the background information needed to provide valuable notes.
4. PPC Results are Unpredictable and Exciting
The unknown is part of what makes PPC work so much fun. Unplugging from the dopamine hits of seeing improved results isn’t easy. Adjustments might need to be made at any point and you never quite know how the new ad copy you just wrote is doing, unless you check.
Ideas for PPC Pros Looking to Unplug
There are no easy solutions. The above truths are significant obstacles to overcome. But there is recourse for people looking to have a career in PPC with the freedom to unplug.
Join a Team With Shared Management Responsibilities
Sounds obvious right? But, this is the most common response from people we talk to that can unplug stress free, “I work with great people and we share campaign management responsibilities.” Trusting someone to run day-to-day management and provide notes to clients is a privilege some have. If being able to completely unplug for weeks at a time is important to you, surrounding yourself with a team possessing shared knowledge is one way to make it happen.
Software Can Help
Admittedly, I am biased on this one. We have seen how software can improve the lives of PPC pros. Those that are able to unplug pride themselves on utilizing technology to automate manual work and alerting. This ensures their time is focused on the tasks that require a human touch.
Ruthlessly Document Workflows
This takes time. The nuances of some PPC work is tough to get onto paper. But when campaign management isn’t shared, you must leave a roadmap for others to follow. This article from Melissa Mackey describing how to “Supercharge Your PPC Workflow” could be a template to at least help get started on documenting optimization and reporting tasks.
Benefits to Addressing the "Empty Hammock Problem"
Creating an environment where people can unplug:
- helps retain great people who want the option unplug
- can be used as a recruiting tool for attracting new talent
- allows people to completely decompress and come back from vacation refreshed
We hope more companies face the realities of the "Empty Hammock Problem" and explore ways to help their PPC pros unplug.