How fitness and PPC account management follow very similar methodologies

Pete Baines, 
Pete, 

Anyone at Push who works with me knows that I am as much a nerd about fitness as I am about PPC.

So much so, that I have been tasked with penning my rantings to paper (or, in this case, a blog post).

The crux of my ravings is that fitness and PPC account management follow very similar methodologies for best effect. They are, after all, both performance measurement activities.

With that in mind, I want to run through one of the many ways in which these two activities are related. This is a pretty basic blog to start with, but if this post picks up any traction, I will cover more complex topics in the future.

Specificity

If you want to complete a marathon, what should you spend most of your time doing? Heavy squats and deadlifts? Or should you focus on building up stamina by extending the distance you can run? Probably the latter, right? It’s a basic example, but so many people waste time on an activity that isn’t specific to their goals. To achieve your goal as efficiently as possible, in both the gym and your PPC campaigns, ensure that your activity is as specific as it can be.

Consider a bodybuilder. They go through phases of gaining mass, then getting lean – you may have heard the phrase “bulk and cut”. Each of these phases of activity requires different activities to get the best results: calorie surplus or deficit; rep range considerations; higher or lower fatiguing movements, the list goes on. But all these considerations help achieve a specific outcome: either generating as much lean tissue as possible at the cost of some fat along the way or burning as much fat as possible while minimising the loss of lean tissue. To hit those goals the best, your activities must be aligned with them.

Planning with the end-goal in mind

In the PPC world, bodybuilding nicely parallels conversion volume & CPA, or in the case of e-commerce, revenue & RoAS. Does your customer want to grow their business aggressively? Or do they need their activity to be as efficient as possible? Your tests and planning must be built with this in mind. If your customer wants to 10x their revenue in 6 months, should you really be dropping your CPA targets as low as they can go while still maintaining auction position? Or should you be pushing your smart bidding settings up to the maximum acceptable target? Should you be cutting back to just long tail exact match keywords or should you be testing broad?

By that same token, if your customer’s goal is maximising efficiency for their budget, should you really be planning to dig into an as-yet untested channel? Should you be testing new audiences in your Discovery campaign, or getting rid of the ones that work the least well?

Limitations spark creativity

Begin with your customers’ end goal. This may limit the number of things you could be doing in the account, but limitations stimulate creativity. Your list of recommendations will form the basis of your roadmap for next quarter, so interrogate it thoroughly. If any of those recommendations don’t contribute to that ultimate customer goal, why are you doing it? If you have 10 hours to spend on this customer, will they get more bang for their buck if those hours are spread across both the specific and non-specific activity, or will can the specific activities benefit and give an even better return if you put more of your time into them?

You may find like me that your customer wants a bit of everything. A lot like the gym noobie who wants to jump on all the machines and doesn’t do a brilliant job at any of them. It’s your job to act as their “personal trainer”, who can get them out of that kid in a sweet shop mentality and focus on what really matters, or at least understand which actions should be the priority, and remind them of this when they get distracted. These can be tough conversations, but they separate the good managers from the great ones.