How to Lose an Account in 10 Days

As a millennial, I have a love for romantic comedies from the early 2000s. One of my favorites is How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. I’ve owned the movie on VHS, DVD and now Digital, and have probably watched it over a hundred times. A few of the Granular folks were recently talking about how easy it can be to lose a client with small mistakes, and it came to use to bring this back to my favorite movie. How would you lose an account in 10 days?

In the movie, Andie says “I’m going to limit myself to doing everything girls do wrong in relationships. Basically, everything we know guys hate.” If we look at this from a new client perspective, we can easily see the things done to lose an account super easily. 

Day 1: The Love Fern – Killing Your Campaign Performance

One of the most comical parts of the movie, and something I still reference today, is the “Love Fern.’ If you’re a fan of the movie you’ll know that Ben let the Love Fern die by not paying attention to it. 

Andie says the fern “just like our relationship. A helpless little baby in need of tender, loving care”

When I’ve taken care of plants, I tend to become over-obsessed, constantly checking on the leaves, if there is enough water, and moving it around my apartment. Overanalyzing a new account is the same way – if you are constantly making changes, it’s hard to know what is actually working. Some of the other ten reasons correlate to the love fern (or the love overall).

Day 2: BULLSH!!T MOMMA – Following Google’s Recommendations

You may have seen a handful of Google Ads recommendations that just do not make sense for the client. From my experience, this tends to be budget related. Most clients will share a set budget with you, which is why we set daily budgets to a specific level. When I see Google recommending an increase, I just want to yell “BULLSH!T Google!”

Day 3: Poker Night – Mixing What Doesn’t Work

Mixing things that don’t belong together is pretty much what we saw when Andie started bringing in her heart-shaped pillows and potpourri during Ben’s poker night. These two things just didn’t go together that well, and neither does mixing keyword types! 

One of the easiest ways to tank performance and lose that client is mixing brand and non-brand keywords in the same ad groups or campaigns. Give those Brand keywords some love and separate them out for their own budget and return on ad spend.

Day 4: Couples Counseling – Google Reps, You Try to Listen

Towards the end of their relationship, Andie and Ben go to couples counseling sessions to try to get through the miscommunication they’ve been having. We can pretty much say that Google Reps are our form of counselors when it comes to our relationship with Google – they are there to listen and offer sweet nothings, while also helping us out. While a lot of what they say can be helpful, only we know what’s going on within the account and in the client relationship as we’re the ones communicating with them. Therefore, while our Google Reps are there to help, they could potentially give us some wrong information when we know what actually needs work.

Day 5: The Photo Album – Mashing Together Responsive Ads

When you have photos of your significant other when they were kids, why would you not use technology to compile yourself and them to see what your future child would look like? This is exactly what Andie does, and what uploading every single image your client has into a responsive display ad. It might seem like a great idea because giving the algorithm everything it wants – except it could have the opposite effect, by having only one single image be the top performer when you are trying to compile everything at once.

Day 6: You’re So Vain – Blaming The Client

According to, “You’re So Vain” is about a self-obsessed lover who in fact just loves themselves too much. We’ve all got that client who says they are the best, but we’re not going to sing and scream that directly to their face as Andie does. We compromise on anything we might disagree with and work together to help the business.

Day 7: Obsessive Compulsive Checking In – Constantly Checking Performance

Andie’s friend constantly checks in on her new beau, which eventually drives him away. It’s what we might want to do when reviewing a new account. However, sometimes less is more! Once you’ve got a media plan and structure set, you really don’t need to look at all those optimizations you’ve already made right away. It takes time, whether in love or advertising.

Day 8: Moving Too Fast – Auto Applying Those Recommendations

Sometimes what looks too good to be true is, especially if looking at Google’s recommendations for all the things that can improve the account. We are performance-driven, which means we may want to jump through hoops to reach the KPIs set by a client as quickly as possible. 

However, we need to remember that taking our time, analyzing the data and making data-driven decisions to back up our recommendations is how accounts succeed. It’s taking the time to do all of this that helps clients respect and trust us. Would we want to jump into a relationship and move in within seven days? Ideally not.  So why would we apply all the recommendations in the same time frame?

Day 9: Missed 3 Pointer – Not Actively Watching the Account

You sure can miss a lot if you’re not checking in on your account, or if you even get distracted by something like Ben does when Andie asks for a Diet Coke. While giving an ad platform enough time to optimize and learn is a good thing, it’s also not the best to not check in at all! If you look away for a few days, it’s possible that spend increased more than you had expected, or a negative keyword was forgotten that made search queries super irrelevant. 

Day 10: Celine Dion Concert – Measuring the Wrong KPIs

The client tells you what they want, which is tickets to the Knicks game. Yet, you end up giving them Celine Dion tickets. That’s definitely not what the client wants! This would be like if the client asked you to measure ROAS to a certain level and you tell them their CTR is the strongest it’s ever been. The lack of communication, or even lack of knowledge of advertising KPIs, could cause an issue between the two of you that easily could have been prevented.

At the end of the film, Ben eventually gets over all of the things Andie had done over the past ten days when he finds out why they were occurring. It could happen that a client is ready to leave you right after they signed on, for any of the reasons above. However, if you are transparent and open with a client about performance, they’re more likely to stay a client than a disgruntled ex… And everything becomes happily ever after!