Trending December 2023 # Lost Toys Review: Restore Broken Toys In This Beautiful Puzzle Game # Suggested January 2024 # Top 16 Popular

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Puzzle games seem to be getting better and better these days.

Puzzle games seem to be getting better and better these days. The Room Two sent waves of “wow” across the mobile gaming world with its intricate brainteasers and stunning graphics. Simian.interface is another interesting 3-D game that will really get you twisted up.

Lost Toys mixes the 3-D puzzle with stunning graphics for a challenging game that involves flipping, twisting, and twirling broken, weatherworn toys until they return to their former glory…


Similar to The Room series, this game features hyper-realistic graphics that make it seem like you are in the room with these wooden toys. The foreground is sharp and detailed and presents the player with a hanging toy that is so meticulous that you can see the chips of old paint and water-damaged wood grain.

In the background, you can faintly see a dark, empty room filled with nothing but old, broken toys. As you solve puzzles, the room begins to lighten up and fill with color. It is as if you are breathing life back into a lost childhood with every toy you repair.

The haunting piano tunes that play in the background add an eerie element that conjures up images of empty baby bassinets and echoes of laughter that no longer fill the hallways.


When you start the game, you will be presented with a warped looking piece of wood that appears to be dangling from a nursery mobile. Although disjointed, you can tell that it used to be something. With a few twists of the sections and flips of halves, the object begins to take shape. When you have manipulated the wood into its proper order, the toy will appear and color will come back to the once-useless piece of junk.

After each toy is repaired, you will automatically move onto the next one. Each toy will start off broken and twisted. After you solve the puzzle, it will solidify and a new paint job will appear.

To manipulate the object and put the pieces of the toy back together properly, drag your finger upward, downward, or sideways across the wood. The toy will be in sections that can each be rotated clockwise or counter-clockwise. Plus, the sections can be flipped upside-down in halves. You can rotate the front section clockwise, rotate the back section counter-clockwise, and then flip the right half upside-down in order to turn a bunch of grimy wood into a fire truck.

You can rotate the entire object around in a 360-degree view to see all sides and angles. If you are having trouble seeing the wood take shape, drag your finger around on the screen to change the angle and see it from a different point of view.

You will only be allowed a limited number of turns to solve the puzzle. If you have rotated and flipped the wood four times without uncovering a toy’s shape, then you must go back a turn or two (or more) and try something else. Some sections might require multiple rotations at different times in order to end up in the right place.

Puzzles get harder as the game progresses. Sections go from being three, easy to distinguish portions of wood to being angled and backward, making it difficult to figure out what the final shape is supposed to be.

If you get stuck, you can get some help. There is a hint button in the upper right corner that will give you one free move per hint. There is no time restriction and no limit on how often it is used, so the hint option can be very helpful no matter when you need it.

The Good

It looks great. The imagery is stunning and adds to the haunting atmosphere of a simple puzzle game.

I appreciate the hint feature. There is no limit to how often it is used, so you can quickly move through a difficult puzzle if you get stuck.

The Bad

I’d like the option of being able to play the game at an unrestricted pace. It would be cool to be able to turn off the move limitation for a more relaxing game.


Lost Toys costs $3.99. The price is somewhat high for a game that offers fairly basic puzzles. However, the graphics are extraordinary, the game has lots of challenges, and the soundtrack lulls you into a relaxed state as you flip and rotate your toys back to life.


Fans of three-dimensional puzzles should check this game out. It looks great and has fun puzzles that are not too easy, but not too hard. While the price tag is a bit high, it is worth it for the many challenges that await you. Plus, you can replay levels with reshuffled puzzles for even more fun. This game is available on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Download it in the App Store today.

Related Apps

Zen Bound 2 is a similar 3-D object puzzle game. The Room Two has visually stunning imagery and a haunting theme.

Are you a fan of 3-D puzzle games? Do you think you will play Lost Toys?

You're reading Lost Toys Review: Restore Broken Toys In This Beautiful Puzzle Game

Star Wars’ Solo: Lando Toys Roundup (Aka Scoundrel Time)

Star Wars’ Solo: Lando Toys Roundup (AKA Scoundrel Time)

Today we’re having a peek at a collection of Lando Calrissian toys from the film Solo: A Star Wars Story. This is the first in a set of three films, all centered on the coolest outlaws in the classic film series. What we’re looking at today is the expression – that one, singular expression – through which actor Donald Glover’s projected the soul of Lando, a role originally commanded by Billy Dee Williams.

Donald Glover’s Lando from the movie Solo: A Star Wars Story reintroduces one of the most enigmatic characters in the Star Wars universe. He’s a good guy, but he’s not someone we’re apt to trust further than we reward him for his time and effort. Not because he’s unreliable, but because he’s unpredictable.

Before the film “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is released, we’ve got a familiar set of features to concentrate on when it comes to Lando. He’s a suave, powerful, sharp-dressing fellow. He’s been a smuggler and a gambler, and he’s not above hanging out at the dingiest of cantinas and Sabacc halls to get those credits.*

Above you’ll see a couple shots of the new Kessel Run Millennium Falcon with Lando, Han, and Chewbacca inside. You’ll also find a few new characters in the mix – droid style. Most important for our purposes here is Lando himself, donning the exact same set of clothing we’ve clocked him in in each other toy we’ve got our eyes on thus far.

We’ve got a Funko Pop! figure here with full-on bobbly-headed action. This is a true bobblehead (with spring in neck) Funko toy, the sort you do NOT want to hand over to a toddler. That toddler will most certainly pull Lando’s head off immediately. But because we didn’t do that, we can see Lando’s head (fully attached to his body) hosting that fantastic Lando-centric expression.

This Black Series Lando Calrissian (in the gallery above) is a toy that struck me to such a degree that I wrote a separate feature before it was released. It’s got the most detailed sculpt of the Lando brow available yet. Behold his expression.

Also notice above that this specific Black Series Lando – probably not all, but this one – is not a great dancer. He has two left feet. Literally, two left feet. He came that way. We love him anyway, just the same.

Next we’ve got a Lando from a 2-pack of action figures. The toy is titled “Star Wars Force Link 2.0 Lando Calrissian & Kessel Guard 2-Pack,” and it comes from Hasbro. Here you’ll find a super-duper tiny version of Lando with the simplest of features. Despite his diminutive stature, this itty-bitty action figure still has Lando sporting a smirk.

BONUS: There’s brand new Hot Wheels Lando Calrissian character car in the mix before the release of Solo. This is one of several Solo-centric Hot Wheels character cars out of boxes, on hooks right now – codename FJF84. At first this car might not seem to have the smirk, but – doesn’t it? Some character cars for Star Wars have appeared completely bonkers, but this one… this one seems to me to be pretty gosh-darned on-point.

This first wave of Lando action figures is all out in the wild – in stores – right this minute. Cross your fingers for the Lando universe’s continued expansion – through Solo and beyond!

Pathfinder: Wrath Of The Righteous Game Review

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous game review




Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is a vast, involving RPG epic worthy of your attention.

You will embark on a quest across the land of Golarion to face an ancient evil.

The 80-hour campaign can be played multiple times with different choices.

In many ways it’s hard to believe that Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous began its life as a Kickstarter project. Although, it’s easy to see why a Kickstarter launched in February 2023 has borne a game so vast in such a short time.

It was funded out the door in no time (thanks in part to the popularity of Pathfinder: Kingmaker), with developers Owlcat Games raising 2 million USD on an original target of just 300,000.

It’s fair to say though, that they’ve put it to very good use.

Pick from a pre-made hero, or create your own

A truly epic quest

Wrath of the Righteous is huge. It’s an 80 – 100 hour game per playthrough, with scope for scores of playthroughs. Set in the vast world of the Pathfinder tabletop RPG, it introduces new characters in a storyline totally separate from the previous game.

The character creator is one of the most in-depth I’ve seen. Not in terms of visual tweaks necessarily (you can’t sculpt faces like in Skyrim, for example), but rather in terms of building a truly unique character.

There are 12 playable races, from humans and elves and half-elves, to dark-elves and halflings. The lore of the Pathfinder universe is very similar in the broad strokes to the Forgotten Realms, so anyone familiar with D&D will feel immediately at home among the races of Golarion.

But there are also 25 Classes to choose from, each with as many as six specializations that completely alter the initial skills and abilities of the class. You can even multi-class if you want to, and cherry-pick skills from multiple classes as you progress.

Some of the classes are locked to specific races, others to specific alignments. This affects base stats and starting weapons, while other elements are directly influenced by the deity your character worships and which intrinsic skills you select.

You could be a charming rogue, an evil spellcaster; you could be a reckless healer or a softly-spoken swordsman. The choices feel endless, and it’s easy to spend a solid hour or more creating your character before you even begin the game.

Stay awhile and bicker

Tell me a story

Keeping this spoiler-free, it’s suffice to say that an evil force is ravaging Golarion once again and you’re the only one who can stop it. So far, so CRPG, right? Well, that’s fair.

But Owlcat games have poured hours and hours of dialogue (spoken and written) into a wildly branching narrative that takes into account hundreds of player choices both large and small.

From big decisions such as sparing an apparent enemy to smaller ones like which dungeon to delve into first, everything can and often will have an effect on the story.

As you travel the lands you’ll meet and potentially recruit 13 companion characters. You can select five at a time to accompany you, and as usual, the onus is on picking companions who complement your protagonist’s skills.

If you’re a tanky warrior, you’ll need a healer, some ranged support, and maybe a couple of spellcasters to harry the enemy.

Deeper yet, outside combat you’ll need a character who can pick locks, spot traps; maybe one with high Agility to help you reach certain areas. Bring along a character with high lore or arcane knowledge to glean a better understanding of the world at large.

All of these elements have a bearing on not only the way you play but also on what content you play, as you can lock off whole storylines or unlock new ones by your choices alone.

Later, a mythic path becomes an option, allowing you to specialise your character even more, and opening up even more choices and interactions.

Battles can be in real time, or turn-based

Swords and sorcery

Combat is deftly handled, as Owlcat gives you an impressive list of options to customise the proceedings. You can opt to play fights turn-based, if you want to, allowing for greater strategic control and a more traditional tabletop experience.

Or, you can leave it in real-time with a tactical pause to assess the fray, allowing you to stack commands and course-correct a battle that’s quickly going south.

The former certainly makes things easier, but you can tweak the combat difficulty to the umpteenth degree anyway, reducing the damage of critical hits, for example, or completely restricting the enemy’s use of special skills.

Every fight feels different, with certain enemies requiring specific tactics. You can group your party together to focus fire, or split them to tackle multiple foes at once.

There are spells and special attacks, items, scrolls, pets, summons, traps, and environmental hazards, and on higher difficulties, you’ll need to use everything at your disposal to stay alive. Including good old trusty save-scumming to quick save and quick load your way out of trouble.

But combat is only one ingredient. The role-playing element here is arguably one of the best I’ve played. Decisions matter, as I said, but that’s not the be-all and end-all of an RPG.

Equally as important are the supporting characters and NPCs, but especially your party members. Each is as well-written as a single protagonist in many games.

The player characters you recruit are a diverse bunch

Dungeon party

They have views and opinions, likes and dislikes; some are fickle in their beliefs while others will straight up leave the group or turn on you based on how you lead. You can re-spec their skills and change their gear, but you’ll have to contend with their personalities as though they were real people.

As you travel the world map from point you’ll come across points of interest and random encounters, and even these can change depending on your party and character choices.

A wealth of side-content spins multiple yarns that take you around and through story missions, in ways that feel so organic, you’ll occasionally lose track of which is the critical path. Luckily, the journal and quest-tracking systems work well.

After a certain point in the story (again, no spoilers) you’ll unlock the Crusader Mode, wherein you’ll command entire armies at war to reclaim fallen cities and lost outposts. You will need to make camp, provision your troops, hire reinforcements and choose generals to lead them for you.

It’s an odd element to juxtapose with Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous’ epic campaign, but it kind of makes sense in practice.

If I have a complaint though, it’s that the Crusades feel bland and mechanical next to the colour and pizazz of the campaign. Yes, you’re in control of an army, but Total War this is not, and after a while, you’ll just want to auto-complete battles to move on.

Party battles are simply more fun and feel more real given the game’s CRPG nature. If Crusade mode wasn’t present, no one would be asking for it, let’s put it that way.

Explore a vast world of danger and excitement

Achievements and completion

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is gargantuan. It’s hard to put an exact hour-count to it because you could possibly rip through the main campaign on the easiest possible difficulty inside 30(-ish) hours.

If you want a truer experience, it’s a minimum of 70 to 80. If you want everything? Well, see you some time next year, we guess. You can also play through it multiple times and I couldn’t begin to guess how many runs you’d need to see all possible storylines and side quests.

Final thoughts on Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Pros A huge, involving world that reacts to your choices An in-depth character creator Excellent writing and world-building throughout Cons Crusade mode is take-it-or-leave-it Deep, complex systems may overwhelm newcomers

Final Score: 4/5

Playing this on a fairly decent PC I ran into zero issues with input lag, screen tear, frame rate, or load times. It’s a fantastic CRPG that is as accessible to genre newcomers as it is to veterans who cut their teeth on the original Baldur’s Gate.

The story has so many twists and turns and branching paths that you will never fully predict what’s coming, and you won’t want to. Discovering the depth of this world is part of the fun, and something you’ll only truly manage with countless hours invested.

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous has some spectacular writing at times, while the vast campaign, immense character progression systems and stellar combat will keep you hooked.

If anything, Owlcat would have lost little by snipping the Crusade mode out, but it’s churlish to complain about being given more of something, right?

Disclaimer: Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is currently available on PC for around $34.99 on G2A, Kinguin, GreenManGaming and GOG, and is coming to consoles in the future.

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Legend Of Fae Game Review: Bejeweled + Rpg = Addictive

I am sure you have played Bejeweled or other similar kind of gem swapping game before. I am sure you have played RPG game too where you walk around to kill monsters. What if you combine these two style of gameplay together? You get the indie game: Legend of Fae.

At first glance, bejeweled-style combined with RPG may seem weird to many. Some may even find it boring. But I can assure you that it gets more interesting and addictive as you play.

Unlike the usual RPG game where you can move the character around, you will have to complete the bejeweled gem swapping game to be able to move. Similarly, you have to gem swap to form 3 (or more) in a line to build up your elemental power. Each color of the gem represent different meanings. The purple gem allows you to walk, while the blue, red, green and yellow each represent the water, fire, earth and wind element respectively.

To fight the enemies, you have to build up the elemental power and throw it at the enemies. Enemies also come with different elemental type and you need to throw the correct elemental power to the correct enemy for maximum damage.

As you gained experience, you can up the level of your elemental power and also cast a higher level of enchantments and spells.

Unlike bejeweled, you can only swap two gems horizontally. There is no option to swap gems vertically. That makes the game more difficult. For beginner, you can choose the easy mode which will allow you to play through the various level effortlessly. Those who love challenge can choose the difficult mode which will really test your speed and bejeweled skill.

Legend Of Fae is priced at US$14.99 and you can find it here. There is also a demo that you can download and try it out before you buy.

Legend of Fae


Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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Hextech Mayhem: A League Of Legends Story Game Review

Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story game review




Releasing beside Ruined King, Riot Forge’s second somewhat experimental collaboration seems a slightly odd choice. Compared to the other game’s semi-serious tone and deep, involving RPG mechanics, Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story feels a little incongruous.

It’s pretty far removed from the ghostly invasion of Bilgewater, instead of focusing on the rather upmarket, steampunk-flavored city of Piltover – coincidentally the setting of Riot and Netflix’s incredible Arcane TV series.

It also has nothing to do with role-playing games, turn-based or otherwise. Rather, Hextech Mayhem follows the exploits of Ziggs, a maniac explosive expert intent on reducing Piltover to a pile of smoldering rubble for kicks and giggles. Attempting to stop him is League Champion Professor Heimerdinger (also a prominent character in Arcane, by the way), who keeps popping up to try to talk some sense into the little pyromaniac.

Master blaster

Hextech Mayhem takes the form of an endless runner/rhythm game hybrid developed by Choice Provisions, no less. The team behind the Bit. Trip Runner series is a solid get here as Airship Syndicate was for Ruined King. Riot have spared no expense, it seems – and it has paid off, too.

While Ziggs moves forward, his other commands are down to the player. It’s a 3-button game best played on a controller and with headphones strapped on the bonce (as the game itself helpfully suggests). While that sounds remarkably straightforward, it’s anything but. Choice Provisions do an awful lot with those three buttons, and there’s a surprising amount to get to grips with.

For example, A causes you to jump, which is easy, right? Just press A when Ziggs is level with the green prompt. Hitting down on the D-pad will make Ziggs slam down into the ground, while X tosses a bomb. All very, very simple. But in practice, it’s anything but. The prompts come fast, and you’re timing needs to be nigh on perfect. Some you can afford to miss, while others will cause you to his a hazard. Walls, traps, Piltover Enforcers, explosive barrels – these all stand in your way and must be circumnavigated safely and swiftly.


Later, Hextech Mayhem mixes in a few other mechanics, such as Super Bomb Jumps, where you’ll need to hold down the A button to charge your jump. Not only this but there are visual prompts everywhere that you can utilize if your timing is right. A vent, for example, can be ground-slammed, while tossing bombs at enforcers or slamming through chests can reward you with even more golden cogs, the currency with which you open up levels. There are also collectibles to be found, including new skins for Ziggs.

More than this, though, the extra actions you perform all feed directly into the Mayhem Meter, which acts as a score modifier and affects the overall rating for each of the 30-plus levels. Boss fights (three in total) break up the action and do things like change the color of your action prompts, forcing you to intuit on the fly. Even simply following the instructions can be tricky in the later stages, and so this can really push you.

Once or twice, though, I found the button presses just didn’t register correctly. It wasn’t a case of me missing a prompt, either, as it would be during a sequence of buttons that I was confidently nailing that one would simply fail to register.

‘Splosion fan

I’d also argue that the prompts command your focus so much that you simply won’t see most of what’s actually happening on-screen. Ziggs will be leaping, bombs will be bursting and enforcers will be flying all over the place, but you’ll be hard-pressed to hit every prompt and still keep up with where Ziggs even is on-screen half the time.

There’s just an awful lot to like here for a game that’s ostensibly about jumping over obstacles and blowing things up. It has an almost retro feel, an old-school charm that comes through in the amazing soundtrack and over-the-top visuals. It’s bright and colorful and zany, with Ziggs embodying that early-Noughties charm that games have all but left behind. Even the cutscenes, which only feature Ziggs and Heimerdinger, have a distinct air of Crash Bandicoot about them.

Choice Provisions have taken their own simple concept and injected it with its own personality. The League of Legends dome that covers Hextech Mayhem casts its shadow, no doubt about it, but as with Ruined King – and even Arcane – you don’t need prior knowledge of the greater franchise to enjoy the content. It’s just a ton of fun to blow things up.

Completion and Achievements

Being primarily made for PC and Nintendo Switch, Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story doesn’t have a suite of trophies or achievements to unlock. There are nine skins to find for Ziggs, which requires the collection of a special white cog from each level. Finding them will take a considerable effort and a lot of exploration – you’ll also need to deviate from the set rhythm somewhat, and hit those hidden prompts.

You could blast through your first playthrough of Hextech Mayhem in just a few hours, but then you’d be missing out on a lot of stuff. With 36 stages, including 3 boss fights, all the hidden cogs, and a secondary, maximum Mayhem mode unlocked when you finish the game, there’s a surprising amount of content.

Final thoughts on Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story Pros Colourful and zany art style Ziggs and Heimerdinger are great Lots of replayability Cons Button presses occasionally fail to register The screen gets super busy

Final Score: 4.5/5

A simple concept in almost every way, Hextech Mayhem is given greater legs by its smattering of collectibles and easy replayability, making it a superb way to kill a few hours whether you’re a fan of the grander franchise or completely new to it.

Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story is available on PC via Steam and the Epic Store, and Nintendo Switch.

*Disclaimer: Review access provided by the publisher.

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Bored, Broken & Burned Out: Overcoming Challenges In Search Marketing

Search marketing is, by nature, a monotonous game.

It’s a series of math problems.

Its excitement comes in its power.

A few small tweaks to a landing page, a few more keywords in the account, or a few lifted bids can be life-changing.

Picking all the low-hanging fruit on a new account yields instant gratification.

“We’ve doubled our numbers year over year,” you exclaim.

The initial results are amazing!

But what happens when you have to start comparing yourself to… yourself?

What do you do when you’re stuck in the grind of day-in, day-out tweaks that make marginal lifts?

What happens when year-over-year numbers fall?

What do you when you’ve lost the spark and excitement to drive great results?

I’ve been doing the same job for 12 years, and have had more than my share of ups and downs.

I’ve burned myself out, developing a process blunt-force pushed onto every client I’d touched.

Sometimes the processes worked, sometimes they didn’t. But they were my best practices, they have to always work, right?

I’ve learned, over the years, to shift my way of thinking and to find continued satisfaction (and success) in my work.

We’ll walk through three scenarios you’ll encounter in your search marketing career.

Stagnation (boredom).

Downturns in performance (broken).

Worst of all, a lack of motivation (burnout).

Bored: Your Accounts Are Stagnant

Nobody ever made a car faster with more oil changes. I often see accounts that are flat year over year, or worse, spending more for the same results.

The account manager is going through the motions. There are ad tests, bid tweaks, search query reports, and new keyword builds.

There are best practices, but there’s a lack of innovation.

Odds are these accounts are devoting the budget to “what’s always worked.”

When an account falls stagnant, the best bet is to challenge old assumptions. Use new tools to take the same old same old to the next level.

What to Do

1. Challenge the adage of being in position 1.0 100% of the time for your brand terms.

You’re devoting more and more money to brand each year as your CPCs creep up higher and higher – nudge bids down (not up).

Find the sweet spot of efficiency and volume. You won’t lose much, trust me.

2. Bear with me here; relinquish control!

Google Ads started The Smart Era because there are too many bidding levers that we can’t control.

Shift budget away from exact match and towards broad match with Smart Bidding layered on.

I didn’t think it’d work either, but it does.

3. Review your attribution philosophy.

I don’t mean turning on Data-Driven Attribution (which, yes you should do), but rather evaluating your KPIs.

Some tactics aren’t meant to drive a user to the end of the funnel on the first try.

Test alternate KPIs; develop an email list or feed a remarketing audience with top of funnel tactics.

4. Add Audiences EVERYWHERE.

Audiences will be a more powerful targeting tool than keywords.

Imagine intent layered on broader keywords, pointing the algorithm in the right direction.

Start by adding as many audiences as you can on observation mode and see what insights arise.

Broken: Your Accounts Are Doing Worse Year Over Year

Sticking with the car metaphor – I am unreasonably excited about the premise of self-driving cars. I cannot WAIT to be on a long drive, relaxing behind the steering wheel with a good book or movie.

I’ll have the opportunity to grab the wheel if things go awry, but if I don’t feel like driving, I won’t have to.

That’s where a good SEM account should be today – self-driving with a steering wheel. Focused on automation, but keeping the opportunity for manual intervention.

If an account is trending down year over year, odds are it’s resting on laurels of dated best practices.

I realize the irony here, as I’ve long been a proponent of super ultra crazy hyper account segmentation.

I teased this in the prior section, but the days of controlling everything are over.

An account that’s trending down doesn’t need tweaks – it needs a new foundation.

New tools for automation won’t have the same power on a structure built for control.

What to Do

1. Simplify your accounts.

Mitigate SKAGs and SKCs except in the position of extreme competition.

With the shift in exact matching behavior, SKAGs don’t work the way they used to anyway.

Instead, focus on thematic ad groups. Allow algorithms to make the decisions they need to make to bid.

2. Craft campaigns based on budget and volume.

Remember, automation needs data to make decisions! Your new campaigns built for automation should generate 50 conversions/month.

The more data AI has, the faster it learns.

3. Don’t ignore what’s flopped before.

Make sure to port any negative (or positive) terms and targeting features. Most bidding algorithms focus only on bidding, not targeting.

If you know where to point the machine already, make sure to do it.

4. Give the machines as much data as possible.

Port in down down-the-line sales information for lead generation. Teach the tools to optimize what you the business is after.

Burned Out: You’ve Lost Your Fire

Warning: we ‘bout to get preachy!

Search marketing is an odd industry. I’ve had a day where I thought “well, I’m done! I did all the search there is to do today.” It’s a job that doesn’t end, a job where there is no such thing as perfection.

While I haven’t heard it in a few years, the word Kaizen was tantamount among agencies for years. The institutional process of constant improvement, seeking but never achieving perfection. Process improvement is crucial as I’ve outlined in previous segments.

The idea of constant evolution is mentally and physically exhausting.

We wind up letting our roles run our lives instead of supporting them. We bring our work home with us. We squeeze in an hours’ worth of work after the kids go to bed.

We fall into the busy trap.

We keep doing the work over and over and over again because that’s what we’re trained to do. We fail to adopt the economic principles at play in our work to our lives.

We don’t think of why, or what the return is. We just do the work.

We find our personal value in clearing our inboxes, in dropping CPA by a few percentage points. We’re never bored if we have our work, and we’re never uncomfortable. We have our dopamine security blankets in our back pockets or purses every waking hour.

We glue ourselves in front of our laptop screens. We bask in the comforting glow of a line graph reaching up and to the right.

Over the course of my career, I’ve learned how to value my own time and how to release the false locus of control. I’ve adopted a few core economic metrics that we all use in our daily digital marketing lives as core to my own work life. Return on investment (or Return On Effort) and the law of diminishing returns.

Every hour in every day has less value than the one before it.

I do the most important things first, the more monotonous last.

The most monotonous tasks, I get rid of. I still do them, but manually computing 10,000 simple math problems in a given day doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

A machine should take care of any simple repetitive tasks. It’s better at them, it’s faster and it’s more precise. I devote as much time as possible to what I’m great at, that is strategy and analysis, and leave the rest to a calculator.

I’ve also learned the value of re-setting myself, both on a daily/weekly/annual basis. I have a few personal rules that have eased any semblance of burnout over the years.

What to Do

1. No new work after hours.

I’ll attend to emergencies only, or I’ll schedule projects I want to do when I have a few hours in the evening.

But I won’t create new work for myself. Save that for the good hours, not the bad ones.

2. One day a week is work free.

It doesn’t matter what day it is, it could be Wednesday if I plan my schedule right.

But there will be one day a week where I do not work. That means no email, too.

My team knows to call me if there’s an emergency; it’s more important to free my mind and body for a day and do something else.

Of late, that’s been making hot sauce (reserve your samples!), but anything non-digital will do.

I recommend everyone do this to remind themselves of what it feels like.

3. Take a vacation, physically and mentally.

Not “I’ll be available if you need me,” but entirely offline.

I left HeroConf this year to take a jaunt through Eastern Europe with my best buddy.

I deleted Gmail from my phone and turned my computer on only to buy train tickets. It took planning, but the refresh week worked wonders on my psyche and motivation.


We have a rule at my agency for this: it’s required that everyone take at least one consecutive week off a year.

These rules were hard for me to set in my life thanks to an addiction to constant work gratification.

What I’ve learned is that freeing myself for a few hours a day makes me a better worker and marketer. I’m better able to observe the world from an outsider’s perspective. To tailor my strategy to the end user rather than the best practice.

Above all, I’m able to maintain my passion for the industry no matter what gets thrown at me. I’ve adopted a phrase I heard some time ago as an adage for work/life success.

Everything works better when you turn it off and back on again – even you.

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In-post Photo: Provided by author, September 2023

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