Google Ads Budget Management: The Essential Guide
An overview of why Google Ads Budget Management is essential for successful PPC Campaigns.
Follow the money, they say.
And when it comes to PPC management, you can be sure your clients are following what you are doing with their money.
Unfortunately, overspending PPC budgets is all to easy to do these days with all the distractions PPC managers have to focus on.
From choosing negative keywords, to making reports, to responding to emails and so forth.
And overspending PPC budgets is one of the quickest ways to say goodbye to your clients.
As a result, a significant part of a marketers job is to shift between several campaigns, spread across spread ad networks, all with the goal of making sure the budget is not being overblown.
But is this time that could be spent better else?
Who we are
Aori specializes in automating repetitive PPC tasks that marketers waste a lot of time on.
It's one of the reasons we built a Single Keyword Ad Group (SKAG) builder that automized the entire process of adding negative keywords to SKAG campaigns and turned a one-hour job to a few minutes.
It's also why we created an alternative Google Ads Builder that utilizes Single Theme Ad Groups for more effective campaign management, and why we added in the same option for Microsoft Advertisng.
Hours to minutes, that's the philosophy behind every tool we build.
And now we have a new tool, Aori's Budget Manager, designed to automize the entire budget management process in Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising.
We work with PPC marketers, and one aspect of our work we noticed was eating up a bunch of our time each day was managing how budgets were being used by the several campaigns built for clients.
We relied on Google Sheets and excel to track this spending. We asked other PPC marketers and we saw they do the same. We thought there must be a better way.
So we built our budget manager to solve this. Check it out here.
Why Budget Management is so difficult
Problem #1: Several Campaigns, One Client, One Platform
The majority of tools provided by the different advertising platforms are not great at tracking how your budget is being spent.
Whether this is done intentionally or not is up for debate. But it stands to reason that Google, Facebook and Microsoft stand to benefit the more money is spent on their platforms.
For example, in the Google Ads Editor you can easily see what the daily budget limit is, and how much money has been spent on a campaign.
But there is no way to place this spending within a larger overall ad budget you have been given by a client.
Let's say a client gives you $10,000 to run Google Ads for one month. You then create several campaigns.
Halfway through the month, you check in to see how your campaigns are doing.
There is no option to see what percentage one particular campaign has used up of that $10,000.
There are few indicators to show whether a campaign is overspending the budget or if another one is underspending, for instance by having overspending budgets higlighted in red.
The only information Google provides you with is the daily budget, whether it has been spent, and how much money the campaign has used up overall.
But the larger picture of how those campaigns are spending a client's overall PPC budget is not available.
Problem #2: Several clients, several campaigns, one platform
Keep in mind this is just one client with several campaigns.
Most PPC marketers work with several clients and have to juggle between their campaigns at once.
When PPC budget management gets scaled up, it can become difficult to manage the budgets of several clients split between several campaigns.
The problem gets compounded by the fact that not every client sets monthly budgets. Some can give a budget for several months and leave it up to the PPC marketer to decide how much to spend each month. Some clients do not even care about setting a fixed monthly budget. In the eCommerce space, for example, many clients aren't too concerned with increasing spending on Google Ads each month, so long as the campaigns remain profitable.
Problem #3: Several clients, several campaigns, several platforms
The previous two examples are all within one ad platform, for example Google Ads.
When you move beyond one platform to multiple platforms, the need for a PPC budget management tool becomes obvious.
There aren't many tools that allow you to track how your campaigns are being spent between platforms.
For example, a client sets aside a budget for traditional advertising (TV, Magazines, Print) and digital advertising (Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads). The digital advertising budget he gives to you, the PPC marketer, and leaves it up to you to decide how much to spend on each platform.
You then have to create several campaigns within Google Ads, several campaigns within Facebook Ads and several campaigns within Instagram Ads, all of which share one overall digital advertising budget.
But how to easily keep track of how all those campaigns across platforms are spending a shared digital advertising budget?
Existing PPC Budget Management Tools
The short answer is, it is difficult. Most PPC marketers rely on either using the options provided by the ad platforms themselves and then tracking the rest within excel. Others rely on scripts or in house options. Each of these options comes with its benefits and drawbacks.
Google Ads Budget Management
Google Ads offers several options to managing your PPC budget.
In Google Ads you have the ability to set up automated rules where you can make changes in your account automatically based on settings and conditions you choose.
You can set a rule to boost your keyword bid any time your ad falls off the first page of results. Or you can set a rule to get an email if a specific condition occurs, such as a daily budget is used up.
Google Ads also offers the ability to create shared budgets, which is designed to help you allocate a common budget across several campaigns.
When a shared budget is used, Google Ads automatically adjusts how a budget is distributed across campaigns. Let's say you set a daily budget of $100 to be split evenly between three campaigns. On some days, one campaign may not spend the entire amount of money. A shared budget can then allow Google to allocate that leftover money to the other two budgets, to not lose out on clicks or impressions, ensuring that your three campaigns always spend $100 per day.
It's important to note that while spending can exceed a daily budget by 20%, Google will never spend above the monthly budget that has been set aside for your campaigns.
While Google's budget management options may be sufficient for a small account, their biggest problem is that you cannot integrate the spending on campaigns in Google Ads with another platform, say Facebook Ads, to see how your overall digital advertising budget is being spent.
Furthermore, within the platform, Google has a user-unfriendly way of tracking overspending or underspending of a budget. The editor simply shows you how much money a campaign has used up, nothing else.
Other limitations include not being able to set budget caps for a custom time frame, say two weeks or ten days.
Microsoft Advertising Budget Management
Microsoft Advertising also has several budgeting tools available that allow you to maximize budgets and set up a daily campaign budget.
Just like Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising also offers shared budgets. It also has additional features for optimizing allocated budgets and identifying credit holds and limits.
Shared budgets in Microsoft Advertising allow you to either apply a single shared budget across all your campaigns, or select specific campaigns for the budget to be distributed toward. The goal is to make automatic adjustments with minimal involved of the account manager and maximize ROI.
In terms of shared budgets, Microsoft Advertising offers two options: standard and accelerated. With the standard option for shared budgets, your ads are shown evenly throughout the day, while accelerated shared budgets maximize impressions across multiple campaigns.
Microsoft Advertising does offer a budget suggestions tool which can be accessed in the opportunities tab which provides a recommended budget for a depleted or nearly depleted campaign with an estimation for how many extra clicks you get out of it.
While these options are helpful, Microsoft Advertising's budget management options suffer from the same limitations that Google Ads does. These include limited budget caps for custom time frames, the inability to manage budgets across different ad platforms and the need to go into each account to see how spend is being allocated. And no cross-platform budget management options.
As the ad platforms do offer limited budget managements within their platforms, most PPC marketers simply choose to rely on these for their PPC budget management, while consolidating the data into an excel spreadsheet.
As effective PPC management often requires use of excel spreadsheets in other areas of PPC, many marketers are comfortable relying on spreadsheets to track their budget spending.
The problem is that manually inputing data takes up a lot of time, and any accidental errors that are inputed and copy and pasted throughout the spreadsheet will get repeated and hard to trace back later.
At the same time, advanced excel skills such as using pivot tables and macros can be difficult to acquire for the PPC marketer scrapped for time and would rather spend their time managing their campaigns.
A third and final budget management is to create scripts that automate budget management processes.
There are literally hundreds of Google Ads scripts out there that can help speed up and automize some repetitive areas of PPC work.
You can read more about the pros and cons of using Google Ads scripts here.
PPC Management Software
The majority of PPC management software includes at least some features that help marketers better manage their PPC budgets. These are good options for those that can afford to pay for them.
Such tools include Optimyzer, Kenshoo, Adstage, Adanalysis and others.
Often times, such tools come with hefty monthly subscription prices. And not all of them are able to push changes made in theit interfaces directly to the ad networks. As a result, while they help with reporting, keyword research, analytics and other PPC tasks, specifically PPC budget management can be difficult.
This is because budget management may require quick action to pause a campaign that is overspending, or to quickly increase a budget to a high-performing campaign. If a high-performing campaign is converting particularly well on one day, it is essentially to quickly increase its budget. And this requires the ability to directly make changes in the interface that will get applied in Google Ads or Microsoft Advertising.
How Aori's Budget Manager is different
When we decided to build our budget manager, we took a look at all of these options and found them all wanting.
There simply are very few options for affordable budget management out there. While PPC management tools like those mentioned above include budget management features, to use them you have to pay for the entire PPC management software they provide, a price tag that can get into the several thousands.
Furthermore, just relying on the ad platforms for budget management is also less than ideal, since cross-platform budget management is not possible. And while spreadsheets and excel is how the majority of PPC marketers track their spending, this is open to human error and takes up too much time.
Aori's Budget Manager solves these problems by offering a simple, sleek and affordable user-friendly budget manager that can manage your digital advertising budget across Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Microsoft Advertising.
No longer will you have to click into the individual accounts of each client on different ad platforms to view how your campaigns are spending your digital advertising budget. This will now all be available in one interface.
Aori's Budget Manager enables PPC marketers to:
- Adhere to strict budgets with no overspending
- Overview campaign performance on a macro-level between ad platforms
- Completely automate manual tasks required by individaul ad platforms for overspending and underspending
- Automate budget redistribution for high-performing campaigns (i.e. if a campaign is performing well, the budget will be automatically increased)
- Integration with Aori's other PPC tools to build high-performing ads campaigns.
In the coming weeks, the PPC budget manager will go live. Stay tuned to see how it can help you transform your campaigns.
UPDATE: We've built it! Try out the budget manager here.
Spending too much time on PPC? Try our smart advertising solutions and save a ton of time managing your PPC campaigns.