As someone who is soon going to be handed an account to lead for the first time in their digital marketing career, one of the things that must feel the most universally daunting is handling the budget that comes with it. Of course, it’s important to be able to maximize the marketing potential for any account but, how can one use the data provided overtime to figure out where to put the money for the best results?

Working with someone else’s ad expenses is a big responsibility, yet there are several helpful budget management tips for beginners I’ve learned throughout my training that reassure me that I can get the job done. So before you dive in and start changing numbers around, consider putting some of these practices in place first.

Check Your Organization: Consolidate Your Campaigns

Part of what can make budget adjustments confusing is having a bunch of small amounts spread out between many different campaigns. Most of those initial divisions will generally make sense: segmenting by product, region, brand, and non-brand, are the most obvious choices. Since most budget allocations are made at the campaign level, it’s a good idea to keep things as basic as possible, allowing for more detailed segments at the ad group level.

Even then, the more ad groups involved, the trickier some long-term budget decisions can get. For example, while it’s common to separate by keyword match type between ad groups, the more one of these groups outperforms the others, the tougher it is to determine whether the campaign as a whole is performing well or not. If the same cost going into one campaign is yielding both positive and negative results, it may be time to readjust the overall strategy.

Try keeping things basic from the start. It’ll be easier to make confident adjustments with fewer moving parts, so keeping the initial campaigns separate with the most obvious distinctions will help justify which aspects attract the most clicks and interactions. It’s much easier to determine if a brand campaign is doing better than one generic campaign, rather than comparing it to 15 generic options that are all similar but not.

Create A Shared Budget: Let Automation Work For You

Depending on the market you’re trying to work in, sometimes it’s inevitable that you have to make a bunch of campaigns with their own independent keyword sets. One common area for this are university courses; not only does each program usually merit its own campaign, but, there can be differences in full-time, part-time, weekend courses, and small details that need to be marketed in their own ways.

Thankfully, both Google and Microsoft ads have a feature that can help alleviate some of the stress that comes with this–shared budgets. With a shared budget, you can put an umbrella amount of spend over multiple campaigns, that uses automatic adjustments to determine which campaigns will utilize that spend better over time. If you’re not sure which full-time program will get the most traction, add it to a shared budget with other full-time programs and the results will pull out a winner before long.

Ad platforms are constantly looking for ways to automate such processes as it is, which is with the user’s interests at heart so that beginners don’t manually put all their money into fruitless endeavors and badly constructed accounts. As long as methods like these are used correctly, they may help you find paths to improvement you might have missed on your own.

Which Bid Strategy To Use? Test Them Out

One of the starting points of building any campaign is deciding what goal to focus on, which is determined by your choice in bid strategy. However, some sections of bidding can overlap. Take Target CPA and Maximize Conversions, for example. They both have clear ideas of what they aim to accomplish, but what if one method is better at gaming the algorithm and getting results over the other?

In situations like these, it would be a good idea to run a test to find out without having to fully commit to one if you’re unsure. When running ad experiments, you can split the budget for one campaign and have two bid strategy goals running at the same time for a short period. Through an A/B test, you’ll be able to pick up the exact data for the better performer in no time.

It’s always great to have many options in creating ads, but depending on your experience level, all those choices can become overwhelming very quickly. It’s important to remember that tests like these are always available to help piece things together, put your account back on track, or confirm that you were better off with your initial selections.

Make Sure Budget Is The Issue, Not The Ad Copy

More than anything, it’s important not to forget that while the budget is an important factor in performance, the rest of the account is built on the ads themselves! Before making drastic moves in your budget, make sure your impression share problems are based on your budget and not your keywords or ad copy. Check that your ads include aspects from your keywords and landing pages, and there’s every chance you’ll see immediate improvements soon after.

Often the quality score of an ad set will be what decides if it should get more or less budget, and you’d hardly want to add extra spend to something that Google deems a likely low performer. To get the most bang for your buck, try to maximize what creative aspects you can since ultimately that’s what is in your power to control.  

The good news here is that there’s plenty of help available to make the best-informed decisions on how to put any budget to use. Any market has the potential for a new player to display their best ad work and reap the benefits–it’s just a matter of staying calm in a new environment, assessing the data, and committing to a plan. You can indeed get great results without spending more than you’ve actually got!