Tracking Google Ad budgets for multiple accounts can be hard.
Mainly due to how budgets work on Google Ads.
Google campaigns allow you to set a budget for each campaign, but Google doesn’t always respect the budget you set.
Each campaign can spend up to 2x more than your desired budget. 🤭
So it’s really more of a guide than a strict upper limit.
Google says this is so they can optimize your campaign spend for days of the month when you’re more likely to get clicks and conversions.
Sounds good right?
But the reality is it just makes the whole job of managing budgets so much harder than it needs to be.
Budgets can fluctuate wildly around your set budget and can add up to being quite a bit over or under your monthly budget.
In this post, I’ll go over some of the common ways to track daily spending to a predecided budget and the best solution I think is out there.
Psst, it looks something like this:
The Different Approaches to Budget Tracking
Because of this difficulty in managing Google Ads budgets, Google Ad managers have created multiple approaches to tackling this problem:
- Manually – Checking daily budgets every day by logging into your Google Ads account
- Scripts – That notify you when you’ve gone over budget or automatically pause campaigns when they go over budget
- Google Ads Management Software – Similar to scripts, but either with automated rules that you define, or that the software defines
- Custom solutions – With Google Sheets, Supermetrics, or Looker Studio (👈 my favorite)
The Best Google Ads Budget Tracking Solution
When coming up with any solution it’s always a good idea to start from first principles.
What would an ideal budget tracker actually consist of?
Here are the essentials:
- Daily Costs over time – We need to monitor the daily costs for our account each day to be able to spot sudden changes fast
- Target Budget line – We need some kind of a physical line to make it very clear to the person viewing the report that this line should not be crossed or at least tracked as closely as possible.
And that’s it, that’s all we need.
So I went about creating a simple time series chart in Looker Studio for Google Ads Cost data vs time (for the last 30 days) and added a simple reference line for the Target Budget.
Once you have a chart for a single client you can then pretty easily roll it out to include all your client’s accounts to check easily.
How to use this Budget Tracker
- Copy the template report
- Connect your client accounts
- Add the metric for Cost to each chart
- Edit the reference line section for your daily budget
- Bookmark the link & easily check into it each day
If you spot something that’s a bit off, or budgets that are way too high or low you can quickly jump into that specific client account and tweak things.
What are the Settings for this Report?
Well, I’ve laid them out in the screenshot below (it uses the reference line feature in Looker Studio for the target budget line).
It just takes your monthly budget, in this case, $3.5k, and divides it by 30 (the total days in the chart) to get the daily budget limit.
The Benefits of this Approach
- You can get a bird’s-eye view of all your accounts in one scroll
- Can add multiple reference lines for when budget targets change
- It’s is one click away if you bookmark it
- It’s 100% dynamic data
And the biggest benefit of all is that it’s just super visually intuitive.
Humans can really easily grasp the concept of if one line is above or below another line (Something that a script notification or text email just can’t do).