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[Looker Studio Template] PPC Budget Allocation Tracker

Why are you running paid advertising?

No really, what are you trying to achieve with it?

We’ve all heard the term “giving each dollar a name” coined by Dave Ramsey to help people track their personal finances.

In a similar way, you have full control over where you spend your PPC budget in your ad account.

This post will go into detail on how to decide your own PPC budget allocation groups and how to monitor them visually with a simple reporting template in Looker Studio, so you end up with something a bit like this:

Budget Allocation report

✏️ If you missed it, here is the original budget tracker post to easily track your overall budget to a target for multiple accounts.

Why Allocate Budgets in the First Place?

Whether you’ve thought about it or not you probably already have campaigns set up that have their own objectives already.

Think getting your business:

  • New users
  • Repeat users
  • Resource downloads
  • Competitor’s customers to come over
  • Brand name searches
  • Sales

And here’s how they manifest themselves inside Google Ads as campaigns:

  • New users 👉 Cold keyword traffic
  • Repeat users 👉 Remarketing
  • Resource downloads 👉 Micro conversion campaigns
  • Competitor’s customers to come over 👉 Competitor campaigns
  • Brand name searches 👉 Brand Campaign
  • Sales 👉 Conversion-focused campaigns

Each one has a slightly different purpose. Getting the right mix of tasks can either make or break your overall PPC strategy.

How to Decide Your Budget Allocations?

Actually deciding your budget allocation strategy will depend on your business’s specific goals.

For example, if your direct competitors are behind the times when it comes to online marketing or their product kinda sucks (sorry!), You might want to allocate a larger percentage of your budget to competitor-focused campaigns and less to cold campaigns & remarketing.

  • Cold Campaign: 30%
  • Competitor campaign: 50%
  • Remarketing: 20%

Or, if your product is more expensive and has a long customer buying cycle, you may want to construct a funnel of sorts in your ad account.

One where your TOFU cold campaigns receive the majority of the budget, your MOFU campaigns receive a smaller percentage and your BOFU remarketing campaigns receive an even smaller percentage (to account for user dropoff at each step)

  • Cold Campaign: 50%
  • Resource download campaign: 30%
  • Remarketing: 20%

How to Decide Your Own PPC Budgets Allocations?

If you just want a simple place to start, try these budget allocations for each PPC channel:

Google Ads

  • Cold keywords: 80%
  • Remarketing: 20%

Facebook Ads

  • Cold audience targeting: 50%
  • Gated Content downloads: 30%
  • Remarketing: 20%

LinkedIn Ads

  • Gated Content downloads/events: 80%
  • Remarketing: 20%

How Can You Track Your Objective Budget Allocations?

I recently decided on a new budget allocation for a Facebook client of:

  • Cold Targeting – Education: 50%
  • Cold Targeting – Ebooks: 30%
  • Warm Targeting – Call Booking: 20%

Pretty straightforward right?

But how on earth do you check if the amount spent for a given period is in line with this allocation, or not?

Each objective has several campaigns associated with it, so I can’t just report on the campaign level.

I need some way of grouping campaigns together by their objective.

What Does the Ideal Budget Allocation Tracker Look Like?

Going back to the first principles, what does our tracker actually need to be useful?

I should be able to:

  • Monitor daily ad spend for a given objective as a percentage of our total budget
  • Compare this to the target budget allocation percentage
  • Quickly assess each objective and whether we are above or below our target

Building it in Looker Studio

So the easiest way of defining each objective group is by using some sort of KEY. One that represents each objective so that I can add it to the campaign name of every campaign we run for that objective.

So if Campaign 1 was built to drive Ebook downloads. I’d name it something like this:

Ebook – Campaign 1

And the same thing if I launched a second campaign (Campaign 2) with the same purpose, Ebook downloads:

Ebook – Campaign 2

This makes it easier down the line to group the costs for all of these campaigns together by objective, in this case for Ebook.

💡 Make sure you write the KEY Ebook (or whatever you decide to use) consistently with no typos as the filter we will use soon relies on this exact text being present.

Basic Tracker (Version 1)

  1. Open up Looker Studio
  2. Click Charts Line Chart
  3. Add your data source (I used Facebook data with Porter Metrics)
  4. Create a chart with:
    1. Dimensions: Date
    2. Metrics: Amount spent
  5. Set the time period of the chart to “Last 30 Days”
  6. Add a Filter to the chart to filter for only the Ebook campaigns:
  7. Add max budget reference lines
    By taking your objective budget say 5k of a total 10k budget. As the chart covers a 30-day period we need to divide the monthly budget for this allocation by 30: €5k ÷ 30 = €166.6. This will be our daily budget upper limit (the yellow lines).
  8. Do the same for your other objectives with similar filters

💡 Make the upper limit of the y-axis scale the same for each chart and align them all for easy comparison.

Advanced Tracker (Version 2)

This chart contains all of the information you need in a single chart.

This means, for any given day, you can grab each of your objective group costs and make comparisons a bit easier.

  1. Create a time-series chart with 3 blended sources together, using the same data source
  2. Add the Date dimension (Use this as the “join item”)
  3. Add the same Amount spent metric to each source (don’t join using this)
  4. Uses these join settings:
  5. Add a filter to each source with a budget allocation filter for the Campaign Name like this:
    1. Education
    2. eBooks
    3. Call Booking

  6. Click Save
  7. Add reference lines in the same we as in the above section (point 6).
Budget Allocation report template v2

Download the template report here.

Michael Schroder

Michael Schroder

Michael Schroder is a Google Ads and SaaS marketing consultant. He has been managing $200k-$300k monthly ad spend and has worked with 200+ SaaS companies. The thing that makes him unique is his data-led approach and his focus on SaaS businesses.