Today, we will be discussing budget management tools. If you’re not quite to this step, you can check out our articles on determining your budget and budget allocation. Budget management tools can range from free and easy to expensive and complex. Here are a few of our favorite tools and tips to ensure your budget stays on track throughout the year.
Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter both offer budget management solutions for paid search campaigns. You can set your budgets per day, per month or per campaign. You can also choose whether or not you’d like to spend the money quickly or over the course of a given timeline. These tools in AdWords are:
1. Automatic bidding: This essentially sets your budget and lets Google manage it for you. This is the easiest tool to use, as the budget will never be exceeded and will automatically adjust CPC bids based upon the money you wish to spend.
2. Ad scheduling: With this tool, you can adjust the time of day your ads will show or what days they will show. This is especially helpful if you have a call center, for instance, and do not want ads to appear with the number when the center is closed.
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3. Conversion optimizer*: You can use this in addition to other tools. Essentially, Google will go through its data and optimize your ad placement to receive the most profitable clicks.
*adCenter does not have this particular feature, so beware when transferring your campaigns from AdWords.
Facebook Ad Manager also offers ways in which you can set your budget by daily or campaign. You can also optimize Facebook ads for likes (CPM) or for clicks (CPC), which is an important feature when managing your budget. With CPM, the cost per click is significantly decreased and your ad shows to those most likely to like your page. It is important, however, that you do not rely solely upon the platform. Management of the campaigns should still happen on a daily (perhaps weekly) basis in order to optimize campaigns appropriately and maximize your budget.
Budget management tools can also come in the form of CRMs or customer relationship managers. Companies like SalesForce make it easy to see your completed or in-queue tasks and keep up with how much revenue your sales initiatives are generating. This can be the perfect budget management solution if your company is focused on lead generation, as many of your marketing initiatives lead to sales initiatives. Monitoring the success of one can usually inform the other. Overlaying a strategic roadmap for when marketing is most successful can help the sales team know when to follow-up on warm leads or begin cold calling and networking.
Data enrichment and analysis can ultimately help you decide how to maximize budgets at times when business is projected to be most prolific by using consumer behavior data and trends as well as how your business has operated in the past. Aligning your digital strategies, as well as your sales initiatives during these “up” times can be incredibly useful and efficient when managing your budget throughout the year.
Managing your budget does not have to be filled with question marks. There are tons of tools that can aid you in the process and can be mismatched in order to inform other areas of your business as well. What are your favorite budget management tools? Have I missed any?