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Budget management with budget bid strategies

Manage spend in budget plans

After campaigns have been added to a budget group, you can then create a series of sequential budget plans or create a recurring budget plan to manage spend. Each plan specifies the dates the plan will run, a conversion goal, and budget.

During a plan, you can spend the targeted amount by manually setting individual campaign budgets, bids, and bid adjustments, or you can set up a budget bid strategy that will optimize spend by automatically adjusting daily budgets, bids, and bid adjustments in the campaigns.

The essential components of a budget plan are exactly what you expect (which budget group does the plan apply to, how long is the plan going to run, and how much do you want to spend on advertising), plus several features that you probably don't expect. The additional features help you set up, allocate (by time segment), understand, and track spend.

Information included in a budget plan

A budget plan includes the following information.

  • Time range to spend the budget. Budget plans must be at least 7 days and no more than one year.
  • Budget group that includes the campaigns for your budget plan.
  • Conversion goal that identifies a key metric or KPI (conversions, revenue, or clicks) that is important to your business.
  • Total amount that you want to spend in the group of campaigns. The total amount is also referred to as the target spend.
  • Charts that enable you to compare a range of budgets with estimated rates of return for different bid-setting options that include automatically set bids (by a budget bid strategy) and manually set bids. Learn more about budget plan charts.
  • Performance benchmark. Optionally, specify a desired efficiency or volume from the spend. The benchmark is added to the "Explore target spend" and "Compare estimate options" charts. Learn more about comparing benchmark figures for desired conversion goals against the actual performance of a budget plan.
  • Budget bid strategy settings. Optionally, enable a budget bid strategy (referred to as budget automation) in a budget plan to optimize spend, bids, and bid adjustments for the campaigns in the budget group using the plan’s conversion goal. A budget bid strategy can only be set up as part of a budget plan. Learn more about how to automate budget allocation and spending in a budget plan.

  • Budget pacing chart. Before a plan starts, the chart shows estimated performance (volume and efficiency) that might yield from the budgeted amount. 
    During a plan, you can revisit the chart to compare actual, estimated, and target amounts and determine if spending is on track. Alternatively, you can view budget pacing on the budget group's "Overview" tab. Learn more about the budget pacing chart.

    If a budget bid strategy is managing the spend, the budget pacing chart shows only actual and estimated spend. 
  • Automatically calculated weekly and daily spend in a budget allocation table. You can also set custom amounts if you want to spend a specific amount in a certain week or day. The table also includes performance metrics (efficiency or rate of return and volume) for each time segment. Learn more about a budget plan's allocation table.
  • Other reporting-only conversion goals (optional) that you want to use for reporting. Learn more about setting reporting-only goals in budget management.


Budget plan settings are inherited and other benefits

  • You only have to specify most settings in the first budget plan for a group. The next plan that you create inherits most settings, including the budget bid strategy settings, from the previous plan. The time range, target spend (and custom allocations) aren't inherited by the next plan.

    • You enable a budget bid strategy in a plan for Q2 2018.
    • When you create the Q3 plan, a budget bid strategy is automatically enabled.
    • In the Q4 plan, you disable the budget bid strategy.
    • When you create the plan for Q1 2019, the budget bid strategy isn't enabled.
  • You can report on spend in budget management without creating budget plans if campaigns are members of a budget group. Budget plans aren't required. However, budget plans enable you see how a specific amount paced during the time frame and to automate management of the budget.

Overview of steps to create a budget plan

The following list summarizes the steps for creating a budget plan.

  1. Set dates and specify a goal.
  2. Set the budget for the group of campaigns.
  3. Optional steps for ROI goals:
  4. View budget pacing estimates in a chart and allocation table.
  5. Optional. Specify other goals only for reporting.
  6. Review plan settings.
If a budget bid strategy isn't managing spend automatically, you'll need to manually change your campaign budgets and bids to hit your target.

Next steps

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