Create budget plans

Review and set target spends for multiple budget plans

Allocate budget in Budget management

This article is about creating or editing the budgets for multiple budget plans at once. For information about creating or editing the allocations for a single budget plan, see Review or set allocations in a single budget plan.

About the multiple plan allocation table

When you're creating or editing multiple budget plans at the same time, the budget allocation table looks different than when you're creating or editing a single budget plan. The primary difference is that each row in the multiple plan table represents a budget group instead of a time segment. Each budget group row encompasses the entire budget plan time range, not just a day or week (as is the case in a single plan allocation table).

To view or edit multiple plans at once, the budget plans must be compatible. That is, the budget plans must have the same time range, same recurrence setting, same goal, and same budget group currency.

The multiple plan budget allocation table lets you set the target spend for each plan you're creating or editing. It also provides performance-based recommendations for how to allocate a top-level target spend between plans.

By default, the table offers "target spend" recommendations for each plan. You can control how the table reallocates by choosing a different allocation type in the more  menu. You can specify a target spend override for an individual plan by entering a new value in the "New target spend" cell. A black border appears around the cell to indicate that Search Ads 360 will not change the value when reallocating spend. The cell value will remain unchanged until you close the budget plan editor. Note that you can clear the black border around a cell (and, thereby, clear its custom-allocation designation) by highlighting the cell (but not opening it) and pressing either Delete or Backspace.

Even though the single plan allocation table (with the day or week segmentation) isn't visible when you're using the multiple plan allocation table, Search Ads 360 will still modify the values in the single plan allocation table behind the scenes when you make changes in the multiple plan allocation table. So, when you change the target spend for a budget group in the multiple plan allocation table, Search Ads 360 will automatically update the corresponding budget plan's day and week allocations in the single plan allocation table and clear any day or week custom allocations you may have previously set.

Budget allocation table with multiple budget groups selected

Budget allocation table columns

By default, the budget allocation table displays the following columns:

  • Budget group  Displays the name of budget group associated with the budget plan.
  • Optimization type  Displays the type of optimization ("Manual bidding" or "Budget bid strategy") applied to the budget plan. Double-click the cell to choose a different optimization type.
  • Actual spend  Displays the actual (historical) spend of the budget plan. This column only appears when the plan is active or has completed. It doesn't show if the plan is still scheduled to start.
  • Current target spend  Displays the current target spend for the budget plan. This column only appears when you're editing existing budget plans.
  • New target spend  Displays the new target spend value that each budget plan will have when you save your changes. By default, this value is set to the current target spend. However, the value will update according to the selected allocation type in the more  menu whenever you change:

    • An individual budget plan’s target spend.
    • The top-level target spend.
    • The allocation type in the more  menu.
  • Estimated and actual performance (volume and efficiency)  Depending on what type of goal you chose for the budget plans, these columns can appear:
    • Estimated performance (volume): "Estimated revenue", "Estimated conversions", or "Estimated clicks"
    • Actual performance (volume): "Actual revenue", "Actual conversions", or "Actual clicks"
    • Estimated performance (efficiency): "Estimated ROAS", "Estimated ERS", "Estimated CPA", or "Estimated CPC"
    • Actual performance (efficiency): "Actual ROAS", "Actual ERS", "Actual CPA", or "Actual CPC"
To save time, you can copy multiple values from a spreadsheet and paste them into the budget allocation table.

Set custom allocations

  1. Start creating a budget plan.
  2. Click Continue until you reach the "View pacing and allocations" step.
  3. Optional. Configure the allocation table to control how spend is reallocated when you make edits to the table.
    By default, the table allocation type is set to "Flexible total: Recommended". To switch to a different allocation type, click the more icon , click Allocate, and choose one of the options.
     

    "Fixed total" and "Flexible total" categories

    These two allocation categories control what happens when you change an individual budget plan’s target spend. If the total is fixed, changes to an individual plan draw spend from or give spend to the other plans. The total does not change.

    If the total is flexible, changes to an individual plan will only add to or subtract spend from the total. Other plans will not be affected.

    In either case (except when the "Custom" option is selected), changes to the total will spread out or draw from all the plans (except the custom allocated ones).

    "Recommended" option

    The recommended allocation will spread money according to the Search Ads 360 recommendation algorithm. The algorithm incrementally distributes spend to whichever plan is predicted to provide the best return.

    "Custom" option

    This option prevents Search Ads 360 from doing any reallocation. Any changes you make to an individual plan, or to the total, do not affect any other cell. Because the sum of the plans must match the total, you're responsible for making any necessary adjustments.

    "Maintain my proportions" option

    This option is only available when you're editing allocations. When selected, Search Ads 360 changes the target spends proportional to the previous target spends. For example: If you select this option and change the total target spend to be 10% more than its previous value, the new target spend cell for each plan will be 10% more than that plan’s current target spend.

  4. To set a different amount for a budget plan, enter the amount in the "New target spend" column.

    When you change the target spend for a budget plan, Search Ads 360 automatically updates the plan's day and week allocations and clears any day or week custom allocations you have previously set.

  5. Click Continue.
To return to an earlier step in the budget plan, in the left navigation, click the step. 

Allocation type examples

"Fixed total" allocation options

"Fixed total - Recommended" allocation

This example shows how the "Fixed total - Recommended" allocation type works when you make changes to the plan.

First, you change the top-level "Target spend" value to $110K.

Current target spend Target spend
$100K $110K


Search Ads 360 then generates a recommended allocation in the "New target spend" column for each budget group. (Search Ads 360 also generates performance estimates but we're not covering that detail in these examples).

Budget group Current target spend New target spend
A $50K $60K
B $25K $10K
C $25K $40K
Total $100K $110K


Next, you change Budget A's "New target spend" from $60K to $70K.

Search Ads 360 then updates the recommended allocations for Budget B and Budget C to keep the total target spend fixed (the total target spend remains $110K).

 
Budget group Current target spend New target spend
A $50K $60K   $70K
B $25K $10K   $8K
C $25K $40K   $32K
Total $100K $110K

 

"Fixed total - Custom" allocation

This example shows how the "Fixed total - Custom" allocation type works when you make changes to the plan. This option is only available when you're editing existing plans (not when you're creating them).

You change Budget A's "New target spend" from $50K to $60K.

Budget group Current target spend New target spend
A $50K $50K   $60K
B $25K $25K 
C $25K $25K
Total $100K $100K


Normally, with the other allocation types, Search Ads 360 would either adjust the target spends of the other budget plans or it would adjust the total target spend so that the sum of the targets matches the total. However, with the "Fixed total - Custom" allocation type, Search Ads 360 displays an error message above the table to let you know that you're responsible for making the sum of the targets match the total.

To fix the error in this example, you must change the values in Budget B and Budget C so the sum of the targets equals the total. To do this, you change Budget B's "New target spend" from $25K to $10K and change Budget C's "New target spend" from $25K to $30K. That makes the total equal to $100K again. 

Budget group Current target spend New target spend
A $50K $60K
B $25K $25K   $10K
C $25K $25K   $30K
Total $100K $100K

"Fixed total - Maintain my proportions" allocation

This example shows how the "Fixed total - Maintain my proportions" allocation type works when you make changes to the plan. This option is only available when you're editing existing plans (not when you're creating them).

You change Budget A's "New target spend" from $25K to $45K.

Search Ads 360 then updates the recommended allocations for Budget B and Budget C in a way that maintains their previous proportions (the "New target spend" for Budget C is still twice as large as the "New target spend" for Budget B even though the spend for each one has been reduced). Search Ads 360 keeps the total target spend fixed (the total target spend remains $100K).

 
Budget group Current target spend New target spend
A $25K $25K   $45K
B $25K $25K   $20K
C $50K $50K   $40K
Total $100K $100K

 

"Flexible total" allocation options

"Flexible total - Recommended" allocation

This example shows how the "Flexible total - Recommended" allocation type works when you make changes to the plan.

First, you change the top-level "Target spend" value to $110K.

Current target spend Target spend
$100K $110K


Search Ads 360 then generates a recommended allocation in the "New target spend" column for each budget group.

Budget group Current target spend New target spend
A $50K $60K
B $25K $20K
C $25K $30K
Total $100K $110K


Next, you change Budget A's "New target spend" from $60K to $70K.

Search Ads 360 then updates the total target spend to $120K (that is, it increases the overall budget). The "New target spend" values for Budget B and Budget C remain the same.

Current target spend Target spend
$100K $110K   $120K
 
Budget group Current target spend New target spend
A $50K $60K   $70K
B $25K $20K
C $25K $30K
Total $100K $110K   $120K

 

"Flexible total - Maintain my proportions" allocation

This example shows how the "Flexible total - Maintain my proportions" allocation type works when you make changes to the plan. This option is only available when you're editing existing plans (not when you're creating them).

You change Budget A's "New target spend" from $50K to $70K.

Search Ads 360 then updates the total target spend to $120K (that is, it increases the overall budget). The "New target spend" values for Budget B and Budget C remain the same.

Current target spend Target spend
$100K $100K   $120K
 
Budget group Current target spend New target spend
A $50K $50K   $70K
B $25K $25K
C $25K $25K
Total $100K $100K   $120K

 

 

Next steps

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