When the budget just doesn't cut it!
Budgets for campaigns can be a sticky problem. Google doesn't have standard budget controls on time periods beyond a day, so custom campaign rules must be built to overcome that deficiency when the need arises.
If a campaign has plenty of clicks to cover whatever budget you wish and you want to spend around $300 a month, just set the daily budget to $10... done and easy!
What if a campaign is less active and has between zero and $30 a day in ad spend and you want to spend $300 a month. Not so easy when you consider all the details!
If you set the daily budget to $10, then you would miss the clicks on the busy days and it would change nothing on slow days. You would end up BELOW your monthly budget of $300.
If you set the daily budget to $30, you would catch those busy days but also open up the possibility that there may be an unexpected flurry of activity that would push the monthly spend up to $900... Surprise! <cough>
Here is your safety net... Google DOES allow you to monitor campaign variables and pause and enable campaigns at regular intervals.
To setup a budget of $300 per month, two rules can be built.
Rule #1 = each day at 1am, if the spend of the campaign for the current month is greater than $300, pause it.
Rule #2 = each first day of the month, if the spend of the campaign for the current month is less than 1000 (or any large number), turn it on.
Now you have more control. The worst that could happen is the monthly budget is used up before the end of the month, but at least there are no surprises come invoice time! If the budget IS used up early, you can easily lower the daily budget to keep a campaign going later into each month.
Is the the ONLY solution to this problem? Here's wishing for more robust budget options!
Re: When the budget just doesn't cut it!
Nice question. I would recommend Reading here an article about a customised solution for an adaptive budget with AdWords scripts:
Sorry for the short reply , written from the phone. I hope other Community members join to offer some ideas.
Re: When the budget just doesn't cut it!
Hi Brian, great post. Adrian has already pointed towards my article on balancing budgets with scripts but to be honest that's a bit dated now and I'd like to add some more thoughts to your own outlined method. I actually use Scripts to do something similar to the method you describe in a couple of Accounts but in a slightly more complex (though hopefully more flexible!) fashion.
The basic script runs each day before the scheduled start of Ad Delivery or, where Ads run 24/7 at midnight. It takes the desired monthly target spend - in this case $300 - and calculates a permitted daily budget based upon what has been spent so far. So, in the case of a 30 day month the daily budget would be $10. If, on the start of the 11th day, the previous 10 days had only spent $70, there is $230 to be spent over 20 days so the daily budget can rise to $11.50 and so on. This approach is fine but, in this simple form would tend to enforce a limited budget at the start of the month, rising towards the end and this may be the exact opposite of actual trends (and doesn't solve your problem of missing clicks). So, my script has a "fudge" in the code that checks for a minimum daily budget, while staying within the monthly spend. In this version of the script, on day one the "calculated" daily budget would be $10, but the code checks the remaining spend ($300) and therefore sets the daily budget at our "preferred" value, in this case $30. On the second day, the remaining budget is $300 less the spend of the first and the script calculates a "trend" to establish the daily figure for day 2. For example, if day 1 spent only $9, the budget for day 2 can remain at $30 (since we're still within our target of $300 for the month). If the spend on day 1 was $25, the spend for day 2 might be only $15 and so on. The exact adjustment is down to you and will depend upon the nature of the fluctuations. In Campaigns where it's common to find big changes in daily spend (as you describe) it may be OK to rely upon the likelihood of "low" days to balance out higher days, so you could reduce the daily budget by a lower amount. If the swings are less dramatic and there's a bigger chance of a run of high spend days, you could alter for a larger drop in daily budget after a big spend. It's not ideal, but it's slightly more flexible in that in theory you'll always have a budget of at least $10 a day throughout most of the month.
Note that in this method, there's no need for a second rule (or script) to pause/enable Campaigns since if the spend is going too high the budget is simply reduced to compensate. Since this single rule always looks at spend so far, you should never exceed the stated maximum.