| Sep 5, 2023 | | 13 min read

Stay on track: Tips for monitoring your client’s ad budget


Key Insights:

  • Monitoring ad budgets is essential for optimizing spending and ensuring effective digital advertising campaigns.
  • Understanding the benefits of monitoring ad budget helps improve client communication, strategic decision-making, and campaign performance.
  • Budget optimization involves identifying underspending and overspending areas to maximize ROI and control costs. Evaluating campaign performance through key performance indicators (KPIs) aids in assessing strategy effectiveness.
  • Ad budget monitoring enhances transparency and trust with clients by providing detailed reports on fund utilization. It also holds agencies accountable for delivering results and allows for informed decision-making.

Building a competitive and enticing portfolio of digital advertising services can be a pretty fun endeavor. You’re basically showcasing how you can bring brands to the next level — your expertise, track record, and know how is in the spotlight where it belongs. But part of delivering on those promises is figuring out the best way to construct and monitor ad budgets.

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To help you as you begin to DIY your ad campaigns or expand your service offerings by outsourcing PPC management to the real pros, check out this comprehensive guide. We’ll touch on everything from cost control to when you might tweak your creative. All you have to do is learn, leverage, and love the results.

Why it’s important to track and monitor ad budget for your clients

Companies eager to dive into online advertising by reselling PPC management services might be tempted to leave all the knowledge up to the agencies they outsource to. But it’s to your benefit to understand why the pros monitor ad budget, so you can pitch your services properly and better understand the needs of your clients and the actions of your VIPs (very important partners).

1. Budget optimization

You can’t truly understand if money is being spent well unless you know exactly where every dollar is going. Tracking ad budget gives digital marketing strategists a way to determine whether money is being utilized effectively. Specifically, they can pinpoint underspending and overspending and adjust as needed to maximize ROI.

2. Cost control

One of the biggest benefits of ad budget monitoring is that it can help strategists track expenses and identify expenditures that could be classified as unexpected or unnecessary. For instance, if someone on the team spent too much on a non-performing campaign or paid for ads based on inefficient targeting. Based on those identifications, strategists can refocus or completely rework campaigns, getting more bang for their bucks.

3. Performance evaluation

If you’re looking to expand your offerings by incorporating paid ads, you need to know how to objectively know whether those ads are successful. Tracking ad budget gives you insight into how individual campaigns or collective ad sets are performing.

Comparing ad budget and campaign results accurately illustrates whether or not an approach is effective. In turn, strategists can use that information to make data-driven decisions, hopefully improving campaign performance in the future.

4. Return on investment (ROI) analysis

Part of determining your advertising budget is figuring out how much money you need to spend to get the results you desire. One way to measure how your investment is stacking up is to compare ad budget to specific goals, like revenue generated or desired conversions. If the numbers add up, that’s an effective campaign. If not, it’s time to adjust and find a new path to better ROI.

5. Client transparency

Monitor ad budget details and you can foster trust with your clients. It’s all about transparency. You show them detailed reports that include breakdowns of the ad budget, and clients begin to see the big picture of how their money is being utilized.

Eliminating guesswork and blind faith and replacing it with real facts and data can go a long way toward strengthening the client-agency relationship. This could lead to bigger budgets and expanded contracts down the road.

6. Budget planning

From exploring low-cost marketing techniques to exploiting seasonal trends, the best approaches to budget planning are based on historical data and expert forecasting. Tracking ad budgeting helps inform decision making, especially when it comes to setting realistic and effective budgets for a specific campaign or time period.

7. Cost efficiency

Strategists who monitor ad budget can identify cost-saving opportunities and excise waste with surgical precision. Tactics like optimizing bidding strategies, refining ad targeting, and focusing on channels or campaigns with superior return on ad spend (ROAS) or the best cost-per-acquisition (CPA) rate can make campaigns exponentially more cost-effective.

8. Accountability and reporting

Ad budget monitoring is for the client’s protection and reassurance, too. Tracking reports can showcase how the allocated budget is being used and what results have been generated using those funds. It’s accountability at its finest, giving clients confidence they’ve entrusted their brand to true experts.

Step-by-step checklist for tracking and monitoring digital ad budget

From determining advertising budgets to ensuring transparent client communications and every step in between, here’s how you can track and monitor digital ad spend and help make every penny count.

1. Set clear budget goals

Before you can monitor ad budget, you have to create one. That starts with understanding the client’s objectives and establishing SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals that align with those objectives.

There are ad budget calculators to help estimate the funds needed to hit these goals, too. Some are specifically for social media ad spend — enter a targeted monthly growth rate and you’ll see how much you need to invest to make it happen. Others estimate ROAS and give you an idea of possible performance based on budget.

2. Define key performance indicators (KPIs)

The “M” part of SMART goals is all about measuring progress and milestones. The best (read: most accurate) way to do this is to track the performance of digital ad campaigns using key performance indicators (KPIs).

Some common KPIs, like ROAS and CPA appear in the majority of campaigns created by SEO and PPC management teams. Other KPIs, like click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate may be tied to more specific goals, like boosting local SEO or generating brand awareness.

3. Select tracking tools

But how do you track those KPIs? It takes much more than guesstimating progress or waiting for your platform of choice to spit out a monthly report. Tracking tools like Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, and other third-party tracking platforms are designed specifically to accurately and effectively measure campaign performance and determine what’s contributing to those results.

With the right tools, you can track what’s spent every hour, day, month, or year. Whereas a spreadsheet can certainly track numbers, tracking platforms provide context. It’s not just about whether you’re staying within budget, but whether the money you are spending is generating results. And if you’re achieving your goals and overspending — or hitting targets in spite of ad spend — it’s important to know that too. So, choose your tools wisely and use them often.

4. Set up conversion tracking

Conversion tracking codes and tags are used to measure specific actions or conversions resulting from digital ad campaigns. Basically, you’re trying to understand what happened after a customer interacted with your ad. Did they purchase a product? Call your business? Download your eBook? Buy a membership?

Understanding conversion activity is helpful in terms of your own decision-making. But it’s also a valuable tool when you’re outsourcing Google ads management. With conversion data on hand, you can contextualize purchasing data and help clients better understand why those CTAs and ad placements are so crucial.

5. Establish budget allocation

Imagine you just brought home $1,000 in products from your local plant nursery. You can’t wait to transform your yard, but first you have to decide which flower will go where. This is an important decision because if you plant flowers meant for full sun in the shade, or vice versa, you’re likely to end up with very little to show for your time and money. On the other hand, you could plant cheap seeds in the perfect spot and end up with enough homegrown tomatoes to feed the entire neighborhood.

Ad budget allocation is a similar construct. You are trying to decide how to make that money service your entire digital marketing strategy. There are channels, campaigns, and ad sets to consider, and you may allocate differently depending on the client’s priorities and target audience.

6. Monitor spending

Ad budget monitoring is a time-consuming job. You need to regularly review and monitor your ad budget across all platforms, ensuring campaign spending is in alignment with the planned budget and agreed-upon objectives.

The timeliness of budget monitoring is key, too. If you’re over- or underspending, you want to know right away so you can adjust as quickly as possible. If you check in once per month, that’s 30 or so possible days that you could be flushing money down the drain or missing out on important advertising opportunities.

7. Analyze performance metrics

Like ad spend, performance metrics need to be analyzed regularly. This is how you’re getting insights into how effective your budget allocation really is.

Look at your KPIs. Metrics you might be monitoring include:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Conversions
  • Cost per click (CPC)
  • Cost per conversion (CPA)


All of this data can help you evaluate how campaigns are performing and whether your return on investment is sound or has room for improvement.

8. Optimize campaigns

All that information you’ve been gathering? Now it’s time to use that data to make your campaigns into result-generating machines. Ascertain which campaigns are struggling to hit their goals, then optimize them by:

  • Adjusting targeting. If your ads aren’t resonating, it could be that you’re aiming your message at the wrong crowd. Revisit market research and old customer data to see if your buyer persona is on target or if it’s time to rethink your ideal audience member. Look at demographics such as gender, geographic area, job, and age.
  • Tweaking ad creative. Sometimes your visual content and/or text are just not quite right. A/B test different creative approaches to see if switching up the content or imagery makes a difference to your ROI.
  • Changing up bidding strategies. Learn the ins and outs of manual bidding vs. automated bidding to see which strategy works best for your campaign. Manual bidding offers more control over the ad frequency and delivery methods, and you can play with bidding tiers, too. But automated bidding can save you time and money, while relieving some of the stress associated with ad decision-making.
  • Reallocating budget. Just because you decided to funnel more money to Google ads over social media ads doesn’t mean the allocation has to stay that way. You can rework percentages at any time, taking money earmarked for an underperforming campaign or ad set and putting it into one with promising ROI instead.


Whatever changes you make, continue to test and iterate different approaches to improve campaign performance and maximize budget effectiveness.

9. Review and adjust budget allocation

Determining advertising budget is important, but so is maintaining an open mind regarding the possibility your original budget allocation was partially or completely wrong. Typically, your budget remains your budget for the length of your campaign, unless the client suddenly comes up with extra funds. But you can change how money is distributed across your entire digital strategy if you feel the current approach isn’t in alignment with the campaign’s performance.

Have a campaign that’s performing well? Push more budget in that direction. Have an ad set that’s underperforming? There’s no point throwing good money after bad. Instead, pause spending and either rework that campaign or use the money for ads that have better metrics.

10. Provide regular reporting

It’s vital to prepare and share comprehensive reports with the client as often as makes sense. This ensures everyone is on the same page and well informed about budget utilization, campaign performance, and actual results. This kind of transparency breeds trust and may help you attain bigger budgets and more control over time.

Reports also provide insight and even recommendations for optimizing future budget allocation. Depending on the tools you use to generate reports, you may get an action plan geared toward improving campaign performance. It’s not only information, but also guidance.

11. Stay updated with industry trends

Unlike food trends that can cause customers to exhaust their palates courtesy of cauliflower-filled everything, marketing trends are powerful tools. For instance, smart bidding is on the rise in 2023, as are social ads thanks to marketers’ eager attempts to reach the 70% of people checking at least one social media platform each month.

Staying up to date on the news is important as well. Sign up for industry newsletters and company updates to see which platforms are offering an upgraded version and what new apps might be launching to help enhance your budget tracking and monitoring processes.

12. Communicate with clients

Consider open and transparent communication with clients to be absolutely mandatory. And no glossing over the details. Share budget tracking information, offer performance updates, and loop them in whenever you make necessary adjustments or want to recommend a different course of action.

Listening is equally essential. Address client queries promptly and provide explanations on how budget allocation decisions are made before clients have time to become concerned.

How to track ad budget with Advertising Intelligence

Vendasta’s Advertising Intelligence is a one-stop shop for digital ad performing tracking and analysis. You can gather information from multiple PPC campaigns across multiple platforms and take advantage of automated reporting that delivers real-time data in an easy-to-read format.

DIY users running digital ad campaigns in house and agencies running ad campaigns for their end clients can all benefit from a tool that focuses on big-picture campaign analysis. AI’s interactive reports even allow users to review information and click through for even more in-depth looks at how many times people have seen, clicked on, taken action through, or made a phone call because of your ads.

Use Advertising Intelligence to:

  • Track and measure KPIs ranging from average client cost-per-click to total client spend
  • Calculate precise ROI for each campaign using the built-in ROI calculator that collects data per use and per platform (think: Google, Facebook, LocalAds, Microsoft Ads, etc.)
  • Figure out your monthly management fee based on your client’s ad spend, then add those markup fees to all cost-related metrics
  • Expand your services so you can offer white-label PPC management to new and existing clients

Frequently asked questions

What tools can I use to monitor my ad budget?

If you’re looking for smart ways to monitor ad budget, you can use third-party tools like an ad budget calculator and Google Analytics to see how and where money is being spent. Platforms like Vendasta’s Advertising Intelligence offer even more benefits, bringing information about multiple campaigns under one roof to pave the way for easy comparison and adjustments.

How often should I review and adjust my ad budget?

There’s a trick to ad budget monitoring, and that’s to find a balance between reviewing too often and not reviewing often enough. A good rule of thumb is to review and adjust your ad budget once a week. That gives your changes time to gain traction but avoids waiting too long in case an ad is underperforming and wasting money.

About the Author

Lawrence Dy is the SEO Strategy Manager at Vendasta. His career spans from starting as a Jr. Copywriter in the automotive industry to becoming a Senior Editorial Content Manager in various digital marketing niches. Outside of work, Lawrence moonlights as a music producer/beatmaker and spends time with friends and family.

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