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Monitoring Budgets in Digital Marketing: Calculating Risk

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It’s no secret that the main ad platforms at a digital marketer’s disposal have a pretty liberal view on the word “limit” when it comes to budget. It means monitoring budgets in digital marketing is an absolute necessity. Whether you’re logging budgets in sheets or using a marketing budget insights tool, it has undoubtedly stemmed the amount of awkward conversations with clients, finance teams, or both. If you are not tracking budgets independent of the platforms yourself, then you really need to think about doing so. And here’s why…

The Law of Averages and Monitoring Budgets & Performance

The lion’s share of a digital marketer’s day-to-day life will be going into platforms and optimizing campaigns. That means making changes. Wherever changes are occurring you’re opening yourself to the possibility of errors being made and errors can have a big impact on results and/or media budgets. Let’s look at quick, over-simplified example:

Say you have a book of 20 clients and on average each client has 10 campaigns running across various platforms.

20 clients x 10 campaigns = 200 Campaigns

Now, let’s say that across each campaign there are just four changes happening per month of a magnitude that could impact on how it performs and how it spends budget. That is just 48 changes made per campaign annually.

200 campaigns x 48 annual changes = 9,600 total annual changes

That is 9,600 points of potential exposure. But obviously, the overwhelming majority of the time those changes will be routine and they’ll be sanity checked before being implemented. But the reality is there are too many variables for execution to be perfect 100% of the time. Size of the team, seniority of the team, vacations, staff turnover, onboarding clients, and more besides. They all impact on how effective a team can be in any given moment. So let’s consider that even with all those variables, a team is still 99% accurate in the changes they make, leaving 1% of changes inaccurate.

1% of 9600 annual changes = 96 inaccurate changes

Hereafter, the risk you’re exposed to really depends on the kinds of budgets your clients have. That said, regardless of budget size, no client is going to happy with inaccuracies hitting them in the wallet. For the sake of ease let’s say each campaign has a budget of $1,000. That puts the total dollar amount of exposure to inaccuracies at $96,000 per year. Even just a fraction of that is going to make life hard.

Monitoring Budgets = De-risking Your Digital Marketing

The message is a simple one – as is the solution: monitor your budgets. Successful digital marketers know not to take a Total Budget/No. of Days in a Month approach to campaign budgets, to ensure a campaign can always chase after the opportunity for a greater number of conversions. It’s a high(er) risk/high reward strategy, but monitoring your budgets will ensure you won’t blow past limits and end up on the wrong side of a check.

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