LinkedIn Ads Budget: The Definitive Guide for Agencies

Agency team members evaluate LinkedIn Ads budgets

Why managing LinkedIn Ads Budgets is important for agencies

When advertising agencies pitch multi-platform PPC strategies to their customers, most don’t suggest LinkedIn Ads as their primary strategy. At least, not initially.

While its audience may be smaller than Google Ads or Facebook Ads, the platform’s hyper-granular targeting capabilities make it an appealing strategy for B2B and SaaS businesses in particular.

Agencies can reach their clients’ ideal customers based on education, job titles, professional qualifications, career experience, and more.

As you can imagine, it’s not cheap to advertise on LinkedIn Ads. According to Social Media Examiner, a business should expect to pay upwards of $11 to $17 per click depending on their industry.

That's why it’s vital for digital advertisers to manage clients’ LinkedIn Ads budgets near-perfectly or risk massive overspends and performance drops.

Our Background in LinkedIn Ads Budget Management

Our team has worked as analysts at PPC agencies and managed thousands of PPC budgets. As analysts, we spent hours manually updating spreadsheets and knowing there had to be a better way to manage budgets.

As we've built Shape, we have worked with hundreds of agencies on their budgeting challenges. While we’ve seen many unique strategies for managing ad spend, most companies share similar challenges manaing PPC budgets at scale.

For example, the team at premier LinkedIn Ads agency, B2Linked, used to spend 20+ hours every week analyzing spend and projecting end-of-month spend before signing up for Shape. Because our software could be customized to their clients’ unique budgeting specifications, Shape helped the agency eliminate their time spent manually budgeting campaigns by 70%

That’s exactly why we created Shape. We wanted to make the PPC budgeting software we always wished we had while working as PPC analysts.

Why managing LinkedIn Ads’ Budgets at scale is hard

Monitoring PPC budget pacing across mulitple screens and clients

Compared to larger competitors such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads, the LinkedIn Ads platform offers relatively simple campaign management functionality.

LinkedIn Ads Campaign Manager allows an agency to manage and view performance data for multiple client accounts from one central agency account.

However, bulk campaign management options are minimal. Budget Management, in particular, can be highly cumbersome.

LinkedIn Ads offers “campaign groups” as a tool to group campaigns together that share a single budget amount. LinkedIn tracks the cummulative grouped campaign spend and pauses the campaigns when the target budget is hit.

But, if you don’t use campaign groups or have multiple campaign groups for the same client, you’ll still need to adjust budgets manually.

While it is possible to bulk edit campaign statuses, bulk editing campaign daily budgets or bids is not. Doing so requires you to click into each campaign individually which is a large manual time suck. Likewise, the platform doesn’t offer automated rules or scripts.


Lead Generation vs. E-Commerce PPC Budget Management

The LinkedIn Ads platform appeals to marketers and businesses focused on lead generation.

86% of the B2B marketing professionals surveyed planned to utilize LinkedIn Ads for generating leads—surpassing Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—according to the 2021 B2B Marketing Mix Report from Sagefrog.

Lead generation clients typically have fixed, recurring budgets. Agencies care deeply about their clients’ budgets being accurately spent to drive high-quality engagements with targeted prospects.

But these same agencies often feel deep pain with PPC budget management.

Only a limited number of third-party PPC management platforms integrate with LinkedIn Ads, and even the platform itself offers little budget management and spend tracking functionality.

Calculating LinkedIn Ads Budgets

Ideally, a prospective company comes to an agency with performance goals in mind. Both parties work together to determine 1) If those goals are realistic and 2) A reasonable PPC budget.

If the client has already run LinkedIn Ads campaigns in their Campaign Manager previously, the client should grant the PPC agency permission to review their Ads and Google Analytics accounts. Doing so gives the agency a better understanding of the client's previous strategy, potential ad spend, average CPC, and website conversion rate.

Once the PPC marketer has gathered this information, they can create a PPC budget recommendation.

One option a PPC marketer has is using LinkedIn Ads’ budget estimations. LinkedIn will provide 1, 7, and 30 day cost estimates based on targeting factors (ex: location, company, job title, education, interests/traits, and first-party audiences).

Some agencies may also have proprietary budget recommendation processes or make estimates based on clients’ performance in similar markets and industries. HubSpot also provides an ad ROI calculator PPC marketers can use to plug in budget variations for the client to see the potential ROI.

Third-party tools are also valuable for helping advertisers determine a data-driven budget estimation.

Our software, Shape, provides a tool called Budget Booster. Budget Booster uses 60-days of past performance metrics to calculate the maximum spend potential for every campaign.

Managing LinkedIn Ads Budgets with Excel

Manual Google Ads PPC Budget tracking template

Because LinkedIn Ads is integrated with only a handful of third-party PPC management tools, many digital advertisers turn to spreadsheets to manage PPC spend tracking.

While PPC budgeting spreadsheets can be an effective (and free) way to track LinkedIn Ad spend, managing PPC budgets with spreadsheets creates challenges.

For agencies, the complexity of a PPC tracking spreadsheet is determined by their clients’ budgets and strategies. One client may want all their LinkedIn campaigns to spend a single budget amount, while another client may have a 50+ location strategy with different budgets per ad network and channel.

Thus, tracking spreadsheets are often not simple to reuse across clients. Recreating spreadsheet formulas can lead to formula errors that are difficult to catch until it’s too late. PPC advertisers must monitor their spreadsheets regularly to ensure spend matches ad platforms, and agencies have to find a stable and scalable way to refresh data daily.

Some marketing data pipelines offer the ability to export LinkedIn Ads data to spreadsheets. However, they are usually expensive and still require a PPC advertiser to perform manual work to create a usable budget tracking spreadsheet.

Managing LinkedIn Ads budgets with spreadsheets can be especially risky because there is no way to automate edits into the LinkedIn Ads interface from your spreadsheet. A spreadsheet-driven budgeting workflow relies on a person updating the data and making the necessary changes by logging into LinkedIn Ads. At best, your spreadsheets may have some alerting built in to help you attend to issues faster.

Spreadsheets quickly become a resource drain for PPC advertisers managing hundreds or thousands of budgets across clients. Even worse, overspends can occur without oversight from third-party PPC software.

LinkedIn Ads Budget Management Tools in LinkedIn

LinkedIn Ads budget management tools may be limited, but they are straightforward.

LinkedIn offers three primary ways to control spending on Ads campaigns. These can be set in the platform using the resources provided below.

  • Campaign Groups - Set a campaign group total budget that pauses all campaigns in the group when the total budget is spent
  • Daily Budget - Set the average amount you’d like an individual campaign to spend per day
  • Lifetime Budget - Set the total amount you’d like an individual campaign to spend from its start to end date
  • Note: LinkedIn requires a $10 minimum daily budget per campaign. The minimum lifetime budget for new campaigns is $100

PPC Budget Management Software

Eventually, many agencies reach a breaking point when trying to scale their PPC budget management practices using spreadsheets or LinkedIn Ads’ budgeting features alone.

It could be a spreadsheet formula error that leads to a massive client overspend, or a PPC advertiser quits because all they do all day is check campaign spend.

Enter PPC management software. Or, even better, PPC budget management software for agencies.

PPC management software allows digital marketers to track, manage, and optimize campaigns across multiple ad networks and channels in a single platform. Different PPC management software solutions offer different features (ex: campaign spin-up, spend monitoring, reporting, scripts, or complex bidding algorithms).

Finding the best PPC management software for your agency based on your unique needs is critical.

Shape decided to make PPC budget management the core focus of our software because we saw too many digital advertisers at agencies wasting their day tracking spend when they should be optimizing campaigns. We offer PPC budget management for LinkedIn Ads because there is immense value in supporting the top B2B/SaaS lead generation platform.

Request a Demo for LinkedIn Budgets

Common Errors that Lead to LinkedIn Ads Overspend

Blindfolded man throwing darts and missing the dartboard

Any digital advertisers that has overspent a client’s PPC budget knows the sheer panic that sets in when the cost column has a few more digits than expected.

Overspends suck, but they do happen. More often than not, it’s because of human errors driven by outdated, manual processes.

The most common reasons we've seen overspends occur are:

  • Manual in-platform errors
    • Ex: Wrong daily budget, Geographic targeting set to worldwide, broad match keywords that should be exact
  • Tracking system issues
    • Ex: Spreadsheet formula error, failing scripts, new campaigns were not added to tracking solution
  • Unforeseen traffic spikes
    • Ex: A new movie is released with a client’s brand name in the title and spend triples overnight for unqualified searches

Having processes or software in place to reduce or eliminate these occurrences will help improve your team’s workload immensely.

First, before you launch a campaign, review every aspect of it two to three times. Create a checklist to ensure everything set up and ongoing optimization is done properly. Finally, it can be helpful to set up regular peer audits for accounts.

For tracking sheets, we suggest periodically comparing the results in your spreadsheets to the platforms even though it is manual and arduous. It ensures that the budget calculations and optimizations you’re making aren’t being fed with erroneous or partial data sets.

If all that sounds like a lot of work (hint: it is), it may be time to consider if PPC budget management software can help you meet your agency’s toughest budgeting needs.

Prevent Overspending a LinkedIn Ads Budget

If you are manually managing your PPC budgets and are not using scripts or software, then your time will be the cost of preventing overspend.

Constantly logging into LinkedIn Ads and spot checking everything is the only true way to have peace of mind that nothing is going wrong.

This manual process is what we went through as marketers and is why Shape exists today.

We designed Shape's AutoPilot to be an insurance policy against overspending. AutoPilot automatically pauses campaigns in a budget when the target budget is hit and reenables the campaigns when more budget is made available.

Daily Pacing Strategies for LinkedIn Ads Budgets

Shape graph showing AutoPilot Daily results pacing spend evenly throughout a budget cycle

Pacing daily ad spend in LinkedIn is fairly simple as the ad platform lacks the complex automated rules and/or scripting functionality of its counterparts.

Digital advertisers can, of course, pace daily spend by manually entering campaign daily budgets or campaign group daily budgets adjustments to keep spend on track.

Advertisers can also choose to set a combined daily and lifetime budget for a campaign in LinkedIn. Combining the daily campaign spend limit (daily budget) and the total amount you want to spend altogether (lifetime budget), helps reasonably pace spend toward your goal.

If you only run LinkedIn Ads, this can be a useful strategy. However, if you need to pace multiple campaigns across multiple ad networks together toward one target budget, a third-party PPC management tool is your best bet.

Third-party PPC tools like Shape can analyze how your campaigns’ performance metrics and spend are pacing toward your KPI goals. They can also calculate the ideal spend to hit your target amount by the end of your budget cycle or project what amount you would hit if you changed nothing.

Shape offers multiple products to assist with pacing including:

  • CruiseControl: Automatically adjusts campaign daily budgets and paces advertising costs toward a target PPC budget
  • AutoPilot Daily: Keeps spend on pace by pausing campaigns when their daily ideal target is hit and reactivates them the next day
  • Budget Pacer: Shows pacing projections and makes recommendations you can implement with two clicks

Monthly Pacing Strategies for LinkedIn Ads Budgets

Monthly budgets are commonly utilized by agencies/their clients as it simplifies the pacing, reporting, and budget allocation processes.

Clients select budgets/goals they want their digital advertiser to achieve by the end of the month, and the digital advertiser works to achieve those goals by optimizing campaigns each week.

One way to pace monthly budgets is manually.

You can create a spreadsheet that compares spend throughout the month to the target budget. You then calculate how far under/over your target you are at any given point. After that, it’s simply a matter of adjusting elements such as daily budgets, bids, and targeting to reach your budget and performance goals.

However, the more clients your company manages PPC campaigns for, the longer and more intensive this task becomes.

Shape offers simple automation to pace spend across an entire month for LinkedIn campaigns:

  • CruiseControl: Automatically adjusts campaign daily budgets and paces advertising costs towards the target PPC budget
  • AutoPilot Pause/Enable: Monitors campaign spends against a target budget. Pauses campaigns when the target budget is hit and reactivates campaigns at the start of the next cycle

PPC Budget Templates for LinkedIn Ads

Creating a Linkedin Ads report in Google Sheets is a great way to automate your budget tracking and pacing if you’re not ready to commit to PPC management software yet.

The only problem? Finding a way to automatically import LinkedIn Ads data to Google Sheets on a regular basis. While Google Ads data can be imported into Sheets for free, in order to import data from other ad networks (such as LinkedIn Ads, Facebook Ads, etc.), agencies have to find a ppc data pipeline, connector, or tool that supports LinkedIn as well.

Along with Supermetrics and Funnel, Shape offers a way to transfer all of your LinkedIn Ads data into Google BigQuery, Google Sheets, and Google Data Studio daily. We call it our Shape Advertising Data Warehouse (ADI) and it takes only a few clicks to launch an ADI and get LinkedIn Ads data flowing where you need it.

With your LinkedIn Ads data at your fingertips, it’s time to design a budget tracking/pacing report that works best for your agency!

Not sure what you want? There are lots of resources on Google Sheets and Data Studio templatesto help get you started.

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