How to Avoid Digital Advertising Budgeting Disasters


It’s Monday morning.

You launched a new digital advertising campaign last Friday after numerous client phone calls, extensive research, and detailed campaign strategizing. You’re excited to see the results you’ve driven over the weekend.

But after you log in to Google AdWords, your jaw hits the floor.

Your client—who has a total advertising budget of $600 for the month—spent $3500 in the first three days.

How could this happen?

Almost every digital marketer has implemented a change at some point that decimated their performance and advertising budget in a matter of hours. Learn about three common (and costly) mistakes and how you can prevent them.

Incorrectly Setting a Daily Budget

Accidentally adding a few extra zeros to your daily budget can spell disaster for your pay-per-click spend. And, now that AdWords campaigns are allowed to spend up to two times the daily budget, an error like this could cost you your client (or worse).


  • Proof Your Accounts - From daily budget settings to ad URLs, review every detail of your PPC account and campaigns before launch. Twice.

  • Audit Your Peers - Implement a peer review system so that one of your team members is responsible for pointing out mistakes or providing suggestions on new accounts.

  • Don’t Skip Town - Monitor your new account closely immediately after launch. If possible, avoid launching campaigns before the start of a weekend, long holiday, or vacation.

Manual Budget Tracking Errors

Spreadsheets are useful in keeping track of clients’ campaign spends. But inputting a formula incorrectly or forgetting to add new campaign to your spend tracking sheet can lead to costly budgeting errors that are difficult to diagnose until it’s too late.


  • Create Checks and Balances - Audit the data in your tracking spreadsheet frequently against data from advertising platforms.

  • Use Multiple Tracking Methods - Have a primary and a backup method you use to compare results. If you can’t afford two tracking solutions (monetarily or time-wise), look for ways to cross-check data (ex: create client-specific and all-client tracking reports)

  • Test Software Solutions - Free trial budgeting or reporting software, or build your own tooling using advertising platform APIs.

Poor Account Strategy & Implementation

Few things can deplete a budget faster than poor PPC account strategy. Failing to add negative keywords/placements can be just as harmful (and expensive) as implementing a strategy using a single ad group and all broad-match keywords.


  • Master the Basics - Utilize your company’s training program as well as free educational resources including Google’s Academy for Ads, Bing Ads Training Courses, and Facebook Blueprint.

  • Use Your Community - The PPC community is one of the most welcoming around. Cultivate relationships with PPCers online and in-person, read their content, and ask questions.

  • Keep Learning - Read industry blogs, participate in PPChat on Twitter, host learning opportunities at work, and attend conferences (when possible).

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