Using Adwords Shared Budgets

The word ‘budget’ affects pretty much anything in life; your weekly shops, your household bills etc.

It’s the same scene with paid search or, indeed any marketing channel.

Budget is first and foremost the biggest factor when devising any marketing plan.


Let’s keep things relevant and concentrate on AdWords.

Google allows you some flexible options for managing budgets:

  • Daily caps
  • Automated rules
  • Shared budgets

Traditionally when you are given a monthly budget to spend in AdWords you break that spend down into a spend-per-day (SPD), and distribute that SPD between the campaigns using budget caps. Ordinarily if you have one account with multiple campaigns this is the way to go as you will monitor the campaign performance and re-assign budgets based on performance – higher caps for the good performers, lower caps for the not-so-good performers and Don’t forget ad scheduling!

In this blog I would like to focus on shared budgets.

Shared budgets were introduced to help alleviate the complexities of multi-campaign budget management and ensures that any overspends are kept to am minimum. This can help when budgets are tight but you still want to implement complex strategies.

This was very important with a recent client of ours:

  • One company specialising in one product
  • Operates via franchises all over the UK
  • Separate account for each franchise
  • Individual monthly budgets for each franchise
  • 25+ franchises at any given time

This gave us very complex account structures with very small budgets per location. We decided to use shared budgets so that we could spend the time expanding, expanding campaign structures & keyword lists but not be hindered by variances in individual campaign costs. It also made more sense as we are dealing with a single product. The only real variables are the locations which are a handful for each account and simply managed at campaign level.

By setting a shared budget across all campaigns we can avert any overspends for each location, but driving more clicks and a lower CPC overall.


To set up shared budgets you need to do the following:

  1. Open the account you want to set it up in
  2. Click on Shared library.
  3. Under Budgets click View>>
  4. Create a new budget by clicking the big red button that says + BUDGET
  5. First things first, give your budget a name (in the Budget name box) – It’s a good idea to name the budget by the actual amount you want to set (so if your daily budget is £6.50, name it £6.50 Per Day)
  6. Next, you want to select the campaigns that share this budget. So underneath Budget name box is the Apply to campaigns section, click the Edit link and a box will open up allowing you to select the campaigns. In this exercise we’re selecting all of them
  7. Then, set your daily budget amount in the final box at the bottom
  8. It’s up to you how you set the delivery but I believe if your campaign is running for most of the day you might want to choose evenly to start with
  9. When you’re all done, just click save
  10. Keep doing the same with each account until you’re finished

This will override your individual campaign settings for budget (of course) and delivery method. It won’t interfere with your ad rotation or targeting.

dividing money

One thing to bear in mind is that you don’t have to do one or the other. In the same account you can have shared budget across some campaigns whilst maintaining individual caps for others.

This makes the bidding strategy more flexible.

If, you have an account with three campaigns (let’s call them 1, 2 and 3).

  • The daily budget for the account is £35. You know Campaign 1 gets the highest number of sales, has the lowest cost per sale and never spends more than £25 per day.
  • Campaigns 2 and 3 perform well but can outperform each other daily.

What you could do Campaigns 2 and 3 is share the remaining £10 between them so you’re not restricting individual performance by giving them each a £5 cap. Using a shared budget for these two means the can potentially get access to more budget if one is driving more traffic one day when the other isn’t and vice versa.

And just like all things in AdWords you will need to test to see what works best for you.

If you would like a helping hand with shared budgets or any other element of PPC advertising then please contact us for a free, no obligation PPC review and consultation with one of our PPC Experts.

Ahmed Chopdat
Commercial Director

An expert in high volume, highly competitive markets with a keen eye for trends, motivated by client profitability and success.

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