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June 21, 2013
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June 24, 2013

Should Your Campaigns Learn to Share?

Benefits & Drawbacks of Shared Budgets

By Rachel Anderson

Shared budgets are a way to group two or more PPC campaigns into a single budget.  You might be asking, “Why would I want to do this? Wouldn’t it be the same to split the difference and assign individual budgets to each campaign?” Good question! In this post I’ll walk you through some great reasons to use shared budgets, when they’d make sense, and also some scenarios where you should probably avoid them.

Shared Budgets are Great For Accounts That…


  • Have Limited Budget and Multiple Campaigns
  • Have a Large Budget and Many Campaigns
  • Are Just Getting Started

Accounts with limited budget but insist on a good amount of content can be tricky to manage since there isn’t a whole lot to go around. Shared budgets can work great in these scenarios, saving a lot of hassle trying to figure out how to divide up the budget and make it work correctly. Create a shared budget for all campaigns to start with or create a few budgets and buddy up campaigns. The more data you get, the better you will be able to pair up campaigns and choose the best budget for them to share.

It works similarly for accounts with a large budget and many campaigns. Having a lot of money to work with can be equally as daunting as not having enough. Shared budgets can provide a more manageable way to divide the budget and get campaigns to spend. Shared budgets may also be great when you don’t have a whole lot of time to devote to figuring out the exact budget each campaign should receive. Simply group campaigns together based on performance, spend, or whatever you feel best and assign a generous budget.

Sometimes, when an account is new, it’s hard to determine budgets to assign. One option is to include everything in a single shared budget. Wait 5-7 days to get some good data on how different accounts will spend and then make adjustments.


Avoid Shared Budgets For Accounts That…


  • Focus on Individual Campaign Spend to Maintain Target Goals
  • Include the Display Network
  • Have Many Broad Keywords

Accounts which need to control individual campaign spend in order to maintain target CPA, ROI, etc. should not use shared budgets. Shared budgets do not have the kind of restriction that individual budgets do. Campaigns may spend more of the shared budget than you anticipated them spending. If you have any campaigns in this situation, never include them in a shared budget.

Something very important to know about the display network… it drains budget! Never include a display network campaign with a search network campaign. The search campaign won’t know what hit it. It will almost literally never have a chance to show. If you would like to use a shared budget with the display network, only include campaigns that are also on the display network in the grouping.

Similar to the display network, broad keywords love to use up budget. If you have a lot of broad keywords in one campaign and combine it in a shared budget with a more keyword-restricted campaign, the broad keyword campaign will dominate.

Hope that helps you determine whether shared budgets are for you! Have you tired or are experimenting with shared budgets now? Share your ideas and experience using shared budgets in a comment below. 🙂


Rachel Anderson is a Pay Per Click Advertising Strategist at Off the job she enjoys photography, good food, being outside, and spending time with her husband. Share your thoughts with Rachel on Twitter @gladygirl, Google+ or Facebook- she’d love to hear from you!