You’ve just launched or joined a fledgling digital advertising agency and landed your first client. First things first: celebratory high fives and beverages all around. But now, it’s time to get to work and crush your new customer’s goals.
Not so fast. It can be tempting to immediately throw all your attention into optimizing the daylights out of your new client’s account. But, if you want to grow your agency beyond your first client, it’s important to have some basic systems in place to scale your business before you drive a single PPC impression.
One of the biggest areas we see agencies cobbling together solutions after launching their managed digital advertising services? Budgeting spend and billing. Teams waste hours manually pulling spend reports for clients or creating invoices at the end of billing cycles that they should be spending optimizing.
Agency budgeting software can eliminate those wasted hours, allowing teams to manage more clients, improve profitability, and ultimately grow business.
Why do I need agency budgeting software?
Agency budgeting software integrates with advertising platforms to provide a centralized place to track advertising dollars. Budgeting software should provide an easy-to-digest overview of how your clients (and their campaigns) are trending toward their spend and performance goals.
Optimally, budgeting software should automatically pull in spend and performance data across many advertising networks by integrating with their APIs. But, simpler solutions exist as well (such as spreadsheet plugins).
Agency budgeting software can be extremely beneficial for teams that manage clients: 1) with fixed advertising budgets and 2) on consolidated billing.
Fixed Advertising Budgets
Let’s say you’re a digital advertising freelancer running campaigns on Google AdWords for two clients with fixed budgets. You use rules and AdWords reporting to keep your clients on target and updated about their performance.
Your clients love their results and have recommend you to others. Quickly you grow to 12 clients, two employees, and you have plans to expand into Bing Ads and Facebook Ads.
When you expand your services to include multiple advertising platforms, it gets infinitely harder to scale spend while also hitting your clients’ spend and performance targets. So how will you manage the additional platforms, keep clients’ performance on track, and continue to scale their businesses?
That’s where agency budgeting software comes in.
To determine the best budgeting software for your company, you’ll need to know how strict clients’ budgets need to be adhered to. If you just want to report on spend to your clients and it’s okay if you occasionally overspend or underspend their ad budgets, spreadsheets or reporting software may meet your needs.
But, more advanced budget automation software can help you:
- Report on spend and performance to all stakeholders automatically
- Change/optimize campaigns across multiple-platforms from one centralized hub
- Automate high-risk tasks (such as pausing campaigns when their target budget is hit)
- Pace campaigns to meet to specific spend and performance targets
You’ve worked hard to build up your client base and getting paid for your services has been relatively simple so far. Your clients enter their credit card information in the platforms to cover media cost, and you charge them a fee for your services. But as you’ve scaled business, you’ve noticed it’s getting tougher to bill the right fee (especially if your clients’ services or budgets fluctuate) and manage billing notifications for your clients.
Once an agency reaches a certain client and spend threshold, utilizing the advertising platforms’ “consolidated billing” can help alleviate billing and invoicing headaches. Instead of managing billing and payments for each individual client on each of the advertising platforms, agencies receive a single consolidated invoice (with account-by-account spend breakdowns).
So how does budgeting software help? Now that you have a single consolidated invoice, you need to transfer each account’s accumulated spend into your invoicing tool. You could do this by hand, but an API integration or a CSV/Excel export is going to be much more accurate, fast, and scalable.
While you could build out API integrations with each platform, some agency budgeting software platforms have their own consolidated APIs. You can integrate a single API with your billing software and to automatically pull spend by advertising platform, network, channel, and more for each of your clients for your invoicing periods.
Almost all agency budgeting software platforms will offer CSV/Excel exports as well. However, you’ll want to ensure that the platform allows you to export the specific data that your billing system needs.
Budgeting software isn’t just necessary for scaling your agency, but ensuring client and employee satisfaction as well.
When you eliminate automatable manual tasks, you can focus that saved time on optimizing clients performance. Not only do you drive better results, higher satisfaction, and higher retention for your customers, but employees as well.
Agency budgeting software eliminates the headaches and hassles of tracking, optimizing, and reporting on spend. When your employees can focus on driving client performance, you improve your client satisfaction making scaling your business that much easier. And that means more celebratory hive fives and beverages all around.
Want to proactively prevent budgeting issues for your clients? Spend with confidence with our budgeting software designed specifically for digital advertising agencies. Try us out by managing one client free.