Fluid Media Budgets That Flow Month-to-Month Like Magic!

Inbox Dollars

Using Excel to track fluid media spending in digital advertising is a nightmare. Here’s how to automate tracking and flowing your media budgets with Bionic.

  • Automatically flow your media budgets from month-to-month.
  • See both planned and actual net media cost by month in your media plan.
  • Enter or override actual net media cost directly in your media plan (no integration necessary).
  • See pace and variance with “hot” or “cold” warnings when spending too much or too little.
  • See automatically calculated “Adjusted Plan” for the current month which accounts for prior surpluses or shortfalls.
  • See amount left to spend in the current month and overall.

  • See automatically calculated “Extrapolated Spend” which shows you how much you will spend in total if you keep going at your current pace.

Each of these is detailed below. But first, some background.

Dynamic Budgets in Digital Advertising

In digital advertising, budgets are dynamic.

When ad inventory is auctioned through real-time bidding, you’ve no guarantee that your ads will be served.  And you don’t know how much you’ll pay for each ad. As a result, it’s a constant challenge to keep spending on track with your budget.

If you bid too low, you won’t win ad auctions and your ads won’t be served. As a result, you won’t spend the money you had budgeted. And because you’re not serving enough ads, you’re likely to fall short of the results you were expecting from your advertising.

If you bid too high, you’ll win all the auctions. However, you’ll burn through your budget too fast and serve too few ads. Once again, you won’t get the results you wanted from your advertising.

The Goldilocks Zone in Digital Advertising

The key to achieving success in digital advertising is finding the “Goldilocks Zone” of not to hot and not to cold. And once you’ve found the Goldilocks Zone, you need to constantly adjust your bids and budgets to stay there.

A good media planner will establish your Goldilocks Zone in the media planning process. Good media planning software will help you predict your spending, ad delivery, and business outcomes.

All your media budgets and goals will be laid out clearly in your media plan. And these goals will be broken down into day-by-day goals in your media database.

The real challenge begins when your ads start running.

What Happens When Goldilocks Meets Tyson

As the philosopher Mike Tyson once remarked, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” This Tyson Doctrine is especially true in digital advertising where things never seem to go exactly as planned.

As soon as the “bell” rings on your placements, you start taking punches. Ads are not implemented correctly, bidding strategies are off target, creative is not working as hoped, and so on. Anyone in ad ops will tell you that digital advertising can sometimes feel like a boxing match.

Because of its nature, it’s important to keep a close eye on your digital advertising. It’s even more important to turn insights into bid and budget adjustments that keep your advertising placements in the Goldilocks Zone.

Using Excel for Pacing Budgets is a Nightmare

The key to keeping your ads in the Goldilocks Zone is tracking the pacing of your advertising budgets, ad delivery, and performance KPIs.

Using Excel to manually track the fluid media budgets in digital advertising is a nightmare.

Gathering Data

First, you have to manually gather performance data from each of your placements in each of your platforms for each of your campaigns for each of your clients. This requires you to gather hundreds or thousands of data points.

Calculating Pacing

Second, you have to code excel to perform hundreds of pacing calculations. Pacing is complicated and easy to get wrong. With so many calculations, you’ve almost no chance to get them all right.

Presenting Insights

Finally, you need to present your analysis. This requires rolling your data into easy-to-understand summaries and charts that shows where you’re on or off target.

Monthly Is Too Late

Performing this process takes many hours of costly and tedious labor. As a result, pacing is not analyzed as frequently as it should be, typically monthly. As a result of that, more than a month may pass before you discover a big problem. In the meantime, you’ve wasted a ton of money.

Ideally, you should be tracking your pacing daily.

Anyone who’s used Excel to track pacing has thought, “a computer should do this for me.” You’re right to expect more from your technology.

I’ve good news for you – Bionic can automate this entire process! 👀

How to Keep Your Ads in the Goldilocks Zone with Bionic

Since 2015, Bionic has been providing tools for tracking pacing in advertising. This includes automatically gathering performance data and performing pacing calculations.

Bionic pacing capabilities just leveled up with the latest software release.

Automatically Flow Media Budgets in Your Media Plan

media plan net media cost by month section

In your Bionic media plan, the Net Media Cost by Month section we introduced in 2021 has been enhanced with new fields for actual spend, variance, and pacing. You’ll see warning indicators when variance and pace are beyond tolerable deviation.

Unless you’re a precog, you’ll only see these new fields on the current month and prior months. Future months only display your planned spending.

Calculate Variance and Pace on Prior Months

Calculating Variance and Pace on Prior Months

Bionic automatically calculates your variance and pace across your entire media plan.

For prior months, variance 4️⃣ is calculated by subtracting the planned amount 1️⃣ from the actual amount 2️⃣. And pace 3️⃣ is calculated by dividing the variance by the planned amount.

Calculate Variance and Pace on Current Month

Calculating Variance and Pace on Current Month

For the current month… it’s complicated. 😵

The variance and pace calculations for the current month are tricky because they need to take into consideration the fact that you’re only partway through the month. Therefore, its only fair that the actuals to-date are compared to the plan to-date when calculating variance and pace.

For example, today is September 13th. So, I can only expect actuals data through yesterday. So, we assume the actuals reported are only September 1-12.  In order to calculate pace 4️⃣, we use only the September 1-12 segment of the planned amount. This gives you a true picture of your status.

Adjusted Planned Amount

The current month of your Net Media Cost by Month section includes another new feature that displays your Adjusted Planned Amount 2️⃣.

The goal of the Adjusted Planned Amount tool is to show you the amount you need to spend this month in order to get your spending “back on track.”

The adjusted planned amount is calculated as the original plan for the current month minus the sum of the variances from prior months.

For example, suppose your original plan for this month was $25,000. However, you’ve overspent your budgets in prior months by a total of $2,518.56. Your adjusted planned amount for this month is $25,000 – 2,518.56 = $22,481.44. If you spend exactly $22,481.44 this month, you will be exactly on pace overall.

Adjusted Pace

Another new tool is Adjusted Pace 5️⃣.

Unlike Pace 4️⃣ which compares your actuals to your plan to-date, Adjusted Pace compares your actuals to your Adjusted Plan To-Date.  Of the two pacing tools, this is probably the more important one to watch because this is the one showing you how to get back on track overall (not just hit this month’s goal).

Amount Left to Spend

Another new tool is Amount Left to Spend 6️⃣.

As the name implies, this tells you how much you have left to spend this month to be “on track.”

The Amount Left to Spend is calculated as Adjusted Plan Amount 2️⃣ minus the actual amount spent to-date 3️⃣.

For example, if your adjusted plan is $22,481.44 and your actual spent to-date is $8,411.76, then your Amount Left to Spend is $22,481.44 – 8,411.76 = $14,069.68.

Monitor Overall Media Spending

Monitor Overall Media Spending

In addition to helping you manage your month-to-month budgets, Bionic will help you to monitor your overall spending. For every line item in your media plan, in the total column you will find:

1️⃣ Total Planned Amount. This is the planned Net Media Cost for this line item.

2️⃣ Extrapolated Spend. This is the amount you will spend if you continue at the rate you’ve been spending to-date.

3️⃣ Amount Spent To-Date. This is the Net Media Cost incurred to-date.

4️⃣ Pace. This is your overall pace to-date. This compares the amount spent to-date to your overall plan to date. Remember that this automatically excludes any planned amounts in the future.

5️⃣ Extrapolated Variance. This tells you the surplus or shortfall you will experience if you continue at the rate you’ve been spending to-date. This is the difference between your extrapolated spend and your total planned amount.

6️⃣ Amount Left to Spend. This tells you how much you have left to spend for each line item. It’s calculated as total planned amount minus the amount spent to date.

Manually Add Media Spending

Manually Add Media Spending Data

There will sometimes be situations where media spend data is not available through a data feed. Bionic just added the capability for you to manually add your monthly media spend directly in your media plan.

Go to the Net Media Cost by Month section of your media plan. For the current month and past months, you’ll notice new fields for your actual spending to the right of your planned spending.

Simply enter or paste your actual media spend data into the actuals field. Bionic will break down and analyze your spending against your plan. It will show you both pacing and variance against your plan.

Fix Incorrect Media Spend Numbers

Manually Override Loaded Data

You can also use this feature to override data that was automatically loaded. There may be cases where the source system is not reporting correctly.

When you override, a value that was sourced from a data load. You’ll notice a blue triangle in the upper right corner. When you hover over the number, you’ll see this was a manual override and you’ll have the option to reset to the loaded value.

Roll with the Punches with Bionic

Bionic now gives you the ability to gracefully “roll with the punches” you get when digital advertising. You’ll always have a perfect view of the pacing of your budgets with little or no effort.

Your clients will love your new superpowers. Your CFO will love the time savings and budget controls.

How to Get Flowing

If you’re already using Bionic for Agencies, your account has already been upgraded for free.

The next time you log in and open a media plan, you’ll find these new features. Please let us know how we can help you to get the most from this new feature and from Bionic more generally.

Remember, you get unlimited free training and support with your Bionic subscription.

Not Yet on Bionic?

Not yet on Bionic? No problem. You can see capabilities, see pricing, see reviews, see a demo, and request a trial through our website.

The post Fluid Media Budgets That Flow Month-to-Month Like Magic! first appeared on Bionic Advertising Systems.
By: Joseph Pych
Title: Fluid Media Budgets That Flow Month-to-Month Like Magic!
Sourced From: www.bionic-ads.com/2022/09/fluid-media-budgets-that-flow-month-to-month-like-magic/
Published Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2022 01:15:38 +0000