Shared Campaign Budgets – New AdWords Feature

Pete Whitmarsh

Head of Paid Media


This blog post will be exploring the new AdWords feature of shared budgets. This is a feature which has been in beta testing for a while but has now gone public.

What are they?

This really does exactly what it says on the tin. It will give campaign managers the option to set one overall budget across multiple campaigns. This will be in the form of a daily spend cap (much like normal campaign budgets).

How do I set them up?

From the Campaigns tab in AdWords, navigate to the Shared Library. From here, click on the Budgets option on the left:

Choose New Budget and give the budget a name and an amount.

In the Apply to Campaigns option, simply choose which campaigns you want this cap to be set for:

Note that the shared budgets will always trump the actual campaign budgets. Therefore if you have a shared budget across multiple campaigns you no longer need to worry about the individual campaign budgets.

What should I use them for?

There are several use cases I have thought of for sharing campaign budgets. Here are a few examples:

  • An overall budget cap for an account (simply add all campaigns to the shared budget)
  • Caps on search vs display. It may be that client has allocated an amount to be spent in search vs display. You can now control these with the shared budgets.
  • A budget cap on specific product areas across multiple campaigns. For example, you may have separate campaigns for the same products covering computer, tablet, mobile, display, remarketing and product listing ads. Each of these will come under one overall cap.
  • A cap for experimental groups. You may be trying a few new sets of keywords in separate campaigns, setting a cap on these can be essential to ensure the budget is not going to be spent in the wrong areas of the account.


I personally think this is a great new feature. In AdWords you are rewarded for splitting out the campaign to a very granular level. Its generally thought that you should split out campaigns many different reasons such as:

  • Device targeting
  • Network targeting
  • Major product areas
  • Optimal ad extension delivery
  • Different geotargeting/language targeting
  • Ease of navigating the account

With all of these different considerations, you can end up with a lot of campaigns. This has always presented the difficulty of budget management – especially if working on a capped budget. Shared campaign budgets allow you control this much more efficiently.

Other Considerations

Whilst the budget caps are a fantastic way to ensure you stay in control of the budget, you don’t really want your campaigns to be limited by their budget. If campaigns have a high lost impression share due to the budget then it essentially means you can spend more without affecting your CPA/ROI. Alternatively, it means that bids aren’t being managed very well if working on a set budget. If you bid lower then you can afford a lot more clicks for the same spend. This is almost always going to improve the CPA and have an overall positive impact on results.


This is a great new feature to stay in control. However, as with all PPC budgets, you shouldnt rely on them too heavily. Bid management is still key to effectively controlling spend.