January 13, 2021

[Campaign Setup] Budget & Pacing

Taryn Syratt

How it all works

There are 3 pieces to the CAASie budgeting puzzle. The overall budget (or spend cap), how CAASie ‘paces’ that budget, and the per-play cost of the ads you purchase (which is governed by a real-time auction).

Firstly, there’s a global campaign budget. This is the upper limit of how much your campaign can spend in total. Secondly, there’s your Campaign Spend Pacing. This controls how quickly your campaign budget is deployed. Lastly, there’s your Bid Strategy which controls how much the campaign is allowed to spend per individual ad play.

This article walks you through each of these three pieces in their respective sections below.

(For those that don’t know what an ad play is or how much ad plays cost, check out the pricing article here)

Campaign Budget

When we talk about budget, it’s generally in the context of an individual campaign. It’s the upper spend limit, or the total value of credits that you want to commit to a single campaign. It’s not the number/value of credits within your account.

Your campaign budget is also important for determining spend rates/pacing, auction results and frequency of ad plays within each campaign. If you want a deeper understanding of how it’s all connected, check out our deep dive article here

When setting up your campaign in the “campaign wizard”, you’ll be prompted to provide a budget. This is a cap on the total spend for your entire campaign duration, within its total active hours learn about active hours and scheduling here. But first it helps to know how much to budget for.

Prior to setting your budget, you will need to select which screens to include within your campaign. As you add different screens to your cart, our hourly budget guide will change to reflect the number and value of screens you’ve selected. This guide is based on the cost of roughly one ad displaying every 2-10 minutes on each screen (depending on format & venue type). 

But remember, this is only a guide. It cannot account for the live availability across those screens and you are not required to follow or match it. It’s in the next section that you’ll choose your own budget.

When you enter a total budget figure into your campaign, the program will automatically break that down by the number of active hours set within your preferred schedule. You can see that on the right hand side of the page. We refer to this as an “available hourly budget”.  

If your available hourly budget is not sufficient (according to our guide), you can use the “magic fix” button to automatically calculate the recommended budget. 

Otherwise, to match your settings to a lower budget, you can go back and make changes to your settings, such as reducing the number of screens and/or active hours. 

For a high budget, you can do the opposite and add/increase screens and/or active hours. 

Alternatively, you can simply let your camping run “as is” and your ads will either show less frequently or more frequently (availability permitting) than our recommendations. 

We talk about custom control of hourly available budgets in the pacing section of this article.

Manage your Pacing

Have you ever been told to “pace yourself”? Often means taking this slow and steady, usually for better outcomes, right? Well it’s the same thing on CAASie. 

What we’re referring to with pacing is the rate and/or steadiness with which your budget is being used up. Which of course is directly related to the frequency of ads playing. 

You don’t want all your ads to show back to back until you run out of budget, so CAASie uses some smarts to make your budget last for the duration of your campaign. The hourly available budget that we talked about earlier is part of those pacing controls. 

When setting up a campaign, there are three pacing settings that you can choose from; auto, hourly, and daily. 

By default, your campaigns will be set to auto-pace. This means that CAASie will simply spread your overall budget from start date to end date, using the available hourly budget as an average hourly spend rate. 

However you can choose to override this, and gain more control by setting a daily (24 hours) or hourly (60 min) spend pace. These values will act as both a goal and a loose cap (meaning it can go over, but not by much). 

E.g. If you set an hourly spend pace of $30, the campaign will spend as close to $30 in any (scheduled) 60 minute period as it can. 

In general, the smaller the pace duration, the more consistent your spend rate is, and therefore the more consistent the number of ad plays across each active hour will be. 

If you’re looking for a low-touch option, it’s recommended that you use the auto-pace settings. But if you want finer controls over your campaign performance, you can experiment with using custom pacing settings. These settings can be adjusted at any time throughout the campaign. 

To learn more about when and how to use custom pacing settings, read the deep dive article here.  

Bid Strategy (Cost Capping)

When we talk about a bid strategy on CAASie, all we’re really asking is how much you want to pay per showing of each ad. In the campaign wizard, you’ll set a “global” bid/cap that applies to every single screen within your campaign. 

By default, this cap is set to automatic. In this case, the CAASie program will automatically bid for you, up to a calculated cap of how much of your budget you can afford to spend at that moment in time. For more detail on the auto-bidding, read the deep dive article here.

You can, however, choose to override the automatic bidding system and apply your own cap. If you do this, the auction process is the same, except that instead of reaching an auto-calculated cap, you will reach your nominated cap before dropping out of the auction. 

It’s recommended that you become familiar with your campaign performance before you set a manual cap, since you can adjust, add or remove the cap at any point throughout your campaign. However if your decision is based around automatically excluding higher value screens, this can be a quick way to achieve that.

Taryn Syratt
A scientist-turned-CAASie-ist. Taryn is a natural-born introvert with no fear of awkwardness. She writes about all things CAASie, strategy and other interesting bits.
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