This article is about optimization concepts related to budget and pacing.

Before we dive into actual concepts, let’s understand the basics which help you to understand the further discussion on optimization topics.

Campaign Budget:

The amount of campaign Budget advertisers want to spend to purchase ad inventory, in particular flight dates.

The budget can be smaller or larger. The size of the budget determines how much volume of inventory you can purchase for your given campaign details like bid, targeting, etc


It determines how fast you want to spend the budget within the lifetime of the campaign.

Simply to say, the rate at which the budget is spent.

Pacing setting options like EVENLY, AHEAD, and ASAP are available in ad tech platforms which helps to control the budget as per the requirement.

Let’s assume you are an advertiser, running an ad campaign with 10000 dollars for 10 days of flight

Flight -EVEN: Then set pacing as Flight – Even, this results in the campaign spending 10,000/10 = 1000 dollars per day. It makes sure to deliver is even each day throughout the flight and save budget till the end

Daily – EVEN: You can set a daily budget goal to spend evenly across the day. This setting split the budget across the 24 hours and ensures not to exhaust before the day.
You can calculate how much you want to spend and enter the daily budget.

Flight – Ahead: This setting is the same as Flight-Even, but the difference is this pacing attempts to spend slightly extra per day like 10%-20% extra. This avoids the risk of underspending by End of the Campaign. Set the pacing to Ahead, which avoids budget underspending by the end of the campaign. This setting ensures full delivery meeting daily requirements and has a buffer to overcome any fluctuations in impression availability throughout the campaign flight.

With this setting, you can get more extra data than the evenly setting option. Now you can utilize this data to check the performance and optimize at the earliest.

Flight – ASAP: If you want to spend the whole budget quickly and are not worried about saving the budget


Now let’s look into optimization related to the Budget and pacing of any campaign

Once the campaign goes live, you can see delivery numbers in the respective Platform.

Once this data is ready, now we get a chance to look into how each line item, strategy, etc are spending over time. Having more data in the picture, the more you can explore campaign delivery and performance.

In this article, I am going to focus only on Campaign delivery and will discuss campaign performance in the next article.

The first thing that we need to check is campaign pacing using any tool or document. To make it easy for you, let us build a Pacing Table in an excel sheet where you can apply a formula to the campaign data and get the pacing Percentage as the output value.

The formula for each cell in the tracker:

Pacing% = Total Average Spent / Total Average Needed

Total Days = (Start date – End date) + 1

Completed Days = (Today Date – Start date)+1

Days Left = (Total Days – Completed Days) + 1

Remaining Budget = ( Total Budget – Spend till date )

Average Projected Spend = ( Total Budget / Total Days )

Avg Spent = ( Spend till date / Completed Days )

Avg Budget Needed = ( Remaining Budget / Days Left )

Yesterday Budget =

What is the use of a pacing tracker …????


Next step…


Now you understand how to calculate the Pacing of the campaign.

We have to make sure that every campaign that goes live should be in pace .i.,e delivery at 100% within the given flight dates


Using a pacing tracker, notice the pacing of each campaign. With this, we can have an overview of overall campaigns in the platforms to make any changes whenever or wherever required.


If the campaign is Overpacing or Underpacing, there is a chance of missing valuable Impressions.

=100%, On Pace, shows 100% in the tracker, which means the campaign is on track and evenly pacing

>100%, Overpacing, which means the campaign is overdelivering. But it is suggested that to run campaigns at 120% in initial days, to avoid underspend

<100%, Underpacing, which means the campaign is underdelivering. Identify the reasons for underspending.


Let’s learn various ways to bring campaigns on track


  • It is always a best practice to check the pacing of campaigns daily. If there is a sudden breakdown in delivery, we can troubleshoot and fix it in case of any issue without any delay
  • Once you get the pacing percentage value, it’s time to make adjustments that are necessary for improvement in budget delivery
  • Pacing settings like EVEN, AHEAD, ASAP (Flight or Daily) in the platform affect the delivery of the campaign. Make sure to choose it as per the requirement
  • Adjust the amount of budget at IO level or LI level to meet the pacing of the campaign

Potential spend
Potential spend is how much this line item can spend with current settings.

Case 1
If Line’s potential spend is more than actual spend line item is performing well – Allocate more budget and reduce frequency and bid.
the line item is not performing well – Reduce frequency and bid.

Case2: Potential spend is equal to an actual spend line item is performing well -Increase frequency and bid.
the line item is not performing well – shift some portion of the budget from this line to another with good performance

For Underpacing,

Meeting daily caps

Check how much day delivery is needed for the remaining days.

Analyze the delivery fluctuations during the time period

Check if the budget is capped at the campaign and IO level which restricting delivery.

If you find an audience targeted in the line item may not be sufficient to get the inventory scale or supply, increase the list of the audience by adding relavant or similar targeting.

Increase the daily budget to meet the Average budget Needed which you get from the tracker or platform dashboard

If the budget setting is Flight – even, change to Flight Ahead. If it is still underdelivering, then increase the budget at line item level by setting the daily cap at IO level and this improves the pacing meeting daily spent needed

You can use ASAP setting, if the line item is delivering very low and want to show aggressiveness in delivery. This option can also be used, if the end date is near and still budget left is high. This makes a line to delivery aggressively and spends total budget cap if set for the day

Reasons for Impression lost:

“Impression Lost” data can help to see what is limiting line items from serving impressions like Auction loss due to bid, Frequency cap setting, Budget, and pacing, etc.

You can increase the bid by a certain percentage. Don’t increase too much. Start with a 10%-20% increase, then see the changes in delivery and adjust accordingly

Budget spending at line items sums to IO level spend. If you notice a few lines under the IO are not meeting the daily budget required, increase the budget for lines ‘n’ times more than current. You can limit the overall budget by adjusting the daily budget required at the IO level. So that whatever the budget spent by lines doesn’t cross the budget set at IO level.

Choice of Supply:

See if you are choosing limited supply vendors which exclude large portions of inventory

Try adding more supply vendors


You can control the budget with Freq cap setting at any level in the platform hierarchy. This might restrict the budget delivery.

Increase frequency capping helps to boosts delivery. Some of the options are no. of imps per day/week/month/lifetime


Check if you can something out of targeting parameters

More targeting helps to get more scale of inventory

Increase the list of targeting and add to the campaign.

Restricted targets limit the scale of inventory. Like blocking sites or supply vendors

Open the targeting as much as possible at different targeting settings like geo, audience, keywords, placements, time of the day, etc.
For example, if you choose only the desktop to target, excluding other devices limits the inventory. This causes underdelivering

In category exclusions, if you had selected Limited inventory then change to standard

Is there any overlap of audience targeting which limits the inventory?

Check the status of the creative of all creatives for every line under the campaign. Approval status, rejected if any, secured, restricted due to any reasons, etc
Are we getting enough scale for ad sizes or ad format?

Finally, use every opportunity wherever possible to make effective campaign delivery and be on pace


  • If the budget setting is Flight -ASAP or Ahead, change to Flight Even.
  • Decrease the budget at line item level and adjust as per the average budget needed.
  • You can also restrict budget at a higher level of hierarchy, so that whatever the budget that spends may not exceed cap set at a
  • higher level
  • In DV360, set budget cap at IO level, helps control at all the lines not to overdeliver
  • Slightly decrease the bid across the lines which can still meet the daily cap
  • Narrow targeting by Removing few targeting lists which are not performing well so that overall performance increases and meeting the daily budget requirement

Best Practices:

  • Choose the best performing Line Items which are meeting KPIs and meeting daily budget, you can allocate more budget to them.
  • By allocating estimated budget with respect to Performance, is the key success of the campaign

Budget with respect to performance:

  • Decrease the budget from Line items that are not performing or not meeting KPIs.
  • Increase the budget by shifting from underperforming lines to the line items with good performance and meeting KPIs
  • Set the pacing to Ahead, which avoids budget underspending by the end of the campaign. This setting ensures full delivery meeting daily requirements and has a buffer to overcome any fluctuations in impression availability throughout the campaign flight.
  • If the line item has the potential to spend to meet daily requirements, then try to lower the bid slightly by maintaining the campaign on pace. This will help both pacing and performance


Learn & Apply

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