Best Practices For Setting Account Based Advertising Budgets

Published on December 18, 2023 by Sawyer Middeleer

Best Practices For Setting Account Based Advertising Budgets

In the digital advertising landscape, precision and personalization are not just 'nice-to-haves,' they are prerequisites for a compelling marketing strategy — especially in the B2B space. As an account-based marketing (ABM) practitioner deciding on an account-based advertising (ABA) budget, you are on the frontline, ensuring that the dollars you allocate directly contribute to engaging your key accounts. Here's an exploration of the best practices for setting account-based advertising budgets.

Understanding Account-Based Advertising

Account-Based Advertising is the tailored suit of the advertising world – it's bespoke, precise, and designed for impact. In lieu of broad-reaching campaigns that target demographics or industries at large, ABA zeroes in on specific companies – or even specific roles within those companies – ensuring that you are positioning your marketing resources directly where they will be most effective.

ABA can be defined as a targeted approach where B2B marketers run campaigns focused on specific high-value accounts. This highly focused nature of ABA calls for an equally strategic approach to budgeting.

Best Practices for ABA Budgeting

ABA budgeting can be complex, considering the granularity and specificity of the campaigns. Below are best practices that guide the process of setting and optimizing ABA budgets:

1. Align with your ABM strategy

Your ABA budget must stem from a clear ABM strategy which is tied to business objectives. Begin by defining your high-value target accounts, then design your ABA strategy accordingly. The depth of your targeting (e.g. targeting by account, by department, or even by job role) will influence the budget you'll need.

2. Define your goals and measurement criteria

Every ABA campaign should have defined success metrics. Are you looking to increase awareness, drive engagement, or generate leads within the target account? The goals determine the advertising channels you choose, the creatives you develop, and the budget allocation necessary to achieve your objectives.

3. Evaluate Account Potential

Each account's potential revenue should factor into your budgeting decision. Allocate more budget to accounts with higher revenue potential and those that align better with your solution. This assessment often requires close collaboration with the sales team who have insights into accounts' potential deal sizes and buying propensities.

4. Consider the entire funnel

ABA isn't just top-of-funnel; it needs to work throughout the buyer's journey. Allocate budget for both awareness stage campaigns (which may require broader reach and higher spend) as well as for campaigns that nurture and engage leads further down the funnel (which are more targeted and may have lower costs but higher value).

5. Use historical data for forecasting

Examine past performance metrics and budget spends to gauge how much budget is required to achieve desired results. Historical data will give you a base for forecasting reach, click-through rates, and conversion rates for different target accounts, enabling better budget allocation.

6. Test, measure, and adapt

With ABA, not everything will work right out of the gate. You will have to run tests to determine which messages, channels, and content types resonate best with your target accounts. Set aside a portion of your budget for experimenting with different strategies and always optimize based on performance data.

7. Optimize Cost Per Account

While traditional online advertising models optimize for cost per click (CPC) or cost per impression (CPM), ABA focuses on cost per account (CPA). This means giving precedence to metrics that gauge engagement and conversion at the account level, rather than the individual lead level.

8. Integrate with sales efforts

Synchronize your ABA budget with sales activities, such as direct mail or events, to compound impact at specific points in the sales cycle. By coordinating with the sales team, you can ensure that advertising efforts complement sales activities and vice versa.

9. Focus on Quality Over Quantity

Since ABM targets fewer accounts, the traditional notion of quantity-over-quality in ad spending is flipped on its head. It's about making a significant impact on a small, well-defined audience, which means spending your budget on high-quality touchpoints rather than just casting the net wide.

10. Prioritize Channels Based on Engagement

Not all advertising channels are created equal. Allocate larger budgets to channels where your target accounts are most active and engaged. This might require a deep dive into account-specific data or industry research to understand where your prospects are likely to spend their time.

11. Leverage Technology and Partnerships

Utilize ABM platforms that can provide account-level targeting and insights, which in turn help you allocate your budget more effectively. In some cases, this might also mean teaming up with third-party data providers or publishers that can offer premium access to your key accounts.

12. Understand the Long-term Value

ABA is a long game. It's important to realize that the benefits of reaching and converting a high-value account may take multiple touchpoints and time to materialize. Ensure that your budgeting approach takes into account the lifetime value (LTV) of an account rather than short-term wins.


Determining a budget for ABA is not a one-size-fits-all process; it requires a strategic, data-informed approach that aligns with company goals and adapts over time. By understanding the intricacies of account engagement and focusing spending where it will have the most influence on your high-value targets, your ABA can become a potent tool in your ABM efforts. With these best practices as your guide, you can allocate your advertising budget in a manner that sets your campaigns on the path to delivering measurable success and sustained growth.

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