How to track and manage your PPC marketing spend more easily
Tom Baragwanath

Published on November 19, 2018


These days, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a core marketing activity. If you’re anything like us, you’ll have multiple PPC payments to take care of every month.

A lot of businesses also manage their PPC spend via the trusty company credit card. While this is a go-to option, it can be clunky, and involves the risk of fraud and disruption.

In this post, we’ll look at a handy alternative to managing your PPC spend: an automated expense management platform with virtual credit cards.

A few basics

Because you’ve clicked on this post, you probably know the ins and outs of PPC advertising.

But just in case there are some newbies out there, pay-per-click (PPC), also known as cost-per-click (CPC) or paid marketing, is an internet advertising model used mostly to direct traffic to websites.

Most commonly, businesses purchase PPC advertising via search engines, for example Google Ads, Bing Ads, or DuckDuckGo Advertising. These search engines then assist the businesses to attract internet traffic.

PPC advertising is an essential part of the modern marketing environment, and is a great way to attract customers to a business or product.

Download this free template to help plan your next campaign:

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Current state of play with PPC spending

When managing PPC, there are a lot of balls to keep in the air at once. Marketers need to consider the following factors:

  • Lead quality - what kind of leads is your PPC spend generating?

  • Target cost per lead - how much are you planning to spend per lead generated?

  • Buying cycle - which stage (or stages) of the buying cycle are you targeting?

  • Visitor frequency - how often are you getting hits?

  • Geographic location - where are your hits coming from?

We won’t dwell too much on how to run a great PPC advertising spend - there are already a bunch of handy guides out there. Suffice it to say, there are a lot of things to keep in mind.

With all of these factors (and more) to consider, actually paying for your PPC spend is, unfortunately, just one more annoying thing to deal with.

This is especially the case if - like most marketers - you spread your PPC spend across a number of search engines. It doesn’t take many invoices for this to become a nightmare.

Not only do you have to check through the invoices to make sure the details are correct, but you have to pass them on to your manager or finance team (or both!) for processing, along with the necessary documentation. This is time consuming for everyone.

Know what’s even more of a nightmare? Managing PPC spend with a company credit card.

Managing PPC spend with a shared credit card

In addition to monthly invoicing, another popular way to manage PPC spend is through a shared company credit card. After all, most businesses have at least one (if not a handful) of credit cards to be used among staff, including for marketing activities.

This means marketers have to chase down the credit card whenever a PPC payment comes up. Even worse, they might have to share credit card details between staff.

Marketers may also need pre-approval from their manager before paying a particular PPC charge. This slows things down, making marketers less responsive to emerging opportunities.

Using a company credit card to manage PPC advertising is not only slow and unwieldy; it also involves major risks to company funds, including credit card fraud. Not good.

If a credit card is lost or maxed out and a PPC payment bounces, this can cause major headaches. Not only will your advertising streams be disrupted, but you might even lose all of the payment details and have to gather and input these all over again.

Fortunately, there’s an excellent way to sidestep the pitfalls involved with managing your PPC spend via manual invoicing or a shared credit card: a dedicated expense management tool.

Let’s take a look.

Automate your PPC spend with an expense management tool

With a dedicated expense management platform, businesses can manage their spending quickly and painlessly, cutting down the time and effort associated with processing expense payments. This includes PPC expenses.

Using integrated expense management software allows businesses to:

  • Automate their PPC spend for recurring payments.

  • Use prepaid expense cards to cover marketing costs.

  • Manage PPC costs with secure, non-transferable virtual credit cards.

  • Track PPC spend in detail at any time of the month.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these advantages.

Limiting risk

With an expense management platform like Spendesk, companies can limit the risks associated with managing their PPC spend.

With features like prepaid expense cards and virtual credit cards, employees can pay for PPC expenses as they come up, all while sticking to budget and keeping funds secure.

Expense management platforms allow marketers to trial PPC payments using non-transferable virtual credit card details. This is a secure, low-risk way to test out new PPC advertising without putting the company’s credit facility at risk.

An integrated tool like Spendesk also allows a detailed point-in-time view of expenses at any time of the month, meaning managers can pick up anomalies or inconsistencies quickly.

All of these features work together to increase security and speed up the payment process.

Enabling faster payments

A lot of PPC payments are consistent from month to month, meaning a lot of time and energy is spent processing payments that are predictable and low-risk.

A good expense management tool allows businesses to automate these payments, saving time and hassle.

What’s more, an expense management platform gives employees access to pre-approved expense funds. This empowers marketers to commit to PPC opportunities without having to wait for approval from a manager, all while keeping company funds safe and secure.

Plus, automation gives you more time to really manage your PPC campaigns: track CPCs and other costs, create landing and thank you pages, and build clear reports.


With an expense management tool, managers can set pre-approved categories of funding for particular activities, including marketing.

For example, a manager could approve a monthly budget of £1,200 for PPC spend. Marketers could then go ahead and spend that budget without needing specific approval.

Alternatively, a manager could set the approval for prepaid cards at zero, meaning every PPC marketing spend requires a push notification before the payment is processed.

This level of customisation allows managers and finance teams to reflect their desired levels of trust and accountability when it comes to managing business expenses. This saves time and effort, and also empowers staff.


In the case of loss or fraudulent activity with a company credit card, companies aren’t just exposed to financial setbacks. They also have to spend time recovering payee details, which are usually wiped whenever a credit card is cancelled.

Spendesk stores these details independently - including PPC payment details. This means if anything happens to an individual card or credit facility, payee details are still accessible.

This helps cut down a lot of the time and hassle associated with recovering from credit card fraud or cancellation.

Save time & reduce the risk of PPC disruption

As we’ve seen, PPC advertising spend is much too important to leave to chance. Unfortunately, the way most businesses manage their PPC spend exposes them to disruption, not to mention stress, hassle, and wasted time.

The classic payment methods all have their drawbacks. Using a shared credit card is risky and unwieldy, whereas receiving and paying monthly invoices is slow and burdensome.

With an integrated expense management tool like Spendesk, you can automate your recurring PPC spend, saving a huge amount of time and effort.

What’s more, Spendesk’s prepaid expense cards and virtual credit cards enable your staff to manage PPC spend securely and conveniently, all while maintaining clear accurate oversight of business expenses.

We think PPC advertising is complicated enough already without having to worry about juggling troublesome payments.

Give yourself one less thing to worry about. Consider using Spendesk to manage your PPC spend, and you can ditch the shared company credit card, not to mention the stacks of invoices.

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