Business, Business, Business Expenses

Why your agency needs virtual cards to track online ads 

26 October 2022  |   8 minutes read
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Trendy startup company meeting to talk about tech

Buying digital media on behalf of your clients creates a huge amount of admin and budgeting issues. A proper spend management solution can change this.

For media agencies, virtual cards are the ideal alternative to company credit cards. You can create them when you need them, with a set amount of money, and use them immediately. They’re also much easier to manage.

Read on to learn more about how virtual cards can help you manage your clients’ spending (and yours).

The trouble with tracking ad campaigns

Handling different clients, projects, and accounts is even tougher if you’re using a company credit card. It can result in overspending, hours on the telephone with the bank, inaccurate data – and headaches for your team.

Credit cards may also put your company at risk, and are notably inflexible:

  • Credit cards get blocked when there’s suspicion of fraud. When this happens, you need to change the card number assigned to each ad account manually.
  • Setting firm budgets for each ad programme is challenging when you use the same card for everything – and credit card limits are famously hard to change.
  • Using one credit card for each ad account will put you at a higher risk of theft – and the volume of charges on the card make it harder to spot fraud.

For your finance team, credit cards are a reconciliation nightmare. They mean matching a mountain of invoices and statements, and combing through ad platforms to track spend activity.

Agencies can lose days every month to this, and still not know what they’re spending or where. It’s bad for business and bad for morale. All this time spent on admin chores only distracts staff from more fulfilling, valuable work.

Most agencies see these challenges as part of the job. They need to buy media for clients, so they also have to accept the vast, inconvenient admin.

For growing digital media agencies, another factor comes into play – using a credit card abroad often means extra charges, and multi-currency payments are tricky to manage.

But no matter how big your team is, how many clients you’ve got, and how many campaigns you’re running at once – managing spend doesn’t have to hold you back.

Switching to virtual cards

Virtual cards, combined with a digital platform, simplify paying for ads on different channels. From search engines to social media networks, paying and tracking ads is much easier:

Reduce the number of emails between finance and teams about receipts, reports, and requests
Get thorough, accurate spending data from marketing channels without having to match statements
Attribute different cards to campaigns so you always know how much you’ve spent on it

This approach works better for your people, your business, and your clients.

How do virtual cards work?

Imagine you’ve got a client with ads on Facebook and Google. You can create two different virtual cards and define a budget for each one. When the cards run out of funds, you can top them up again. For longer campaigns, just set up a monthly or annual budget.

You can also assign the cards to specific people on your team and make each user responsible for managing their card.

With the Soldo web platform, your team can manage their cards online, automate reports, and turn campaigns off once they end. This prevents your company from paying for extra ads or going over budget.

There’s more to virtual cards:

  • Increased flexibility (instead of coming up against your credit limit and having your card blocked)
  • Simple campaign management (each campaign has a virtual card assigned to a person)
  • Customisable cards (only load the budgeted amount to each card and issue them with a customer or campaign name)
  • Business protection (keep projects from going overbudget; clients see each transaction clearly)
  • Automated payments (streamlined approval process so employees feel trusted and empowered)

At Soldo we also have virtual cards for one-off or ad-hoc purchases, which can be used for 7 days. You can set the purchase limit between one and 10 transactions, decide the amount, and issue cards in that moment.

This method is even safer – only the requester and approver have access to the card details, which are securely kept on the web platform, so no one has to share card details. They won’t fall into the wrong hands and cause you trouble.

What flexible spend management gives you

Real-time, in-depth tracking

When you don’t know which campaign a transaction relates to, your team has to sort it out manually – and only after the monthly statement.

Company cards connected to a spend management platform end the need to match transactions.

With Soldo, you can create separate cards for each client, campaign, or media type, and see what each transaction relates to in real time.

Spend limits you can control

It’s up to you to set the limits on your virtual cards, unlike credit cards. You can use your clients’ budgets as a guide, instead of letting third-party providers decide how much you can spend.

The ability to adjust your limits according to your needs will keep you going. Your team doesn’t get cut off in the middle of a campaign, and you stay in control of the situation.

Easy process, happier team

Repetitive, tedious admin is no help to any business. It cuts into important work time and can lead to inaccurate data. On the other hand, smart company cards:

  • Speed up the expense process (you can invoice clients faster)
  • Keep spending organised automatically
  • Improve employee satisfaction

More business without the admin chores

Brands are spending more and more on ad budgets, pay-per-click ads and other paid media. So, for digital agencies, staying on top of this spend is conducive to growth. With virtual cards, you can have company cards for different projects, and delegate responsibility over them – no matter where your client is.

And because digital platforms such as Soldo are so remote-friendly – supporting multiple currencies, and accessible from anywhere – you can attract more clients from other countries.

Contact us to learn more about how we help media agencies.

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