Estimate your results with bid simulators

AdWords bid simulators help you see how different bids might change your ads’ weekly performance.
  • The regular Bid Simulators allow you to estimate how changes to your max. CPC bid might change the cost or the number of clicks, impressions, conversions, and conversion value your ads would have received for your keyword or ad group. You can find them on the Ad groups and Keywords tabs.
  • The Campaign Bid Simulator can be used to model and apply bid changes across your account, and display details at the campaign level. Find it on the Campaigns tab.
  • The Shopping Campaigns Bid Simulator lets you estimate how certain changes to your bid would have impacted your clicks, cost, impressions, and conversions for your product group. You can find it on the Product groups tab.
  • The Target CPA Simulator shows you how changes to your target cost-per-acquisition (target CPA) might affect your ad performance. Find it on the Campaigns tab or in the Shared library.

Example

Suppose you have a max. CPC bid of US$1 for your keyword, but you're curious to see what results you might get with a bid of US$1.50 or US$0.75.

The Bid Simulator can show you estimates of the clicks, cost, impressions, conversions, and conversion value you would have seen with max. CPC bids of US$1.50 or US$0.75 for your keyword.

The Campaign Bid Simulator can show you the same estimates based on setting a campaign-wide bid of US$1.50, for example, or increasing or decreasing your campaign-level bid by a certain percentage.

Note

If your campaign has a "Limited by budget" status, you'll get budget ideas in the pop-up window on your Campaigns tab instead of the Campaign Bid Simulator. Learn more about budget ideas

How bid simulators work

The bid simulators collect and analyze data from ad auctions on the Search Network and the Display Network while considering information such as Quality Score, keyword traffic, and competition in the ad auction. The tools use this information to estimate how your ads might have performed in terms of key metrics like cost, impressions, clicks, and conversion volume.

Remember, the bid simulators can provide insight into how different bids might have affected performance over the past 7 days, but they don't attempt to predict future performance. For instance, if you believe that your ad performance might change significantly in the coming weeks, you’ll want to be careful using bid simulator data to choose your bids.

How to get bid simulator estimates

Using bid simulators on the Search Network

Search Network Bid Simulators only work on “Search Network only” campaigns and on the Search portion of “Search and Display Select” campaigns.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab.
  3. Click the Campaigns, Ad groups, Auto targets, or Keywords subtab.
  4. Click the simulator icon (Bid Simulator icon) Don't see this icon? Learn why.
    • If you're in the Campaigns tab, the icon is in the "Budgets" column.
    • If you're in the Ad groups, Auto targets, or Keywords tab, the icon is in the "Max. CPC" column.
    See the Bid Simulator icon
    Try it now

Tip

Alternatively, you can add the bid simulator columns to the statistics table on your Keywords tab to easily view estimates for multiple keywords. Learn more about this group of columns

Using bid simulators on the Display Network

Display Network Bid Simulators can only be used for “Display Network only” campaigns.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab.
  3. Click the Campaigns, Ad groups, Auto targets, or Keywords subtab.
  4. In the the "Max. CPC" column on the Keywords tab, click the simulator icon (Bid Simulator icon).See the Bid Simulator icon on the Keywords tab Try it now
Using the Shopping Campaigns Bid Simulator

The bid simulator is available for Shopping campaigns to help you estimate how changes to your bid would have impacted your clicks, cost, impressions, and conversions. Learn more about using the bid simulator with Shopping campaigns.

Using the Target CPA Bid Simulator

The Target CPA Simulator helps you understand the number of conversions your ads might have received if you had set different CPA targets.

If you’re using Conversion Optimizer, you can view the Target CPA Simulator in the Campaigns tab, just like other bid simulators for the Search Network. Learn how to view Search Network bid simulators.

For flexible target CPA bid strategies, you can find the Target CPA Simulator in the Shared library. Here’s how:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab.
  3. Click the Shared library link in the left navigation bar.
  4. Beneath that, click Bid strategies.
  5. Click a target CPA strategy to view its performance report.
  6. Click the simulator icon from the performance report in the "Target CPA" column. Don't see this icon? Learn why.

Using the bid simulators for conversion estimates

If you're using conversion tracking, the simulators offer conversion estimates to help you understand the number of conversions your ads might have received if you had set different bids. On the Search Network, if you've assigned values to your conversions — or set conversion values — you can review your conversion value estimates to get an idea of the conversion value you might have received if you had set different bids.

Here's some information to keep in mind:

  • Conversion definitions: Conversions rely not only on ad clicks, but also on the actions that customers take on your site. This can also make them more difficult to predict.
  • Changes to conversion tracking: Removing or moving the conversion tracking tag could invalidate the estimates. Don't make any major changes to the conversion tracking code for at least 2 weeks before using the bid simulators for conversion and conversion value estimates.
  • Delayed conversions: The bid simulators estimate traffic based on the previous 7 days’ activity, and estimate how many conversions occur within approximately 1 day after a click. If your conversions are often completed more than 1 day after a click, the simulator’s conversion estimates might be lower than what you actually receive.
  • Sparse conversion data: There is usually less conversion data than click or impression data when calculating these estimates, so conversions can be more difficult to estimate. If your account doesn't typically get a lot of conversions, we may not have enough information to generate an estimate for conversions. The longer the history and the more conversions you have, the more accurate these estimates will be.

Learn more about using bid simulators to estimate conversions with Shopping campaigns.

Benefits of using the Campaign Bid Simulator

  • You can view bid changes in aggregate and model changes even when keywords or ad groups might not have enough data for this on their own.
  • Bid scaling is available, so you can see what might happen if you increased or decreased all your bids by a specific percentage (10%, for example).
  • Because campaign-level bid changes can increase traffic significantly, we'll tell you whether you need to increase your budget and, if so, what to change it to.
  • You can model what happens if you changed all your bids in the campaign to a fixed value. If you choose to apply 1 of these campaign-wide bid changes, your ad group default bids will be changed to this fixed value, and your keyword-level bids will be erased.
  • You can download the bid simulation data at the account or campaign level.
  • You can download an AdWords Editor-compatible file with the bid amounts to which ad groups and keywords must be set.

Troubleshooting

Missing bid simulatior

A bid simulator may not always be available to help you estimate how changes to your bid or target CPA might affect performance. If a simulator is unavailable, the simulator icon (Bid Simulator icon​) will be greyed out. Here are some common reasons why:

  • Not enough data

    The bid simulators use data from the last 7 days to provide estimates. They might not be able to provide estimates if a campaign, keyword, ad group, or product group was recently added, or didn't receive many clicks in the last 7 days.

    If you've just added a new campaign, keyword, ad group, or product group, check back after more time has passed to see if the simulators have provided estimates. If your campaign, keyword, ad group, or product group doesn't get many impressions, increasing your bids can help give your ads more exposure.

  • Campaign daily budget

    If your campaign has reached or nearly reached its daily budget at least once in the last 7 days, the simulators may not be able to provide estimates.

  • Campaign bidding option

    The simulators don't work with campaigns that use automatic CPC bidding or the Conversion Optimizer.

  • Not enough keywords using the ad group default bid

    If you're using the Bid Simulator at the ad group level, the Bid Simulator might not be able to provide estimates if you're using keyword-level bids. Try switching your keywords to the ad group default bid instead.

  • Campaign Experiments

    The simulators don't work with campaigns that have active experiments running.

  • Product groups in Shopping campaign using the Item ID attribute

    The Bid Simulator isn't available for product groups that use the Item ID attribute.

Missing columns within the simulator

Here are some reasons why a bid simulator might be missing the following columns:

  • Clicks and cost

    The clicks and cost columns will only appear if you met a minimum threshold of clicks within the last week.

  • Top of page impressions

    This column only appears if you are estimated to receive at least 1 top of page impression for any of the bids simulated.

  • Campaign bidding option

    The simulators don't work with campaigns that use automatic CPC bidding or Max CPA bidding.

  • Conversions and conversion value

    The "Conversions," "Converted clicks, and "Total conv. value" columns only appear if:

    • You're using AdWords conversion tracking.
    • You received a minimum threshold of conversions within the last week.
  • Additional budget/day required

    This column only appears in the Target CPA Bid Simulator

Tip: Bid simulators vs. Keyword and Display Planners

  • Bid simulators estimate your ad performance based on detailed information that's specific to your campaign, including your Quality Score and keywords.
  • The Keyword Planner and Display Planner provide information about overall traffic patterns across all AdWords advertisers.
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