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 the clicks, costs, impressions, conversions, and conversion value your ads would have received if you had used a different max. CPC bid for your keyword or ad group. You can find it on the Ad groups and Keywords tabs.
  • The Shopping campaigns Bid Simulator lets you estimate how certain changes to your bid would have impacted your clicks, cost, and impressions for your product group. You can find it on the Product groups tab.
  • 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.

Example

Suppose you have a max. CPC bid of US$1 for your keyword, but you're curious to see what results you'd 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 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 at https://adwords.google.com.
  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
  5. 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 at https://adwords.google.com.
  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
  5. Try it now
Using the Bid Simulator with Shopping campaigns

The Bid Simulator collects and analyzes data from ad auctions on Google from the previous seven days, while considering information such as the quality of your ads, your competitors' bids, and product data. The tool then uses this information to estimate how certain changes to your bid would have impacted your clicks, cost, and impressions.

You can use the Bid Simulator to gauge performance for an individual product group, or for a product group with subdivisions.

When using the Bid Simulator for a product group with subdivisions:

  • You can view bid changes in aggregate and model changes for non-excluded product groups, even when individual product groups might not have enough data for this on their own.
  • You can use bid scaling to see what might happen if you increased or decreased all of your bids for product groups within the subdivision by a specific percentage (10%, for example). Then you can apply the bid adjustment across these product groups with just a few clicks. Note that bid scaling isn’t available if any of the product groups are subdivided by item ID.
  • You can model what happens if you changed all of your bids in the subdivided product group to a fixed value. If you choose to apply one of these product group-wide bid changes, your ad group default bids will be changed to this fixed value, and your product group-level bids will be removed.
  • Bid changes across many product groups can increase traffic significantly, which could cause you to reach your budget limit. We’ll show you the projected cost for bid changes, and you might need raise your budget to make the most of your bid adjustment.

Example

Suppose you have a maximum CPC bid of US$1 for your "Brand ABC shoes" product group, but you're curious to see what results you'd get with a bid of US$1.50 or US$0.75.

The Bid Simulator can show you estimates of the clicks, cost, and impressions, you would have seen with these other bids for your "Brand ABC shoes" product group. You can change your bid in the Bid Simulator and have it applied directly to your product group.

Now let’s say you want to see estimates of how bid changes could affect the two product groups within your “Shoes” subdivision, “Brand ABC shoes” and “All other shoes.” Your “Brand ABC” product group has a bid of US$1, and the “All other shoes” product group has a bid of US$1.20.

If you use the bid scaling option, you’ll be able to see the potential impact of certain percentage changes on the two product groups within this subdivision. So, if you tried a +10% increase, the bid for “Brand ABC shoes” product group would be US$1.10 and “All other shoes” would be US$1.32. You’ll be able to see estimates of the impact this 10% increase could have on each of these product groups.

If you use the product group-wide bid option, you’ll be able to see the potential impact of setting a single bid across the two product groups within this subdivision. If you select this option and choose US$1.50, you’d see estimates of the impact if both the “Brand ABC shoes” and “All other shoes” product groups had bids of US$1.50.

Remember, the Bid Simulator can provide insight into how your bids could've affected ad performance over the last seven days, but it doesn't attempt to predict future performance. For instance, you might have reason to believe that your ad performance will go up or down during a particular week, and you'll want to keep that in mind when choosing your bids for that time period.

Keep in mind

  • The Bid Simulator is available when Product Listing Ads for a product group have been included in enough auctions or accrued enough impressions to generate a sufficient estimate of potential performance with a different bid amount. If you don’t see the Bid Simulator, you probably need to let your ads run for a little while longer.
  • The Bid Simulator isn't available for product groups using the Item ID attribute, or for "excluded" product groups with no bid.
  • The data displayed in the Bid Simulator for your “current” bid is a projection based on your traffic over the previous 7 days. If you recently changed your bid, you may notice notice a discrepancy between the “current” data reflected in the Bid Simulator and the actual data available in your account.

If you still aren’t seeing the tool, then consider revising your bid for that product group, or improving your product data.

How to use the Bid Simulator to get estimates for an individual product group

Here's how to see your estimates for an individual product group:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Select the ad group for the Shopping campaign you’re interested in from the side navigation.
  3. Find the product group you’re interested in and click the simulator graph icon next to the bid in the "Max. CPC" column.
  4. In the Bid Simulator window, select different bid options to see how they could impact your traffic.
  5. Bid Simulator -Shopping campaigns
  6. You can change your bid and have it applied directly to your product group by selecting a new bid option in the Bid Simulator and clicking Save.

How to use the Bid Simulator to get estimates for product groups with subdivisions

Here's how to see your estimates for product groups with subdivisions:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com
  2. Select the ad group for the Shopping campaign you’re interested in from the side navigation.
  3. Find the subdivided product group containing the product groups you’re interested in and click the simulator graph icon in the "Max. CPC" column (there won’t be a bid since this product group is subdivided).
  4. To see how percentage changes to your bids for these product groups could impact your traffic, select Bid scaling (%) in the Bid Simulator window. To change your bid by that percentage, select the option next to your desired bid and click Save.

    To see how different fixed bid amounts across your subdivided product group could impact your traffic, select the Product group-wide bid option. To change your bid, select the option (or enter your own bid next to “Use a different bid”). Then click Save.

Tip

Alternatively, you can add the Bid Simulator columns to the statistics table on your Product groups tab to easily view estimates for multiple product groups. Learn more about this group of columns.

How the 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, the bids of other people in the ad auction, and keyword traffic. The tools use this information to estimate where your ad would've appeared and how frequently it would have received a click.

Remember, the bid simulators can provide insight into how your bids could've affected ad performance over the last seven days, but they don't attempt to predict future performance. For instance, you might have reason to believe that your ad performance will go up or down during a particular week, and you'll want to keep that in mind when choosing your bids for that time period.

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 delays: Conversions can be reported up to 90 days after the click, depending on the conversion window you’ve chosen. The bid simulator's conversion estimates show how many clicks might result in a conversion within approximately one day, based on clicks from a recent seven day period. Conversion value estimates show how much conversion value you might receive from conversions that happen within approximately one day. Note that you might receive additional conversion value up to 30 days after each click.
  • 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 conversions occur too far between, 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.
  • 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 two weeks before using the bid simulators for conversion and conversion value estimates.
  • 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.
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 one 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 simulation

Here are some common reasons you might not see a bid simulation:

  • Not enough data

    The bid simulators use data from the last seven 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 seven 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 seven 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 your simulation 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 one 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:

Tip

Curious about the difference between the bid simulators and the Keyword Planner and Display Planner?

  • 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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