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Estimate your results with bid simulators

AdWords bid simulators help you to see how different bids might change your ads’ weekly performance.
  • The regular Bid Simulators show you 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 shows you how changes to your campaign’s bids might affect that campaign’s performance. Find it on the Campaigns tab.
  • The Shopping Campaigns Bid Simulator shows you how certain changes to your bid might have impacted your product group's performance. You can find it on the Product groups tab.
  • The Video Campaigns Bid Simulator shows you how changes to your max. CPV might impact your typical weekly video traffic. Find it on the Campaigns 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.
  • The Device Bid Adjustment Simulator shows you how changes to your mobile bid adjustment might affect your ad performance on different devices.

Example

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

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

The Campaign Bid Simulator can show you the same estimates based on setting a campaign-wide bid of £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, then 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 analyse 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.

You can estimate your bid simulator results at scale by using the AdWords API.

How to get bid simulator estimates

Select the AdWords experience that you're using. Learn more

Use bid simulators on the Search and Display Networks

Bid simulators work on “Search Network only”, "Display Network only" and “Search and Display Select” campaigns. Note: Using a bid simulator in a “Search and Display Select” campaign only simulates the search portion of the traffic.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab.
  3. Click the Campaigns, Ad groups, Auto targets or Keywords tab.
  4. Click the simulator icon (Bid Simulator icon) Don't see this icon? Find out why.
    • If you're in the Campaigns tab, then the icon is in the "Budgets" column.
    • If you're in the Ad groups, Auto targets or Keywords tab, then the icon is in the "Max. CPC" column.
  5. You can change your bid by selecting a new bid option in the Bid Simulator and clicking Apply Now (or Save if you're in the Keywords tab).
    Try it now

Tip

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

Use the bid simulator for Video campaigns

Video network Bid Simulators can only be used for video campaigns.
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Campaigns or Ad groups tab.
  3. Click the simulator icon (Bid Simulator icon) Don't see this icon? Find out why.
    • If you're in the Campaigns tab, the icon is in the "Budgets" column.
    • If you're in the Ad groups tab, the icon is in the "Max. CPV" column.
  4. You can change your bid by selecting a new bid option in the Bid Simulator and clicking Apply now when you’re in the Ad groups tab or Save when you’re in the Campaigns tab.
Use the bid simulator for Shopping campaigns

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

Use the Target CPA Bid Simulator

The Target CPA Simulator helps you to understand the number of conversions that your ads might have received if you had set different CPA targets. This simulator is available for both standard and portfolio Target CPA bid strategies.

A standard bid strategy applies to a single campaign. If you're using a standard Target CPA bid strategy, you can view the Target CPA Simulator in the Campaigns tab, just like other bid simulators for the Search Network.

Find simulator for campaign

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab.
  3. Click the Campaigns or Ad groups tab.
  4. Click the simulator icon (Bid Simulator icon). Can't see this icon? Find out why.
    1. If you're in the Campaigns tab, this icon is located in the "Budgets" column.

Find simulator for portfolio

With a portfolio strategy, you can attach multiple campaigns and ad groups to a single bid strategy. If you're using a portfolio Target CPA bid strategy, you can find the Target CPA Simulator in the Shared library.

  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. Can't see this icon? Find out why.
Use the Mobile Bid Adjustment Simulator

This Mobile Bid Adjustment Simulator is used to compare the potential impact of different mobile bid adjustments on your weekly Search Network traffic. It also allows you to easily change your budget to accommodate that traffic.

Before you start

This simulator is only available for Search and Shopping campaigns that have served ads on mobile devices. Campaigns with shared or limited budgets might not be able to view this bid simulator. The simulator is not available for campaigns using automated bid strategies (except for enhanced cost per click) or for campaign experiments.

Instructions

  1. Click the Campaigns tab.
  2. Click the Settings tab.
  3. Click the Devices button.
  4. Click Bid Simulator icon in the "Bid. adj" column. Can't see this icon? Find out why.

Bear in mind

  • This bid simulator takes into account your existing campaign settings, including your existing Max. CPC bids, enhanced cost-per-click bids, location bid adjustments, ad scheduling bid adjustments and remarketing bid adjustments.
  • The bid simulator does not take into account ad group bid adjustments. If you apply any bid adjustment changes from the simulator, then your ad group bid adjustments will be overwritten.
  • Estimates will become more accurate over time as your campaign accumulates data. You can still use the simulator for newer campaigns.
  • You might need to increase your budget if you'd like to achieve the traffic levels shown in the simulator.
  • The bid simulator offers clicks, cost, and impressions estimates. The simulator does not provide information on estimated conversions.

Using the bid simulators for conversion estimates

If you're using conversion tracking, then the simulators offer conversion estimates to help you understand the number of conversions that 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 that you might have received if you had set different bids.

Here's some information to bear in mind:

  • Conversion definitions: Conversions rely not only on ad interactions such as clicks, but also on the actions that customers take on your site. This can also make them harder 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 two weeks before using the bid simulators for conversion and conversion value estimates.
  • Delayed conversions (Search traffic): Simulators count conversions that might have been recorded during the simulation period (usually the last 7 days). For example, if a click took place during the simulation period, but the conversion wasn’t recorded until after the simulation period, then the conversion would not be counted in the simulator. Keep in mind that conversions could still occur up to 90 days after each interaction depending on your chosen conversion window.
  • 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, then we may not have enough information to generate an estimate for conversions. The longer the history and the more conversions that you have, the more accurate these estimates will be.

Find out 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 would happen 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.

Troubleshooting

Unavailable bid simulator

A bid simulator may not always be available to help you to 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. In the new AdWords experience, the simulator icon will be greyed out with a slash through it. Here are some common reasons why:

  • 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 hasn't received many clicks in the last seven days.

    If you've just added a new campaign, keyword, ad group or product group, then 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 to give your ads more exposure.

  • Campaign uses shared budget
    If your campaign uses shared budgets the campaign bid simulator won’t be available.

  • Campaign daily budget

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

  • Campaign bidding option

    The simulators won't work with Search and Display campaigns that use Manual CPC, Enhanced cost per click and Target CPA bid strategies.

  • Campaign Experiments

    The simulators don't work with campaigns that have running or recently ended (within the last 8 days) experiments. Learn more

  • 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 have 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. This only appears for the Search Network.

  • Conversions and conversion value

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

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

    This column may only appear in bid simulators at the campaign level.

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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