Set up Conversion Optimiser

  • Conversion Optimiser uses your Conversion Tracking, cross-account Conversion Tracking or Google Analytics data to get you more conversions at a lower cost.
  • By optimising your placement in each ad auction, Conversion Optimiser helps you to avoid unprofitable clicks and gets you as many profitable clicks as possible.
  • Conversion Optimiser also makes managing your AdWords bidding a lot easier, while maximising results.

Getting started with Conversion Optimiser

Before setting up Conversion Optimiser, make sure that you're already importing your conversion data into your AdWords account either by enabling Conversion Tracking or cross-account conversion tracking (MCC accounts), or by importing your goals and transactions data from Google Analytics.

Your campaign must have received at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days, and have been receiving conversions at a similar rate for at least a few days. For best results, we recommend that you run Conversion Tracking for at least two weeks before trying Conversion Optimiser – longer if you don't have a high volume of conversions. In some cases you may be able to use Conversion Optimiser without any campaign history, if you already have conversion data elsewhere in your account.

How to enable Conversion Optimiser if using manual bidding
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Select the Campaigns tab.
  3. Select the campaign name.
  4. Select the Settings tab.
  5. Next to "Bid strategy", click on Edit.
  6. Click on the Focus on Conversions (Conversion Optimiser) radio button.
  7. Under Advanced Options, select either Max. CPA or Target CPA, and select either Start with recommended bid or select and set a custom bid. For campaigns that promote mobile app downloads, you can only set a target CPA.
  8. Click on Save to finish.
How to enable Conversion Optimiser if using automatic bidding
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at
  2. Select the Campaigns tab.
  3. Select the campaign name.
  4. Select the Settings tab.
  5. Next to "Bid strategy", click on Edit.
  6. Select the radio button next to "I'll manually set my bid for clicks".
  7. Click on Save.
  8. Next to "Bid strategy", click on Edit again.
  9. Click on the Focus on Conversions (Conversion Optimiser) radio button.
  10. Click on Save to finish.
How to disable Conversion Optimiser
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at
  2. Select the Campaigns tab.
  3. Select the campaign name.
  4. Select the Settings tab.
  5. Next to "Bid strategy", click on Edit.
  6. Select the radio button next to your new bidding choice.
  7. Click on Save to finish.


If you disable Conversion Tracking by removing the conversions that you're tracking, then the ads in campaigns using Conversion Optimiser will stop running. To start showing your ads again, you'll need to enable Conversion Tracking or switch to manual bidding.

How to toggle Conversion Optimiser and Enhanced CPC between conversions and converted clicks

You can set Conversion Optimiser and Enhanced CPC to focus on either conversions or converted clicks by choosing a conversion bid metric on the Settings tab for all your conversions. If you don’t make a selection, then Conversion Optimiser will focus on conversions.

You may need to update your bids if you change your conversion bid metric. For example, let’s say that a click results in two sales on average, and you want to pay a £10 average per sale. If you pick "Converted clicks", then you might set a target CPA of £20 per unique bid. If you pick "Conversions" and choose to count "All" conversions, then you might set a target CPA of £10. In this example, you should use the second option to set a bid that meets your business goals and to focus Conversion Optimiser on maximising on the types of sales that matter to you most.

If you change your conversion bid metric, don’t forget to update your conversions columns to view the right data. For example, if you set your conversion bid metric to "Converted clicks", then you should enable the converted clicks columns to view performance.

How to set up Conversion Optimiser for multiple conversion types and values in a single campaign

Here are some examples of how to handle more complex situations:

More than one conversion type

It's possible that in one of your campaigns you have one conversion type that happens much more frequently than others. For example, suppose 10% of your online visitors sign up for a mailing list, and your CPA for this conversion is £2. In addition, 20% of those visitors also make a purchase, for which your CPA is £10. Conversion Optimiser only considers the first conversion (the sign-up). To optimise both for the sign-ups and purchases, set a target cost per acquisition (target CPA) that's primarily based on the value of the sign-ups, plus a slight increase for the purchases. Here's how it works:

Conversion type: Sign-up
Conversion rate: 10%
Target CPA: £2
Conversion type: Purchase
Conversion rate: 20% of the 10% above
Target CPA: £10
£2 + (20% of £10) = £4 = your target CPA

Different CPA values for different products

You have one conversion type (such as purchases), but different CPA values for different products. Your target CPA should be the weighted average of these sales. Here's how this works:

Product: Black boots
Percentage of total sales: 75%
Target CPA: £20
Product: Purple boots
Percentage of total sales: 25%
Target CPA: £50
(75% * 20) + (25% * 50) = £27.50 = your weighted target CPA

More than one landing page

Your products are mostly on different landing pages. Make sure that each product and landing page pair has its own ad group, and then set a unique target CPA for each ad group.

Adjustments for seasonal business

Conversion Optimiser can adjust to gradual changes in the conversion rate. However, if your conversion rate alters dramatically from day to day during a seasonal period, then we recommend that you monitor performance closely and adjust your bids accordingly.

For example, a toy manufacturer might experience the following changes during the holiday shopping season:

  • More potential customers search for toy-related queries, leading to more ad impressions.
  • Users are more likely to click on the ads, leading to a higher CTR and more clicks.
  • Users who click on the ads are more likely to then make a purchase, leading to a higher conversion rate.

If you're using Conversion Optimiser, then it's important to pay attention to the third factor (a sudden increase in conversion rate). It takes AdWords time to learn about and adapt to this kind of change. During a period following a sudden change in conversion rates, you can compensate by changing your target CPA. Likewise, you can decrease your target CPA during periods of lower conversion rates. In comparison, you might do the same thing with a CPC campaign, raising the bids when conversion rates are higher and lowering the bids when conversion rates drop.

Note: Sudden changes in your conversion rate may cause the AdWords system to over-predict the probability of a conversion and could cause the average CPA to exceed the target CPA.

How to assess whether Conversion Optimiser is working for you

If you're using Conversion Tracking or have imported your data from Google Analytics, then it's probable that you're interested in two metrics:

  • The number of conversions you get per day
  • The average cost for each of these conversions (this is your average CPA, or cost-per-acquisition).

Here are three guidelines for assessing whether Conversion Optimiser is working for you:

Guideline 1: Compare your campaign's conversions and average CPA from before you enabled Conversion Optimiser to its current performance.

Bear in mind that external factors, such as changes in your competitors' ads, can affect your campaign's key metrics from week to week. To help determine whether your campaign performance has been affected by changes you made or by external changes, you might consider comparing changes in the performance of your Conversion Optimiser campaigns to changes in your other campaigns.

Guideline 2: Look at the performance of your campaign in the light of your goals for Conversion Optimiser.

Here are some example goals:

  • Maintain the same average CPA and get more conversions.
  • Decrease your average CPA and get more conversions than you would with CPC bidding, given the lower CPA.
  • Raise your average CPA and get more conversions than you would have had, while increasing your average CPA by the same amount with CPC bidding.

You can shift your performance according to your primary goal by raising and lowering your target CPA. You can raise your target CPA if you want to increase traffic and conversions. If your average CPA is higher than you like, then you can lower your target, which will probably decrease both the average CPA and the number of conversions.

Guideline 3: Bear in mind that changes in ad performance are natural, and you may need to use the Conversion Optimiser for some time to get an accurate understanding of its effects on your campaign's performance. For example, suppose a campaign normally receives 10 conversions per day, and it receives only eight the day after you start using Conversion Optimiser. This could be part of a normal fluctuation.  We recommend watching the conversion rate for a longer period of time before evaluating whether this is part of a long-term change in campaign performance.

Did you know?

If your campaign drops below 15 conversions in 30 days, Conversion Optimiser will remain enabled unless you turn it off. However, if you choose to disable Conversion Optimiser, then you may not be able to re-enable it until you've reached the requirement.


Use the Target CPA Simulator to see how adjusting your target CPA might impact on your conversion volume.

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