Setting bid adjustments

Sometimes a click is worth more to you if it comes from a mobile device, at a certain time of the day, or from specific locations. By setting bid adjustments, you can increase or decrease your bids to gain more control over when and where your ad is shown.

Adjustments for campaigns and ad groups

A bid adjustment represents a percentage change in your bids. You can increase or decrease every bid in your campaign to bid more or less competitively across devices, locations, time of day, and more. You can also adjust your bids based on how your ads perform, helping to improve your return on investment (ROI).

With bid adjustments, your spending on individual clicks may vary, but your overall daily budget won't change. Read on to learn more about which bid adjustments you can set for your campaigns and ad groups.

Campaign bid adjustments

You can set bid adjustments for locations, ad schedules, and devices from your campaign's Settings tab. Here are more details on each campaign bid adjustment that you can set:

  • Locations: Set a bid adjustment for specific postal codes, cities, and other geographic area. You can also use location extension targeting to set different bids for customers who are located around your business.
  • Ad scheduling: Increase or decrease your bids for specific days of the week, times, and more for campaigns that use custom ad scheduling, an advanced setting that lets you specify certain hours or days of the week when you want your AdWords ads to show.
  • Devices: Bid more or less competitively for searches that occur on mobile devices.

Ad group bid adjustments

If you're running a "Search & Display Networks - All features" or "Display Network only" campaign, you can set ad group bid adjustments for different targeting methods. You can also set bid adjustments for devices from an ad group's Settings tab. Here are more details on each ad group bid adjustment that you can set:

  • Devices: Bid or more less competitively for searches or website views on mobile devices.
  • Targeting methods: Set a bid adjustment for targeting methods, like topics, placements, or remarketing lists.

Campaign and ad group bid adjustment percentages

You can set a campaign bid adjustment from -90% to +900% for locations, days, and times. You can also set a bid adjustment from -90% to +900% for any ad group-level targeting methods. Campaign and ad group bid adjustments for mobile devices can be set from -90% and +300%, or at -100% to opt out of traffic from mobile devices.

If you set multiple adjustments, they'll be multiplied together to determine how much your bid will increase or decrease. If you set a mobile bid adjustment at the campaign-level and ad group-level in a single campaign, the ad group mobile bid adjustment will be used when determining your bid. Note that if the campaign mobile bid adjustment is -100%, then the ad group mobile bid adjustment won't be used.

Read "Setting multiple adjustments" below for details about how your resulting adjustment is determined.

Example

Say you've set a max CPC bid of US$1. If you know that your campaign performs well on mobile devices, you can set bid adjustments to increase your bids for mobile to try to capture all available traffic. For example, you could set a +20% adjustment for searches on mobile devices, resulting in a final bid amount of US$1.20. Here's the math:

Starting bid: $1
Mobile adjustment: $1 x (+20%) = $1.20
Resulting bid for searches on mobile devices: $1.20

Requirements for bid adjustments
  • Only one type of bid adjustment can be used with Conversion Optimizer: a 100% decrease for mobile devices.
  • It's not possible to set bid adjustments for day and time if your campaign is using automatic bidding.
  • You can set bid adjustments for mobile devices in any campaign, and for days and times in any campaign type other than "Standard." However, you can only set bid adjustments for locations in the following types of campaigns:
    • "Search & Display Network - All features"
    • "Search Network only - All features"
    • "Search Network only - Dynamic Search Ads"
    • "Search Network only - Product Listing Ads"
    • All "Display Network only" campaign types
How to set campaign-level or ad group-level bid adjustments

Follow these steps to set bid adjustments for existing campaigns:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab at the top.
  3. Choose a campaign. If you want to set an ad group-level bid adjustment, choose an ad group.
  4. Click the Settings tab.
    • To set campaign-level bid adjustments: Choose the Locations, Ad schedule, or Devices subtab.Campaign-level bid adjustment
    • To set ad group-level bid adjustments: Choose the Devices subtab. Ad group-level bid adjustment
  5. Click the cell in the "Bid adj." column of the row you want to adjust.
  6. Choose "Increase by" or "Decrease by" from the drop-down, and enter a number.
  7. Click Save.

Setting bid adjustments in bulk: To set bid adjustments for multiple rows on the Locations or Ad schedule subtabs, select the checkbox next to each row, then click the Set bid adjustment button. Enter your adjustment and click Save.

Tips

  • To remove a bid adjustment, leave the bid adjustment field empty in step 7 above, and click Save.
  • From your Settings tab, use the Locations and Ad schedule subtabs to edit your location targeting and ad scheduling, and see reporting. You can also view reporting for your mobile device bids on the Devices subtab.
  • You can use AdWords Editor, a free downloadable application for managing your account, to make bulk changes to your bid adjustments. The process is simple: download your account, make your changes, and then upload your revised campaigns when the changes are finalized.
Setting multiple adjustments

When you set more than one bid adjustment in your campaign, the adjustments are multiplied to determine the resulting bid adjustment. Read on to learn how multiple mobile and location bid adjustments are determined.

Multiple mobile bid adjustments

If you set a mobile bid adjustment at the campaign-level and also at the ad group-level, the ad group mobile bid adjustment will be used to determine the resulting bid adjustment. As previously mentioned, if the campaign-level mobile bid adjustment is -100%, then the ad group-level mobile bid adjustment won't be used.

Multiple location bid adjustments

Multiple adjustments that apply to the same location won't be combined. If you set an adjustment of +50% for France, and +100% for Paris, only the adjustment for Paris, the most specific location, will be used for traffic from users in Paris.

Example

Say you're running a campaign that targets the U.S. and is scheduled to run all days of the week. And, you've set an ad group max CPC bid of US$1. You decide to add a +20% bid adjustment for California, and a -50% adjustment for Saturday. Your resulting bid for a search that occurs in California on a Saturday will be US$0.60. Here's the math:

Starting bid: $1
California adjustment: $1 x (+20%) = $1.20
Saturday adjustment: $1.20 x (-50%) = $0.60
Resulting bid for searches in California on Saturday: $0.60

Keep in mind that the bid adjustments you set will apply across all targeting settings, like devices, locations, time of day, and days of week. Using the above example, this means that the +20% bid adjustment you set for California also applies for all searches in California on the remaining days of the week (Sunday through Friday) since your campaign is scheduled to run all days of the week. And, the +50% bid adjustment you set for Saturday also applies for searches occurring in all states since your campaign targets the entire U.S.

Tip

Use our calculator to help determine your resulting bid adjustment. In All online campaigns, under Settings, on the All settings subtab, look for the calculator icon in the "Active bid adjustments" column. (You may have to add the column first). You can also find the calculator in the settings summary at the top of individual campaign pages.

Setting multiple adjustments for campaigns running on the Display Network

In addition to setting bid adjustments across your campaign, you can also set them for mobile devices and targeting methods like topics or placements in an ad group. These adjustments will be multiplied by your default or custom bid and by any bid adjustments you've set for your entire campaign. Learn more about Display Network bidding improvements.

  • For "Display Network only" campaigns, you first select a custom bid for a single targeting method, then set adjustments for your other targeting methods. If you don't select a custom bid, we'll use your ad group default bid.
  • For "Search & Display Networks" campaigns, any bid adjustments that you set will be multiplied by your keyword bid, or Display Network Bid if you've set one.

Example

Your pet supplies business is running a "Display Network only - All features" campaign. You know that your keyword sparkly dog collar performs well on Thursdays, and when you target the "Pets and Animals" topic.

First, you set a custom bid of $3.00 for the sparkly dog collar keyword. Then you set a bid adjustment of +10% for Thursdays, and +20% for the "Pets and Animals" topic. Your bid adjustment looks like this:

Custom bid: $3.00
Thursday adjustment: $3 x (+10%) = $3.30
"Pets and Animals" topic adjustment: $3.30 x (+20%) = $3.96
Resulting bid for Thursdays on sites that match the keyword sparkly dog collar and the "Pets and Animals" topic: $3.96

How to change multiple Display Network bid adjustments at once
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab.
  3. Go to the Display Network tab.
  4. Click on the Topics, Placements, Interests & Remarketing, Gender or Age tab depending on which type of targeting method you want to change.
  5. Check the boxes next to the targeting methods you want to change (for example, next to several age groups or topics).
  6. From the Edit menu, select Change bid adjustment....
  7. Enter your bid adjustment and click Save.
Troubleshooting
Bid adjustments that were removed still appear in settings summary

Do you see bid adjustments listed in the settings summary at the top of your campaign pages, even though they aren't listed in the table below? If you removed a bid adjustment by entering 0 in the adjustment window, it will still appear as an "Active bid adjustment" in the settings summary. To correct this, just open the bid adjustment window, leave the adjustment field empty, and click Save.

Bid adjustments and budgets

If you set a bid adjustment that increases your bids, then your resulting bid may increase the number of auctions your ad is eligible for. In turn, a higher resulting bid can lead to your campaign becoming "limited by budget". In that case, your budget may prevent you from getting all the new traffic available for your campaign.

It's important to keep in mind that a campaign that's "limited by budget" can still be successful and help you meet your advertising goals. However, if your campaign becomes "limited by budget" after setting a bid adjustment, consider increasing your budget to increase clicks, or lowering your bids or bid adjustments to get more clicks for your limited budget.

Example

Let's say you set a bid of $1 and a daily budget of US$100, and your campaign is getting about 200 clicks and spending US$95 per day (it isn't “limited by budget”). Then, you set a bid adjustment that results in a +100% increase for searches in Chicago on mobile devices, or a resulting bid of US$2.00.

Since your increased resulting bid causes your ad to be eligible for more auctions, you would need to spend US$150 to acquire all the possible clicks for your newly available traffic. But if your daily budget remains US$100, your traffic will be "limited by budget." This means that the increase in your resulting bid might increase your cost-per-click (CPC). And, if your daily budget isn't changed, you might decrease the number of clicks your ads can get.