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About bid adjustments

Bid adjustments allow you to show your ads more or less frequently based on where, when and how people search. For example, sometimes a click is worth more to you if it comes from a smartphone, at a certain time of day or from a specific location.

In this article, you’ll learn about the different types of bid adjustments and their requirements, how multiple adjustments interact and what options are available for different types of campaigns.

If you’re looking for instructions on how to set bid adjustments, read how to add or remove a bid adjustment.

How bid adjustments work

Bid adjustments are set by percentages.

Say you've got a campaign that performs well on mobile devices with a max CPC bid of £1. To show your ad to more customers on mobile devices, you increase your bid by 20% for searches on mobile devices, resulting in a final bid amount of £1.20. Here's the maths:

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

In another example, let’s say that you have a £1 bid and would like to decrease it. To adjust it to £0.80, select Decrease by 20%.

Types of bid adjustment

Device

Use device bid adjustments to show your ad more or less frequently for searches that occur on specific devices: computers, tablets or mobile devices.

Where you can use them

  • Campaigns
  • Ad groups
  • If you’ve set a device bid adjustment for a campaign and an ad group within that campaign, the ad group bid adjustment will be used to determine your bid.

Range

  • -90% to +900%
  • To opt out of showing ads on a certain device, decrease your bid by 100% for that device. If you’ve decreased a campaign’s bid by 100% for a particular device, the ad group-level adjustment for the same device won’t be used.

Guide me: Set a device bid adjustment

Click on the "Guide me" button below to go to your account and be guided through setting a bid adjustment for mobile devices. Or you can read how to add or remove a bid adjustment.
Guide me
Location

Use location bid adjustments to show your ad more or less frequently to customers in certain countries, cities or other geographic areas. You can also use location extension targeting to set different bids for customers who are located around your business.

Where you can use them

  • Campaigns

Range

  • -90% to +900%
Ad scheduling

Use ad scheduling bid adjustments to increase or decrease your bids for campaigns that show only on certain days or during certain hours. To do this, you’ll first need to set up a custom ad schedule.

Where you can use them

  • Campaigns

Range

  • -90% to +900%
Top content (advanced)

On YouTube and the Display Network, you can set bid adjustments for content that has been measured by our system to be more popular, tends to have a greater number of impressions per day, and gets a higher level of traffic and viewer engagement. When your ad is eligible to appear on this content, AdWords will use your bid adjustment to raise your bid. You can bid on content on YouTube or the Google Display Network of apps and websites.

Where you can use them

  • Ad groups

Range

  • 0% to +500%
Targeting methods (advanced)

Set bid adjustments for topics, placements and other targeting methods in campaign types that show ads on the Display Network. Find out how to add audiences (interests and remarketing lists) to an ad group.

Where you can use them

  • Ad groups

Range

  • -90% to +900%
Remarketing lists for search ads (advanced)

You can set bid adjustments for remarketing lists in your ad groups, if you’d like to show ads to people on these lists. For example, you could increase your bid by 25% for those who have viewed your website within the last 30 days. If you don’t yet have a remarketing list set up, then read about AdWords remarketing lists for search ads.

Where you can use them

  • Campaigns
  • Ad groups

Range

  • -90% to +900%
Interactions (call adjustments)

You can increase your bid for mobile devices to show call interaction ads more frequently for mobile phone users. Interaction bid adjustments influence how often you show call extensions and call-only ads to users. The flexibility of adjusting your bids for certain interactions gives you more control of how often they appear with your ad and how potential customers connect with your business.

Where you can use them

  • Campaigns in the new AdWords experience

Range

  • -90% to +900%

Bid adjustment eligibility

Campaign Type Device Location Ad scheduling Top content (Display Network, YouTube) Targeting method (Display Network) Remarketing lists for search ads (Search Network) Interactions
Search Network only: Standard Yes No No No No No Yes (Call)
Search Network only (all features) Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes (Call)
Display Network only (all features) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No N/A
Display Network only (mobile apps) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No N/A
Display Network only (remarketing, engagement) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No N/A
Search Network with Display Select: Standard Yes No No No No No Yes (Call - Search only)
Search Network with Display Select: All features Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes (Call - Search only)
Shopping Yes Yes Yes No No Yes N/A
Video Yes Yes Yes Yes No No N/A

Automated bidding

  • If your campaign is using an automated bid strategy other than Maximise Clicks, it's not possible to set ad scheduling bid adjustments.
  • For Target CPA, device bid adjustments change your CPA target, rather than your bid.
  • For Target ROAS, the only device bid adjustment that can be used is -100%.

Multiple bid adjustments

When you set more than one bid adjustment in your campaign, those adjustments are typically multiplied to determine how much your bid will increase or decrease. However, multiple device and location bid adjustments behave differently.

Bear in mind that combined bid adjustments cannot exceed a 900% bid increase. For example, a £1 bid with a device increase of 900% combined with a location increase of 900% will result in a bid of only £10. The lowest possible bid adjustment when combining multiple bid adjustments is -90%.

Multiple device bid adjustments

If you set a device bid adjustment at the campaign level and an adjustment for the same device at the ad group level, the ad group device bid adjustment will be used to determine the resulting bid adjustment. However, if the campaign-level device bid adjustment is a 100% decrease, then the ad group level device 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, then only the adjustment for Paris (i.e. the most specific location) will be used when dealing with traffic from users in Paris.

Multiple Display Network content bid adjustments

For Display campaigns, you can set bid adjustments at the ad group level on a specific targeting method in the Display tab, as well as on Top content in the Settings tab. This means that when your ad is eligible to appear on a specific placement that also qualifies as top content, AdWords could use two bid adjustments. One bid adjustment could be based on a specific targeting method, such as topic, and the second could be set for top content. Learn more about Display Network bidding

Example

Let's say that you're running a campaign that targets the UK, and is scheduled to run on all days of the week. For this campaign, you've set an ad group max. CPC bid of £1. You decide to increase your bid by 20% for California, and decrease your bid by 50% for Saturday. Your resulting bid for a search that occurs in Lancashire on a Saturday will be £0.60. Here's the maths:

Starting bid: £1
Lancashire adjustment: £1 + (+20%) = £1.20
Saturday adjustment: £1.20 + (-50%) = £0.60
Resulting bid for searches in Lancashire on Saturday: £0.60
Resulting bid for searches in Lancashire on Sunday on Friday: £1.20
Resulting bid for searches in other states on Saturday: £0.50
Resulting bid for searches in other counties from Sunday to Friday: £1.00

Tip

Use our calculator to help determine your resulting bid adjustment. In All campaigns, under Settings, on the All settings sub-tab, 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.

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