Bidding features on the Display Network

When you advertise on the Display Network, you can choose multiple targeting methods for an ad group -- like placements and topics -- and set different types of bids for your targeting methods. You can also let AdWords know what bid you'd like to use by enabling custom bids for a single targeting method. If you don't enable custom bids, AdWords will use your ad group default bid. And, to gain more control over when and where your ad is shown, you can set bid adjustments.

Keep in mind

The "Bidding" menu where you can choose to set custom or default bids, as well as bid adjustments, for your ad group is available only to these campaign types:

  • "Display Network only"
  • "Search Network with Display Select - All features"
  • "Search & Display Networks - All features"

Custom bids

These are the Max. CPC or Max. CPM bids you can set for a targeting method in your ad group. You can set custom bids on only one targeting method within each ad group.

If you enable custom bids for placements, for example, you can set Max. CPC bids on individual placements that you add. Once you enable custom bids for a targeting method, we'll use these bids on the Display Network.

Default bids

These are the bids that AdWords uses when you don't have custom bids enabled. Your default bids can be inherited from your ad group bid or your Display Network bid, if you've set one.

For example, if you've set an ad group bid of $1, and you haven't enabled custom bids, your Max. CPC column will show your ad group bid amount, and you won't be able to edit this bid from the statistics table.

Bid adjustments

Bid adjustments represent a percentage change in your bids. They're applied on top of the bids that AdWords uses to show your ad: your custom bids or the ad group bids, if no custom bids are set. By setting bid adjustments in your campaigns, you can increase or decrease your bids to gain more control over when and where your ad appears.

With bid adjustments, your spending on individual clicks may vary, but your overall daily budget won't change. Bid adjustments for any ad group-level targeting methods can be set from -90% to +900%.

Whether your campaign targets the Search Network, the Display Network, or both, you can't set bid adjustments on keywords. You can set custom bids on keywords, or they can use your default bids.

You can set bid adjustments at the campaign level (for mobile devices, times, days, and locations), as well as at the ad group level. If you make multiple adjustments in the same campaign, all of the bid adjustments will be multiplied together to determine how much your bid will increase or decrease. Learn more about setting campaign-level bid adjustments.

How to enable custom or default bids, and bid adjustments for your ad groups

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at
  2. Click the Campaigns tab.
  3. Select the campaign and ad group you'd like to edit.
  4. Click the Display Network tab. If you don't see this tab, check what campaign type you've selected when you created your campaign. If, for example, you selected "Search & Display Networks - Standard," you won't be able to use the bidding features available for the Display Network.
  5. Click the tab of the targeting method you'd like to set bids on. For example, click the Topics tab to set a bid on topics.
  6. If you've already added topics to your ad group, follow the next step. Otherwise, click the + Targeting button, add your targeting, and save.
  7. Once you're on the tab of the targeting method you want to set bids on -- in this case, the Topics tab --, click the "Bidding" menu above the statistics table to see the options available for your ad group.
  8. Select a bid option for your Display Network ad group:
    • Enable custom bids: Choose this option if you'd like AdWords to always use the topic bid for this ad group. Then, set a Max CPC or Max. CPM bid in the column.
    • Use default bids: Choose this option if you'd like the targeting method to inherit your ad group bid or Display Network bid, if you have one. You can't make any changes in the table after you've selected this bid.
    • Enable bid adjustments: Choose this option if you'd like to increase or decrease your chances of showing your ads for certain topics, for example.

    If your custom or default bids have been set on a different targeting method, you can select this option from the menu, and in the "Bid adj." column, add the percent you'd like to apply to increase or decrease your bid.

  9. Click the cell in the column of the rows you want to edit. If you've enabled custom bids, click the Max. CPC column and type your bid. For bid adjustments, click the “Bid adj” column. Enter your adjustment in the window and click Save.


To remove a bid adjustment, leave the bid adjustment field empty in step 9 above, and click Make changes.