About Target CPA bidding for video ads

Target cost-per-acquisition (CPA) is an automated bidding strategy that lets you tell AdWords the amount you're willing to pay for a conversion. AdWords then automatically sets your bids to give you as many conversions as possible at your targeted cost-per-acquisition.

This bid strategy can help you reach customers who are likely to take an action, such as installing your mobile app. Target CPA bidding focuses on maximizing conversions for your video ads, rather than views, as in CPV bidding. You still pay per view, but AdWords automatically sets your bids to help you get more conversions.

In some cases, AdWords may optimize for impressions in order to get your video ads in front of the people most likely to engage with them. In these cases, you’ll pay based on the number of impressions of your ads, using cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) billing. Learn more

You can use target CPA with TrueView for mobile app promotion campaigns to optimize bids for installs of your mobile app.

How it works

To use target CPA for your TrueView campaign, you must first set up conversion tracking for installs of your mobile app. Once you set up conversion tracking, you can start using target CPA by selecting Target CPA under “Bidding” when you create your campaign, or in campaign settings for existing campaigns.

You’ll set your target CPA, which is the average amount you want to pay for a conversion. AdWords uses conversion data from your campaigns to predict how likely an engaged view of your ad is to make a user convert. Based on this prediction, AdWords automatically manages your bids to maximize conversions at your target CPA. 

The final amount you're charged

Your actual CPA may be above or below your target CPA. This is because:

  • Your actual CPA depends on factors outside Google's control, like changes to your app or website, your ads, or increased competition in ad auctions.
  • Your actual conversion rate can be lower than the predicted conversion rate.

Conversion tracking for mobile app installs

Conversion tracking helps you see how effectively your campaigns lead to installs and other app activity. For Android​ apps distributed by Google Play, AdWords can track your app download conversions automatically. For iOS apps in the Apple App store or Android app installs from stores other than Google Play, you’ll need to set up conversion tracking to count installs as conversions. For both Android and iOS apps, you can also use 3rd-party conversion tracking systems to keep track of your app downloads.

Tips to optimize your target CPA for app installs

  • To maximize the performance of your ads, you can set up a separate conversion action for installs on each of your apps.
  • If you want to track multiple conversion actions per app (such as installs and first opens), but don't want your target CPA bidding strategy to bid for multiple conversions for each app install, you can use the “Include in ‘Conversions’” setting to select which conversions to include in your bid strategy.


You can see the results of your target CPA bid strategy in the statistics table on the Campaigns tab. To monitor your conversion tracking, add the pre-defined column set for Conversions to the statistics table for your campaign. This will show you the number of conversions resulting from your ads. 

To add the pre-defined column set for Conversions:

  1. Select your campaign under “All campaigns.”
  2. On the “Ad groups” tab, click the Columns button in the toolbar above the statistics table.
  3. Under “Pre-defined column sets,” select Conversions.
    • Key columns to look at for mobile app installs are “Conversions” and “Cost/conv.” 

Learn more about how to add columns to see specific performance data.


To see more specific data for each conversion action, like the number of installs and the cost-per-install (under “Cost/conv.”), you can segment your conversions by “Conversion name.” Learn how to use segments to view performance data.

Accounting for conversion delays

Conversion numbers may take several days to show up on reporting due to delayed interactions between a person’s device, Google, and any third party tracking services you might use. In addition, users don’t always take an action immediately after viewing your ad.

When reviewing conversion reports for video ads, note that the previous 7 days of conversion data may not be complete yet. You can exclude the last 7 days of data to see more accurate reporting. Learn how to change the date range.

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