Create a bid strategy

A bid strategy automatically manages bidding to achieve goals you specify. For example, if you want to achieve a 6% effective revenue share (ERS) for a specific conversion on your site, you can create an ERS bid strategy, specify the conversion, and specify the campaigns, ad groups, and biddable items that drive traffic to the conversion. The DoubleClick Search (DS) Performance Bidding Suite will then automatically adjust bids to achieve your 6% ERS goal.

If you have other types of advertising objectives, instead of specifying conversions and revenue goals, you can create bid strategies that optimize spend for maximizing visits to your site or for displaying your ads in a range of positions. You can even create bid strategies that optimize for custom KPIs that you define in a formula column.

Bid strategy goals

Here's the list of goals that are available for bid strategies (each bid strategy you create can specify only one of the goals listed below).

Conversions goal: Get the most actions while meeting a target CPA or monthly spend.

To optimize non-revenue conversions, such as signing up for a newsletter or requesting a catalog, select the conversions goal, specify a target CPA (cost per action) or a monthly spend, and specify the conversions you want to optimize.

CPA (Cost Per Action)

You can specify a target CPA and DS will raise or lower bids based on how the actual CPA compares to the target.

CPA is calculated as follows:

  • CPA = spend ÷ (number of actions)

Monthly Spend

If you're not sure what to set as the CPA and you have a fixed monthly budget or some money left over from a quarterly budget, set monthly spend as the target.

For a Conversions goal based on monthly spend, you just need to enter your budget for the month, set default min and max bids, and apply the bid strategy to some campaigns, ad groups, or specific biddable items, and DS will use your money to get the most possible conversions in return.

Available conversions

After you specify a target, select the conversions that DS will optimize against:

  • DoubleClick Floodlight: Optimize against All actions, All transactions or Select conversions. Then, if needed, select the specific Floodlight activities you want to include in the bid strategy.
  • Google Analytics: Optimize against All transactions or Select conversions. Then, if needed, select the specific Google Analytics conversions that will be included in the bid strategy.
  • Formula columns: Select the formula column to optimize against.

Revenue goal: Get the highest revenue while meeting a target ERS, ROAS, or monthly spend.

To optimize revenue conversions, such as purchases on the advertiser's site, specify a target ERS, ROAS, or monthly spend, then specify the conversions you want to optimize.

ERS (Effective Revenue Share)

A Revenue goal based on effective revenue share (ERS) allows you to set a target percentage. You're instructing DS to manage your keywords so the target is reached. To reach the ERS target percentage, DS raises or lowers the bid based on how the actual ERS compares to the target ERS.

ERS is a percentage based on the following calculation:

  • ERS = (spend ÷ revenue) × 100

ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend)

Similar to the ERS option, a A Revenue goal based on return on advertising spend (ROAS) allows you to set a target percentage. You're instructing DS to manage your keywords so the target is reached. To reach the ROAS target percentage, DS raises or lowers the bid based on how the actual ROAS compares to the target ROAS.

ROAS is a percentage based on the following calculation:

  • ROAS = (revenue ÷ spend) × 100

Monthly Spend

If you're not sure what to set as the ERS or ROAS target and you have a fixed monthly budget or some money left over from a quarterly budget, set monthly spend as the target.

For a Revenue goal based on monthly spend, you just need to enter your budget for the month, set default min and max bids, and apply the bid strategy to some campaigns, ad groups, or specific biddable items, and DS will use your money to get the most revenue possible in return.

Available conversions

After you specify a target, specify the conversions that DS will optimize against:

  • DoubleClick Floodlight: Optimize against All transactions or Select conversions. Then, if needed, select the specific Floodlight activities you want to include in the bid strategy.
  • Google Analytics: Optimize against Revenue from all transactions or Money from selected goals. Then, if needed, select the specific Google Analytics conversions that will be included in the bid strategy.
  • Formula columns: Select the formula column to optimize against.

Advanced targeting goal: Create a custom strategy with multiple ERS, ROAS, and CPA targets

Advanced targeting goals address the needs of companies that offer a complex mix of products with varying profit margins. In particular, this technology was designed with retail, travel, and financial services in mind. However, the functionality is fully flexible and can be used in any industry.

Advanced targeting goals optimize bidding based on the type of conversion. These goals allow you to set a Cost per action (CPA), Effective revenue share (ERS), or Return on Advertiser spend (ROAS) goal for a customized group of conversions. For example, you can assign aggressive goals to higher margin conversion types, and assign conservative goals to lower margin conversion types.

Advanced targeting goals solve unintended conversions: With Advanced targeting, DS accounts for the various profit margins of the different types of conversions that a set of biddable items produces. When you set an Advanced targeting goal, you're instructing DS to manage bidding so the target is reached. To reach the CPA, ERS, or ROAS target, DS raises or lowers the bid based on how the actual CPA/ERS/ROAS compares to the target CPA/ERS/ROAS.

Available conversions

After you specify a target, select the conversions that DS will optimize against:

  • DoubleClick Floodlight: Optimize against All actions, All transactions or Select conversions. Then, if needed, select the specific Floodlight activities you want to include in the bid strategy.
  • Google Analytics: Optimize against All transactions or Select conversions. Then, if needed, select the specific Google Analytics conversions that will be included in the bid strategy.

DS weights the the selected conversions according to their CPA/ERS/ROAS values to determine the true CPA/ERS/ROAS of the keyword. This allows the biddable item to be evaluated properly on performance. Is it performing accurately against the CPA/ERS/ROAS goal, is it overperforming, or is it underperforming? Once this has been determined, the DS Performance Bidding Suite properly adjusts bidding to achieve its overall goal.

Clicks goal: Get the most clicks while meeting a target monthly spend.

You have a fixed monthly budget, or some money left over from a quarterly budget, and you want to make sure you spend that exact amount on a group of biddable items. In addition, you want to get the most clicks possible in return from your money. With the Clicks goal, you can let DS do all the thinking for you.

You just need to enter your budget for the month, set default min and max bids, and apply the bid strategy to some campaigns, ad groups, or specific biddable items, and DS will use your money to get the most number of clicks possible.

Keyword position goal: Keep keywords at a position or within a position range.

A bid strategy with a Position goal allows you to keep a set of keywords in a particular position, or range of positions, while staying within the keywords' minimum and maximum bids. You can enter positions to one digit after the decimal point (e.g., a range of 1.7 to 3.5).

A keyword's bid is only one of the factors that determine a keyword's position. Although each search engine has its own ranking algorithm, the relevancy of your ad copy and landing page is a key factor in determining position on all of the major search engines.

We strongly recommend that you pay close attention to the ad or keyword quality scores that the search engines provide. DoubleClick does not guarantee that you will be able to achieve any particular position using bid strategies.

Select the position range:

In the STEP 2: Target section, you can target either either a single position or a range. To target a single position, enter the same value in the Top position and Bottom position fields.

If average position cannot be reached:

In the STEP 3: Constraints section, DS will take the action you choose if the keywords can't maintain a position within the desired range:

  • Use maximum strategy bid: Keep the keywords at the highest position possible using the maximum bid.

  • Use minimum strategy bid: Leave the keywords on the search engine, but use the minimum bid.

Max CPC, minimum bid, and maximum bid

When you apply a bid strategy to a biddable item, the bid strategy starts to monitor and potentially change each biddable item's Max CPC setting, which is the highest amount that you are willing to pay per click. Note that often you'll pay less than the max CPC because in each auction, the most you'll pay is what's needed to rank higher than the advertiser immediately below you.

Minimum bid and maximum bid determine the lowest and highest amounts that a bid strategy will set for max CPC. You specify a min and max bid when you create a bid strategy. (You can override these limits for specific keywords or product targets by setting different minimum and maximum bid limits.) The bid strategy will never set bids that are outside of the constraints you specify.

Additional constraints

Depending on the goal you select for a bid strategy, you might be able to specify other constraints, such as the range of positions you want your ads to display in.

We recommend that you set these constraints as wide as possible to give bidding algorithms the most flexibility to optimize towards your goal.

How to create a bid strategy

If you want to optimize to a custom KPI that you define in a formula column, create a formula column that can be used in a bid strategy first. Then create the bid strategy.
  1. Navigate to an advertiser.

  2. In the left nav, click Bid strategies.

  3. Click + New bid strategy, which appears above the reporting table.

  4. In the STEP 1: Goal section:

    1. Name the bid strategy.
    2. Select the engine account that contains the campaigns, ad groups, or biddable items you want to optimize.
    3. Select a bid strategy goal.
    4. Click Next.
  5. In the STEP 2: Target section:

    • For advanced targeting goals:

      1. Click + Add another target.
      2. Select CPA, ERS, or ROAS from the Target #1 dropdown and enter the target value.
      3. Select a conversion for the target.
      4. To add additional targets, click + Add another target.
    • For keyword position goals: You can target either either a single position or a range. To target a single position, enter the same value in the Top position and Bottom position fields.

    • For all other goals: Targeting options depend on the bid strategy goal you selected.

  6. In the STEP 3: Constraints section:

  7. In the remainder of the STEP 3: Constraints section:

    • For position goals: DS will take the action you choose if the keywords can't maintain a position within the desired range. Click the Position link below to learn more.
    • For all other goals: You can select a position constraint. This allows you to combine a Position goal with the primary goal to help your program meet multiple objectives. DS will first ensure that the bid is within the min/max bid range, then bid to stay within the position range, and finally bid toward the primary target. For example, for a Revenue goal, use the optional Position goal if you’re trying to meet a Revenue objective, but you also want to ensure that the keyword never drops below a particular position.
    Steps 7 is optional; you can save the bid strategy without setting these properties. Also, if you don’t set these properties, the Performance Bidding Suite will have more freedom to optimize against the primary settings.
  8. In the Advanced Configuration section:

    • Conversions, Revenue, and Advanced targeting bid strategies apply a temporary position constraint to brand new keywords without performance history. Update the constraint as needed.
    • For bid strategies that maximize revenue or conversions, the option to Ensure keywords with low conversion ratios will get some traffic appears and is selected by default. This setting controls how the Performance Bidding Suite deals with low-performing keywords. Learn more.
      Please note that, if you select a position constraint under STEP 3: Constraints, this option will no longer apply. The Performance Bidding Suite will keep all keywords within the specified position range.
  9. Click Save Bid Strategy.