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Welcome to the help center for DoubleClick Search, a platform for managing search marketing campaigns.  While the help center is available to the public, access to the DoubleClick Search product is available only to subscribing customers who are signed in. To subscribe or find out more, contact our sales team.

Apply and report on AdWords portfolio bid strategies from DoubleClick Search

About AdWords portfolio bid strategies in DoubleClick Search

Similar to creating bid strategies in DoubleClick Search (DS), in AdWords you can create a portfolio bid strategy to automatically optimize bids for your performance goals. Then you can apply the strategy across specific campaigns, ad groups, and keywords. 

After you create a portfolio bid strategy in AdWords and sync the change into DS, you can use DS to apply the bid strategy and report on performance. 

AdWords portfolio bid strategies were formerly referred to as flexible bid strategies.

AdWords portfolio bid strategies or DS bid strategies

AdWords portfolio bid strategies should not be used in combination with a DS bid strategy. That is, either an AdWords portfolio bid strategy or a DS bid strategy should be in effect for a keyword, but not both.

Most AdWords standard bid strategies, which can only be applied in AdWords, should also not be used in combination with DS bid strategies. The exception is the enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) bid strategy. Learn more.

Which system will work best for you? The best way to find out is to compare performance of the two systems. Keep in mind that AdWords portfolio bid strategies only work with AdWords campaigns that use AdWords conversion trackers. You can create DS bid strategies for AdWords, Bing Ads, and other types of engine accounts. In addition, you can use DS bid strategies to optimize bids for product groups and product targets as well as keywords.

Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) standard bid strategy or portfolio bid strategy

Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) is an AdWords bidding feature that looks for ad auctions that are more likely to lead to sales for you, and then increases your max CPC as needed for those specific auctions. ECPC can automate bidding as a standard bid strategy or as a portfolio bid strategy.

An ECPC standard bid strategy can only be applied to a campaign from AdWords. You can create an ECPC portfolio bid strategy in AdWords and apply it to specific campaigns and ad groups, or across campaigns from DS or from AdWords. (An ECPC portfolio bid strategy can't be applied to keywords.) 

Because ECPC works during an auction in real time, you may be able to use the ECPC standard bid strategy along with a DS bid strategy.  However, you may not receive optimal results. If you want to combine an ECPC standard bid strategy with a DS bid strategy, please contact your DS account manager to describe your bidding goals.

Like all portfolio bid strategies, an enhanced CPC portfolio bid strategy shouldn't be used in combination with a DS bid strategy.

Different bid strategies for different ad groups and keywords

By default—with both AdWords portfolio bid strategies and DS bid strategies—an ad group inherits the bid strategy from the campaign, and a keyword inherits the bid strategy that's applied to the ad group. That is, ad groups and keywords inherit a DS bid strategy if it's applied to the campaign. And ad groups and keywords inherit an AdWords portfolio bid strategy if it's applied to the campaign. If you apply an AdWords portfolio bid strategy to a campaign and you apply a DS bid strategy to a campaign, the ad groups and keywords will inherit both bid strategies, leading to unexpected results. 

An ad group can only override the bid strategy that's applied to the campaign and specify its own bid strategy (or specify manual bidding only) if the bid strategy is from the same source, AdWords or DS. Likewise, a keyword can override the ad group's bid strategy with its own setting. For example, if you apply DS bid strategy to an AdWords campaign, but then for specific ad groups or keywords in that campaign, you apply an AdWords portfolio bid strategy, the AdWords portfolio bid strategy doesn't override the DS bid strategy. The ad groups and keywords will still inherit the DS bid strategy from the campaign, while the AdWords portfolio bid strategy is also managing the keyword bids too. 

The main takeaway is this: only one bid strategy should be in effect for a keyword (with the one exception that you can apply both a DS bid strategy and an ECPC standard bid strategy to a campaign, which would then be inherited by all ad groups and keywords in the campaign).

Apply bid strategies only from DS to prevent errors

DS doesn't prevent you from having both a DS bid strategy and an AdWords bid strategy in effect for a keyword. AdWords isn't aware of DS bid strategies, so you could apply a DS bid strategy in DS and then sign in to AdWords and apply an AdWords bid strategy to the same campaign, ad group, or keyword. You can also apply an AdWords bid strategy in DS even if a DS bid strategy is already applied.

At this point, you'll have two separate bid strategies in effect for the same keyword. If you apply one type of bid strategy after a different type of bid strategy is applied, DS will detect that the keyword (or campaign or ad group) is also managed by the AdWords bid strategy and display a warning message. Because the different types of bid strategies manage bids independently, you are likely to see unexpected, and unpredictable results. 

To avoid this situation, we recommend that you only apply one type of bid strategy.

You can remove a campaign, ad group, or keyword from either type bid strategy.

  1. Navigate to an AdWords accountcampaign, or ad group with a DS and AdWords bid strategy applied.

    How can you tell if two bid strategies are applied to an item? Check the campaign's or ad group's settings Settings button.

  2. Do one of the following:
    1. Select the check boxes of the items you want to change.
    2. Filter the list to include only the items that you want to change, and then click the select all check box at the top of the reporting table.
  3. Click the Edit ▼ button and select Change bid strategy.
  4. To remove a DS bid strategy, in the New bid strategy section, under DoubleClick Search bid strategy, select No bid strategy (manual bidding).
  5. To remove an AdWords bid strategy, in the New bid strategy section, click AdWords bid strategies, and select No bid strategy (manual bidding).
  6. Click Save.

 

Other AdWords bid strategies

In addition to the ECPC portfolio bid strategy, AdWords provides other features for managing bids such as Target CPA and Maximize Clicks. Like other AdWords bid strategies, the features can be applied as a standard bid strategy or a portfolio bid strategy. Standard bid strategies can only be applied in AdWords. Portfolio bid strategies can be applied in DS or in AdWords.

Target CPA portfolio bid strategy

Instead of using a DS bid strategy or AdWords portfolio bid strategy, you can apply a Target CPA (formerly referred to as Conversion Optimizer) to a campaign from DS (or from AdWords, but we recommend that you only apply bid strategies from DS whenever possible). If Target CPA is applied to a campaign or ad group, you can't apply a different AdWords bid strategy to a campaign's keywords until you remove Target CPA from the campaign.

Maximize Clicks portfolio bid strategy

Instead of using a DS bid strategy, you can apply a Maximize Clicks portfolio bid strategy to a campaign, ad group, or keyword to help you get as many clicks as possible within a specified budget.

Ready to get started?

If you want to use AdWords portfolio bid strategies instead of DS bid strategies:

  1. Sign in to AdWords and create at least one portfolio bid strategy.
  2. Sync the change into DS.
  3. In DS, apply a portfolio bid strategy to an AdWords campaign, ad group, or keyword.
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