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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.

Best practices for setting up DS Smart Bidding strategies

Use DS bid strategy opportunities

Bid strategies find the most efficient way to allocate your advertising spend. While some types of bid strategies focus on displaying your ads in high positions, and others focus on sending as much traffic to your site as possible for a specified budget, Smart Bidding strategies focus on generating traffic that is most likely to drive conversions. You monitor performance of Smart Bidding strategies in the number of conversions at a specified cost per action (CPA), or the amount of revenue generated at a specified ratio of effective revenue share (ERS) or return on advertising spend (ROAS).

If you have a specific business goal you need to achieve, such as maximizing the number of service requests at $10 CPA, then a Smart Bidding (or ROI) strategy is the best way to achieve the goal.

If your business goal is more flexible, Smart Bidding strategies are still an excellent way to manage your bids.

Bid strategy opportunities help you create a Smart Bidding strategy

To help you find AdWords or Bing Ads campaigns that are likely to benefit from a Smart Bidding (or ROI) strategy, consider using bid strategy opportunities. A bid strategy opportunity can help you to create an ROI bid strategy by analyzing campaigns, reviewing recent performance, and suggesting targets.

Bid strategy opportunities will only analyze AdWords manual campaigns, AdWords Shopping campaigns, and Bing Ads manual campaigns. Opportunities aren't identified for other types of AdWords campaigns or engine accounts.

Instead of using an opportunity to identify campaigns that would benefit from an ROI bid strategy,  you can set up an ROI bid strategy and manually add campaigns to the bid strategy. You'll need to analyze your current performance data so you can make informed decisions, and do all the calculations required to specify good targets and set the best minimum and maximum bids.

The following table shows the steps required to create an ROI bid strategy and shows which steps are aided by a bid strategy opportunity.

Step Who performs the steps
Specify an ROI goal You
Find campaigns with similar goals and historical performance The bid strategy opportunity finds AdWords and Bing Ads campaigns that could benefit from being managed by a bid strategy. You can then select the campaigns with similar goals and performance and create a bid strategy.

Use historical performance data to calculate reasonable targets and bids

The bid strategy opportunity uses performance data to calculate the following:

Create a bid strategy and give it time to work You create the bid strategy with suggested settings for the CPA, ERS, or ROAS, and min and max bids, from the bid strategy opportunity.
Analyze bid strategy performance You
Slowly make adjustments You

Bid strategy opportunities recommend

DS will only recommend a Smart Bidding strategy for AdWords and Bing Ads campaigns if there is strong confidence that the DS bid strategy can deliver either:

  • A similar number of conversions at an ROI target that is better than the current average CPA, ERS, or ROAS.
  • More conversions at a similar average CPA, ERS, or ROAS.

DS can only be confident about the benefits of a bid strategy when it considers all biddable items in a campaign. 

While you can apply DS bid strategies to specific ad groups, keywords, or other biddable items, bid strategies work better with larger portfolios. For example, if you put just 10 high-cost keywords into a bid strategy, there might not be much the bid strategy could do improve performance. The larger the portfolio, the more trade-offs and hidden opportunities DS can find to improve overall performance.


  1. You use search ads to advertise a car rental site, and the site uses a Floodlight activity called "Car rental" to track the number of reservations made.
  2. You'd like to achieve the maximum number of online reservations with the most efficient cost per action (CPA), but you're not sure what the CPA should be.
  3. You have 3 campaigns that drive significant traffic to the reservations conversion, and none of those campaigns are currently managed by a bid strategy.

You can define a goal, such as "maximize the 'Car rental' conversion at the most efficient CPA." DS will then:

  1. Analyze the recent performance of campaigns that drive traffic to the "Car rental" conversion.
  2. Calculate the average CPA needed to achieve "Car rental" conversions during the past 28 days.
  3. Determine which campaigns would benefit most from a bid strategy.

You can then apply the DS recommendations to one or more of your campaigns.


Ready to get started?

  1. Create or select a goal for DS to analyze.
  2. Review recommendations and apply them to as many campaigns as you are comfortable with.
  3. Analyze the bid strategy results to assess the quality of the recommendations.
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