Estimate your results with bid simulators

Google Ads bid simulators help you see how different bids might change your ads’ weekly performance.
  • The regular Bid Simulators show you how changes to your max. CPC bid might change the cost or the number of clicks, impressions, conversions, and conversion value your ads would have received for your keyword or ad group. You can find them on the Ad groups and Keywords tabs.
  • The Campaign Bid Simulator shows you how changes to your campaign’s bids might affect that campaign’s performance. Find it on the Campaigns tab.
  • The Shopping Campaigns Bid Simulator shows you how certain changes to your bid might have impacted your product group's performance. You can find it on the Product groups tab.
  • The Video Campaigns Bid Simulator shows you how changes to your max. CPV might impact your typical weekly video traffic. Find it on the Campaigns tab.
  • The Hotel Campaigns Bid Simulator shows how changes to your max. CPC or max. CPC% bid might have impacted your hotel group’s recent performance. You can find it on the Hotel groups tab.
  • The Target CPA Simulator shows you how changes to your target cost-per-action (target CPA) might affect your ad performance. Find it on the Campaigns tab or in the Shared library.
  • The Device Bid Adjustment Simulator shows you how changes to your device bid adjustment might affect your ad performance on different devices.
  • The Call Bid Adjustment Simulator shows you how changes to your call interaction bid might affect the performance of your call extensions.

Example

Suppose you have a max. CPC bid of US$1 for your keyword, but you're curious to see what results you might get with a bid of US$1.50 or US$0.75.

The Bid Simulator can show you estimates of the clicks, cost, impressions, conversions, and conversion value you would have seen with max. CPC bids of US$1.50 or US$0.75 for your keyword.

The Campaign Bid Simulator can show you the same estimates based on setting a campaign-wide bid of US$1.50, for example, or increasing or decreasing your campaign-level bid by a certain percentage.

Note

  • Any active bid adjustments for your campaign or ad groups are taken into account during simulations.
  • If your campaign has a "Limited by budget" status, you'll get budget ideas in the pop-up window on your Campaigns page instead of the Campaign Bid Simulator. Learn more about budget ideas

How bid simulators work

The bid simulators collect and analyze data from ad auctions on the Search Network and the Display Network while considering information such as Quality Score, keyword traffic, and competition in the ad auction. The tools use this information to estimate how your ads might have performed in terms of key metrics like cost, impressions, clicks, and conversion volume.

Remember, the bid simulators can provide insight into how different bids might have affected performance over the past 7 days, but they don't attempt to predict future performance. For instance, if you believe that your ad performance might change significantly in the coming weeks, you’ll want to be careful using bid simulator data to choose your bids.

You can estimate your bid simulator results at scale by using the Google Ads API (AdWords API).

How to get bid simulator estimates

 

Use bid simulators on the Search and Display Networks

Bid simulators work on Search, Display, and Search with Display opt-in campaigns. Note: Using a bid simulator in a “Search and Display Select” campaign only simulates the search portion of the traffic.

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click Campaigns, Ad groups, or Keywords.
  3. Click the simulator icon Bid Simulator icon Don't see this icon? Learn why.
    1. If you're in Campaigns, the icon is in the "Daily budgets" column.
    2. If you're in Ad groups or Keywords, the icon is in the "Default max. CPC" column.
  4. You can change your bid by selecting a new bid option in the Bid Simulator.

Tip

Alternatively, you can add the bid simulator columns to the statistics table on your Keywords tab to easily view estimates for multiple keywords. Learn more about this group of columns​
 

Use the bid simulator for Video campaigns

Video network Bid Simulators can only be used for video campaigns.
  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click Campaigns or Ad groups.
  3. Click the simulator icon Bid Simulator icon Don't see this icon? Learn why.
    1. If you're in Campaigns, the icon is in the "Daily budgets" column.
    2. If you're in Ad groups, the icon is in the "Default max. CPV" column.
  4. You can change your bid by selecting a new bid option in the Bid Simulator.

Use the bid simulator for Shopping campaigns

The bid simulator is available for Shopping campaigns to help you estimate how changes to your bid would have impacted your clicks, cost, impressions, and conversions. Learn more about using the bid simulator with Shopping campaigns.

Use the bid simulator for Hotel campaigns

The Hotel Campaigns Bid Simulator helps you estimate how changes to your bid would have impacted your recent clicks, cost, impressions, and conversions. Learn more about using the bid simulator with Hotel campaigns.

Use the Target CPA Bid Simulator

The Target CPA simulator helps you understand the number of conversions your ads might have received if you had set different CPA targets. This simulator is available for both standard and portfolio Target CPA bid strategies.

A standard bid strategy applies to a single campaign. If you're using a standard Target CPA bid strategy, you can view the Target CPA simulator in Campaigns or Ad groups, just like other bid simulators for the Search Network.

Find simulator for campaign

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click Campaigns or Ad groups.
  3. Click the simulator icon Bid Simulator icon. Don't see this icon? Learn why.
    1. If you're in Campaigns, this icon is located in the "Daily budget" column.

Find simulator for portfolio

With a portfolio strategy, you can attach multiple campaigns and ad groups to a single bid strategy. If you're using a portfolio Target CPA bid strategy, you can find the Target CPA simulator in the Shared library.

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click the tools icon , then under “Shared library”, click Portfolio bid strategies.
  3. Click a Target CPA strategy to view its performance report.
  4. Click the simulator icon from the performance report in the section labeled "Strategy target CPA". Don't see this icon? Learn why.

Use the device bid adjustment simulator

This Device Bid Adjustment Simulator is used to compare the potential impact of setting a mobile, tablet, or desktop bid adjustment on your weekly Search Network traffic. It allows you to easily change your budget to accommodate that traffic.

Before you begin


This simulator is only available for Search and Shopping campaigns that have served ads on mobile devices. Campaigns with shared or limited budgets might not be able to view this bid simulator. The simulator is not available for campaigns using automated bid strategies (except for enhanced cost-per-click) or for campaign experiments.

Instructions

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click Devices.
  3. Click Bid Simulator iconin the "Bid. adj" column. Don't see this icon? Learn why.

Keep in mind

  • This bid simulator takes into account your existing campaign settings, including your existing max. CPC bids, enhanced cost-per-click bids, location bid adjustments, ad scheduling bid adjustments, and remarketing bid adjustments.
  • The bid simulator does not take into account ad group bid adjustments. If you apply any bid adjustment changes from the simulator, your ad group bid adjustments will be overwritten.
  • Estimates will become more accurate over time as your campaign accumulates data. You can still use the simulator for newer campaigns.
  • You might need to increase your budget if you'd like to achieve the traffic levels shown in the simulator.
  • The bid simulator offers clicks, cost, and impressions estimates. The simulator does not provide information on estimated conversions.

 

Using the bid simulators for conversion estimates

If you're using conversion tracking, the simulators offer conversion estimates to help you understand the number of conversions your ads might have received if you had set different bids. On the Search Network, if you've assigned values to your conversions — or set conversion values — you can review your conversion value estimates to get an idea of the conversion value you might have received if you had set different bids.

Here's some information to keep in mind:

  • Conversion definitions: Conversions rely not only on ad interactions such as clicks, but also on the actions that customers take on your site. This can also make them more difficult to predict.
  • Changes to conversion tracking: Removing or moving the conversion tracking tag could invalidate the estimates. Don't make any major changes to the conversion tracking code for at least 2 weeks before using the bid simulators for conversion and conversion value estimates.
  • Delayed conversions (Search traffic): Simulators count conversions that might have been recorded during the simulation period (usually the last 7 days). For example, if a click took place during the simulation period, but the conversion wasn’t recorded until after the simulation period, then the conversion would not be counted in the simulator. Keep in mind that conversions could still occur up to 90 days after each interaction depending on your chosen conversion window.
  • Sparse conversion data: There is usually less conversion data than click or impression data when calculating these estimates, so conversions can be more difficult to estimate. If your account doesn't typically get a lot of conversions, we may not have enough information to generate an estimate for conversions. The longer the history and the more conversions you have, the more accurate these estimates will be.

Learn more about using bid simulators to estimate conversions with Shopping campaigns.

Benefits of using the Campaign Bid Simulator

  • You can view bid changes in aggregate and model changes even when keywords or ad groups might not have enough data for this on their own.
  • Bid scaling is available, so you can see what might happen if you increased or decreased all your bids by a specific percentage (10%, for example).
  • Because campaign-level bid changes can increase traffic significantly, we'll tell you whether you need to increase your budget and, if so, what to change it to.
  • You can model what happens if you changed all your bids in the campaign to a fixed value. If you choose to apply one of these campaign-wide bid changes, your ad group default bids will be changed to this fixed value, and your keyword-level bids will be erased.

Troubleshooting

Unavailable bid simulator

A bid simulator may not always be available to help you estimate how changes to your bid or target CPA might affect performance. If a simulator is unavailable, the simulator icon (Bid Simulator icon​) will be greyed out. In Google Ads, the simulator icon will be greyed out with a slash through it. Here are some common reasons why:

  • Not enough data

    The bid simulators use data from the last 7 days to provide estimates. They might not be able to provide estimates if a campaign, keyword, ad group, or product group was recently added, or didn't receive many clicks in the last 7 days.

    If you've just added a new campaign, keyword, ad group, or product group, check back after more time has passed to see if the simulators have provided estimates. If your campaign, keyword, ad group, or product group doesn't get many impressions, increasing your bids can help give your ads more exposure.

  • Campaign uses shared budget
    If your campaign uses shared budgets the campaign bid simulator won’t be available.

  • Campaign daily budget

  • If your campaign has reached or nearly reached its daily budget at least once in the last 7 days, the simulators may not be able to provide estimates.

  • Campaign bidding option

    The simulators won't work with Search and Display campaigns that use Manual CPC, Enhanced cost-per-click, and Target CPA bid strategies.

  • Campaign Experiments

    The simulators don't work with campaigns that have running or recently ended (within the last 8 days) experiments. Learn more

  • Product groups in Shopping campaign using the Item ID attribute

    The Bid Simulator isn't available for product groups that use the Item ID attribute.

Missing columns within the simulator

Here are some reasons why a bid simulator might be missing the following columns:

  • Clicks and cost

    The clicks and cost columns will only appear if you met a minimum threshold of clicks within the last week.

  • Top of page impressions

    This column only appears if you are estimated to receive at least 1 top of page impression for any of the bids simulated. This only appears for the Search Network.

  • Conversions and conversion value

    The "Conversions" and "Total conv. value" columns only appear if:

    • You're using Google Ads conversion tracking.
    • You received a minimum threshold of conversions within the last week.
  • Additional budget/day required

    This column may only appear in bid simulators at the campaign level.

Tip: Bid simulators vs. Keyword and Display Planners

  • Bid simulators estimate your ad performance based on detailed information that's specific to your campaign, including your Quality Score and keywords.
  • The Keyword Planner and Display Planner estimate ad performance based on your advertiser information, and provide information about overall traffic patterns across all Google advertisers.
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