Pay for conversions

You can choose to pay for conversions, rather than clicks when using a Smart Display campaign or a standard display campaign. Paying for conversions means you only pay when customers convert on your website or app.

The option to pay for conversions is only available when you use Target CPA with Display campaigns. 

This article explains how to set up pay for conversions for a standard display campaign or a Smart Display campaign.

How it works

Pay for conversions uses the same bidding algorithm as when you pay for clicks.

If you choose to pay for conversions, you still use the Target CPA bidding strategy, but you pay for conversions instead of clicks. You will only be billed for conversions received at the Target CPA that you set. For example, if you set your Target CPA to $10 and you get 10 conversions during a month, you would be billed $100. You will not be charged for clicks or impressions leading to the conversions.

Pay for conversions doesn't optimize for offline conversions, conversions from Google Ads Conversion Import, or cross-device conversions. If you use these conversion types, we recommend paying for clicks.

Also, pay for conversions doesn’t work with shared budgets.

Remember that although your Google Ads experience may show you pay for conversions as an option, your account may not meet the eligibility requirements. You can make sure your account is eligible to pay for conversions in a few ways. The following sections contain common reasons why your account may be ineligible, and the steps that can ensure your eligibility to pay for conversions.

Remove offline conversion tracking

Advertisers cannot use pay for conversion and bid towards offline conversion types. Offline conversion types include ”Import from clicks” and “Store visits.” If you want to be eligible for pay for conversions, make sure these conversion types are not included.

Follow these steps to check if you account has offline conversions, and to remove them:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click the tools icon, then click Conversions under “Measurement.”
  3. Check for conversion source in the “Source” column.
  4. Check the box next to the name of the conversion action, and from the Edit drop-down, click Remove.

Conversion delays

Advertisers cannot use Pay for Conversion unless the CID has a conversion delay (aka conversion lag, time between click and conversion) of fewer than 7 days.

The new Google Ads experience is now the exclusive way for most users to manage their accounts. Note, automatic targeting is only available in the new Google Ads experience.

If you have set up conversion tracking, you can use conversion delay reports to understand how long it takes customers who see your ads to complete a conversion. Use the following steps to access Conversion delay reports:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click Campaigns, Ad groups, or Keywords in the left page menu.
  3. Check that the date range for your report ends at least 30 days ago (or longer if you have a longer conversion window) to make sure the report has complete conversion data. To change the date range, use the date range selector in the upper right corner of the page.
  4. Click the segment icon, select Conversions, then select Conversions > Days to conversion. This segments the conversion columns in your report into up to 19 rows.

Ineligible for undisclosed reasons

It is possible that your account can be ineligible for Pay for conversions due to undisclosed reasons in Google Ads. In this case, you will receive an error message in the UI that reads, “Your account is ineligible to pay for conversions.” If you receive this message, it means that you will be ineligible to opt in campaigns at this time, although eligibility is refreshed daily. 

Making changes to address the above issues will not guarantee that the account is eligible. Eligibility is determined by a multitude of factors such as the API, and can change daily.

Set up pay for conversions

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. In the page menu, click Campaigns.
  3. Click the plus button , then select New campaign.
  4. Choose from the Sales, Leads or Website Traffic goals (If the information in this article doesn't reflect what you're seeing, you may have a different version of goals. For information on your version, please see this article).
  5. Select the Display campaign type.
  6. Select Standard display campaign or Smart display campaign.
  7. Click Continue. 
  8. In the “Bidding” section, under "How do you want to get conversions?" select Automatically maximize conversions and check the box for "Set a target cost per action".
  9. Under "Pay for", select Conversions
  10. Click Create campaign.

Conversion requirements

Your account must have more than 100 conversions in the last 30 days to use pay for conversions. You’ll also need 90% of your conversions to occur within less than 7 days after someone clicks your ad. If it often takes customers more than a week to convert after clicking your ad, then you won’t be able to pay for conversions.

Keep in mind, you may see a slight delay between when conversions are reported and when you’re charged. Learn more about conversion delay and conversion windows.

Limit on CPA

You can set a Target CPA less than $200 USD (or equivalent in local currency) for your campaigns and ad groups to use pay for conversions. If you set a CPA higher than $200 (or equivalent in local currency), you will see a warning message in the UI and charged the higher CPA amount that you set in your settings. To avoid being overcharged, please reduce the Target CPA below $200 (or equivalent in local currency) for your campaigns and ad groups or switch to pay for clicks.

Budget

Pay for conversions uses more flexible budgeting rules because the number of conversions in a given day varies more than the number of clicks. As a result, if you pay for conversions your daily spend may exceed your daily budget by more than 2 times. This gives Smart Bidding room to optimize better across your campaigns.

The initial monthly budget of a pay for conversions campaign is based on the daily budget that the campaign starts the month with multiplied by 30.4. If the daily budget is changed during the month, this monthly budget no longer applies and will be replaced with a new budget based on the remaining days in the month.

You can’t change a day’s budget after it has passed. If you change a day’s budget during that day, your spend on that day will adjust to the budget. If the new budget is lower than the previous one, your ads will stop serving for that day and resume the following day following the new budget.

Say your daily budget starts March at $100. This means your monthly budget starts at $3,040 (100x 30.4). After a week you decide to lower the budget to $75. On the 8th, your earlier budget no longer applies and you’re set with a new budget for the remaining 24 days of March that totals $1,800 (75x24). For the last week, you decide to raise the daily budget to $150. On the 25th, your earlier budget no longer applies and you’re set with a new budget for the remaining 7 days of March that totals $1,050 (150x7). Lastly, you set the daily budget to $100 effective on April 1st. This sets your April monthly budget to start at $3,040, but has no effect on the March budget currently in place.

Over the course of March, your spend may have looked like this:
$700 ($100 for 7 days) +
$1,275 ($75 for 17 days) +
$1,050 ($150 for 7 days) =
$3,025 total for the month
 

Learn more about Why costs might exceed your average daily budget.

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