About Search Ads 360 bid strategies

How bid strategies work

A bid strategy considers all of the campaigns, ad groups, keywords, and other biddable items that it's optimizing to be part of a single portfolio. Because bid strategies focus on maximizing performance of the portfolio as a whole:

  • You'll get the best results if you create portfolios that share a business goal, such as campaigns in the same line of business, with similar margins, or with similar historical performance.
  • You may see increased bids for stronger performing biddable items. In other cases, you may see increased bids for lesser performing biddable items when such an increase is likely to improve overall performance.

While you can apply bid strategies to specific ad groups or 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 can do to improve performance. The larger the portfolio, the more trade-offs and hidden opportunities Search Ads 360 can find to improve overall performance.

Note that most Search Ads 360 bid strategies can be applied to items in different engine accounts. That is, the portfolio can include items from all supported engine accounts. For example, you can apply a bid strategy to a Google Ads campaign, a Microsoft Advertising ad group, and Yahoo! Japan keywords.

History and predictable trends

To determine the optimal bids, bid strategies use the performance history of biddable items, online conversions, and if included, offline conversions. As a bid strategy adjusts bids, it observes the effect of the change and then makes small, incremental adjustments if needed. Even though each cycle of adjusting, monitoring, and adjusting again may occur about every six hours, you're likely to see improved performance over a longer period of time. Bid strategies avoid making abrupt, large changes, since that makes it more difficult to predict the outcome.

A bid strategy that uses offline conversions may stop adjusting the default bid of biddable items if offline conversion data isn’t uploaded regularly.

If a bid strategy detects predictable trends (such as recurring patterns on weekends), it can adjust bids to take advantage of the peaks and troughs within the trends. The stronger the trend, the more confident the bid strategy can be in making slightly more aggressive changes.

This is another reason that a larger portfolio performs better: the more historical data available, the more confident the bid strategy can be in making changes.

This type of predictive bidding requires ample historical data. As such, you will need a sufficient number of clicks and conversions for a bid strategy to take effect.

Cold start behavior

If you include brand new biddable items without performance history in a Smart Bidding strategy, the strategy goes into cold start mode for the biddable items. The strategy attempts to reach a balance between getting enough traffic to observe performance and spending an appropriate amount on biddable items with unknown potential by applying a temporary position constraint to the item. Once a biddable item has received enough clicks, or the item is older than two weeks, the strategy starts adjusting the item's bids to achieve the bid strategy's goals in the context of the overall portfolio.

If necessary, you can adjust the temporary position constraint. Learn more.

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