Use a custom Floodlight dimension in a Search Ads 360 bid strategy

A custom dimension enables Search Ads 360 to report on specific types of conversions that you identify using custom Floodlight variables. After you set up a custom dimension, you can create a Search Ads 360 bid strategy that finds the most efficient bids for maximizing the specific conversions you've identified while targeting a specific CPA.


For example, on a web page that generates insurance quotes you use a Floodlight tag to track the number of quotes that are generated. In addition to tracking the number of quotes, you categorize quotes by value: high (house and car insurance) , medium (car only), or low (bike insurance). To set up a bid strategy that finds the best bids for high, medium, and low value quotes, do the following:

  1. Add a custom Floodlight variable to the Floodlight tag. The additional variable reports "high", "medium", or "low" for each conversion.
  2. Create custom Floodlight columns that report on each type of quote. That is, you create the following colums:
    • c:"quote-high" - reports the number of "high" quotes
    • c:"quote-medium" - reports "medium" quotes
    • c:"quote-low" -  reports "low" quotes.
  3. Create a formula column that assigns a weighted value to your insurance quotes. For example, you create this formula:
    (5 * c:"quote-high") + (2 * c:"quote-medium") + c:"quote-low"
  4. Create a bid strategy that targets the formula column and specifies a $10 CPA goal. 

To achieve the $10 CPA, the bid strategy uses the formula and bids the most for keywords such as “house and car insurance” because it maps to “high” insurance quotes. The bid strategy will bid less for keywords such as “car only insurance” because it maps to “medium” insurance quotes. The bid strategy will bid the least for keywords such as “bike insurance”, because it maps to “low” insurance quotes.


Here's an overview of the steps for maximizing efficiency for conversions identified by custom Floodlight dimensions (follow the links in each step for details):

  1. Set up custom Floodlight dimensions in Search Ads 360.
  2. For each custom dimension, create a Floodlight activity column that reports conversions identified by the dimension.
  3. Create a formula column that weights values for each custom dimension.
  4. Create and apply a bid strategy that uses the weighted formula column.

Create a Floodlight activity column that reports conversions identified by a specific dimension

  1. Navigate to an advertiser or lower scope. Then click any tab.
    For example, click the Campaigns tab.

  2. Click the Columns button in the toolbar above the performance summary graph.
    The column selection tool appears.

  3. Under Available columns, click ▸Custom conversions, then click Floodlight.
    A list of your existing Floodlight columns appears.

  4. Click +New column.

  5. Name the column.

  6. Select one or more Floodlight activities that are set up to report custom dimensions
    If you accidentally include Floodlight activities that don't report custom dimensions, that's OK: the filters you set up later will prevent data reported by those activities from appearing in the column.

  7. From the Metric list, select ActionsTransactions, or Revenue, depending on the type of conversion the selected Floodlight activities report.
    Other metrics can't be used in bid strategies.

  8. Under Custom dimension filter, click + Add Filter and do the following:

    1. Select the custom dimension in the dropdown list.
    2. In the filter criteria list, don't change the Equals criteria.
      The column counts only conversions for which the custom dimension exactly matches one or more of the values you enter. (The match is not case sensitive.)

      The Contains criteria can't be used in bid strategies.

    3. Enter one or more values to match. The filter is not case sensitive.
      Separate each value with | (vertical bar). For example:

      In the example below,  the column reports only those Actions for which the Floodlight tag specified "Hi" or "hi" in the "Customer value" dimension.

      Specify criteria for matching dimension data.


  9. Optional. Click the arrow next to Attribution model to apply a different model to the data.

  10. Optional. Select the Cross-environment conversions check box if you want the bid strategy include cross-environment conversions when optimizing mobile bid adjustments. Learn more about conversions, attribution models, and bid adjustments

  11. Click Save.
    Search Ads 360 automatically adds the column to your reporting table. You can remove the column from the reporting table if you don't want it to appear in your report.

  12. Click Apply.
  13. Repeat these steps to create other columns that report the other variables.

Create a formula column that weights values

  1. Navigate to an advertiser or lower scope. Then click any tab.
    For example, click the Campaigns tab.
  2. Click the Columns button in the toolbar above the performance summary graph.

  3. Click Formula columns under the Available columns header.

  4. Click Create a new column.

  5. Name your column.
    This is the name that will appear in the reporting table, so make sure it's meaningful to all users who will see it.

  6. In the Enter equation box, add the desired functions using the Floodlight columns that report custom dimension values.

    For example, the formula for the insurance columns could be: 
    (5 * c:"quote-high") + (2 * c:"quote-medium") + c:"quote-low"

    See the list of functions you can use in formula columns.

    Note that the selection you make under When do you want to apply this formula? doesn't affect the bid strategy.

  7. Click Save.

    If an error occurs, click Select error to highlight the specific error, attempt to fix it, and then click Save again.

    Once you have resolved all errors, the column will automatically appear in the list of selected columns. If you're editing an existing column, you'll need to manually add it.

Create and apply a bid strategy that uses the weighted formula column

  1. Create a bid strategy:

    1. Name your bid strategy.

    2. Select a currency.

    3. Select a Conversions goal, and then click Next.

    4. Enter a target CPA.

    5. In the Conversion source list, click Formula columns.

    6. Click the formula column that weights the values returned by the custom dimension.
      Once you save the bid strategy, you can't edit the formula column as long as it's used by the bid strategy.

    7. Finish creating the bid strategy, and then save it.

  2. Apply the bid strategy to campaigns or ad groups to optimize towards the custom dimension values.

Can't edit custom columns that are in use

When you add a custom column—such as a formula column or a Floodlight activity column—to a bid strategy, you can't edit or remove the column as long as it's included in the bid strategy. Here are some suggested actions to take:

  • Create a new custom column that contains the edits you want. Then use the new column in your reports, or edit the bid strategy to use the new column instead of the old column.
  • If want to remove a custom column but the bid strategy is also removed, follow these steps:
    • Find the removed bid strategy and click on it. 
    • After you've opened the bid strategy, click the edit button to navigate to its settings.
    • Click on Target.
    • Now, either change the conversion source, or the referenced column.
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