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Auction-time bidding in Search Ads 360 bid strategies

About auction-time bidding in Search Ads 360

Applies only to Google Ads campaigns
If a Search Ads 360 bid strategy uses Floodlight conversions or Google Ads conversion tracking, you can combine it with Google Ads auction-time bidding to enhance campaign performance. Auction-time bidding is a Google Ads Smart Bidding feature that analyzes several contextual signals at the time of the auction to set bids with the goal of targeting your ads. 

Learn more about auction-time bidding in Google Ads Help Center.

How they work together  

A Search Ads 360 bid strategy analyzes the performance of the campaigns in its portfolio approximately every 6 hours to set keyword bids and set or recommend bid adjustments.

A Google Ads auction-time bidding strategy analyzes different contextual signals (such as device, browser type, location, time of day, remarketing list, and more) in real time to set each keyword bid to display your ads in the best position and maximize performance.

A Search Ads 360 bid strategy includes auction-time bids in its analysis to set each campaign's return on investment (ROI) target to achieve the bid strategy's goal.

Because auction-time bidding is available only in Google Ads, the bid strategy's Floodlight conversions are shared with Google Ads (with your consent) to enable both bidding systems to use the same conversion data. The shared Floodlight conversions are referred to as a conversion action set in Google Ads.

Even though a Search Ads 360 bid strategy can use Floodlight conversions or Google Ads conversions for auction-time bidding, only the Floodlight conversions are shared with Google Ads. It's not necessary to share Google Ads conversion actions because are they are automatically synced with Google Ads.

Seven or more days after you enable auction-time bidding in a Search Ads 360 bid strategy, a standard Target CPA or Target ROAS Smart Bidding portfolio strategy is created in Google Ads and the portfolio strategy is applied to each campaign managed by the Search Ads 360 bid strategy. The Google Ads standard bid strategy type is determined by the Search Ads 360 bid strategy goal. This means that a Target CPA bidding strategy is created if the Search Ads 360 bid strategy's goal is to maximize conversions. If the goal is revenue, a standard Target ROAS bidding strategy is created. For Shopping and Smart Shopping campaigns, a Google Ads campaign-level strategy will be created and applied to each campaign managed by the Search Ads 360 bid strategy.

A longer conversion delay might increase the number of days required to create a Target CPA or Target ROAS Smart Bidding portfolio strategy in Google Ads. For example, if the conversion delay is 5 days, it could take up to 12 days to create the bidding strategy in Google Ads. A campaign's auction-time status displays "warming up" until the bid strategy is created in Google Ads. Learn more about advertiser-level warm-up for auction-time bidding.

Floodlight conversions in Google Ads manager accounts

If a Google Ads account is linked to a manager (MCC) account in Google Ads, the conversion action set is included in the manager account if the administrator accepts the Floodlight conversions.

Learn more about sharing Floodlight conversions.

Requirements and notes about using Google Ads auction-time bidding with Floodlight conversions

This section lists the requirements for using Google Ads auction-time bidding with Floodlight conversions and how to combine Floodlight and Google Ads conversion tracking.


  • Enable auction-time bidding in a Search Ads 360 bid strategy to share the bid strategy's Floodlight conversions with Google Ads as a conversion action set. When you agree to share the Floodlight conversions, all Google Ads campaigns in the advertiser receive the conversions by default. You can't choose which campaigns in Google Ads receive and report the shared Floodlight conversions in "All conversions"-based ("All conversions", "All conversion value", and so on) columns.
    If your Google Ads account is linked to one or more manager accounts in Google Ads, each manager account is required to accept the Floodlight conversions. Learn more.


    Auto-tagging must be enabled in Google Ads to share the Floodlight conversions. Learn more about auto-tagging in Google Ads Help.
  • All items in a campaign are included in the same Search Ads 360 bid strategy with auction-time bidding. That is, the ad groups and biddable items in the campaign should inherit the auction-time bid strategy from the campaign. Items not inheriting bid strategy will not be auction-time bidding enabled even if the campaign is included in the auction-time bid strategy.

  • Track the same conversions on your website. Floodlight conversion tags should be added to your website to enable the Search Ads 360 bid strategy and the Google Ads auction-time bid strategy to use the same set of conversions for optimization. For example, if the Search Ads 360 bid strategy uses the "Floodlight activity brand" + "Floodlight activity product" tags from your website as a conversion source, the Google Ads auction-time standard bid strategy will use the same conversions.

  • Only Floodlight and some Google Ads conversion tracking are available as conversion sources. A Search Ads 360 bid strategy with auction-time bidding can use Floodlight conversions, Google Ads conversion tracking, or a formula column as conversion sources.
    The formula column can combine the 2 conversion types, as long as Google Ads conversion tracking isn't weighted. The Floodlight conversions can be weighted (or multiplied). 


    Formula columns that can be used as a conversion source with auction-time bidding:

    • Floodlight_conv1 + Floodlight_conv2 + GoogleAds_conv1 + GoogleAds_conv2
    • 5*Floodlight_conv1 + GoogleAds_conv1
    • 5*Floodlight_conv1 + 3*Floodlight_conv2 + GoogleAds_conv1
    • GoogleAds_conv2
      A Search Ads 360 bid strategy that exclusively uses Google Ads conversion tracking as a conversion source should be applied to Google Ads campaigns only.


    Formula column that can't be used as a conversion source with auction-time bidding because the Google Ads conversion is weighted:

    5*Floodlight_conv1 + 3*Floodlight_conv2 + 5*GoogleAds_conv1


  • Only an agency manager or advertiser manager can turn on auction-time bidding the first time. After that, any non-admin roles can turn it on for any Search Ads 360 bid strategy in an advertiser.
  • Auction-time bidding only applies to the Google Ads campaigns in the bid strategy even though campaigns from all supported search engines are included in the bid strategy. The bid strategy will still use the performance history of the conversion source to set bids and bid adjustments in all of the campaigns.
  • The Search Ads 360 bid strategy sets bids and bid adjustments in all selected campaigns. If auction-time bidding is enabled, the Search Ads 360 bid strategy automatically sets bids and any bid adjustments supported by the engine for all campaigns in the bid strategy. That is, the following checkboxes are selected by default because each item is a signal that is factored into auction-time bidding.  
    Bids section
    • Keywords and other biddable items
    Bid adjustments section
    • Device bid adjustments
    • Remarketing target bid adjustments
    • Location target bid adjustments
    You can't change the settings. 
    Partial image of bid strategy settings with Engine features, Optimization, and Bid adjustments sections shown. All check boxes are selected. The auction-time check box is darker, indicating that the option can be changed. The Keywords and other biddable items,  Device bid adjustments, Remarketing target bid adjustments, and location target bid adjustments check boxes are all selected and lighter, indicating that the options can't be changed.
    Note that auction-time bids and bid adjustments can't be manually overwritten in Search Ads 360 or in Google Ads. You might be able to enter a bid or bid adjustment in the user interface, but the setting is ignored.

Supported and unsupported features

Supported and unsupported conversion sources

A conversion source specifies the conversions that a bid strategy analyzes to set bids and bid adjustments.

Conversion type  Supported with auction-time bidding
Floodlight (includes custom Floodlight variables) Yes

Google Ads conversion tracking, including

  • Website actions
  • Phone calls
  • App installs and in-app actions
  • Local actions (store visits)

Offline conversions excluded

Formula columns (optionally combine 
Floodlight conversions and unweighted 
Google Ads conversion tracking)
Formula columns that set device targets No
Google Analytics  No


Supported Search Ads 360 and Google Ads attribution models

Auction-time bidding can be enabled with all Search Ads 360 supported attribution models. The attributed data is shared with Google Ads and reported in "All conversions"-based columns in Google Ads.


Supported and unsupported bid strategies with campaign types

Auction-time bidding can be enabled in a Search Ads 360 bid strategy that targets conversions or revenue. The bid strategy can be applied to all supported campaign (and engine) types, but only Google Ads manual campaigns that target the search network will benefit from auction-time bidding.


  Campaign type
Google Ads manual campaigns (Search only) Google Ads manual campaigns
(Display only)
Google Ads
Google Ads Smart Shopping campaigns
Search Ads 360 bid strategy
type with auction-time bidding


No No No
Revenue  Yes No Yes Yes
Number of clicks No No No No
Advanced targeting  No No No  No
Keyword position (ad position) No No No No
Impression share Yes No No No
Budget bid strategy


A budget bid strategy can only be created in a budget plan.

Google Ads Shopping and Smart Shopping campaigns can be included in auction-time bid strategies. For more information, see About Shopping campaigns and auction-time bidding.

Auction-time bidding with bid strategy constraints

About 7 days after auction-time bidding is enabled in a Search Ads 360 bid strategy, specified constraints (such as minimum bidmaximum bid, and ad position targets) won't apply to the Google Ads campaigns that are managed by the bid strategy. The constraints do apply to any non-Google Ads campaigns in the bid strategy.

 The Constraints page of the Bid strategy editor,  with a $.10 minimum bid and a $5 maximum bid. Under +More constraints, the Select a position constraint option is selected.   The last two options are Top keyword position and Bottom keyword position which are both blank.

When auction-time bidding is enabled, a second set of "Minimum bid" and "Maximum bid" constraint fields appears on the "Target and Constraints" page. These additional constraints only apply to Google Ads campaigns in auction-time bidding. The first set of "Minimum bid" and "Maximum bid" constraints only applies to "legacy" campaigns that are not enabled for auction-time bidding.

Note that the legacy "Minimum bid" and "Maximum bid" constraints may result in a min/max bid that is outside of the min/max range set. This can occur because the legacy bid constraints are applied before any modifiers are placed on the bids. Conversely, the auction-time bidding "Minimum bid" and "Maximum bid" constraints won't result in a min/max bid that is outside of the min/max range. This is because the auction-time bid constraints are considered after all modifiers are placed on the bids.

The auction-time bidding "Minimum bid" and "Maximum bid" constraints are only applicable to auction-time Search campaigns (Target CPA and Target ROAS). "Minimum bid" and "Maximum bid" constraints don't apply to Shopping or Smart Shopping campaigns.

The legacy and auction-time "Minimum bid" and "Maximum bid" constraints are independent of one another. They don't automatically populate one another, nor do they impact one another.

Unlike legacy "Minimum bid" and "Maximum bid" constraints, auction-time bidding constraints are enforced after all auction signals are considered (CPA/ROAS).

Note: Budget bid strategies will only use one set of "Minimum bid" and "Maximum bid" constraints, which are not compatible with auction-time bidding. Google Ads campaigns with auction-time bidding enabled (Search and Smart Shopping campaigns) within a budget bid strategy will ignore the budget bid strategy "Minimum bid" and "Maximum bid" constraints. Incompatible Google Ads campaigns, Google Ads Shopping campaigns, and non-Google Ads campaigns will honor constraints set in these instances.

For optimal performance, we recommend not setting constraints when using auction-time bidding.


Adaptive campaigns 

Campaign adaptive options are supported with auction-time bidding. However, because auction-time bidding doesn't bid toward target groups, we don't recommend adding adaptive Shopping campaigns to auction-time bid strategies.


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