Welcome to the help center for Search Ads 360, a platform for managing search marketing campaigns.  While the help center is available to the public, access to the Search Ads 360 product is available only to subscribing customers who are signed in. To subscribe or find out more, contact our sales team.

Create budget plans

Set the budget in a plan

Budget management

Designate how much you want to spend on advertising during a budget plan's time frame. 

If you select an ROI (conversions or revenue) goal, you can explore and compare estimates with different budget and bid-setting options (manual or automatic with a budget bid strategy) before settling on a budget. The explore and compare estimates charts are described in this article. Note that the charts aren't available after a plan has ended.
Don't see the Explore target spend and compare estimates step?
If you select a clicks goal, the plan skips the explore and compare charts, and goes directly to the View budget pacing chart and allocation table step.

 Specify the amount to spend

  1. Start creating a budget plan and set the date range and goal in the plan.
  2.  Click the Explore target spend tab, enter the amount you want to spend.
    Alternatively, click the chart and then the drag the slider to the amount.
  3. Optional. Add a performance benchmark
    The options shown are based on the selected goal. If the goal is conversions, the options are CPA and conversions. If the goal is revenue, the options are ERS or ROAS and revenue.
    • CPA or conversions 
    • ERS or revenue 
    • ROAS or revenue 
  4. Next to "Value type", select a metric that is important to you and then enter a number.
    Search Ads 360 will calculate the remaining variable in the budget equation for you. 
    • Target spend = CPA x number of conversions
    • Target spend = ERS x Revenue
    • Target spend = Revenue / ROAS
  5. Optional. Click the Compare estimate options tab to view graphs that provide side-by-side comparisons of estimated spend, volume, and efficiency based on the selected bidding options. 
    By default, the estimated performance of a budget bid strategy and manual bidding are shown.

  6. Near the bottom of the card, next to "Compare", click the arrow ▼  and choose one of the bid setting options.

    • Budget bid strategy
    • Manual bidding
    • Estimate with no changes
  7. On the next line, click the arrow and choose a different bid setting option.

  8. Optional. Select the Budget bid strategy checkbox to create a budget bid strategy that will manage campaign budgets and bids. 

  9. Click Continue.  
    The next step in the budget plan editor depends on whether you enabled a budget bid strategy in the plan:

    • If you enabled a budget bid strategy, the next step is to configure the budget bid strategy.

    • If you are going to manually set budgets, bids, and bid adjustments, the next step is to View budget pacing and the allocation table

To return to an earlier step, in the left navigation, click the step. 

Explore target spend

Target spend

To specify the amount that you want to spend, do either of the following:

  • Enter an amount. If the amount is within a historical range of spend, a slider appears on the chart along with numbers above the chart that show estimated performance. If the amount is outside of the range shown on the chart, the estimates are blank and the slider doesn't appear.
  • Click anywhere on the chart to get the slider to appear and to select a budget within the range of amounts shown on the "Target spend" axis. 

The slider

To get more insight into how different budgets might determine performance, move the slider to an amount along the "Target spend" axis.

If you enter an amount that you want to spend in the "Target spend" field, the slider moves to reflect the specified amount. If the amount is similar to past spend, Search Ads 360 estimates the performance. Dashes are shown if Search Ads 360 can’t provide estimates.

The slider isn't shown if the target spend is vastly dissimilar from past budgets. Search Ads 360 also can’t estimate volume and efficiency.
If you want to set a target spend that is within the range shown on the "Target spend" axis, click the chart. The slider appears to highlight the amount.

The chart

The chart includes two color-coded curves: one that estimates revenue or conversions (volume) with manually set budgets and bids (referred to as manual bidding) and one that estimates volume if a budget bid strategy automatically adjusts budgets and bids.

The budget range and the estimates for each amount shown in the "Target spend" axis are derived from historical performance and the goal's conversion source.

The curves show the estimated volume (conversions or revenue) that might result from spending various amounts. That is, Search Ads 360 estimates the number of conversions or the amount of revenue that might be achieved from spending a certain amount.

Hover on the chart to display numerical estimates for CPA, ROAS, or ERS, along with conversions or revenue for manual bidding and for a budget bid strategy.

For example, for a revenue goal, if the "Target spend" axis shows a range of amounts from $950 thousand to $3 million, the chart might show that if you spend $1 million, you'll receive an estimated $2 million in revenue and a 200% ROAS. If you spend $2 million, you might achieve $3.5 million in revenue and a 175% ROAS. 

If you set a target spend that is significantly different than your historical spend, a message will appear in the budget pacing graph that says "Your target spend is outside of our estimates." In addition, Search Ads 360 won't show values in the budget pacing graph for estimated revenue or estimated ROI targets.

What a difference in the curves tells you

Overlapping curves may indicate that your current bids are set to optimize spend and conversions or revenue. You can achieve similar performance if you allow a budget bid strategy to manage your spend by automatically setting budgets, bids, and bid adjustments. The similarity may also indicate that a Search Ads 360 bid strategy (or a different automated bidding system) is managing bids.

A difference in the curves, with the budget bid strategy curve higher than the manual bidding curve, estimates that a budget bid strategy might perform better than manual bidding.

In these charts, the term "manual bidding" can mean manually set campaign budgets, bids, and bid adjustments, or bids that have been set automatically by a Search Ads 360 bid strategy. 

If a bid strategy is setting the bids, the manual bidding curve reflects the volume of the automatically set bids. 

Don't see the curves?

The chart is blank if there isn't enough conversion data. This can occur when the budget group or goal is new or when the conversion volume is low.

The curves update 

Over the course of a plan, the range of the "Target spend" axis will update to represent the amount of time remaining in the plan, the estimated and actual spend, and the estimated and actual volume (conversions or revenue). For example, before a plan starts, the spend range may be $50,000 to $150,000. Mid-plan, the spend range might be $90,000 to $150,000.

Other information included in the chart

The chart will also show the following information.

  • A color-coded dot that identifies an estimated budget and volume if budgets, bids, and bid adjustments aren't changed in the budget group's campaigns. The budget estimate is calculated from current settings for budgets, bids, and bid adjustments.  See the "Estimate with no changes" dot on the chart.
    Note that while a plan is running, the position of the "Estimate with no changes" dot may update if bids and bid adjustments change substantially. Updates are reflected in the dot's position about 7 days after they occur.
  • If you specify a performance benchmark, a dotted line that represents the benchmark is added to the chart. The line is labeled "[metric type] benchmark", where metric type is revenue, ROAS, ERS, conversions, or CPA.
  • If the performance benchmark intersects with the manual bidding curve, the chart will also include another color-coded dot that identifies the estimated amount to spend to achieve the performance benchmark. The dot is labeled, "Suggested spend with [metric type] benchmark", where metric type is revenue, ROAS, ERS, conversions, or CPA.

Compare estimate options

The "Compare estimate options" tab shows estimated results for any two of the following methods of setting the campaign budgets, bids, and bid adjustments:

  • Budget bid strategy - Using algorithms, Search Ads 360 automatically allocates the plan budget in the campaigns, resets campaign budgets and bids, and optionally sets or recommends bid adjustments.
  • Manual bidding - Search Ads 360 estimates spend and performance (volume and efficiency) based on the current bids that you will need to manually adjust, along with the campaign budgets, and bid adjustments to spend the budget. 
  • Estimate with no changes - Using the current budgets, bids, and bid adjustments, Search Ads 360 estimates each factor in the budget equation if everything in the campaigns remains as they are today.

Estimates for each component of the budget equation (target spend = conversions x CPA or target spend = revenue/ROAS) are shown in the form of numbers and graphs in the separate charts. That is, the graphs show estimated spend, and estimated performance metrics (conversions and CPA or revenue and ROAS) for two of the budget and bid-setting methods. The charts also show the difference between the estimates, relative to the target spend and an optionally specified performance benchmark.

The numerical differences between the campaign budget and bid setting options that you are comparing are shown in the scorecards at the top of the charts.

Performance benchmark

The performance benchmark is actually two numbers. One is the specified number of conversions, CPA or revenue amount, or ROAS (ERS) that you want to achieve with your spend. The other, remaining number is calculated for you using the budget equation (target spend = conversions x CPA or target spend = revenue/ROAS).

When the plan completes (or while the plan is running) compare the benchmarks with actual performance on the budget group's "Overview" tab.

Note that unlike a Search Ads 360 bid strategy that includes a specified performance target (CPA, ROAS, revenue or conversions), a budget bid strategy, if enabled in a plan, doesn’t optimize the campaign budgets and bids to achieve the benchmark. (An unconstrained budget bid strategy will manage the campaign budgets and bids to spend the total target amount almost exactly.) The benchmark serves as a tool for comparison with estimated results in a budget plan.

The options that are available for the benchmark’s value type are based on the selected conversion goal.

Once you select the metric or value type and specify a number, the benchmark, in the form of a dotted line, is added to the "Explore target spend" and "Compare estimate options" graphs. 

On the "Explore target spend" chart, a dotted line represents the constant value of the benchmark. It’s horizontal if you specified a volume metric (revenue or conversions), or slanted if you specified efficiency.

On the "Compare estimate options" tab, Search Ads 360 shows the benchmark compared to the estimated performance for the different bid-setting methods.

A performance benchmark doesn’t impact the efficiency of a budget bid strategy.


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