Budget management with budget bid strategies

Discrepancies in budget group and campaign metrics

Budget management

If you compare campaign, budget group, budget plan, and budget bid strategy reports, you will likely see differences in the metrics because several factors impact the attribution of metrics for a selected time range.

Campaigns were probably created and running, prior to their inclusion in the budget group.   

Metrics for budget groups, budget plans, and budget bid strategies are based on:

  • When campaigns were included in the budget group 
  • When the budget plan was created
  • When the budget bid strategy was enabled in the plan. That is, the budget bid strategy might have been enabled after a plan had already been running.
  • When the budget bid strategy started in the plan. A budget bid strategy doesn't start managing spend until after learning mode completes.
By default, there's a small delay between the time when Search Ads 360 creates a budget bid strategy and a plan starts, even if a budget bid strategy is enabled at the time a plan is created.

The "Campaigns" tab for the budget group and budget bid strategy includes metrics only for campaigns that are currently a member of the budget group, regardless of the report's date range.

  • From January 1 to March 30,  Budget group 1 contained 20 campaigns, so the budget group report includes metrics for the 20 campaigns.
  • On April 3, 10 campaigns are removed from the budget group. 
  • A budget group report for January 1 to April 2 includes metrics for the 20 campaigns that are still members of the budget group during that time range.
  • A budget group report starting on April 3 will include metrics for 10 campaigns.
  • The "Campaigns" tab reports metrics for 10 campaigns whether the date range is January 1 to March 30, or after April 3.

Conversion delays

Differences in the metrics reported for budget plans and campaigns might be the result of conversion delays and the selected time range.  

A conversion delay occurs when a click and the conversion attributed to the click occur on different days. Discrepancies are apparent if there's a significant difference between when a Search Ads 360-defined visit occurs and the conversion occurs. 

Budget bid strategies and bid strategy conversions have recently been redesigned to attribute conversions to visits. Conversions that are attributed to visits that occurred prior to membership in a budget group or budget plan (and before the existence of the budget group or budget plan) won't be reported in the budget group or budget plans reports. The conversions are reported in campaign reports.


Metrics are attributed to budget plans (and budget groups) only when a conversion occurs, but are reported based on the selected date range.

For example:

  • Budget plan A ran from November 16 to December 15. Budget plan B ran from December 16 to January 15.
  • A click occurred on December 15 for a conversion that didn't happen until December 18. 
  • The selected date range for the report is November 16 to December 15.
  • Budget plan A and the campaigns both report 30 conversions. Neither budget plan A nor the campaign metrics include the conversion that occurred on the 18th. Budget plan B reports 0 conversions.
  • Now change the date range to December 16 to February 1. Budget plan A reports 1 conversion (from December 18), Budget plan B reports 0 conversions because the associated visit occurred before the plan was created and the campaign reports 1 conversion.

Budget group membership is volatile

Differences in metrics may also appear if campaigns are added or removed from budget groups (and budget plans). Campaigns report metrics only for their current state, whereas budget groups report metrics from all campaigns that have been members of the budget group.

Microsoft product groups

Currently, Microsoft product group metrics are included on the "Budget plans" tab, but not on the "Budget groups" tab.

To analyze Microsoft product groups, navigate to Budget management, and then click the Budget plans tab.

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