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.

Auction-time bidding in Search Ads 360 bid strategies

Turn on auction-time bidding in a Search Ads 360 bid strategy

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.


  1. Navigate to the bid strategy report.

    1. Navigate to an advertiser.

    2. In the left navigation panel, click Bid strategies.
      Search Ads 360 displays the bid strategy page.

  2. Start creating a conversions or revenue bid strategy or edit a conversions or revenue bid strategy. 

    A bid strategy's goal is listed in the Goal column of the bid strategy report.
  3. In the "Engine features" section, select the Auction-time bidding checkbox.

  4. In the "Turn on Auction-time bidding and share Floodlight conversions" box, click Yes, I understand to share the conversions with Google Ads.

    The following checkboxes are selected by default. You can't change the settings. 

    Bids section

    • Keywords and other biddable items

    Bid adjustments section

    • Device bid adjustments
    • Remarketing target bid adjustments
    • Location target bid adjustments
  5. Click Next.

  6. On the "Target" page, enter a CPA or ROAS target.

  7. Under Conversion source, select one of the following:

    • Floodlight

    • Google Ads conversion tracking

    • Formula columns

    • Floodlight activity columns

    • Google Ads conversion tracking columns

  8. Optional. The last-click attribution model is selected by default. Select a different attribution model.

  9. If required, select the conversions, and then click Next.

  10. Specify a default bid range and any other constraints.

    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. "Minimum bid" and "Maximum bid" constraints don't apply to Shopping or Smart Shopping campaigns.
  11. Save the bid strategy.

If you change your auction-time bid strategy's target in the future, we recommend limiting the target change to ±30% at a time to avoid a potentially significant increase or decrease in your ad spend. The bid strategy will align itself to the new target within 6 hours of the change.

Enable auto-tagging in Google Ads 

Auto-tagging must be enabled in Google Ads to share the Floodlight conversions. Learn more about auto-tagging in Google Ads Help.

Turn off auction-time bidding

If you remove a bid strategy for the campaigns in the Google Ads UI, within a few hours, Search Ads 360 will change the strategy back to the Target CPA or Target ROAS previously set by Search Ads 360.

If you don't want the campaign in Search Ads 360 auction-time bidding, in the Search Ads 360 UI, remove the campaign from the portfolio or clear the “Auction-time bidding” checkbox in the bid strategy.

Drafts and experiments with auction-time bidding

When drafts and experiments are enabled on campaigns already optimizing to auction-time bidding, the same conversion setting will be used by default.

You can test two different conversion goals on different arms of the draft and experiment by changing the portfolio conversion goal in one arm. However, you should be aware that test results might not be conclusive because Smart Bidding campaigns learn from each other.

You can continue to use the "All Conversions" column filtered to the original biddable Google Ads Conversion Tracking if you want to report a different conversion source to help you make manual bidding decisions.

To run drafts and experiments with auction-time bidding, do the following:

  1. Ensure you have an active auction-time bidding strategy somewhere in your Search Ads 360 advertiser.

    The default conversion goal passes conversions over and changes the conversions source for manual campaigns (or those in intraday bidding in Search Ads 360).

  2. Configure drafts and experiments for the test that you're trying to run. For example, evaluate auction-time bidding performance versus intraday bidding performance.
  3. Wait at least 2 weeks for the data to normalize.
  4. Enable auction-time bidding on the strategy that contains the test half of the experiment.

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