Auction-time bidding in Search Ads 360 bid strategies

About the default conversion goal

The default conversion goal is the primary conversion goal for a Search Ads 360 advertiser.

Search Ads 360 automatically sets the default conversion goal at the advertiser level the first time that you enable auction-time bidding in a Search Ads 360 bid strategy.

The default conversion goal will automatically be applied to any new auction-time bid strategies that you create. However, you have the option to choose a different conversion goal for the new bid strategy if you want.

For any Google Ads campaign that is managed by a Search Ads 360 auction-time bid strategy, Search Ads 360 will change the Google Ads conversion source so it aligns with the Search Ads 360 auction-time bid strategy's conversion source.

If necessary, you can change the default conversion goal for an advertiser.

To create and keep a default conversion goal, the advertiser must have at least one active auction-time bid strategy (the bid strategy can be empty, if necessary). If you disable the only active auction-time bid strategy in the advertiser, the default conversion goal will be removed.

Overview

Auction-time bidding performs best when there's a single conversion source in an account. That single source is the default conversion goal. That's why we recommend that you:

Shopping campaigns must be in a bid strategy that is:

  • Auction-time bidding enabled.
  • Using the default conversion goal.

Shopping campaigns not meeting the above criteria will use intraday bidding.

Exceptions

A default conversion goal won't be set at the advertiser level if the auction-time enabled bid strategy is optimizing to any of the following conversion targets:

  • Device-specific targeting
  • Weighted Google Ads conversion tracking
  • Google Analytics

Sharing Floodlight conversions with Google Ads

The default conversion goal determines which Floodlight conversions are shared with Google Ads when auction-time bidding is enabled in a Search Ads 360 bid strategy. The Floodlight conversions are shared with Google Ads to ensure that Google Ads automated bidding strategies and Search Ads 360 use a common set of conversion data to set and adjust bids.

In Google Ads, the Floodlight conversions are reported, along with Google Ads conversion actions, in the "All conversions" and "Conversions" columns. It can take up to 6 hours for the Floodlight conversions to be reported in these columns. Learn more.

In Search Ads 360 and in Google Ads, you can create a custom column to report on the Floodlight or Google Ads conversion sources separately.

Impact on Google Ads

When the default conversion goal is configured, Search Ads 360 applies the conversion action set associated with the default conversion goal to all Google Ads campaigns managed by Search Ads 360 that are not using Google Ads full conversion-based automated bidding on text/search campaigns. Search Ads 360 will update all Shopping campaigns (even those in Shopping full conversion-based autobidding).

In Google Ads, the "Include in 'Conversions'" column indicates that conversions are being set by Search Ads 360. The "Conversion action" column indicates which Google Ads account is being used for the conversion action set. 

Once a default conversion goal has been set, the Google Ads "Conversions" column will be reporting on the Search Ads 360 default conversion goal, regardless of what was previously selected in the "Include in 'Conversions"' column in Google Ads.

To view Google Ads conversions that you previously reported on, look at the Google Ads "All conversions" column. This column contains both the previously reported on conversions in Google Ads and the Search Ads 360 conversions. If you prefer, you can also create a custom column with the desired conversions in Google Ads or in Search Ads 360. Learn more.

If there's an existing conversion action set in Google Ads that is equivalent to the default conversion goal in Search Ads 360, Google Ads will not create a new conversion action set (even if the name of the existing conversion action set is different than the name of the default conversion goal).

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.

Consolidate similar conversion goals

To improve auction-time bidding performance, we recommend that you consolidate similar goals. Here are a few examples of how to do that.

Example 1

Problem:

An insurance advertiser has 2 bidding strategies:

  • car insurance
  • motorcycle insurance

Each bid strategy targets a different conversion goal (car insurance or motorcycle insurance).

Solution:

Instead of targeting separate conversion goals (both car insurance and motorcycle insurance), the customer should consider creating a default conversion goal that combines the two (car insurance + motorcycle insurance).

Example 2

Problem:

An advertiser has multiple bid strategies. Most of the advertiser's bid strategies use data-driven attribution (DDA) models. However, some of the advertiser's most important bid strategies use the last-click attribution model.

Solution:

The advertiser should choose the conversion goal they think will be more important for their long term business needs as their default conversion goal.

 

Change the default conversion goal

Although Search Ads 360 automatically selects your oldest active conversion goal as the default conversion goal, you can choose a different conversion goal to be your default if you want.

If you do choose to change the default conversion goal, be aware that auction-time bidding performance might be suboptimal until any relearning is completed. About a day after you make the change, we recommend that you review your bid strategies to verify they are in line with your new conversion goals. And we recommend that you review performance about a week after that.

  1. Navigate to an advertiser.
    Steps for navigating to an advertiser
    1. Click the navigation bar to display navigation options.

    2. In the "Agency" list, click on the agency that contains the advertiser. You can search for an agency by name or scroll through the list.

    3. In the "Advertiser" list, click on the advertiser.

    4. Click Apply or press the Enter key.

    Search Ads 360 displays the advertiser page, which contains data for all of the advertiser’s engine accounts.

  2. In the left navigation panel, click Advertiser settings.
  3. Click Default conversion goal to expand the section.
  4. In the drop-down menu, choose a different conversion goal. 
  5. Click Save.

Conversion mapping for Shopping campaigns

To use auction-time bidding to target Search Ads 360 conversions for Shopping campaigns, all Shopping campaigns in an advertiser are required to use the Search Ads 360 default conversion goal, which will also be used in the Google Ads "Conversions" column. You can control this with the Advertiser setting "Conversion mapping for Shopping campaigns". 

For more information, see About Shopping campaigns and auction-time bidding.

Paired goals

When Search Ads 360 applies the default conversion goal to a bid strategy, Search Ads 360 also creates a new, complementary Floodlight activity column to align the bid strategy to the default conversion goal. This complementary Floodlight activity is called a "paired" goal."

Example

  • Your default conversion goal "Revenue-DDA" is set to the metric "ROAS".
  • Your bid strategy "Conversions-Strategy" is set to the KPI "Conversions".

When Search Ads 360 aligns your bid strategy "Conversions-Strategy" to the default conversion goal, Search Ads 360 creates the paired goal "Revenue-DDA-paired-default-date".

If you make changes to the default conversion goal, Search Ads 360 will automatically update any paired goals.

Use a different conversion source

If necessary, for an individual auction-time bid strategy, you can select a conversion source that is different than your default conversion goal. In step 7 of Turn on auction-time bidding in a Search Ads 360 bid strategy, just choose a different "Conversion source".

Auction-time bidding enabled Shopping campaigns must use the default conversion goal. So, you can't select a different conversion target for these types of campaigns.

Switch to Google Ads conversion tracking

If you want to change the “Conversions” column back to Google Ads conversion tracking while auction-time bidding is enabled, do one of the following:

  • In Search Ads 360, enable an auction-time bid strategy on the campaigns and set Google Ads conversion tracking as the conversion source.
  • In Google Ads, change the conversion setting for the campaign to Google Ads conversion tracking and enable a Google Ads "Target CPA", "Target ROAS", "Maximize co, or "Maximize conversion value" strategy on that campaign.
You can report on the Google Ads conversion tracking at any time by using custom columns in Google Ads or Search Ads 360. The data doesn't need to appear in the “Conversions” column to be reported on.

 

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