Tag Archives: bidding

Sunset of the Average Position Metric in AdWords and Google Ads APIs

In the week of September 30, 2019, the average position metric will be sunset. This change was announced this past February in the Google Ads Help Center. The new alternatives were described in this November 2018 blog post. Once the sunset occurs, requests for the average position (AdWords API, Google Ads API) will return NULL values.

In the AdWords API v201809, NULL values are returned as two dashes. In the Google Ads API, NULL values are returned as NullValues.

If you use ValueTrack parameters, we encourage you to remove the ValueTrack parameter {adposition} from your tracking templates. When average position is sunset, the ValueTrack parameter {adposition} will begin returning the empty string.

Note that average position has already been removed from the current beta version of the Google Ads API, but is accessible in the earlier V1_x versions.

In lieu of average position, we recommend you use the new metrics of Impression (Absolute Top) %" and "Impression (Top) %. These are the new metrics:

Absolute Top Metrics
AdWords API Google Ads API
AbsoluteTopImpressionPercentage absolute_top_impression_percentage
SearchAbsoluteTopImpressionShare search_absolute_top_impression_share
SearchBudgetLostAbsoluteTopImpressionShare search_budget_lost_absolute_top_impression_share
SearchRankLostAbsoluteTopImpressionShare search_rank_lost_absolute_top_impression_share


Top Metrics
AdWords API Google Ads API
TopImpressionPercentage top_impression_percentage
SearchTopImpressionShare search_top_impression_share
SearchBudgetLostTopImpressionShare search_budget_lost_top_impression_share
SearchRankLostTopImpressionShare search_rank_lost_top_impression_share


As always, don't hesitate to reach out to us on the developer forum with any questions.

Migrating from position to impression share bidding strategies in Google Ads

In June 2019, we will shut off the ability to add new Target Search Page Location and Target Outranking Share bidding strategies. This will affect both the AdWords API and the Google Ads API. Later this year, existing campaigns on these strategies will automatically be migrated to the new Target Impression Share bidding strategy, which offers more flexible and granular controls to optimize for your desired impression share and search page location.

Read on to see how this will affect your API usage.

Google Ads API Users
Please start using the TARGET_IMPRESSION_SHARE BiddingStrategyType rather than TARGET_OUTRANK_SHARE or PAGE_ONE_PROMOTED.

If you attempt to create a TARGET_OUTRANK_SHARE or PAGE_ONE_PROMOTED after they are removed, you will get an error.

AdWords API Users
If you attempt to use the AdWords API to add a TARGET_OUTRANK_SHARE or PAGE_ONE_PROMOTED bidding strategy after they are removed, you will get an error.

All existing campaigns using the old bidding strategies will be automatically migrated to use Target Impression Share for both APIs. The AdWords API does not support the Target Impression Share bidding strategy, so we recommend migrating to the Google Ads API if you need this functionality.

If you have any questions about this change or any other API feature, please contact us via the forum.

Top metrics, absolute top metrics, and average position in the AdWords API and Google Ads scripts

What's new
Starting November 12, 2018, the fields below will be available in AdWords API and Google Ads scripts reports.

Absolute top metrics:
  • AbsoluteTopImpressionPercentage
  • SearchAbsoluteTopImpressionShare
  • SearchBudgetLostAbsoluteTopImpressionShare
  • SearchRankLostAbsoluteTopImpressionShare
Top metrics:
  • TopImpressionPercentage
  • SearchTopImpressionShare
  • SearchBudgetLostTopImpressionShare
  • SearchRankLostTopImpressionShare
AbsoluteTopImpressionPercentage and TopImpressionPercentage are specific indicators of page location. You can use these metrics to determine when and where your impressions are showing above the organic search results.

SearchAbsoluteTopImpressionShare and SearchTopImpressionShare are your share of the eligible top impressions. They are the best indicators of the headroom available to show your ads in more prominent positions. If your goal is to bid on page location, you should use these metrics. Bidding by average position is not recommended since:
  • Average position doesn't actually describe position on the page but position in the auction.
  • Sometimes, average position may decrease as bids increase. This happens as higher bids sometimes allow you to enter more competitive auctions lower on the page.
See our post on the New features & announcements page for more details.

What you should do
Whenever you are using AveragePosition as a proxy to bid to a page location, switch to using the new SearchAbsoluteTopImpressionShare or SearchTopImpressionShare metrics in your bidding logic.

If you have any questions or need help, please contact us via the forum.

AdWords – Improvements for Enhanced CPC

In May 2017, AdWords will begin gradually altering the specifics of the Enhanced CPC bidding strategy. If you're not familiar with the Enhanced CPC (ECPC) bidding strategy, it works by adjusting the bids for clicks that seem more likely to lead to a conversion. Clicks that seem unlikely to convert will get lower bids, while those more likely to convert will have the bid increased.

Currently, the strategy does not increase bids by more than 30% after bid modifiers are applied. Starting in May, this bid cap will be eliminated over time in order to get more clicks that are likely to convert. On Search and Display, the goal of the strategy will be to help you get more conversions while maintaining the same cost-per-acquisition (CPA) as you get with manual bidding. On Shopping, the goal of the strategy remains to help you get more conversions while maintaining the same cost as you get with manual bidding. The strategy will still respect your manual bids by trying to keep the average CPC below the max you set, which is done in the CpcBid.

This change will allow our system more flexibility to improve performance, and we will be monitoring the effects closely to make adjustments as necessary to continue to fine tune ECPC.

If you are an API user, there is no action required on your part for this change to take effect. The setup in the API works the same as before, so you can use your existing version to make any changes you may want to your account as a result of this change in functionality.

If you have any questions about this change or other API features, please post on the forum.

Demographic targeting in Search campaigns coming to AdWords API

Adwords currently supports demographic targeting only for Display network campaigns, but starting September 19, 2016 and launching over the subsequent days, demographic targeting will also be supported for Search campaigns. All existing AdWords API versions will retroactively allow these criteria in Search campaigns.

The benefit here for AdWords API users is that AgeRange and Gender criteria will be allowed in Search campaigns. Formerly, you would receive a CriterionError.CANNOT_ADD_CRITERION_TO_SEARCH_PLUS_CAMPAIGNS error when trying to add these types.

If your application does any type of automatic bidding, make sure that you update your app to accommodate these new potential bid modifiers on Search campaigns before September 19. These new criteria may be added by users of the AdWords user interface, so your code may have to handle them even if your application doesn't add them explicitly. This may be particularly relevant if you use the "Target and bid" (targetAll=false) option in TargetingSettingDetail, because the new criteria will begin restricting targeting.

If you have any questions about this change, or other questions about the AdWords API, contact us via the forum.

Clearing platform bid modifiers of Target CPA and Conversion Optimizer campaigns starting in late August

What’s changing?

Starting in late August, platform bid modifiers of campaigns and ad groups attached to Target CPA and Conversion Optimizer bidding strategies will be cleared. Your campaigns will continue to serve as they do currently.

Why is this happening?

The clearing of these bid modifiers is part of an upcoming feature launch. The new feature will allow users to set platform bid modifiers for entities attached to Target CPA and Conversion Optimizer bidding strategies. In the past, this platform bid modifier value was ignored. By clearing these values for you, we can release the functionality without affecting your currently serving campaigns.

How does this affect me?

For most users, we will only clear platform bid modifiers on Target CPA and Conversion Optimizer entities. Some customers will also see a shifting of platform bid modifiers where a Target CPA ad group inherits modifiers from a non-Target CPA campaign.

Here are some changes that you’ll see in your account before the new features launches: The new feature will roll out to all users over the course of three weeks starting in late August. Sometime during those three weeks, we will clear your platform bid modifiers, and shortly thereafter we will enable the feature for your account. You will then see the option to set platform bid modifiers in the AdWords user interface. Bid modifiers set after that point will be preserved.

What should I do?
  • Check your code and verify that if you’re setting this platform bid modifier it’s intended because that code will have an effect on bidding after the clearing process.
  • If you care about the platform bid modifiers that you have set for Target CPA or Conversion Optimizer campaigns, save them offline before late August.
Where can I learn more?
Questions? Visit us on the AdWords API Forum or our Google+ page.

Device-specific bid modifiers coming to AdWords API

Historically, device-specific bid modifiers were supported only for HighEndMobile, and were not allowed on other Platforms. Now, as part of our mobile-first initiative, we're extending this functionality to include support for these bid modifiers for all platforms.

All versions of the API currently permit bid modifiers for Desktop and Tablet criteria to be returned and modified in requests for test accounts only, allowing you to manage these bid modifiers programmatically. We will be rolling out this feature to live accounts for all versions over the coming weeks. These bid modifiers will be allowed on both the campaign and the ad group level.

If you rely on fetching bid modifier information in your app, these upcoming changes will affect you. Once device-specific bid modifiers launch on the web interface, users of the web interface may add them and they will be returned when making requests with the API. This can be particularly impactful if your application has made assumptions that the Desktop bid is a static, base bid, which is no longer the case.

If you have any questions about this change, or other questions about the AdWords API, contact us via the forum.

Get deeper insight into your automated bidding performance

Understanding how your automated bid strategies are performing is easy if you know where to look. With three new reporting features now available, you can gain transparency into your bidding and save time troubleshooting issues that may be impacting performance.

Know what’s going on under the hood of your bidding

While automated bidding saves advertisers hours per week while optimizing bids at scale for every auction, it’s still important to keep an eye on your bid strategies and know when they need steering. New status annotations enhance bid strategy statuses with additional insight to help you decide if and how to take action.

For example, if a strategy is still in “Learning” status because you recently created it or changed the composition of its campaigns, we will display the estimated “days left for learning”. This indicates that the bidding algorithms are still calibrating and how much longer you should wait before making any other changes or evaluating what baseline performance looks like.
Meanwhile, if a bid strategy is in “Limited (bid limits)” status due to minimum or maximum bid constraints, we will show you what percentage of impressions or spend is limited to help you understand the extent of the performance impact.
Easily track performance changes back to status or target updates

Status over time reporting maps bid strategy statuses along the bottom of the performance graph. This helps explain what may be influencing bid strategy performance for your chosen date range. For example, if you notice an increase in spend at the same time a bid strategy had a “Limited (not enough data)” status, this may signal that you raised campaign budgets to help drive higher conversion volume and give the algorithms more data to work with to better optimize bids.

Target over time reporting maps your historical targets over performance data to provide better context. For example, a trend line showing a decrease in conversions might initially set off alarm bells. However, if you saw that during that time, you had also decreased your target CPA, that would help explain the performance decline.

Both of these reporting options are now available in the Shared Library when you click into a bid strategy.
We hope these improvements to automated bidding reporting will take the guesswork out of evaluating performance. To learn more about AdWords automated bidding, visit the Help Center, check out our best practices, and read the new guide that explains our unique, auction-time bidding technology.

Posted by Jonathan Wang, Product Manager, AdWords Bidding


Source: Inside AdWords


Make every conversion count: cross-device data now included in the Conversions column and integrated with automated bidding

People turn to multiple devices throughout the day to shop, communicate and stay entertained. From a laptop at work to a tablet in the living room, we move sequentially and seamlessly between many device types to get stuff done. In fact, nearly 40% of online shoppers start their research on a smartphone and make their final purchase on a computer or tablet.1 That’s why for several years, we've invested in cross-device conversions across Search, Display and Shopping. Advertisers around the world are now capturing the full value of their AdWords campaigns by using cross-device insights to measure up to 16% more conversions.

Starting today, cross-device conversions will begin rolling out at the keyword-level and can be included in the main Conversions column that already includes website sales, phone calls and app downloads. By showing all conversions in one place, advertisers can get deeper insight into all the ways customers are engaging with their businesses. It’s also easier than ever to take action on these insights: with all of your conversions in the same column, you can quickly enable automated bidding to optimize for the conversions that matter.

To activate cross-device conversions in automated bidding, complete two easy steps in your AdWords account under Tools>Conversions:
  1. Under Settings, make sure the Conversion bid metric is set to “Conversions” instead of “Converted clicks.” As a reminder, cross-device conversions and other controls are not offered for “Converted clicks”.
  2. Click “Include advanced conversions” and check the box to include cross-device and other advanced conversions in your “Conversions” reporting column and automated bidding.
We are committed to helping you gain insight into the new conversion types that are part of a constantly connected, multi-screen world so that you can make the best advertising decisions possible. Visit our Help Center to learn how to factor cross-device conversions into automated bidding. Also read the new guide that explains the unique, auction-time technology that sets AdWords automated bidding apart.

Posted by Wilfred Yeung, Senior Product Manager, AdWords Bidding

The Role of Mobile Search on Store Purchases, Google/Ipsos Media CT, August 2015. Purchases were made within the past 3 months.

Source: Inside AdWords


Upcoming changes to inactive ad group CPA bids in AdWords

In preparation for improvements to CPA bidding in AdWords, starting October 26, 2015, we'll perform a one-time removal of inactive ad group-level CPA bids.

What's an inactive ad group CPA bid, you ask? An ad group-level CPA bid is inactive if the ad group's effective bidding strategy is not a CONVERSION_OPTIMIZER strategy. This includes CPA bids on ad groups whose effective bidding strategy is TARGET_CPA, since the target for such ad groups is specified at the strategy level. The effective bidding strategy is the ad group-level strategy, if specified. Otherwise, it’s the bidding strategy set at the campaign-level.

How this change impacts the AdWords API

After the one-time removal of inactive CPA bids, there are two categories of ad groups you'll want to review:
  • Ad groups from which inactive CPA bids were removed: For these ad groups, the AdGroup object will no longer have a CpaBid in the bids attribute of its ad group-level BiddingStrategyConfiguration. Therefore, if you change the effective bidding strategy of these ad groups back to a CONVERSION_OPTIMIZER strategy, you will have to add a new CpaBid to the ad group’s BiddingStrategyConfiguration for your ads in the ad group to serve. You will only have to make this change once.
  • Ad groups you change from TARGET_CPA to CONVERSION_OPTIMIZER: AdWords will no longer copy the TargetCpaBiddingScheme.targetCpa value to a CpaBid on the ad group's bidding strategy configuration. Therefore, you will not automatically get the TARGET_CPA strategy bid if you transition to CONVERSION_OPTIMIZER. If the ad group's bidding strategy configuration already has a CpaBid, then CONVERSION_OPTIMIZER will use that bid. Otherwise, you will have to add a new CpaBid to the ad group BiddingStrategyConfiguration before ads in your ad group will serve.

How this change impacts bidding

Since the CPA bids being removed are inactive, this change will have no impact on bidding or ad serving.

What you should do

If you are interested in inactive CPA bids for CONVERSION_OPTIMIZER bidding strategies, download the current bids using AdGroupService before the removal date.

More bidding resources

Still have questions? Feel free to visit us on the AdWords API Forum or our Google+ page.