How Bid Adjustments are used by Bidding Method

By Brad


General, Google Ads Insights

Bid adjustments can be very useful in manipulating your bids to hit your target goals. If you find that a certain time of day, audience, or device is doing really well, it’s easy to increase your bids. If you find that there’s an age range or location where you are not doing well, it’s easy to lower your bids using bid adjustments.

However, bid adjustments can be tricky to work with if you don’t understand how they are used. Consider the example when you are bidding manually, have a +50% mobile device adjustment in place and then you switch to CPA bidding. CPA bidding in this case will use the +50% device adjustment to increase your target CPA (not your bid). In such cases, you might think the CPA bidding isn’t doing well, when it might be, but you missed a crucial part of your bid strategy due to the forgotten adjustment that is still in place.

This can get even more complicated when you have a bid adjustment and then switch to an automated bid strategy that is not compatible with bid adjustments (see chart below). Then, months later you might switch back to manual bidding and not understand what is happening due to forgetting the adjustments are still there.

To make bid adjustments easy to work with, we launched an entire suite of bid adjustment tools recently, including an adjustment map so you can easily see all of your adjustments in a single place along with easy ways to aggregate your data and set bid adjustments.

To make it easy to understand how adjustments work with bidding strategies, we have compiled the below diagram which looks at the interaction between the adjustment types and the various bidding strategies so you can easily tell how the adjustments are being used within your Google Ads account.


You can click on the image to see a larger chart of the data.

Using this chart and the new suite of bid adjustments tools, it should be easy to understand how your adjustments are being used so you can ensure they are helping you to maximize your bid strategy.

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  • Prasanna

    What does “Adjusts Priority” (Referring to table chart) mean?

    • Brad

      Google adjusts the priority that users in that list are given when doing automated bidding. They won’t treat a user on a list the same as a non-user when determining what bid to submit into the auction.

      • Paul Kratzwald

        Hey Brad,
        Thanks for the answer and also the question of Prasanna, since I wanted to ask the same 🙂

        Quick follow-up question: When you say “adjusts priority”, do I still need to set adjustments for my lists and can I create something like a hierarchy (this list +10, next +20 and so on) while using tCPA or are we simply talking in terms of RLSA (user is on the campaigns observation list or not)?


        • Brad

          We’re primarily talking RLSA. While CPA does do priority adjustment for display campaigns, often your display ad groups only use audiences as a target, so there’s no priority to adust. If you have several audiences within an ad group (often for bid modifiers/priority) with in-market or similar lists, then you can use the priority adjustment on these campaigns as well.

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