If you’re running a digital marketing campaign, chances are you’re using Google Ads. And if you’re using Google Ads, you need to know about auction time bidding.

Auction time bidding is the process by which Google determines how much you’ll pay for each click on your ad.

search ads 360

In this post, we’ll break down how auction time bidding works and what you need to know to make the most of it.

How Auction Time Bidding Works

Auction time bidding on Google Ads works like this: first, Google looks at all of the ads that are eligible to run for a given search query. Then, based on a number of factors, including bids, Google determines which ads will actually be shown to the user.

Finally, the advertiser who placed the winning ad is charged an amount based on their bid and the quality of their ad.


Save time by automating your bids

By automating your bids, you can focus on other key areas of your account and dramatically reduce the amount of time you spend on bidding.

Auction time bidding allows you to reallocate time to improving your quality score or expanding your keyword list.

So what goes into determining which ads will be shown?

There are actually a few different factors that come into play.

Maximum bid

This is the highest amount that you’re willing to pay for a click on your ad.

Quality score

This is a measure of how relevant and useful your ad is expected to be to searchers. The higher your quality score, the less you’ll have to pay for each click.


This is a combination of your maximum bid and your quality score. The higher your AdRank, the more likely your ad is to be shown.


The context of the search query also plays a role in determining which ads will be shown in auction time bidding.

For example, if someone is searching for “red shoes” on a retail site, they’re likely further along in the buying process than someone who’s just searching for “shoes.” So, retail ads are more likely to be shown for the former query than they are for the latter.

search ads 360 platform

Google Ads auction-time bidding in Search Ads 360

Google’s intelligent bid system uses machine learning algorithms to set bids for auctions. Search Ads 360 can be triggered by Google Ad Auctions.

Google released this integration back in 2019.

search ads 360 auction time bidding

By activating auction-time bidding, you improve your Google search performance and maintain broader bids powered by Search Ad 360.

Auction time bidding in Search Ads 360

Auction-time bidding is a feature of Search Ads 360 that allows you to analyze different contextual signals to set each keyword bid in real-time.

This feature can be helpful in maximizing performance by displaying your ads in the best position. Some of the contextual signals that auction-time bidding takes into account include device, browser type, location, time of day, remarketing list, and more.

Auction time bidding can also be helpful in setting each campaign’s return on investment (ROI) target to achieve the bid strategy’s goal.

How it works with Google Ads

Auction-time bidding is a feature that is available only in Google Ads. With auction-time bidding, the bid strategy’s SA360 Floodlight conversions are shared with Google Ads (with your consent) to enable both bid systems to use the same conversion data.

The shared Floodlight conversions are referred to as a conversion action set in Google Ads. 

search ads 360 auction time bidding campaign types

Seven or more days after you enable auction-time bidding in a Search Ads 360 bid strategy, a standard Target CPA or Target ROAS Smart bid strategy is created in Google Ads, and the portfolio strategy is applied to each campaign managed by the Search Ads 360 bid strategy.

Auction-time bidding is a strategy to help your campaigns use the most accurate and up-to-date information in order to make the best possible decisions about bids.

auction time bidding

What You Need to Know About Auction Time Bidding in 2022

Auction-time bidding in Search Ads 360 is a feature that allows you to bid on keywords in real time based on the likelihood that a conversion will occur.

This can be useful if you have a large number of keywords and want to fine-tune your bids to get the most bang for your buck.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind before you start using an auction-time bid strategy. 

First, it is primarily for Google Search campaigns, it is not recommended for Shopping campaigns.

Second, it only works with Floodlight Conversions. So you can’t use any Google Analytics conversions, for example.

Third, auto-tagging must be enabled in Google Ads to share floodlight conversions.

Don’t forget to grant access to share the Search Ads 360 conversions in Google Ads.

bid strategy

You’ll be able to see the floodlight conversions from Search Ads 360 as a conversion action set in Google Ads.

Make sure your campaigns are not capped– or limited by budget. This will have a significant effect on the success rate.

The auction-time bid setting will overwrite any bids and bid adjustment settings, so adding manual adjustments defeats the purpose.

Now that you understand how an auction time bid strategy works, here are a few things you should keep in mind as you manage your campaigns:

search ads performance overview

First and foremost, focus on creating high-quality ads

The better your ads are, the lower your cost-per-click will be.

Second, don’t get too caught up in trying to out-bid your competition

If you’re paying too much for each click, you won’t be able to make a profit on your sales.

Instead, focus on creating targeted and relevant ads for your audience.

Finally, remember that auction time bidding is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to running a successful Google Ads campaign.

Make sure you’re also monitoring your click-through rate and conversion rate so that you can optimize your campaigns over time.

campaign sa360


Auction time bidding may seem complex at first, but it’s actually quite simple once you break it down. Just remember that quality trumps quantity when it comes to making the most of auction time bidding on Google Ads.

By creating high-quality ads that are targeted and relevant to your audience, you’ll be able to position yourself for success in no time!

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