We’re changing the way that bidding works for the display network, by removing implicit ordering and introducing something more simplistic. You can migrate your AdGroups now or allow them to be automatically migrated for you. But before we can explain the new system, let’s take a look at what we’ve got now.

Historically, bidding on the display network has relied on implicit priority orders to determine how to use the criteria added to an AdGroup.

In the current system, criteria-level bid overrides an AdGroup default bid. But since the display network supports up to 6 dimensions of targeting, we often need to pick one of many possible bids to use for a given impression. To do so, we use the following order:
  • Placement (most specific)
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Topic
  • Interests and remarketing list
  • Display Network (AdGroup-level)
  • Keyword
  • Default AdGroup Bid (least specific)
to choose which value to use. If a matching placement has a bid, we use that. If not, we look for a matching Age bid, etc. If we get to User Lists/Interests and still have not found a bid override, we look for an AdGroup-level “Display Network Bid”. If that also doesn’t exist, then we take a Keyword bid if there is one. Finally, if we still haven’t found a bid to use, we use the default AdGroup bid.

For further information, see how bids are used on the display network.

Explicit Content Bid Dimension
We will be replacing the implicit order with a single display bid override dimension per AdGroup. Ads serving on the display network will honor bids from that dimension and ignore any bids that may exist on other dimensions. We will use this same override dimension for URL overrides - serving will honor urls from the display override dimension, and ignore urls from any other dimension.

In the new implementation, you will be able to explicitly specify which bid dimension will be used per AdGroup. You can set this by using the new object: BiddingStrategyConfiguration, and the new attribute on the AdGroup object: contentBidCriterionType, both are modified through the AdGroupService. For more information on the new implemenation, please see this guide on Bidding.

With the introduction of AdWords API version v201302 you’ll be able to manually migrate your AdGroups to take effect as you have been used to with the existing implementation. If you chose not to set these on existing AdGroups, however, for the duration of the migration period, things will continue with the existing order. After the migration period, we will automatically select the most appropriate dimension for each of your AdGroups.

To manually migrate your AdGroups, or to configure new AdGroups, you need to set the contentBidCriterionTypeGroup to the desired CriterionTypeGroup. You can then add new Bids using the BiddingStrategyConfiguration, that can then be selected at a later time.

Please note, by setting the contentBidCriterionType, the AdGroup will be marked as migrated.

Once the manual migration period has ended, those AdGroups that have not been migrated will be automatically migrated to the new structure. The automatic migration will select the contentBidCriterionTypeGroup, for un-migrated AdGroups, based on the existing method of prioritization. All automatically migrated AdGroups can continue to be edited through the API.

Once the automatic migration is complete, the old system of bidding will be retired and all AdGroups will honour the new bid dimension system. Also, once an AdGroup has a contentBidCriterionType, all subsequent changes to the effective bid dimension should be done through the same field.

With these changes, comes a new report, the PLACEMENT_PERFORMANCE_REPORT which will contain all the information about manual placements. We strongly recommend using this report for queries regarding placement performance, moving forward.

There will also be changes to the AUTOMATIC_PLACEMENTS_PERFORMANCE_REPORT and URL_PERFORMANCE_REPORT to better match the AdWords website.