Discover v201003: Learn from the past with the Bid Simulator

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Have you ever wondered how your keywords could have performed with a different bid? The bid simulator feature released last year allows you to do just that. Using data from the last seven days, it calculates the impressions, clicks, and cost your keywords could have received if different maximum CPC bids were used. This information was previously only exposed in the AdWords web interface, but is now available in the v201003 version of the API with the BidLandscapeService.

The getBidLandscape() method is used to retrieve the bid simulation results, also known as bid landscapes. You can use the selector to filter the results by campaign, ad group, or keyword ID. For example, to retrieve the results for a single keyword using the PHP client library you would use the following code:

  // Create selector.
  $selector = new CriterionBidLandscapeSelector();

  // Create id filter.
  $idFilter = new BidLandscapeIdFilter();
  $idFilter->adGroupId = $adGroupId;
  $idFilter->criterionId= $keywordId;
  $selector->idFilters = array($idFilter);

  // Get bid landscape for keyword.
  $bidLandscapes = $bidLandscapeService->getBidLandscape($selector);

The returned BidLandscape contains a series of LandscapePoints, each of which represents a single simulation for that keyword. It isn’t possible to configure which bids are used in the simulations, but the points are chosen automatically by the system to give an interesting range of data. Each landscape point contains the impressions, clicks, and cost that the keyword could have received at that bid. In addition, it contains the field marginalCpc, which contains the incremental cost-per-click (ICC) at the simulated bid. More information on ICC values and how you can use them is outlined in a video by Google's Chief Economist, Hal Varian. Please note that depending on the recent performance of the keyword, only some of this information may be populated in the landscape point.

Bid simulations are currently only available for campaigns that use ManualCPC bidding and target the GOOGLE_SEARCH or SEARCH_NETWORK networks. Additional restrictions are listed in the AdWords Help Center. The bid simulations are performed automatically in regular intervals, and new keywords or those with no impressions in the last seven days won’t have any associated results. No errors will be thrown when this happens, but the response will not contain a BidLandscape for that keyword.

Example code using the BidLandscapeService is available in the client libraries. Please post any questions about this service to the forum. Additional information about the bid simulator can be found in the Help Center.

- Eric Koleda, AdWords API Team