Brief Introduction to Google's New Bid Simulator Tool

By Amanda Sides | Aug 14, 2009
More Articles by Amanda


Lots of conversation has revolved around Google’s new Bid Simulator tool. It debuted for testing purposes a while back, but is slowly rolling out to more and more accounts as time passes. A large account I work with just starting showing the tool earlier this week.

What is it? The new Bid Simulator tool is an attempt to help you make better bid management decisions in the future. It shows you the potential impression, click, and cost data you could have seen over the previous seven days if you had set different keyword-level bids. You should see the tool as an option for high volume keywords.

Where do I find it? You can simply click on the Keywords tab, and scroll through to find the Bid Simulator icon. (Some recommend sorting by Clicks to quickly find your keywords that offer the simulator.) The icon will appear to the immediate right of the keyword bid.

How do I use it? Your next step will be to click the Bid Simulator icon.  If you click in the bid text box, you will also find a link to the Bid Simulator tool.

You will see a box pop-up where you will be able to select different bid levels and see how your data would have varied. The tool is to help you see where you missed out on impressions/clicks in the last seven days, and allows you to change and save the keyword-level bid right there in the simulator window.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while feeling out the new Bid Simulator tool:

  • The simulator only applies to search network bids, not content network
  • As you can see in the picture above, Google gives the notice that the estimates “do not guarantee similar results in the future.” The data shows what you could have seen the past seven days; activity may not mirror those results exactly for the next seven days. It is designed to help you with your estimates, not predict the future.
  • You might not see the simulator for every keyword. The simulator requires historical data to provide estimates; if a keyword saw low traffic levels in the past seven days, there wouldn’t be enough data to perform the simulation.
  • For more help with the simulator, check out Google’s “Bid like a pro with Bid Simulator” video tutorial.

Some think the tool will be very useful, but others are skeptical.  Look for an upcoming analysis of the Bid Simulator from Tad Miller.

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