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Auction Time versus Intraday tROAS Bidding Strategies

4 MINUTE READ | October 5, 2020

Auction Time versus Intraday tROAS Bidding Strategies

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Amanda Ashley

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With the recent launch of Auction Time Bidding for Shopping campaigns within SA360, understanding the differentiators and benefits of utilizing Auction Time versus Intraday tROAS bidding strategies becomes paramount to the success of your accounts leading up to the holiday season. 

Focusing specifically on comparing Auction Time and Intraday Target ROAS bid strategies, those who choose this form of automated bidding are targeting a return on ad spend (ROAS) in order to drive the highest conversion value or revenue at the target set. With the increasingly competitive and dynamic search landscape, the recency of data allows marketers to remain agile and react to changes in consumer behavior. With that being said, both Auction Time and Intraday bidding are viable automated bidding solutions, and the decision is dependent on the specific needs of the account.      

Using auction time bidding, tROAS capitalizes on machine learning to analyze real-time data, then adjusts bids accordingly for each auction. Intraday utilizes cross-engine portfolio bid strategies to optimize bids based on floodlight data. Whereas Auction Time bidding utilizes real-time signals and bids at the auction level, Intraday tROAS floodlight data fires four times per day and bids three to four times throughout the day.  

While some optimization levers, such as setting ROAS targets and adjusting minimum and maximum bids, are similar between the two, there are additional considerations that may make one more relevant for your brand.

The most obvious benefit to Auction Time bidding is the use of real-time data to drive bidding decisions while automatically capitalizing on user-specific signals (such as relevancy to the brand, location, device, etc.). Considering the bidding strategy is constantly making changes dependent on the environment of each auction, the strategy itself is more agile and responsive to consumer and landscape trends. 

Available in both Google Ads and now, SA360, auction-time bidding is able to adjust to fluctuating spend and ROAS goals through the use of target ROAS modifications, Seasonality Adjustments, Minimum and Maximum Bid levers, and Data Exclusion Events. Unlike Intraday bidding strategies, Auction Time strategies are constantly learning, which allows the bidding strategy to undergo more drastic changes without launching into “learning mode.”    

  • After launching during a stable time period, the system may take up to two weeks to fully calibrate. Optimizations should be minimized during this time.

  • Considering the bidding strategy is continuously learning, you are capable of making ROAS adjustments beyond the originally suggested threshold of 15 to 20 percent. 

  • Seasonality adjustments are used to support sales resulting in a +30 percent lift in CVR, and can also be used to adapt to a drastic decrease in CVR. When the seasonality adjustment is applied, the data is automatically excluded from the strategy’s lookback window.

Intraday strategies bid three to four times a day using floodlight data. The main optimization levers of target ROAS and minimum and maximum bid modifications are the same as Auction Time, with the option to opt into device, audience, and seasonality adjustments. A key differentiator over Google Ads Auction Time is the ability to create cross-engine portfolios, meaning both Google and Microsoft Ads campaigns can be optimized in the same bid strategies. 

If Microsoft drives a significant portion of account performance, this may be a key benefit. Additionally, while significant changes to the ROAS target or minimum/maximum bid may send Intraday bid strategies into learning mode, there is the ability to override bid strategies with manual bids. These bids are respected for 24 hours, allowing for increased flexibility in scaling or pulling back spend more quickly than the bid strategies can and without the strategies entering into learning mode. 

  • After launching during a stable time period, the system may take up to two weeks to fully calibrate. Optimizations should be minimized during this time.

  • For low volume accounts, adjust once per week using a recommended change threshold of increasing or decreasing bids by 15 to 20 percent.

  • For high volume accounts, adjust twice per week using a recommended change threshold of increasing or decreasing bids by 15 to 20 percent.

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Both Auction Time and Intraday tROAS bidding are beneficial automation strategies to implement for accounts focused on meeting ROAS goals. Each has unique differentiators that may be more relevant to certain industries and accounts. In either case, if implementing a new automated bid strategy portfolio, it is recommended to complete the setup process as soon as possible so that there is adequate time for calibration and data normalization ahead of the holidays.