ExoClick’s Guide to The Bidder

ExoClick's Guide to The Bidder

Automatic Bidding Optimization – ExoClick’s Guide to The Bidder

Setting up your bidding for a test or full campaign is one of the most important steps of your campaign. Getting the right bid price has the following advantages:

  • It will determine how much you pay for the traffic, therefore affecting your ROI
  • How competitive your bids are will determine if you win the ad zone
  • If you set a bid price that is too low you won’t receive traffic
  • If you set a bid price too high, although you are more likely to win the ad zone, it may not be optimized enough meaning you might be overpaying for the traffic you recieve 
  • Once you set the bid price, you will have to keep manually optimizing the bid price throughout the duration of the campaign which can be very time consuming

Wouldn’t it be great if you could automate the entire bidding process to ensure you get the best ROI for the lowest bidding price? And on top of that, automatically block ad zones that don’t convert for you, so you don’t waste money bidding on ad zones that haven’t worked for your campaign. That’s where ExoClick’s Bidder comes in! It works just like a smart assistant automating your bidding process by specific rules you set, getting you the best price for each bid, blocking non-converting ad zones and building up a white list of high converting ad zones. Freeing up your valuable time to spend on business development instead of spending time manually optimizing your bidding. ExoClick’s Bidder is a powerful tool for your campaign optimization, 

You can use the Bidder to do two things:

  • Automatic Bidding Optimization: Intelligently adjusts the bids for ad zones according to how many conversions are received, and blocks those zones that don’t convert.
  • Blocking Rules: Blocks under-performing browsers, countries, devices, languages, mobile carriers, operating systems, sites, and zones automatically according to rules that you set within the Bidding Algorithm.

Step 1

To use the Bidder, you need to set up at least 1 Bidder Algorithm. The steps to do this are: Campaigns > Bidder > New Bidding Algorithm. 

ExoClick's Guide to the Bidder

Step 2

To use Automatic Bidding Optimization, a campaign must have at least one conversion goal set up. However, you do not need to set up conversion goals to use the Blocking Rules. This tool works for both pixel and S2S tracking.

Automatic Bidding Optimization: Select a conversion goal from the Conversion Tracking drop-down. Based on the conversion goal’s conversion value, you can choose between the following two methods:

  • Use the Goal’s Conversion Value – This method is applicable for Dynamic and Fixed conversion value goals. When this method is chosen, the Bidding Algorithm uses the value set on the conversion goal.
  • Set Target Conversion Value – This method will allow you to input a conversion value that will be used by the Bidding Algorithm to optimize the bid.

ExoClick's Guide to The Bidder

Once the Automatic Bidding Optimization is running, it will adjust the bids up or down, to keep them under the conversion value for the selected conversion goal.

By default, the Maximum Test Budget will be set at 5 times the target conversion value that is set. Uncheck the Use Recommended checkbox if you want to set this manually. The highest Maximum Test Budget you can set is 20 times the target conversion value.

Here is an example of an aggressive bidding strategy Bidder set up:

ExoClick's Guide to the Bidder

The payout for this Double Opt In offer is €6.50, so the Bidder is set with the Target CPA at €6, 0.50 cents below the “real” CPA target and maximum test budget aligned with the real CPA target. This strategy is aggressive, but it will help to minimize any loss. 

For a less aggressive approach, try a basic setup that still ensures your campaign is profitable. Set a target CPA slightly lower than the actual CPA, for example if the CPA is 2, set your target CPA at say 1.9. Then set your Maximum Test Budget at twice the CPA and don’t use any zone blocking rules. This is a very basic algorithm, but still ensures that the campaign will be profitable.

Please note: 

  • If the campaign gets more than three conversions, then the Bidder will start optimizing whether your Maximum Test Budget is reached or not. In this case, the automatic bidding might adjust the CPM price higher than the original bid set in the campaign.
  • If the campaign has less than three conversions, and the Maximum Test Budget has been reached, then the Bidder will start optimizing. In this case, the bid might be too low according to the eCPA of the ad zone.
  • If the campaign has zero conversions on a particular ad zone and reaches the Maximum Test Budget, the Bidder will block that ad zone for the campaign forever.


Zone Blocking Rules: By turning on the Blocking Rules option, you can create additional optimization rules that determine what gets blocked automatically based on the rules set. On the left the Rules can be set based on Impressions, Clicks, Spending, CTR, Conversions, eCPA, or ROI. These elements can be combined to define which dimensions get blocked.

ExoClick's Guide to the Bidder

From the drop down menu on the right you can choose from which of the Dimensions the rules will block. You can choose from:

  • Browser
  • Country
  • Device
  • Language
  • Mobile Carrier
  • Operating System
  • Site
  • Zone (by default)

This is very beneficial and is a great way to automatically optimize your campaign targeting set up based on your Target CPA and Maximum Budget settings. So for example, you could find that targeting Chrome is more expensive than Safari, therefore if the campaign is underperforming on Chrome, that will be blocked so you are not bidding too high for low quality traffic on Chrome.

The number of extra rules you create is unlimited, so you can keep adding more rules to the algorithm to further fine-tune the automation, by clicking the Add button.

Please note: Each rule will be applied on an OR basis and not an AND basis, which means that each rule is applied individually. Whichever of the set rules fulfills the condition first will be triggered and will block the ad zone.

Once all your desired rules are added, click Update and new Blocking Rule(s) will start optimizing.

Three examples of different Bidder Algorithms

All three of these examples display a variety of rules, but all of the examples follow these guidelines:

  • Target conversion value: Based on approximately 10-15% below the actual target.
  • Sales funnel: Automatic bidding optimization optimizes the first step in the sales funnel and the rules are focused on making further steps of the sales funnel profitable.
  • Efficient and versatile: The Bidder algorithm is not about creating one rule for each campaign, but creating a rule that is versatile and adapts to your needs and strategy.

Example 1: Dating Offer SOI

Campaign objective: To optimize campaign bids by SOI and to block all ad zones that are not generating SOI and sales to lower the risk of generating sales with a low ROI. 

ExoClick's Guide to the Bidder

Automatic Bidding Optimization: The payout is $2, so we set the Target Conversion Value at $1.8, 11% below the payout. Note that the Automatic Bidding Optimization will also adjust campaign bids per zone, apart from blocking them.

Rules: The first rule blocks all zones after 10,000 impressions that don’t get sufficient clicks. We are optimizing the bids by SOI, but blocking zones that have a low CTR, and the 2nd and 3rd blocking rules are focused on securing profit and ROI based on SOIs.

What ad formats will this work for? All formats except Popunders, because Popunders don’t register clicks.

What type of traffic is being targeted? All traffic categories

What will be the effect on campaign bidding? The Automatic Bidding Optimization looks to find the best SOI performing zones, and the Rules block ad zones that deliver bad quality SOIs (without sales).

Note: On the third rule, having an ROI of 100% would represent that the revenue generated by the zone is equal to the investment, so as a general rule of thumb it is recommended that after a significant amount of spending, ROI should be a minimum of 80% of this 100%. From this point exceeding 100% (and being profitable), should be achievable through campaign optimization.

Example 2: Streaming/VOD Offer SOI & DOI

Campaign objective: To try to get maximum profit by optimizing bids by SOI, but with the possibility for a much more profitable payout with DOI and also test specific GEOs while keeping all costs per conversion controlled.

ExoClick's Guide to The Bidder

Automatic Bidding Optimization: Again the payout is $2 for SOI and $8 for DOI, here we are optimizing bids by SOI, so we set the Target Conversion Value at $1.8, 11% below the payout for SOI.

Rules: We are blocking ad zones that don’t have a good eCPA for SOI and DOI and we are adding an extra rule that will block countries that are not delivering sales after $65 of spending. The third rule of this bidder algorithm is especially designed for strategies/campaigns that target multiple countries, such as English-speaking countries, Tier 1 countries, etc.

What ad formats will this work for? All ad formats.

What type of traffic is being targeted? All categories

What will be the effect on campaign bidding? To ensure profitability and if DOIs are achieved the profit margin will be very positive as our bid price is based on SOI. It will also block every GEO if no sales are generated after spending $65. This is a good way to test the performance of the offer in each GEO. Each rule represents a different event in the sales funnel, the idea is to keep all of them under a controlled cost.

Example 3: Gaming Offer SOI

Campaign objective: To get the maximum amount of SOIs but blocking ad zones that don’t deliver sales.

ExoClicks Guide to the Bidder

Automatic Bidding Optimization: The payout is $2, so we set the Target Conversion Value at $1.8, 11% below the payout. As you may have noticed we chose 11% for all these examples, but there is no set %, just between 10%-20% is a good guide for a sweet spot. You should experiment to see which works best for you. Obviously the higher the bid the more traffic you can win.

Rules: In this super simple example we are optimizing the bids based on a SOI, but we are blocking the zones that are not delivering Sales. This is the most versatile Bidder set up because it can fit into almost any campaign as long as you are tracking at least two events across the sales funnel.

What ad formats will this work for? It can be used in any format.

What type of traffic is being targeted? For this offer Native traffic from all categories

What will be the effect on campaign bidding? As stated in the objective, to bid for ad zones that deliver good SOIs for a lower eCPA than $1.8, but cut the zones that are not delivering sales. Because SOIs are the first part of the sales funnel, and ultimately sales are the most important KPI as this is the key to being profitable.

Bidder recommendations and best practices

  • Set a CPA Goal of approx.10-15% below your actual  CPA Goal. This margin is considered a safe buffer to secure your best ROI. For example: if your actual CPA goal is 2$, set up a CPA Goal of 1.8$ to make sure the bidder optimizes the bids based on a profitable CPA. 
  • Use the most simple conversion event for Automatic Bidding Optimization. This will allow your bidding algorithm to gather the most amount of conversions and it will quickly start optimizing your campaign. And use the latest events in your sales funnel to lower the risk and protect your ROI. Examples include SOI, subscription, sales, etc. 
  • Use blocking rules to protect your ROI. There are multiple ways to do that, so feel free to check all the possibilities that the tool offers. 
    • Use different blocking rules in order to optimize your campaigns based on different targeting filters. Available targeting filters: Browser, Country, Device, Language, Mobile Carrier, Operating system, Site & Zone. 
    • Use ROI in the blocking zones as an ultimate profit saver. But bear in mind that in order to use ROI you must send the dynamic value of your conversions. 
  • Use different goals in order to lower the risk of having a negative ROI. 

Giles Hirst