Display strategies in performance campaigns

A strategy is a combination of settings designed for the purpose of an advertising campaign, like to attract traffic to a site, get as many useful user actions as possible, or optimize ROI.

You can manage bids using automatic algorithms (by tuning their parameters) or manually:
  • With automatic management, you decide what result the strategy should focus on, like attracting traffic to your website, performing specific actions on the website, or obtaining a certain target cost revenue ratio. You choose an optimization parameter based on your goals: clicks, conversions, or cost revenue ratio. In addition, you can set criteria for achieving the goal, such as the budget or average price you are willing to pay for the result.
  • With manual management, you set a bid for each impression criteria and, if necessary, limit your average daily budget.

We recommend using automatic strategies because they make adjustments to ad campaigns far more frequently than you could do manually or with the help of third-party ad management tools.

You can choose a display strategy on your campaign settings page. Only one strategy can be chosen for each campaign, and it will apply to all of the ads in the campaign.

Strategies available depending on the campaign type
Ad campaign type Available strategies

“Text & Image ads”

“Dynamic ads”

Target cost revenue ratio

Optimize conversions

Optimize clicks

Manual bid management

“Ads for mobile apps”

Optimize conversions in ads for mobile apps (for apps with a tracking link)

Optimize clicks

Manual bid management

“Search banner”

Optimize clicks for a search banner

Manual bid management

  1. How strategies work
  2. Strategy setup modes
  3. How to use strategies effectively
  4. Adapting strategies to seasonal demand
  5. Strategy relaunch

How strategies work

All Yandex.Direct strategies are based on a special mathematical algorithm that forecasts clicks on your ad and conversions on your site.

To generate a forecast, the system analyzes statistics for the keywords selected for the ad. For search sites, the system takes impression data from Yandex search into account. For content sites, it uses impression data from ad networks (YAN and ad exchanges). If there aren't sufficient statistics, it uses a database of analogies and information about click-throughs from Yandex search results. The system also takes the behavior of users who click on ads into account. It chooses the most effective keywords, i.e. those that draw the most clients to your site, and serves ads based on those keywords more frequently.

Forecasts are formulated by the hour for every day of the week. That way, you can see what correlations exist between the number of impressions, clicks, and targeted events in relation to the time of day/day of week. The forecast is regularly re-calculated using the latest data during the placement process.

By default, strategies are protected from overspending. The system can't spend more than 35% of your weekly budget per day, and the bid never rises above 10% of your weekly budget unless you set bid adjustments.

  • When an adjustment raises the bid, then the bid might use more than 10% of the weekly budget.
  • If impressions are restricted due to time targeting, the system will only distribute your budget on the days when your campaign is running. In that case, no more than 35% of your weekly budget can be spent in a day.
  • If you change your weekly budget, the maximum expenditure on this day can be 35% of the old budget + 35% of the new one.

Strategy setup modes

There are two ways to manage strategies in Yandex.Direct: basic and advanced (for experienced users). By default, all ad campaigns are created with the basic strategy settings. They provide a minimal set of parameters that let you quickly launch a campaign:

  • If you wish to attract conversions to your site, but want to pay for clicks, then specify a goal and weekly budget.

  • If you expect conversions, but want to pay per-conversion, select the goal, specify CPA and, if necessary, the weekly budget.

  • If your advertising purpose is to bring users to the site, specify your weekly budget.

You can optimize conversions if you enabled a Yandex.Metrica tag both on your site and in the campaign.

In the basic settings, the Last click from Yandex.Direct attribution model is set by default.

The basic mode is available for the ad campaigns: Text & Image Ads, Image ads, Video ads, and Dynamic ads.

To open the advanced settings, click Settings for experienced users. You can choose any of the available strategies: Target cost revenue ratio, Optimize conversions, Optimize clicks, or Manual bid management, and fine-tune the strategy settings to match your campaign needs.

If you always want use advanced settings for creating campaigns, go to User settings: on the My campaigns page, click on the username and select My settings. Enable the option Show settings for experienced users.

How to use strategies effectively

General recommendations

For strategies to work correctly, the landing pages for your ads need to be available most of the time, and your ad campaign must contain enough ads and keywords. Ideally, the campaign should advertise one website (or mobile app) and show stable indicators over the course of a month.

The goal selected for the campaign should be realistic and describe the effectiveness of your business.

To achieve the best results, the system conducts a detailed set of calculations that are used to optimize your settings regularly. For this reason, it's important to give the system some time to work everything out. In most cases this takes a few weeks.

If you primarily use long-tail keywords, it will take longer to forecast clicks and conversions as well as to determine optimal spending. Expand your keyword list to help the system make better forecasts.

Determine your settings before you launch your campaign so that you won't need to alter them while your strategy is running. It will be more difficult for the system to formulate a quality forecast if you frequently re-launch your strategy or temporarily switch impressions over to a manual management mode.

Setting limits

In order to find the optimal balance between price and quantity, the system needs space to experiment. This means that the fewer unnecessary limits you set, the better your chosen strategy will work. For example, don't set an additional maximum CPC limit under the “Optimize clicks” or “Optimize conversions” strategy.

Try to make appropriate settings and don't underestimate your average CPC.

If user activity on your site or app changes quickly for reasons not directly related to your selected strategy, it may take time for the strategy to recalibrate, and the limitations you set might not be met. This might be the case if you update the design of your site, add unpopular keywords to your campaign, or change the targeting.

Independent spending control

If you need to manually control your spending using a strategy, it's better to set a weekly budget, rather than a maximum CPC. We also recommend that you set your average weekly budget based on your ad campaign spending from the previous month. This way you can compare past indicators with current spending.

Adapting strategies to seasonal demand

You can account for seasonal demand or short-term sales in your campaigns. For example, when you run a sale, your conversions sharply increase and then decrease. These spikes and drops can lead to anomalies in your strategy. Use the Seasonal conversion rate growth setting to avoid this. It helps the strategy get back to normal after sudden growth during sales.

To adapt strategies to possible changes in advance:

  1. On the My Campaigns page, select the desired campaigns and click Actions at the bottom of the page. Select Seasonal conversion rate growth from the menu.

  2. In the Adapt strategies to seasonal demand window, specify:

    • Period of increased demand.

    • Expected percentage of conversion rate growth.

    To calculate the expected conversion rate increase, we recommend analyzing the previous year's data for the specified dates or for any other similar period using Yandex Metrica or the Report Wizard. You can also study the conversion dynamics when running similar sales promotions. If such data is missing, you can use the market statistics.

For example, you know that your regular conversion rate is 10%, but before New Year's it will presumably be 15% for 3 days. In your settings, specify that from December 28 to December 30 your conversion rate will grow by 50%, that is, it will increase 1.5 times. The system will use the new conversion rate to make forecasts and fine-tune the campaign.

You can only account for conversion growth in strategies. You can't account for degraded campaign performance.

Use this setting if you are certain about conversion growth. If you're not sure, then the setting won't help and might even decrease the strategy's performance.

This setting is only available for pay-per-click campaigns with the “Optimize conversions”, “Target cost revenue ratio”, and “Optimize clicks” strategies. For pay-per-conversion campaigns, the setting is not available. If you select multiple campaigns to be adapted, the setting will be applied to all the selected campaigns. Selected campaigns that don't match the setting criteria won't be affected.

You can set seasonal conversion rate growth for multiple periods at the same time.

Strategy relaunch

The system always recalculates indicators after a strategy relaunches. That way it can create a new forecast and set optimal bids. The age of data is factored into the compiled statistics: newer data bears greater “weight”. If the strategy was not in effect more than 28 calendar days before relaunching, the statistics will be reset.

Strategies relaunch when the following occur:

  • Strategy settings change
  • Switch to manual bid management
  • A campaign launches after having been stopped
  • Funds are added to an account that had a zero balance
  • Impression schedule changed (e.g., holiday impression settings).

Internal mechanisms allow the system to readjust quickly, but it still requires some time to put together a new forecast. Your daily expense limit might be exceeded on the day the strategy is relaunched.