Which Conversion Bid Strategy is the best fit for my campaign objectives?

Conversion Bid Strategy (CBS) is designed for performance marketers and works to optimize campaigns towards the highest performing inventory and audiences for your specific campaign goals, based on the performance within the campaign, advertiser, or the Outbrain network. We offer 4 different CBS modes: Semi Manual (previously called Semi Automatic), Max Conversions (previously called Fully Automatic), Target CPA and Target ROAS.

 Which Conversion Bid Strategy should I use?

  • Target ROAS is great for marketers that have a business goal of maximising the purchase value from each conversion or mobile app install. This mode will serve content where your desired Return on Ad Spend can be reached. Target ROAS will optimize towards your ROAS goal by adjusting your campaign CPC.
  • Target CPA is best for marketers looking to meet a CPA goal with a single conversion value. Target CPA will optimize towards your CPA goal by adjusting your campaign CPC.
  • Max Conversions is right for you if your goal is to maximize the number of conversions within your budget. Max Conversions will optimize towards maximizing the number of conversions by adjusting your campaign CPC.
  • Semi Manual is best if you’re interested in a hybrid approach between auto-optimization and manual control over your campaign and CPC. It will bring traffic to the highest converting sections without adjusting the campaign CPC.

To determine which Bid Strategy can work best for your campaign goals, use the flowchart below:


After you’ve selected your Conversion Bid Strategy based on your campaign objective, choose which conversion you wish to optimize towards.

If no conversion is created, you will be given the option to create a conversion within the campaign set-up.

  • Max Conversions and Semi Manual can begin optimizing without a conversion created as the system will optimize based on prior network learnings. However, Target CPA and Target ROAS cannot be enabled without a conversion event implemented.
  • In addition, Target ROAS’ conversion must contain a conversion value. This conversion value can be passed back dynamically or entered in the Outbrain dashboard. To learn more about dynamic values, refer to this Help Center article for step-by-step instructions.
  • Although a conversion is not mandatory for Max Conversions or Semi Manual, it’s highly recommended to add at least one, but preferably two that are part of the same funnel. It is a best practice to include both lower funnel/hard (0.5%-2% CVR) and upper funnel/soft (10%-20% CVR) conversion types.

Please note: Conversion pixels with 40% CVR or more should not be selected for optimization, because there is nothing for Bid Strategy to optimize towards if most clicks result in a conversion.

Once you have completed filling out the Conversion Bid Strategy section of the campaign creation, proceed with campaign and content creation. Visit the “Campaign Creation” Help Center article for more details.

Important to Note:

  • It’s recommended to remove section-level CPC adjustments, since these override the system’s CPC auto-optimization for CBS. The sections that have manual adjustments will not be included in the A/B reporting and may lead to a reporting discrepancy.
  • For Max Conversions and Semi Manual CBS, feel free to set up Conversions Bid Strategy even if you don’t have any conversions yet! Once you do have enough conversions, the Bid Strategy will automatically kick in!
  • Want to know more about our suggested best practices? Visit our dedicated article here

Need Further Help?

Speak to an Outbrain expert

Contact Us