What is Target CPA Conversion Bid Strategy?

Target Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) is one of four modes that Outbrain offers for auto-optimizing towards conversions within Conversion Bid Strategy.

Target CPA works to keep your campaigns profitable by adjusting CPCs to bring as many conversions as possible within your desired CPA goal.

Who should use Target CPA mode?

Consider using Target CPA when you:

  • are a performance based marketers looking to get the most value with lead generation or e-commerce
  • are running campaigns with a strict CPA goal

If you’re still not sure which bidding mode is best fit for you, refer to this article.

How do I enable Target CPA mode?

  • Select “App Installs” or “Conversions” as your Campaign Objective. 
  • In the Budget & Bidding section, select “Target CPA” from the Optimization mode selection menu:
  • Specify the conversion* that you wish to optimize towards, then define the CPA value and campaign budget. For CBS setup best practices, please refer to this article.
  • Complete the remainder of the campaign setup as usual. 
  • After you’ve launched your campaign, it will enter a Learning phase which means the system will need some time to gather data for optimization. Please note this phase may last up to a week following launch.

*Keep in mind: implementing a conversion event with Target CPA mode is mandatory. If you’re looking for information about conversions and pixel implementation, click here.

How do I optimize my campaign with Target CPA enabled?

Once you’ve turned on your campaign and confirmed progress towards your goals after the initial learning period, very little manual campaign management is needed.

However, there are some guidelines that can help you scale your campaign if you’re happy with the performance or make adjustments if you’re not reaching your goals.

During Learning period:
  • Once live, wait at least 48 hours before making any adjustments.
  • If you’re optimizing towards a conversion lower in the funnel (0.5 – 3% conversion rate), consider adding another conversion (with 10-20% conversion rate) to expedite the learning period. 
After learning period:

If you’re looking to scale your campaigns: 

  • Increase the campaign budget and wait a few days between changes.
  • If you are using a Bid Cap limit, and the scale is limited by that Bid Cap, you will see a “Maxed” indication in the CPC reporting column. In this case, navigate to campaign settings and increase the Bid Cap value to enable more scale.

If you’re looking to improve performance: 

  • Double-check your conversion set up to make sure it’s working properly*.
  • Make sure you’ve set up a realistic CPA target. Setting unrealistic goals will cause the system to decrease your CPCs in order to not spend the budget if it’s not able to meet your goal. Refer to this article to learn more.
  • Try out testing new ad combinations that could yield higher CTRs. Higher CTRs generally mean lower CPCs and often lower CPAs.
  • Decrease the campaign budget by maximum 30% and wait a few days between changes.

*Successful conversion tracking is one of the most important pillars of every conversion optimized campaign. Please check the following campaign details to ensure that we can collect enough data to optimize towards your target CPA:

  • Is the pixel implemented correctly? For pixel implementation guidance, please check out this article.
  • Is the pixel firing correctly on all platforms?
  • Is your funnel too long? Try adding more conversion pixels along the conversion journey to shorten the funnel.

Working with Bid Cap:

  • To hit your target CPA while maintaining the highest number of conversions for that CPA, the system will automatically adjust the CPC for each serving based on multiple data points.
  • You are able to set a Bid Cap that will act as the maximum CPC amount you’re willing to pay for auctions with higher expected conversion rate. For best results, we suggest removing the Bid Cap or setting it as high as you’re willing to pay for high converting audiences.
  • There are cases where the system can get more conversions within your CPA goal – in those cases, the system will increase the CPC. When the CPC reaches the Maximum CPC threshold (as defined by the Bid Cap), the system will no longer be able to raise bid higher. In that case, you will see a “Maxed” indication in the CPC column of your campaigns. To enable more scale and get more conversions with your target CPA, either remove the Bid Cap limit, or raise it in campaign settings so the algorithm can continue optimizing and maximizing the number of conversions.

Still not sure about how to best use Target CPA Conversion Bid Strategy? Check out our suggested best practices here.

Was this article helpful?