What is the Bidbrain calibration period? How does it work?

We often get the question: What is the calibration period? What does it mean and how long does it take?

We refer to the initial time period after going live with Bidbrain as the calibration period. This period typically spans 1-4 weeks and is the period in which the Bidbrian machine learning algorithm clusters the products and tests bid levels to find the optimal “sweet spot” between cost and conversion for each product. 

As clusters are rearranged in order to test different bid levels, ROAS will typically vary during this period and will likely not be on target. It is also likely that the overall conv.value during the calibration period will decrease compared to your previous shopping campaign. 

It is important to be mentally prepared for this and not to panic and pull the plug. The ROAS will stabilize at target at the end of the calibration period and conv.value will then start to increase to reach higher levels than the previous campaign, making the initial sacrifice worthwhile. It is because of the calibration period that we do not charge our clients for the initial 30 days of the campaign.

Calibration periods are not unique to Bidbrain, all smart campaigns including Googles own Smart Shopping and Target Roas campaigns have similar calibration. With that said, we are constantly working on improving the Bidbrian algorithm in order to shorten the calibration period and our goal is to remove it completely so we can increase performance from day one. 

Also good to keep in mind; in addition to Bidbrains calibration, Google has a warm-up period for new item ID´s, where they evaluate the CTR (click through rate) of each product before they give it the same priority as existing already “warm” products. This is not something we have control over and is the same for all shopping campaigns. 

One important thing you as a client can do to minimize the calibration period and maximize the likelihood of success long term is to make sure your product feed is optimized and meet all the requirements for Google and Bidbrian. You can read more about this topic here: Product feed attributes

Below is a case chart from a Bidbrain campaign which shows a typical calibration period. The red line shows the COS (cost of sale) and the blue bars show conv.value. As is evident, after the initial month the COS stabilizes around target and the conv.value increases