One of the most important actions you will need to take in Flywheel is setting your Max Ad Cost per Sale or MACS. It is critical to how our algorithms work. Review this article to understand MACS and how you can use it to get the best performance from Flywheel.

What is MACS?

MACS stands for your Max Advertising Cost Per Sale and indicates the percentage of sales you are willing to spend on advertising per click. 

For instance, if your average sale was $10 and you set your MACS to 30%, then you are indicating that you are willing to spend up to $3 in ads for every $10 that you make in sales.

How does MACS work?

MACS is your way of communicating with the Flywheel algorithm. The higher your MACS, the more aggressive Flywheel will be, and the more likely you are to increase exposure and generate sales. With a lower MACS, growing your margin is the primary focus, and you may sacrifice sales from more expensive clicks.

How do you pick the right MACS?

Picking and setting the right MACS is easy with the MACS Calculator. 

  1. Click on the icon to review suggestions based on objective
  2. Select the appropriate MACs
  3. Save settings

Check out this short video on how to set MACS with the calculator:

How are the suggested MACS calculated?

Flywheel suggests MACS by taking into account a few criteria, including:

  • Objective of that campaign and what you are trying to accomplish
  • Pre-ad gross margin of products within a campaign
  • Current performance

What are campaign objectives considered by the MACS calculator?

  • Increase Sales: Increase conversions (may raise spend)
  • Target Profitability: Lower spend and ACoS (may lower sales)
  • Aggressive Launch: Increase spend to capture more data
  • Launch: Drive new traffic and impressions

What's the relationship between MACS and my margins?

Margins and objectives work together to determine the ideal MACS. Check out this chart to understand how MACS can change based on your pre-ad margin and campaign lifecycle.

Why do I not see MACS suggestions for a particular campaign?

The MACS calculator requires pre-ad gross margin to make a suggestion. Make sure you have entered COGS for all your products to allow us to calculate pre-ad margins for that campaign.

What happens after you set a MACS?

Setting a MACS starts bid automation. This means that the campaign becomes eligible for hourly bid evaluations and changes. Learn more about bidding here and review bid changes under Change History.

How often should I update my MACS?

You should review your MACS every 2-4 weeks, making changes where necessary. Only change MACS if the objective for a particular campaign has changed or you want to be more/less aggressive.

Why is my campaign ACoS higher than the MACS?

It is not uncommon for campaigns where you have recently started bid automation to have a an ACoS higher than MACS. ACoS is an indicator of past performance, while MACS is your willingness to spend on future clicks. A high ACoS can be caused by a variety of factors such as competition, seasonality and unoptimized product listing pages. Learn more about lowering your ACoS here.

What is MACS NOT?

  1. MACS is not your ACoS. While ACoS measures your historical performance while MACS indicates how much you are willing to spend in the future.
  2. MACS is not going to change performance overnight. Changes in performance take time. In addition to bid changes performed by the algorithm, you should also be taking regular keyword actions and optimizing listings for conversion.
  3. Setting a high MACS does not mean we will ramp up spend to get you to that ACOS. For example, if you set a MACS of 70%, you could spend as much as that on a particular click if the algorithm expects a proportional return in performance.
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