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This premium article is the work of Emma Stebbins, a Probability & Statistics Major at the College of William & Mary. Emma’s detailed analysis of penny auction data will help bidders in their quest to win more often and save more money. Emma has also included SmartBid promo codes at the end of the post.

SmartBid StrategyBidding at SmartBid is more strategy-driven than most other penny auction sites. The winning bid is, in fact, the lowest unique bid – the lowest bid that no other users have guessed. Because of this, bidding intelligently can be the difference between winning big and losing big.

For this article, I examined the $10 and $25 gift card auctions. The $10 auctions also had $10 bid packages attached, while the $25 gift cards had either $10 or $25 bid packages.

What are the Lowest Unique Bids on SmartBid?
With the lower and middle value auctions, the lowest unique bids ranged from $0.01 to around $0.20, with an average of $0.08 or $0.09. The higher value auctions ranged from $0.01 to $0.32. The average lowest unique bid value was $0.12, and the most common lowest unique bids were $0.02 and $0.11.

What are the most common bids on SmartBid?
In the lower value auctions, there were no bids that were more frequent than others. Middle value auctions frequently had bids of $0.01 to $0.03, while higher value auctions often had bids of $0.01 to $0.06.

How many bids did winners use on SmartBid?
In smaller auctions, winners typically used 4 to 15 bids, with an average of 9. In the middle and larger auctions, that average jumped to around 25 bids and went as high as 35.

How many bids did SmartBid auctions accept before closing, and how long did these auctions last?
Smaller value auctions typically closed after 27 bids, which took anywhere from a few hours to 2 days. The typical smaller value auction closed after 18 hours. Medium value auctions closed around 50 bids, which took about 18.5 hours, but could go on for as long as 5 days. Larger value auctions took between 57 and 75 bids to close; most ended around 62. These auctions took about 17 hours to finish.

Lowest Unique Bid
Auction Type
Lowest Unique Bid
Highest Unique Bid
Average Unique Bid
Most Common Bid
$10 w/$10 credit $.02 $.17 $.08 None
$25 w/$10 credit $.01 $.21 $.09 $.01
$25 w/$25 credit $.01 $.32 $.12 $.02, $.11
Most Common Bids
Auction Type
Most Common
$10 w/$10 credit None
$25 w/$10 credit $.01 to $.03
$25 w/$25 credit $.01 to $.06
Number of Bids Placed by Winner
Auction Type Lowest Highest Average
$10 w/$10 credit 4 15 8.9
$25 w/$10 credit 13 35 22.1
$25 w/$25 credit 6 35 27.4
Total Bids (number of total bids placed before auction closed)
Auction Type Lowest
Highest Average
Most Common
$10 w/$10 credit 27 28 27.1 27
$25 w/$10 credit 50 57 50.3 50
$25 w/$25 credit 57 75 65.8 62
Duration of Auction
Auction Type Lowest Highest Average
$10 w/$10 credit 2 hours 2 days 18 hours
$25 w/$10 credit 11 hours 4 days 18.5 hours
$25 w/$25 credit 3 hours 5 days 17 hours
Auction Availability (in other words, the percentage of total auctions per category )
Auction Type Percentage
$10 w/$10 credit 10.9%
$25 w/$10 credit 17.2%
$25 w/$25 credit 71.9%

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