Lost in Translation: Is Search Ads 360 Right For You?

– 11th June 2020 –

Dan Biggs, Senior Paid Media Executive

 

What is Search Ads 360?

If you’ve been using Google Ads (formerly AdWords) for some time, you’ve probably heard of Search Ads 360. However, when you look into if it’s right for you though, you find a lot of statements like this one, from Google’s own page explaining the product:

 

“Streamlined workflow and powerful reporting features enable buyers to efficiently run campaigns, while automated bidding improves campaign performance.”

 

This sounds brilliant, it sounds like it would work for anyone! Well, I think it should be edited to this:

 

“Streamlined workflow* and powerful reporting features** enable buyers to efficiently run campaigns, while automated bidding improves campaign performance***.”

 

Because Search Ads 360 does do all of these things, but it won’t do them for everyone, and often not without a bit of work.

So, I’ve taken it upon myself to add the asterisks, and give a quick overview of what Search Ads 360 does well, how, and who it is going to be most useful for.

 

Streamlined Workflow*

*For some advertising set ups

One of the main differences between default Google Ads and Search Ads 360 is that Search Ads 360 allows you to manage campaigns across multiple accounts from the same screen.

Search Ads 360 is also not limited to Google based marketing. Bing, Facebook, and many other marketing channels can be connected to Search Ads 360 and managed in one place, giving you a single place to view the results of all your marketing channels.

The important thing to realise here is that Search Ads 360 will streamline your workflow across multiple accounts. If you are running a single account, even if it is very large, Search Ads 360 does not make your life significantly easier.

 

Powerful Reporting Features**

**Well, kind of.

If by “reporting” you mean attribution, then by extension of the fact you can connect all these different marketing channels into one platform, Search Ads 360 can unify your conversion reporting much like Google Analytics. This can be very useful, especially if your analytics set up can’t handle this itself. You can also design your own attribution models

In terms of creating reports however, Search Ads 360’s native reporting features are outclassed completely by Google Data Studio, which can pull all the data from your Search Ads 360 account, and create far more visual and complex reports using it.

So, Search Ads 360 can provide better conversion reporting and attribution modelling, but it’s report builder is outclassed by Data Studio.

 

Automated Bidding Improves Performance***

***If you can set up some technical stuff

Ah, automated bids, we meet again. We’ve had a rocky relationship with automated bidding strategies, like the time we tried it in our ad grants and it started bidding over $50 a click on toy boxes.

However, more recently even we have to admit that the automated bidding strategies in Google Ads have got better. In fact, they’ve got so much better that Search Ads 360 has started using them too.

It does have its own bidding strategies, but they only change bids 4 times a day based on results, whereas the Google Ads strategies bids differently every time the ad enters an auction. The consensus across the industry is that the regular Google Ads strategies produce better results.

So, if you’re just using the same bidding strategies as regular Google Ads, how are you going to improve results?

Well, Search Ads 360 has a feature called U-variables, which allows you to add extra information to a conversion based on data from the page. To give an example, if you were selling a car and a user could either pay in one payment or over multiple months, if you used a target ROAS bidding strategy you would undervalue the monthly payments compared to the one-time payment. In Search Ads 360 you could submit the number of months through as a U variable. You could then multiply the revenue by the number of months to get the actual value of a sale for a bidding strategy.

So, Search Ads 360 can improve results over regular Google Ads through automated bidding, but only if you use it to improve the data the strategy has.

 

And that’s it! If you’re having trouble managing multiple accounts, want to improve your attribution modelling or are ready to get stuck into some technical work to enhance your bidding strategies, then Search Ads 360 will be well worth your time. However, pay attention to the asterisks and make sure you are going to get your value if you decide to test Search Ads 360 out!

 

Want to talk?

If you’ve got any more questions about Search Ads 360 or Paid Search, or want to see how we can help you maximise your campaign performance please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!

 

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