In early February, Google announced the launch of the new Search Ads 360 (SA360) experience with major changes to be rolled out to their leading search management platform throughout 2022. The planned updates will include a redesigned UI, improved search engine support and advanced enterprise innovation.
As someone who has spent countless hours switching back and forth between the previous SA360 and the Google Ads’ UI, the new experience is a long time coming. The updates will offer SA360 advertisers an efficient workflow and stronger cross-engine compatibility, all within a single search management platform. Below is an in-depth look at what to look forward to as SA360 rolls out in 2022.
Greater Workflow Efficiencies
Google has shaped the new SA360 experience around achieving greater workflow efficiencies by implementing updates designed to minimize unnecessary repetitive tasks. One of the updates that I’m most excited about is the new and improved cross-platform support of the Google Ads Labels feature. Advertisers will no longer be required to recreate and reapply the same labels, as any labels linked to Google Ads will automatically become available in the new SA360 interface. This was one of the most requested features amongst my colleagues and clients, so it’s great that it’s finally here. The previous requirement of recreating and reapplying labels in SA360 through manual operations, such as bulk edits and excel uploads, will now be a thing of the past!
There are more avenues to scale with centralization through enhanced cross-advertiser management. With the previous SA360, customizing reporting views or campaign management done at the “Advertiser” platform level has always operated individually. The new SA360 experience will address this by granting the ability to report and manage campaign activities across multiple Advertisers at once. Noticeable workflow improvements include the option to create custom columns (previously called formula columns) at the Manager (previously “Agency”) level, to execute bulk changes to multiple accounts simultaneously and to duplicate entities across engines or the Advertiser level with a new copy and paste function.
These new SA360 updates drive greater productivity for advertisers with many search engine accounts and agencies who would like to organize client reporting tasks simultaneously.
Above: The new Search Ads 360 user interface (Source: Google Blog - Introducing the new Search Ads 360)
A Familiar UI with Upgraded Navigation
Google has intentionally made the new SA360 look and feel more like the current Google Ads interface. Users that are already experienced in Google Ads will see immediate benefits and feel right at home with the new SA360. This is also useful for training and adoption, as any familiarity of the Google Ads UI navigation and workflow processes will translate over to the new SA360 (or vice versa) for one consistent experience and quicker adoption. It’s also an added bonus that Microsoft Ads has a very similar interface!
Vastly Improved Search Engine Support
The new SA360 and Google Ads now share core common technology powering the functionality and capabilities of both platforms, resulting in the ability to manage and process more data than ever, all while maintaining a fast user experience. This also means that previously unsupported features within SA360 will soon become available in the new version. Google has also confirmed the support for campaign types including Performance Max, Discovery Ads and Local Inventory Ads.
To add to this, upgraded engine feature support such as extensions, audiences and creative formats for alternatives to Google (i.e. Microsoft RSA, DSA & smart shopping) will also be included in the upcoming updates. This improved support will allow advertisers to complete much more of their day-to-day workflow from within a single search marketing platform. Advertisers that are currently using SA360 to manage standard paid search campaigns and Google Ads to manage Performance Max or Discovery campaigns should be celebrating right now, as the management and reporting of all three campaign types can be done under the new SA360! This will also make it easier for dashboard reporting (i.e. third-party data or Data Studio) as users can include a single data source.
Updated Google Analytics Integration and Support for GA4
In the new SA360 experience, Google continues to develop SA360’s native integration with other GMP products, in particular with Google Analytics (GA4) properties. The new SA360-GA4 integration enables the import of GA4’s web and in-app event metrics into the SA360 reporting UI, allowing for additional measurement and optimization into how search activities are performing against web or in-app based events. Additionally, if Google Analytics Goals are your reporting and measurement source of truth, web or in-app-based GA4 Goals are available to use as a conversion source for performance automation and optimization—a handy alternative to Google Ads conversion tracking or floodlight tracking tags.
Bridging the Gap Between Platforms
When onboarding and training new clients in the previous SA360, one of the most frequently asked questions is: “Should we migrate our day-to-day workflow from Google Ads to SA360?”
I’ve always recommended that teams combine Google Ads campaign management workflows with SA360 performance optimization workflows (as opposed to using only one or the other) to get the most value out of both platforms. There will still be some instances that require switching between both. However, with the launch of the new experience, we’re seeing a big step with the new SA360 in the right direction in bridging the gap and enabling teams to use one interface for most tasks.
With the enterprise advantages of using a search management platform for engine consolidation, management, reporting and automation, we’re very excited for the streamlined and efficient workflows when transitioning search engine accounts’ daily tasks over to the new SA360 experience—and search marketers will be, too.
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