In this series, we will introduce Search Ads 360 (SA360), one of Google’s marketing platforms, from overview, functions, features, and case studies. In this chapter, we will focus on the automated bidding features of SA360 and utilization.
1. “Search Ads 360” as an automated bidding tool
Have you heard of an automated bidding tool? It is a tool designed to improve operational efficiency and optimize the operation of search ads. Specifically, it is a tool for achieving easy management and better results by centrally managing search ad accounts, such as Yahoo! Ads and Google Ads, and automatically optimizing keyword bids. SA360, the subject of this article, is one of such automated bidding tools.
Because it can link to the APIs provided by Yahoo! Ads and Google Ads, you can reflect the search ad accounts currently used in the management screens of both services and manage them in one place.
By linking APIs, you can manage search ad accounts of both Yahoo! Ads and Google Ads in one place on the SA360 management screen.
Search ads are text ads that appear on search results in conjunction with keywords (search queries) that users searched for. But do you know how placed ads are determined? It is determined (including their order) in an auction.
The auction is based on combining the following three factors (shown in Figure 3), and the winner gets the ad placement.
The “Bidding price” is an important factor in determining the winner of an auction. And the automatic bidding function allows automatic setting of bidding prices for search ads and adjusts distribution according to your goals. In other words, Search Ads 360 can automatically calculate the optimal bidding price.
2. History of automated bidding and introduction of Search Ads 360
Automatic bidding tools emerged in the U.S. and Europe in tandem with the rapid expansion of the pay-per-click search ads market, represented by Goto.com (later Overture), launched in 1998, and Google AdWords introduced by Google in 2002. At that time, most people set the bidding prices manually. But in the late 2000s, automatic bidding utilizing advanced statistical processes emerged.
Likewise, SA360 was launched by DoubleClick in the early 2000s and was acquired by Google in 2007. The name of the tool at the time was DoubleClick Search. With DoubleClick Search in hand, Google entered the fast-growing search ad operations management market. In 2018, the tool was integrated into the Google Marketing Platform with its new name, SA360.
We often hear that with Search Ad platforms such as Yahoo! Ads and Google Ads expanding their automatic bidding functions, and with the automatic calculation of optimal keyword prices using multi-spectrum signals per auction, it has become difficult to differentiate between the automatic bidding tools. On the other hand, automatic bidding tools continue to enhance operational efficiency and optimization by developing and updating their unique functions not only limited to the automatic bidding price function. Automated bidding tools are expected to play a role as a complement to measures that are difficult to implement on search ad platforms.
3. Automatic bidding function of Search Ads 360
Key point (1): Bidding across Google Ads and Yahoo! Ads
The automatic bidding function is available on the management screens of each ad platform, such as media represented by Yahoo! Ads and Google Ads. But the difference between SA360’s automatic bidding function and those of such is that Search Ads 360 can apply automatic bidding across different platforms.
For example, the automatic bidding function of Google Ads combines data measured by Google Ads’ conversion tags when a user clicking on Google search ads enters a website with its signals (browser/device/region, etc.) to calculate the bidding price. This is the same with Yahoo! Ads.
On the other hand, Search Ads 360 accumulates conversion data via Google Ads and Yahoo! Ads together by implementing its Floodlight conversion tag on a website. And the collected conversion data (including CVR) is utilized for its automatic bidding function. When SA360 automatically calculates the bidding price for Google Ads, it will take Yahoo! Ads’ conversion data into account. For Yahoo! Ads, vice versa.
In the past, Search Ads 360 optimized bids four times a day for ad platforms such as Google and Yahoo! Ads. However, by enhancing its bidding performance on Google Ads, Search Ads 360 can now adjust the unit price per auction at the search query level, utilizing the same algorithm as Google Ads Smart Bidding (this does not apply to bidding for other platforms such as Yahoo! Ads).
Key point (2): Elimination of duplicate conversions
Search Ads 360 eliminates duplicate conversions, but on Google Ads and Yahoo! Ads, duplicate conversions may occur.
For example, let’s say a user clicks on a search ad via Google Ads, enters the website, and leaves. That user then clicks on a search ad via Yahoo! Ads, enters the website, leaves, and enters the website again via Yahoo! Ads. In that case, Google Ads recognizes the first visit as a conversion, and Yahoo! Ads recognizes the third visit as a conversion, resulting in duplicate conversion across the two platforms.
But with Search Ads 360 and its Floodlight tag, only the third visit via Yahoo! Ads is counted as a conversion. Search Ads 360 is a tool that automatically calculates the optimal bidding price with its correct measurement.
4. Search Ads 360 case study
Now, I would like to run a case study from the e-commerce industry, which improved their results by implementing SA360 to centrally manage search ad accounts for Google and Yahoo! Ads and running automatic bidding with it.
Before introducing Search Ads 360, the advertiser needed to adjust daily budgets and bids for each campaign in Google Ads and Yahoo! Ads. Some conversions were double counted between the platforms.
But after SA360, they were able to capture the actual performance without duplication by managing Google Ads and Yahoo! Ads with the Floodlight tag and optimizing campaigns with common goals with one bidding strategy.
By managing fragmented accounts and optimizing automatic bidding strategies across platforms with Search Ads 360, they increased conversions and improved CPA.
In this chapter, we have introduced the features of Search Ads 360 as an automated bidding tool and showed an example. If you are interested in taking advantage of Search Ads 360’s automated bidding, please contact us.
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