Timeline for setting up retail advertisers

Retail advertisers typically use manual keyword campaigns to display text ads with brand keywords and other high-value keywords, Google Ads Shopping campaigns to display Shopping ads, and may also use inventory keyword campaigns, which are effective at generating long-tail keywords from data in your inventory feed.

Here's a recommended timeline for adopting Search Ads 360 features if you're advertising retail products.




Build up your platform confidence

Search Ads 360 feature: Search Ads 360 Fundamentals and Certification

Take the Search Ads 360 Fundamentals eLearning, then show what you’ve learned by getting your certificate of completion. Learn more.


Month 1

Campaign management

Set up manual keyword campaigns

Search Ads 360 feature: Manual keyword campaigns

You can either create manual keyword campaigns in Search Ads 360 or sync existing campaigns in from engines.

Automate campaign management

Search Ads 360 features:

  • Rules-based actions
  • Scheduled edits

Automated rules change settings in specific campaigns, ad groups, ads, keywords, or product targets based on criteria you specify. You schedule a time for the rule to run, set up the conditions, and specify the action if the conditions are met. For example, a rule can run daily at 1 A.M. and increase all bids where an ad’s average position was worse than 3 the previous days. Learn more.

You can schedule bulk edits of campaigns, ad groups, ads or keywords to occur at a specific time or on a recurring basis. This allows you to keep your regular working hours and still have Search Ads 360 make needed changes any time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For example, you can:

  • Activate ads or keywords at midnight to coincide with the launch of a promotion.
  • Change ad copy to coincide with the beginning of summer.
  • Lower bids on keywords during weekends or overnight, and raise them during week days.

Learn more.

Streamline management of Shopping campaigns

Search Ads 360 features:

  • Shopping campaigns
  • Adaptive campaigns
  • Purchase detail reports
  • Create or sync in Shopping campaigns: Google Ads Shopping campaigns use data from a Google Merchant Center inventory feed to display Shopping ads. Learn how to create and manage Shopping campaigns in Search Ads 360 or sync existing campaigns into Search Ads 360.
  • Set up adaptive Shopping campaigns: Search Ads 360 can monitor your Merchant Center feed and automatically subdivide existing product groups based on performance. Product groups that are focused on similar products achieve the best results, whether you're setting bids manually or using a bid strategy to optimize bids. Learn more.
  • Set up purchase detail reports: See how specific products perform across all types of retail campaigns: keyword campaigns and Shopping campaigns. For each product in your inventory feed, you'll be able to report and compare revenue, cost, and profit. Learn more.



Report outside the traditional campaign structure

Search Ads 360 feature: Labels

Labels make it possible to gain more insight by managing and report on campaigns, ad groups, ads, and keywords outside the traditional campaign structure. Instead of downloading performance data for campaigns and re-grouping the data manually in Excel, create and apply labels in Search Ads 360.

Report and optimize based on data from analytics tools

If you're using Google Analytics to track activity on your site, you can send the data collected by Google Analytics to Search Ads 360. Search Ads 360 reports can show the number and value of Google Analytics ecommerce transactions and conversions (goals), as well as attribute those transactions and conversions to keywords, ads, and other items in Search Ads 360. You can also create bid strategies that use the data to optimize bids. Learn more.

Add intelligence to reports

Search Ads 360 feature: Formula columns

A formula column applies spreadsheet-like functions to reporting data in Search Ads 360. When you need to apply your own calculations, such as weighting conversions based on their business value, instead of downloading the data and using spreadsheet functions, you can create a formula column in Search Ads 360.

Streamline reporting

Search Ads 360 features:

  • Saved views
  • Budget pacing in Budget management 
  • Executive reports
  • Saved views: You can add and remove data from standard reports, apply filters and segments, and then save the report as a saved view. Then you can easily return to the saved view at any time. Learn more.
  • Budget pacing reports: If you have weekly, monthly, or quarterly budgets for groups of campaigns, use budget management to automatically track how the campaigns are pacing to budget without having to extrapolate in Excel.
  • Executive reports: When it's time to present performance metrics to your clients or executives, instead of manually downloading detailed data and distilling it into useful summaries, create an executive report. A Search Ads 360 executive report displays your Search Ads 360 metrics in terms of revenue, costs, trends, and other high-level concepts, all formatted as charts and tables. You can share a link to the report, or download it for printing and sharing. Learn more.
Include offline conversions

Search Ads 360 features:

  • Integration with call tracking services
  • Upload offline conversions with bulksheets
  • Upload offline conversions with the Search Ads 360 API

If some of your conversions start online and finish offline (such as in a call center), Search Ads 360 will automatically have data about the online portion. If you want to provide data about the offline portion—to enhance your reports, for use in automated rules, or for optimization in a bid strategy—you canu se a call-tracking service that automatically uploads conversions, or upload conversions using the Search Ads 360 API or bulksheets. Learn more.


Bid optimization

Get started with automated bid optimization

Search Ads 360 feature: Bid strategies for manual keyword campaigns

Search Ads 360 bid strategies automatically adjust bids to achieve a particular goal. When set up correctly, they can maximize return on investment (ROI), find hidden opportunities, and reduce the time needed to monitor and change bids manually.

During month 1, start analyzing your historical performance data in preparation for using bid strategies for your manual keyword campaigns. Learn more.


Month 2

Campaign management

Drive revenue through long-tail keyword expansion

Search Ads 360 feature: Upgraded inventory management

Upgraded inventory management uses data about products in a Google Merchant Center inventory feed to generate campaigns, ads groups, ads, and keywords. Search Ads 360 monitors the feed and updates the campaign as your inventory changes.

Use upgraded inventory management to:

  • Drive revenue through long-tail keyword expansion: Automatically generate product-specific keywords, brand-specific keywords, and category-specific keywords for each product in your inventory.

  • Correlate ad copy with inventory account attributes: Generate ad copy based on price or description updates from the inventory account.

  • Tie the behavior of campaigns to inventory levels. Automatically pause campaigns or keywords when the related product is out of stock, and reactivate them when it’s back in stock.

Learn more.



Gain insight into upper funnel activity

Search Ads 360 feature: Attribution models

An attribution model determines how to distribute credit for a conversion across all of the activity in a conversion funnel. By default, Search Ads 360 reports give all credit to the last click that occurred before the conversion. If you want a Floodlight activity column, Google Analytics activity column, or Search Ads 360 bid strategy to give some amount of credit to clicks on paid search ads higher up in the funnel, you can use an alternate attribution model. Learn more.

Import Search Ads 360 data into other automated systems

Search Ads 360 feature: Reporting API

Search Ads 360 provides an API (application programming interface) that a computer program can use to automate the download of reporting data from Search Ads 360. You can combine the downloaded data with data you already have about your products, customers, and business goals (from a CRM system, for example) to produce big-picture reporting. Learn more.


Bid optimization

Monitor and adjust bid strategy performance

Search Ads 360 feature: Bid strategies

After running a bid strategy for 3 or 4 weeks, use Search Ads 360 reports and bid strategy forecasts to answer the question, "Could I get better results with different settings or keywords?" Make small adjustments to your target amounts, if needed. Check the forecast again after a few days. Continue making small changes once every week or two until you've reached your ideal balance of cost and conversions. Learn more.


Month 3

Bid optimization

Get started with automated bid optimization for Shopping campaigns

Search Ads 360 feature: Bid strategies for Shopping campaigns

After your Shopping campaigns have been running for at least a month, you'll have enough performance data to set up a Search Ads 360 bid strategy to optimize bidding. Learn more.

Evaluate bid strategy results

Search Ads 360 feature: Bid strategies

For the bid strategies that you launched in month 1 and adjusted in month 2, if you're satisfied that the bid strategy is performing as well as possible given your marketing goal, keywords, and business constraints, optionally run experiments to answer the question, "Does the bid strategy perform better than manual bidding or some other automated bid system?"  Learn more.


Month 4


Re-engage customers who have expressed an interest in your product

Search Ads 360 feature: Search to display remarketing

Search Ads 360, Google Ads display campaigns, and Display & Video 360 can work together to target display ads to audiences who have clicked on your paid search ads. This display remarketing from search helps you re-engage customers who have expressed an interest in your product or service by showing them relevant display ads on the Google Display Network (GDN) or across ad exchanges via Display & Video 360. Learn more.


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