Understanding the New Search Ads 360 and Migration Considerations

2022-11-25 | Article | Insights

Search Ads 360 (SA360) for the past decade has pioneered the general search campaign management experience across all the well-known search engines such as Google search, Microsoft Bing, Yahoo! Japan, and Baidu by bringing them all under one roof. The consolidation and management of all search activities from one access point have enabled greater efficiencies and opened the door to automation possibilities that have helped performance marketers be more strategic and less operational. Despite these advantages, the adoption of Search Ads 360 was met with resistance due to it being yet “another tool” that needed to be learned, did not reflect the operational flow of the beloved search engines themselves, and the feature parity between Search Ads 360 & the search engines wasn’t always in sync.

Well, it looks like Google was listening, since we can see many of these concerns and challenges have been addressed with the launch of the new Search Ads 360. In this article, we will go through the latest features of the new Search Ads 360 and the considerations to take when migrating.

SA360 User Interface Revamp

When exploring the new Search Ads 360, the first thing noticed is the entire interface has been revamped and now looks more like the Google Ads interface. From the navigation sidebar, support features, and general account management to the account overview visuals & dashboards. Why does it look so similar? The new Search Ads 360, has been built using the same backend of Google Ads, which means launching features on both tools will become that much quicker.

The Overview page, for example, is the first page seen, which allows one to quickly view the overall performance of key metrics within what is called “Summary” and “insight” cards that give key insights into significant changes in performance.

  • Summary cards show the general performance of key metrics during a specific time period, selected in the date range.
  • Insight cards highlight important performance observations that may fall outside of the specified date range.

In addition to the user interface revamp, Search Ads 360 has also introduced a new structural change. The accounts are now organized in a hierarchy of manager accounts (previously agency account), sub-manager accounts (previously advertisers), and client accounts (previously search engine accounts). Through this structural change, more permission levels have been introduced to help manage access and data more granularly. For example, ​​a manager account or a sub-manager account can own items such as labels and other management data. Labels and other management data owned by a Search Ads 360 manager account can be accessed only by users with these Search Ads 360 permissions.

Feature Parity And Updated Terms

Feature parity has been a challenging topic for those who want to replicate the features of the various linkable search engines. With the new Search Ads 360, more is available. Now there is support for:

As seen below, when creating campaigns there is now more to select from:

In addition, certain features have been renamed and will be found in the new Search Ads 360 as the following:
  • Business Data is now “Custom Dimensions”
  • Formula Columns is now “Custom Columns”
  • Rules & Scheduled Edits is now “Rules”
  • Budget Management is now “Performance Center”

Other features like bid strategies and budget management (known as Performance Center) need to go through an upgrading process, which requires them to be eligible. Eligibility is signaled in the system itself and once it starts, the bid strategies and budget management will become read-only with no ability to manage, edit or create Search Ads 360 bid strategies and budget management in the previous or new Search Ads 360. Once the upgrade is successful, it will be possible to manage, edit and create bid strategies and use the Performance Centre to manage plans and budget in the new Search Ads 360. Finally, from a reporting perspective, the new Search Ads 360 is also available as a data source in Looker Studio to connect and create dashboards.

General Considerations

The new Search Ads 360 is still catching up to the legacy Search Ads 360 and not all product features are available from one to the other. To understand what is new, what is available, or what's changed, there is a section called the Experience Hub, where the information on all of this in the new Search Ads 360 can be used to stay up to date on all the features that are or aren’t fully migrated over and their status.

Since not all features are available, toggling back and forth between the new and legacy Search Ads 360 is still required, but lots of progress has been made to reduce this. To fully migrate, as seen with bid strategies & budget management, an eligibility audit can be made to make sure all features currently being used in the legacy Search Ads 360 can function as intended in the new Search Ads 360. Once there is a green light, the migration is quite straight forward but should be clear that it takes time, it is permanent and there is no looking back. That being said, performing a migration should be conducted in a period that does not conflict with any campaigns that either need lots of maintenance or during critical times for budget spending.


Overall the new Search Ads 360 presents an opportunity to meet the demand of mature performance marketers in need of automation, optimization, and general efficiencies in the management of various search engines. Google's use of the old and beloved Google Ads interface and upgrading it with the new Search Ads 360 features, was a great move to lower the learning curve and onboard users quicker than before.

To access the new Search Ads 360 and learn more, just click on the right-hand side of the current Search Ads 360 where a prompt can be found to jump right into the new Search Ads 360 experience.

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