Preparing for the holiday season with SA360

And just like that, the holiday season is around the corner with only a few months before we see peak activity for retailers.

As consumers are still adverse about going to the shops and with more restrictive measures being taken in the UK, Europe and around the world we can, with no surprises, expect to see record online activities in 2020.

This time of year will be even more important as retailers will be looking to make up for the lost revenue in the first half of this year and consumers will be looking for more offers. So how can marketing teams capture this dynamic market trend? In a few points, we are going to go through how SA360 can help you achieve more this year at a time when search teams will be stretched and will barely have time to sit down for a coffee and catch a breath.

1. Save time with automation

Automation has come a long way in just a few years and has been greatly improved by taking more signals into consideration and much better at responding to changes. You should now take advantage of automation so you can leave manual optimisation on the side and focus on more strategic and valuable work for your account. By using automation, we expect to reduce account management by 20%.

Our recommendation is to implement your bid strategies following the best practices and based on your business objectives. By launching your bid strategies now, you will have enough learnings before you hit peak.

Here is how you can pick bid strategies based on your objectives:


SA360’s latest move has been a switch from intraday bidding to Auction-time bidding, enabling advertisers to take advantage of the sophisticated Google ads bidding algorithm and optimise toward a richer set of data using floodlights in SA360. You can now enable this across your performance bid strategies (CPA, ROAS or budget bid strategies) by ticking the box in your bid strategy. By optimising bids more frequently, auction-time bidding is more responsive to changes in the environment and advertisers that have adopted it have seen better results. 

If you are running e-commerce and shopping campaigns, it’s worth noting that only ROAS targets will use auction-time bidding to optimise your shopping activity. Smart shopping campaigns can only use Google Ads Maximise conversion value bid strategies and therefore cannot be optimised by an SA360 bid strategy. 

If budget is the priority, remember that you can use a budget plan combined with automation that will optimise toward your budget target and a target of your choice. We would recommend building your budget plans now so you can have everything ready and focus on your account performance during peak.

2. Plan seasonality adjustments

If you are planning to have promotional offers for Black Friday, you can take advantage of the seasonality adjustments in SA360 if you anticipate a major change in conversion rate (>30% day on day) as you launch a new flash promotion for a short period of time (2-3 days). This will inform the bid strategy ahead of the event that important changes to historic behaviour are going to happen. 

You can also adjust directly your CPA or ROAS target ahead of this event. 

Remember that you can also use this feature to your advantage to be more efficient if you expect a drop in conversion rate. For example, over a bank holiday in a particular market or after a certain event in the environment that might impact temporarily your activity and performance of your paid search activity. This can be very useful during these dynamic times.

3. Monitor, monitor, monitor

Automated bidding has come a long way and is now delivering what marketers are looking for. This doesn’t mean you should leave it all to machines to do the job and marketers have a key role in monitoring and anticipating the changes to come during peak. For these reasons, here are a couple of recommendations that will make monitoring performance easier using SA360.

Top 20 keywords

Label your top 20 keywords in the engine and review the auction insight on a daily basis during peak time. With brands investing more online this year, we can expect increased competition especially on key dates such as Black Friday which can impact the cost of the auction. Adjust your CPA or ROAS target as needed.

Exclusive reporting

Create an executive report to monitor key campaigns in one place. Plot metrics such as CPC and CTR that will inform you of increased competition and behaviour on your site and react accordingly to the metric changes.

4. Leverage the ad builder to roll ad-copy in bulk and minimise human error

You can already prepare your ad-copy in the ad builder if you are rolling out at scale generic or promotion copy across all your accounts. The ad builder enables you to roll thousands of ads from one template. The ad builder supports both responsive search ads and expanded text ads.

You can easily update the template in the event of a last-minute change in your ad-copy. The changes will be replicated across all ads across your accounts. Previously this may have taken hours to update depending on the size of your accounts and will save a great deal of time.

If you are looking to take this approach to the next level you can use business data that will dynamically input offers, shopping information, prices or discounts.

5. Use rules to ensure you are not missing on traffic and opportunities

We have listed below a number of rules that will help you monitor your accounts and campaigns during peak: 

  • Create rules to flag campaigns that are missing impression share due to budget over a certain threshold (>5% of example) 
    • If budget is no concern you can create rules to automatically increase your budget on a regular basis throughout the day
  • Create a rule to flag campaigns that are not seeing traffic and require your attention
  • Create a rule to flag disapproved ads to ensure all your new ads have gone through approvals as expected.

In the table below we have included how you can set them up:


Preparation is everything and whilst it’s hard to know what will happen next, we do know that this holiday season will be unlike any other, and more digital than ever. Throughout this key period, retailers should keep planning, as usual, this year and getting ready and being prepared ahead of time will be key to success this year. We hope the tips above will help you achieve this. To find more about how you can succeed with SA360, get in touch with our team.

To find out more about optimising for the holiday season, or to speak to the PPC team at Croud, get in touch.

by Benoit Le Gendre
21 October 2020



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