What are dynamic search ads?
Dynamic search ad campaigns don’t use keywords like traditional PPC campaigns, instead they show dynamic ads (automatically) based on the content of your website. When creating DSA campaigns you don’t specify keywords but pages from your website that Google will use to generate the ads.
This means that you don’t have to worry about creating and maintaining a list of keywords but you can specify for which pages of your website you want to get adwords traffic and Google will do the rest.
When creating the ads for your campaign, Google will choose the ad headline based on your content (and search phrase) as well as the landing page URL. You can specify the description of the ad (2 lines up to 35 characters each) and the display url.
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Why you should use dynamic search ads in your PPC campaigns?
There are a number of reasons why you should use DSA in your PPC campaigns.
#1 – They are very easy to setup
You don’t have to go through the process of keyword research, setting match types or creating too many ad groups. With DSA campaigns you specify the website url, create a set of ads and you are ready to go.
#2 – You still have control on the content and when your ads will be shown
You don’t need to add keywords to your campaigns but you can add negative keywords to control for which query to show your ads. In addition, you can also select the pages of your site that will participate in DSA campaigns.
#3 – DSA campaigns can run in parallel with your search and display campaigns
The really great advantage of DSA campaigns is that they can run in parallel with your normal campaigns without worrying about targeting the same keywords or having any other ‘duplication issues’.
The adwords system is clever enough to distinguish between normal ppc campaigns and DSA and will show your non-DSA ads for search queries that are a good match. It will only show DSA ads for search queries that you don’t already have in your other campaigns (or even your whole account).
#4 – It’s a great way to find new keyword opportunities
As explained above, the fact that DSA campaigns don’t compete with your normal campaigns allows you to run DSA to find out what other search phrases are good candidates to add in your search and display campaigns.
For example suppose that you have search campaigns targeting certain keywords, you can also create DSA campaigns and run them in parallel. Adwords will show dynamic ads when people search for keywords that are not included in your search campaigns (and are not also in your negative keywords). After a couple of weeks, you can review the SEARCH QUERIES that triggered the DSA ads and decide which of these keywords to add in your search campaigns.
It’s like fishing for keywords but letting adwords to do the tough job.
Who should use Dynamic Search Ads
Any type of business can benefit from DSA and they definitely worth a try to see if you can get some good results. They are particularly useful with:
- Websites that have a lot of products and services
- Websites that have prices that change frequently (but not daily)
- Websites that have search and display campaigns runnings and want to find out new keyword opportunities
- DSA can also serve as a testing tool when you want to explore new markets. You can quickly setup a DSA campaign and see what kind of queries you can get, cost etc.
Best Practices for using Dynamic Search Ads
#1 – Monitor and optimize
The fact that DSA campaigns are easy to setup doesn’t mean that they don’t need monitoring and optimisation. After you setup your initial campaigns you need to monitor search queries and add negative keywords to exclude queries you don’t need.
As the campaigns grow, you can also add in the negatives search queries that did not create any conversions.
#2 – Don’t be afraid to start with broad targets
When you set up a DSA you can choose which pages or parts of your website to use in the campaigns. It is a good practice to let adwords use your website as whole and then depending on the results you can narrow down your targets to the pages you want.
The main idea of using DSA is to find missing opportunities and this has a better result if you allow the system to use all the pages of your website.
#3 – Separate ‘Winners’ from ‘losers’
Once you have enough data in the campaign reports, you can create targets with your winners and losers. In other words you can group pages that perform well together and add a more aggressive bit and pages that you still want but are low performing in a separate group.
#4 – Use ad extensions and device targeting
DSA work with ad extensions so make sure that you activate them. They also work with devices so you can adjust your mobile bids as usual and create mobile specific ads.
#5 – Test different ad copies
You cannot change the ad headline since this is dynamically generated by Google but you can still change the description (2 lines) so there is room to make your A/B tests and find ad copies that perform better.
#6 – Give DSA time
Dynamic Search Ads need more time to deliver some good results so be patient and give it some time before making a final decision whether to stop using them or not. One of the reasons is that they have less priority than your normal campaigns so if you already have good performing search and display campaigns, it may take some time for DSA to collect enough impressions and clicks to generate conversions.
Dynamic Search ads and SEO
How are DSA and SEO related? In an indirect way. Google is using their website crawling mechanism to read and understand the structure of website and use that in DSA campaigns.
A website that has an SEO optimized structure, with good categories, proper page names, titles etc, will perform better in dynamic ad campaigns compared to a website that is not SEO friendly.
When not to use DSA?
DSA have a number of advantages and they can offer a lot of the ppc benefits to businesses but there are some cases that are not suitable:
#1 – If you sell products or services that change prices on a daily basis – Dynamic search campaigns cannot handle last minute content changes so if you change your website content (prices, adding new offers on a daily basis that have a short expiry date), then you can keep to keyword-based campaigns.
#2 – Non SEO friendly websites – If your website is not optimised for SEO then it will be very difficult to setup your DSA targets correctly and may be it’s better to avoid them altogether.
#3 – When long tail keywords are not useful for your business – DSA are good in surfacing long tail searches and if these are not useful for business purposes (this is a rare case but it’s a possibility) then you can stick with your keyword-based campaigns.
Dynamic search ad campaigns are very easy to use and you can definitely give them a try and see if they can add value to your ppc efforts. They will not compete directly with your keyword-based campaigns so you can use them without worrying about raising the bids for your target keywords. When starting with DSA monitor them as usual, optimise them and give them enough time before to decide if you will keep them or not.
If you found this article useful, read also my ppc tips for beginners, you may also like it.