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Using Google AdWords Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) are one of the varied campaign formats that can be used by Google AdWords advertisers to help increase search coverage for paid ads, particularly for advertisers with large websites, or ecommerce stores with multiple products. DSAs are linked to the pages on a website that are indexed by Google and therefore driven by the content of the website.

When using a Dynamic Search Ads campaign, Google AdWords will use details from your indexed web pages in the Google search database to decide whether to enter an ad into the auction for a given search query. Assuming it judges the search query a good fit, it dynamically generates an appropriate headline and landing page to show to the searcher.

Another way to think of DSAs is like the text ad equivalent to product listing ads. With Google Shopping, you give Google a feed of all your product information and set bids based upon information contained within that feed. With DSAs, Google grabs the information it needs from your site and targets it based upon that information.

Marketers who should use DSAs are e-commerce advertisers with thousands of items in stock and a huge inventory of landing pages, making it a useful technique for sites that have a constantly changing mix of products. Another method is when AdWords advertisers may have an extensive website of content who may want to target a wider range of ‘long tail’ search terms that aren’t currently covered by the standard keyword targeting techniques.

There are three key positives to using DSAs:

  • No one wants to spend hours every week uploading new products (or keywords) and pausing ones no longer sold. DSAs will take care of this without the associated costs that come with using a specialist advertising platform.
  • The dynamic advert headlines aren’t limited to just 25 characters.
  • This is a much better way to mine for new keywords than the traditional keyword planner. Where that planner tool is effectively ‘blind’ to your specific products, DSAs will be harvesting data from your site and so having it running in the background makes sure you don’t miss out on changes in user behaviour or new keyword trends.

However, there are also two key negatives – firstly, you give Google a lot of control over your ads, not only where they’re pointing, but also what they say. And secondly DSAs also cross the SEO-PPC bridge, so that if your website contains poorly optimised title tags or page content, for example, matching the right query to the right product is going to be trickier for Google. So DSA product targeting used to be a bit poor on accuracy, but they are a lot better now and perform extremely well when properly optimised. Setting up DSAs is relatively straightforward, however they tend not to do well without careful monitoring and optimisation.

DSAs are designed to sit in the background and catch any traffic that might have fallen through the cracks of your existing campaigns. This means you’ll need to do the fairly arduous job of adding in all existing positive keywords from your account as campaign-level negative keywords for your DSA campaign. In addition to this, checking the search query report will help you ‘trim the fat’ out of your campaigns and so running these regularly is the key to running a successful DSA campaign.

As it’s not possible to control the advert headlines, the 2 description lines can be edited and tested, often with a strong offer or call to action. Optimising ads is also the best way to improve a DSA campaign’s structure, by comparing the search queries for each ad group against the ad copy and then writing something more relevant. Finally, and crucially, to get the best long-term ROAS (return on ad spend), separate the top performing DSA search queries into their own adgroups and compile highly relevant advert creatives.

You can read more about DSAs here or if you would like more information about how we can help maximise the use of DSAs in your AdWords account, contact us now – we are one of Australia’s leading AdWords consultants since 2006.