Now that we’ve brushed up on our location bidding skills, let’s explore the next key element to a successful PPC strategy: Dynamic Search Ads.

But…what are Dynamic Search Ads?

Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) can be a huge time saver, particularly for advertisers with a vast number of products or services to offer, and those with highly structured websites. They are a powerful campaign type that can capture unique or long-tail searches that may be missed by your other search campaigns, which could result in sales or new leads, thus potential opportunities for expansion.

Let’s dig a little deeper. When a user performs a Google search for a phrase that is closely related to the content/titles that appear regularly on your website, Google will use this information to dynamically generate a relevant, tailored headline to match the search term. Then, if the user goes on to click the ad, they will be directed to a suitable landing page.

Example: A leading sports brand has thousands of running shoes available to purchase online. A potential customer types “trail running shoes”, and will then be served an ad such as:

If clicked, the user will be directed to the trail runners landing page of the website:

https://www.runfast.com/womens-trail-running-shoes

However, if said sports brand did not utilise DSAs within their Google Ads account, they may risk relevant searches slipping through the cracks, and therefore miss out on potential sales, or waste time and resource manually writing ads for new products or offers.

A similar effect can be achieved when we combine DSAs with remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) on the “targeting” settings. It is no secret that people make multiple searches during the consideration stage of their browsing journey, comparing products or services on different websites. Anything from coupons to the location of the service, or a specific product characteristic, can impact the decision-making process. DSAs can help you to reach users that have previously visited your website while researching and considering other options. Regular keywords might be insufficient to capture all of these searches. Therefore, by having an RLSA targeting only these people, you can be more flexible with bids and maintain a presence in all stages of the funnel.

In short, DSAs generate headlines and landing pages based on your website content, all you need to write is the ad description. Sounds simple enough, right? However, if you’re not careful and these aren’t set up properly and efficiently, your campaigns could pay the price. Let’s explore how they work.

How does DSA targeting work?

In the absence of keywords, matching user searches with information within your website or feed can significantly expand the reach of your campaigns. Therefore, it’s highly important that the targeting is just right, and you, the advertiser, is in control here.

There are a variety of targeting options to specify which of your landing pages DSA should use to match to searches. You can target groups of landing pages, or “categories”, which are automatically built based on your website. Alternatively, you can target at a more granular level, by targeting specific webpages, or Page Feeds. You can also choose to target your entire website.

When it comes to bidding, just like a text campaign, DSAs are based on a cost-per-click (CPC) model. However, as DSAs do not include keywords, you need to set bids for each auto-target, i.e. each individual web page or category on your site that you are targeting. Then your ad will appear in the search results page based on your ad rank: bid + quality score.

Sometimes, given the simplicity of the setup, advertisers might be tempted to create a campaign and chuck everything in there by targeting all webpages, trying to push as much traffic as possible to the site. We believe that the major misconception of the DSA campaigns is to think that, as everything is automated, DSAs don’t need a structure.

Following on with the running shop example, let’s say they sell flip-flops as well as trail shoes. On one hand, the average order value differs a lot from flip-flops to trail shoes. On the other hand, flip-flops are generally a more seasonal product than trail shoes. As a result, we might expect a significant difference on the ROI as well as conversion volume throughout the year, that’s why setting the correct bids is key here.

But wait, remember that we don’t have keywords, we only have webpage categories which cover flip-flops and trail shoes all together. If we were bidding £1 on the “shoes” category in December, we would definitely be overbidding on flip-flops. Therefore, it is best practice on DSA to segment your catalogue into different campaigns using negative keywords as well as negative ad targets, so you can bid according to the product theme ROI.

When are Dynamic Search Ads a no-go?

So DSAs have proven to be a powerful tool in enhancing the overall performance of your Google Ads account, however they’re not for everyone!

If there are changes made to your website on a regular basis, for example daily promotions/offers, then DSAs are not recommended. In addition, DSAs are best suited to well structured pages that are highly-optimised so that web content and themes can be easily identified. Google recommends that the site should have more than 1000 indexed pages to work properly.

Google also recommends a proper site structure. If the site structure is not “robot-friendly”, the GoogleBot might struggle to create the relevant category list and the matching could take a hit. Once the campaign is active, we would recommend checking which landing pages users are being driven to, removing irrelevant landing pages if needed.

Some other concerns involve the ad copy and landing page. Ad copy is important as it is the users first point of contact with the brand. If you see a certain query is driving lots of sales or leads, we would recommend creating a keyword to target those queries in order to match to relevant ad copy and landing pages.

Final thoughts…

To sum up here, lets run through the benefits of Dynamic Search Ads:

  • Time saving.
  • Catch additional traffic & discover new keywords.
  • Easy to set up and run alongside your standard campaigns.

But remember…use them wisely, and segment them properly.

In conclusion, when setup correctly and with proper management, DSAs can be a great product to fill any gaps in your current account structure and maximise opportunities for growth. However, tread carefully, as the high search volume can increase the cost of the campaigns a lot, skewing overall performance.

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