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Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic Search Ads

Contents:

 

AdWords – Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic Search ads are clickable links that deliver traffic to your website but with dynamically generated components.
Ads are the account components that are shown to users / searchers making them unique in that respect. All other account components, such as keywords, campaigns, ad groups, etc, are not things people can see.

Ads is an abbreviation of the word ‘adverts’, they are the gateway to your site from paid advertising and as such are a very important object. You may also be interested in learning more about other ad formats

Introduction to Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic Search ads (DSA’s) are only available on the search network and although very similar to text ads, which they essentially are, they have two dynamically generated components. These dynamically generated components are created by Google and are based on their websites crawling algorithm. As such you lose control over these components:

  • Headline
  • Final URL

Dynamic Search ads are a type of text ad; we have already covered most of the components of Dynamic Search ads in our guide to text ads, we recommend that you read that first if you are new to AdWords or are unfamiliar with the ad components being described here.

DSA’s are ads used as part of dynamic search campaigns and one of the primary purposes of DSA’s is to operate in the background, capturing anything existing campaigns may have missed.
Dynamic Search Ads are only available for the "Search Network only" campaign type. 

Components of Dynamic Search Ads

We cover all components of text ads in our guide to text ads; in this guide we just cover the components specific to Dynamic Search ads. The image below shows the options for dynamic search ads when using AdWords online:

Dynamic Search Ads

The below screenshot shows how this looks when using AdWords Editor:

Dynamic Ads

Headline

The headline of a dynamic search ad is created automatically from the matched search terms entered into Google search in combination with the title of the page Google determines to be the most relevant.

Final URL

This is the page on your website that Google determined to be the most relevant.

Pros of Dynamic Search Ads

We have itemised the main benefits of using dynamic search ads below:

eCommerce Sites

eCommerce sites could certainly benefit from dynamic search ads as they typically have a lot of landing pages (product pages). Dynamic search ads can be used to automatically target these pages and thus provides quick and easy scalability.

Thousands of Landing Pages

An extension of the above benefit, there is an obvious advantage to rolling out dynamic search ads for any site with a large volume of landing pages. Because of the way in which dynamic search campaigns are setup they target either sections of the site or the whole website. As opposed to making each individual ad, dynamic search campaigns are much faster to produce.

No Character Limit Headlines

Removing the limit for headline characters is a distinct advantage over all other ads, which have to work within this limit. Providing more SERP real estate and potentially being more relevant to the searcher.

Keyword Mining

DSA’s can help you to uncover new keywords, which can be added to Search campaigns, allowing you to expand your campaigns, ad groups, and keyword lists to improve targeting with ad copy. Because Dynamic Search Ads run in the background, acting as a net to pick up any search terms to being effectively targeted, they can help you to find a whole range of new terms.

Capture Additional Traffic

As mentioned above, DSA’s can capture additional traffic missed by existing campaigns using keywords to target users’ search terms. This can help to increase total traffic and deliver it to relevant landing pages.

Time Saver

As we have alluded to in previous commentary, probably the single biggest benefit to users of dynamic search ads and campaigns is to save time. The setup and rollout of dynamic search campaigns is quick and easy, especially for large sites.

For smaller sites or lead generation sites, there is still some time saving but the cons often outweigh the benefits if not used in conjunction with non-dynamic campaigns.

SEO / Paid Search Crossover

We cover this as a downside in the section below, but if your site is optimised well for its target keywords using DSA’s can help you to understand how Google see’s your site from an organic SEO perspective. This can provide valuable insights as Google uses SEO components such as Page Titles, H1’s among many factors to determine what a page is about.

If you find that Google is sending traffic to less relevant pages, this may be a strong indication that your website is not optimised well enough.

Cons of Dynamic Search Ads

Although there are many appropriate and relevant applications of dynamic search ads, there are also some downsides, which should be noted.

Frequently Changing Content

If the content on your site changes regularly and / or is not indexed frequently by Google you may find that the pages being selected by Google’s algorithm may not be the most relevant. This can reduce engagement and conversions rates. In turn this can lead to the false impression that the traffic is low quality or not relevant, when in fact it is the poor landing page that is affecting core performance metrics.

Poorly Optimised Sites

For sites that are poorly optimised or designed in such a way as to be unreadable or hard to read by Google, results may be a mixed bag. As the landing page and target keywords are determined by Google’s algorithm, a site that has not been optimised for Search will not necessarily be able to provide the best landing page or have it matched to the most relevant search terms.

Less Control

This will sting for some SEM / PPC account managers who may strongly resist relinquishing control of their campaigns to Google! There are several components of DSA’s which cannot be controlled by the account manager, consequently a significant amount of reviewing and analysis needs to be undertaken to manage these campaigns and prevent them from running wild.

Less Relevant Traffic

As a continuation of the above statements… it is possible that traffic from DSA’s will be less relevant than more typically generated traffic. This requires frequent and regular reviews of search terms reports to find negative keywords.

How Dynamic Search Ads Work

Rather than using keywords to target users, Dynamic Search Ads / Campaigns use Google’s organic algorithm to match website content to search terms that might be relevant to your products and services.

The screenshots below shows what to select when creating a dynamic search campaign, initially you will need to choose ‘search network only’:

How Dynamic Search Ads Work

Then once you select dynamic search ads from the options (see below), you will be ready to start choosing your targeting options.

Make a Dynamic Ad

Landing Pages

The broadest way to setup a dynamic search campaign is to choose the entire website and allow Google to determine which pages and content will be matched to users.

You can however be much more granular in your approach to setting up DSA’s… For example, you can choose categories or rules to determine groups of pages and products. A good example of this would be an international money transfer company targeting geographical regions, which correlate with their offerings in those countries.

Advanced options include rules that create groupings of content based on things like:

  • Page titles containing specific words
  • URLs containing specific text strings
  • Pages containing specific words

These more advanced options curtail the scope Google has to determine and control how and when campaign ads are shown and to who they are shown.

Dynamic Search Ads Vs. Keyword Based Ads

If you are running keyword based campaigns and dynamic search campaigns, you may wonder what ads will be triggered and when… if the search term exactly matches the one of your target keywords, the dynamic ad will not be triggered.

Where a search term is broad or phrase matched to a keyword Google will typically show the ad that will have the highest ad rank, which could be the dynamic search ad.

Both of these scenarios apply only to ads that exist within the same account or multiple accounts belonging to the same owner.

Existing Campaign Keywords as Negatives

If you are setting up dynamic search campaigns to run parallel with existing campaigns, it is important to add all keywords already being targeted in existing campaigns as negative keywords to the dynamic search campaigns.

Control

The following components are completely under your control when using dynamic search ads:

  • Ad targets
  • Ad templates
  • Bids
  • Budget
  • Negative keywords
  • Ad extensions (these work as usual)

Ad Rank and Dynamic Search Ads

Ad rank is calculated in the same way during auction as with any other ad based on the CPC bid and the quality score derived from historical data and relevance between the ad, keyword, and landing page.

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