Gotta catch ‘em all
Within the realm of Search Engine Advertising the management and optimization of keyword targeting has always been a laborious task. On a daily basis 15% of all searches on Google.com are still brand new, which makes keeping up within this ever-changing landscape seem like a Sisyphean task.
Fortunately being omnipresent - even for auctions in search for queries that are brand new or for auctions that have not been covered by your current keyword selection - has only been a few clicks away since the launch of Dynamic Search Ads back in 2011.
Dynamic Search Ads or DSA for short have been around for over 8 years and offer a fast and efficient method to increase the keyword coverage of your products and services. When combined with a target-based smart bidding strategy, DSA can be especially powerful.
What are you waiting for?
According to Google between 85 to 90% of search terms targeted by DSA are new and incremental search terms that are not currently present in existing search campaigns or are not covered by existing keywords. This means that not running Dynamic Search Ads alongside your regular Search campaigns could mean that you are losing out on valuable traffic.
As a company, you want to reach every person who uses a search query that is relevant to your offer or business in general. Thanks to DSA you are able to increase your coverage without additional keyword management. In addition, dynamic search ads drive 35% lower CPAs and 15% higher clicks.
Besides the fact that using DSA is efficient and time-saving, there is full transparency thanks to the Search Query Report. This way you can stay in control of which queries your are being shown for by excluding keyword that may generate irrelevant traffic.
How to implement DSA within your current framework
DSA can be set at both campaign- and ad group levels respectively as a catch-all for multiple campaigns or within the targeting of an ad group. It is recommended to have separate campaigns for standard search and DSA when there are differences in terms of budget, bids and targeting.
If you would apply this targeting to the ad group level with non-DSA keyword ad groups, this could lead visitors to web pages that are not aligned with your campaign theme. This may result in a poor experience, which we want to avoid at all times.
Once you have implemented DSA within your campaign structure, Google gets to work! If a user query matches the content on your website, but you don’t have keywords that match the query, DSA will crawl your webpages and enter the auction.
This ad format uses dynamically generated ad headlines based on website content to ensure that the ad aligns as closely as possible with the user query. Descriptions in the ad are predefined during setup, which still allows for control of the message. In this way you can make sure that, in addition to a relevant headline, your USPs are visible as well.
Originally back in 2011, DSA used Google’s organic web crawling technology to index your website and decide for which searches to show ads. This is still the case, but has since then been broadened by an array of targeting options. Users can choose between five different targeting methods that differ in both specificity and reach.
Targeting all web pages within a DSA campaign offers the largest reach, but does require close monitoring and maintenance of negatives and exclusions to avoid irrelevant targeting.
A more viable option is targeting based on categories, automatically defined by Google’s crawling mechanism. This can also offer a good temporary solution for new categories for which campaigns have not been set up yet.
From a keyword coverage perspective, landing pages from standard ad groups offer both an expansion of reach along with sufficient control. Given that this method automatically expands traffic on web pages that are already being used within existing Search campaigns, it will only lead to high-priority, conversion-driven web pages.
Within a more controlled method, targeting based on a Page Feed is also possible. This option does require more set-up and maintenance, but allows for more control.
A fifth option is to target only certain URLs or web pages with URLs that contain certain terms. This method offers the most control but does have a lower reach compared to other methods.
Whichever targeting method is used, adding negative keywords and excluding traffic you don’t want to be captured by DSA remains an important task within maintenance. Be sure to set this up properly and revise the Search Terms report on a regular basis.
Apart from this - given that Google uses data from your website - optimizing your website by making page titles descriptive and compelling is also a best practice.
DSA and smart bidding
When setting up Dynamic Search Ads at the campaign level you should always implement a target-based smart bidding strategy (tCPA or tROAS) to make sure that the incremental traffic you are capturing falls within your pre-established business goals.
Furthermore this allows you to set a cost per acquisition goal that is lower than the lowest average for your main search campaigns. In this way your DSA campaign will only catch valuable traffic and will not cannibalize on existing search campaigns. Within this framework, DSA campaigns should get an unconstrained budget or at least 10% of your daily Search budget to be able to allow the target-based smart bidding strategy to run properly. Your goal should be to reach a website coverage percentage upwards of 75%.
5 key takeaways for Dynamic Search Ads
If you want to expand your keyword coverage, adding Dynamic Search Ads combined with Smart Bidding can be a great addition to your Search campaigns. You benefit from this automation by focussing on all the potential traffic to your website. Here are the 5 key takeaways to remember when setting up DSA:
- Define a solid structure by creating separate DSA campaigns
- Use a targeting method that fits your needs and goals
- Make sure your page titles are descriptive and compelling as this input is used for the dynamically generated headlines in your ads
- Combine DSA with smart bidding to increase keyword coverage whilst maintaining your targets
- Reserve at least 10% of the daily Search budget for your DSA campaigns