What Are Dynamic Search Ads?

Last week, Google announced that Dynamic Search Ads would be generally available to advertisers within AdWords.  This feature has been around for about a year now, but it was only available in a limited beta.  So, if you’re like me and were not included in this beta, you’re probably wondering: “What are Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs)?”  Well, look no further; you’ve come to the right place!  With AdWords having multiple support pages on this topic, I’ve condensed their DSA description to summarize what you need to know about DSAs, how to set them up, and how this could help you.

 

What You Need To Know about DSAs:

  • Say Goodbye to Keywords: With DSAs, your ad will show based on the content of your website
  • Say Hello to SEO: Google’s organic search index of your site will determine what search queries your DSAs get impressions for. So basically, this means whatever keywords you currently rank for through SEO will determine your ad impressions, but you have to pay for these clicks and impressions.
  • Dynamic Ad Copy: The headline is the only dynamic piece of the ad copy, and it’s generated based on the search term.  The rest of the ad is based on a template that you create.
  • Targeting Groups of Landing Pages: Since you’re not targeting keywords, you can set-up your targeting to your entire website, or specific pages or categories of your site.

 

Not Everything’s Changing:

  • Keyword-based campaigns can run simultaneously. DSAs will not show when there’s an exact match to one of your keywords.  However, the DSA could be shown instead of the other ad if it’s a broad or phrase match.
  • Ranking & cost per click is calculated in the same fashion using your Quality Score and bids
  • Reporting on search queries, ad copy and landing pages that were used to generate your DSA, as well as the same cost per click, click-through rate, impression & conversion rate data will be available.
  • Ability to add negative keywords or ad extensions.

 

How To Set Them Up:

1.  Within AdWords, click on the Campaigns tab and click the +New campaign drop down menu & select “Search Network Only.”

2.  On the Campaign Settings page, select “Dynamic Search Ads.”

Dsa-adwords

3.  You can then proceed to creating your ad groups.  In the “Create an ad” section, make sure to click Dynamic search ad.  You can add tracking to your URLs as well.

If you leave the “Auto targets” sectioned as checked to “All pages” this will target all pages that are indexed for your website, including subdomains.

Dsa-adgroup

4.  If you don’t want to target every page within this ad group, you can target by categories, URLs, page title, or page content.  To do this, select the Add a group of webpages button from the “Add dynamic ad target” section of the Auto targets tab and choose which targeting method you prefer.  Here are a few tips:

  • Categories: Google sets themes around your website content, so in order to target categories accurately, you should choose from the pick list of AdWords categories’ rather than entering your own.
  • URLs: You can target pages with URLs containing certain strings that you specify so your parameters do not have to be exact URLs, but rather any URL that contains, for example, “/support”.
  • Page title or Page content:  Select these targeting types if you want to designate specific keywords that are in the Page title or the Page content of your landing pages.  If your keyword is cameras, your ad target will appear as “PAGE_TITLE contains cameras” or “PAGE_CONTENT contains cameras”.

 

How This Could Help You:

  • Save Time on Paid Search by Continually Investing in SEO: If you’re already optimizing your site for organic rank, instead of building out an elaborate keyword strategy and paid search program to match up with all of your landing pages, you can turn on DSAs to take care of your targeting.  Just don’t forget to check back regularly and add negative keywords to eliminate the irrelevant impressions and clicks that could be hurting your campaign.
  • Increase Relevancy & Quality Score: With Google dynamically generating the headline based on the query, this increases your chances of the headline exactly matching the keyword.  When this happens, the headline is bolded, bringing more prominence to its appearance, and hopefully generating more clicks (for an increase in Quality Score).
  • Drive Incremental Traffic: With keyword-targeted campaigns, you can uncover keyword opportunities by looking at what clicks you received from your search query report, but you’ll never know all the search terms you received impressions for. With DSAs, you can promote your website to more potential customers than you can reach with a keyword-targeted campaign.

 

Alright, this wraps it up! I hope this gives you a stealthy answer to your burning AdWords question: What are Dynamic Search Ads?  As an added disclosure, Google recommends DSAs for sites that have multiple products or services, any products or services that change frequently, or product or services that are seasonal.  On the flip side, small websites with less than 300 landing pages, daily deal sites, comparison shopping sites, affiliate sites, or customizable products and gift websites should refrain from DSAs as they wouldn’t necessarily help your ad program.

 

Thanks for reading! For more AdWords insights, follow me on Twitter or add me to your G+ circles.

 

  • Leslie Van Zee

    Thank you very much for clearing that up. I had seen the checkbox for the dynamic ads on Adwords recently, and wondered what that was about. Definitely going to give it a try.