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30th October 2012 |  Written by

Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic Search Ads – Could it work for you?

Recently Google Adwords launched an advertising tool called ‘Dynamic Search Ads’ but ‘What is it? & How Does It Work?’

Dynamic Search Ads automatically show your ad based on the content of your website. It’s an advert that appears in the search network (similar to a standard text advert) however Google take content from the customer’s website to target their ads to searches.

So, instead of using keywords, Google search the customers website (using an organic search index) to determine which searches are relevant to products offered on the website. This can be a whole website or something more specific such as:

  • Pages belonging to a specific category
  • Title’s containing certain words
  • URL’s containing certain strings
  • Pages containing certain words

Once a match is found from the list above, Google will automatically generate a headline in the customers advert with a landing page that links to the most appropriate page.

The headline is put together dynamically by Google. They do this by taking the phrase the user has searched or from the content on the landing page chosen for the advert.

Important Details to consider:

  • The ads are affected by max CPC & quality score in the same way as regular text ads
  • It won’t affect the keyword ad position for the same customer when a keyword is typed in exactly however Google may show the Dynamic Search Ad instead of the keyword ad when the search term is a ‘broad’ or ‘phrase’ match term (if the Dynamic Search Ad has a higher quality score)
  • You can use ‘negative keywords’ for Dynamic Search Ads and can avoid using specific words from pages on the customer’s website in order to refine the search
  • You can get full reporting data/stats such as ‘Search Term Reporting’, CTR and most importantly conversion data
  • You can also apply ‘Ad Extensions’ to ‘Dynamic Search Ads’
  • Like text ads, you can apply additional ads to appear within the same ad-group
  • You can include three attributes per dynamic ad target (so you could target by category, the page title and a string in the URL). This would help refine the search and avoid unwanted clicks

Simple to set up?

Yes, the process seems to be relatively simple and obviously does not include hours of keyword research. To set up a new campaign, simply select ‘New Campaign’ – choose ‘Search Network Only’ – Enter the campaign name and select ‘Dynamic Search Ads.’ Enter the budget, CPC info in as normal. When creating an ad-group select {Dynamic Search Ad} in the headline of the advert and fill in the advert text as normal (see below).


Who will view the advert?

Underneath the advert select ‘Edit to Add Tracking’ and select the ‘Auto Targets’ section. You will have the option to ‘Select All Pages’ or add a ‘Group of Web Pages’ (this is also where you have the option to select a category). Next to dynamic ad targeting you can choose your group default bids then click ‘Save.’

It’s also worth noting, if you are using ‘Categories,’ Google will initially decide what categories appear via the organic search index. Dynamic Ads target 11 categories based on the website content. However if you don’t like any of the categories, you can apply dynamic ad exclusions.

Is it worth it? Google Beta Test Results = An average 5-10% increase in clicks & conversions for most customers. One Adwords user commented; “Using Dynamic Search Ads increased conversions by almost 50% with an average cost-per-conversion that’s 73% less than our traditional search ad!’

This has the potential to be a great time saving tool and could ultimately lead to a higher volume of conversions. It’s still early days for me to fully back this tool however I would certainly suggest giving it a trial run for a few weeks and continue to refine your search to see if the conversion rate is genuinely strong enough for your business.

Good Luck, Ben

Your Comments

  1. Can anyone tell me what their DSA’s average position is? I am finding that my quality scores are less than where I want them to be, and its effecting my positioning. I am being aggressive with my bids, so I’m assuming that that my quality score is my downfall, and the reason for my poor avg. positioning. Any suggestions on how to better my QS and avg pos. with out changing the content on my site?

    I get the feeling that because so much of this is automated that I wont be able to get a much better result…

    Any suggestions? Have you seen a avg pos better than 3.2? If so would could you take a screen shot of your ad? I would really like to figure this out how better my DSA’s.

  2. Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for your comments,

    Many have had similar issues with DSA. We trialled various ads, testing different messages, increasing Max CPC’s and so on. Although the average CPC’s remained relatively low we found the average position of all ads struggled to retain a strong position as you mentioned.

    It could be worth reviewing your search term report (In Adwords go to ‘Keywords’ – ‘Details’ – ‘Search Terms’) to see what your audience are searching before finding your ads. From there you can apply negative keywords to prevent your ads from appearing during poor/non relevant searches.

    Although the idea of DSA is really good and may work for some, targeting a relevant audience and retaining a strong ad position remains problematic so I would actually suggest sticking to regular search ads for the time being.

    Hope this helps, Ben

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