Should we use Dynamic Search Ads?

Dynamic Search Ads, or DSAs as they are known in the PPC community, are not exactly new, but they are such a valuable ad type that we had to share our love for them.

The latest figures from Google state that 15% of everyday searches are new, and with 3.5 billion searches per day, that is a lot of brand new search queries. So what better ad format to add in than one that helps to discover and capture valuable queries that your keywords have missed? 

Unlike regular search ads which trigger ads based on keywords, DSA’s crawl your webpages to determine if search queries are relevant and if an ad should be shown. If we hit the jackpot and the smart bid strategy has determined that the intent signals are there, our ad will show. 

But, here’s the great part, the ad headline will be dynamically generated to be as close a match to the query as possible, based on the exact landing page or group of landing pages that we are targeting. 

What’s better than a super relevant headline? A super relevant headline that isn’t limited to 30 characters! Yes, that’s right, unlike expanded text ads and responsive ads, DSA headlines can be longer which makes them an excellent choice for products or services where a little more detail could get you the click.

Our top tips for effective Dynamic Search Ads

1. Let your business goals help you decide where in your account the DSA should sit

A well-debated topic for PPCers is whether you put your DSAs in a stand-alone campaign with some strong audience targeting, or as an ad group within an existing campaign. 

Ultimately, the business goals should be driving this decision – along with which smart bid strategy is being used.

Within established accounts, we are seeing strong results from adding a DSA ad group which targets a specific landing page. The result is often an ad group that is available to ‘sweep up’ any queries that the keywords have missed. This will be even more relevant with BMM keywords retiring and phrase match missing some of the longer-tail keywords.

2. Don’t forget your search term report 

Not only can we add in negative keywords, as we do with standard ad groups, we can also exclude underperforming URL targets. To achieve performance with DSAs they do require proper management – don’t set and forget.

3. Multiple ads for best practice

Google still loves to test. Be sure to add in three expanded dynamic ads per ad group. If your ad groups are targeting categories of URLs, make sure your ads are relevant to the category and don’t forget your extensions! If certain pages or products start to perform, pull them into their own ad group and use the opportunity to tailor the descriptions further.

4. Great time savers 

DSAs are an excellent choice for websites with a large volume of products or experiences. During the setup process, Google will suggest categories from your website, if this option is too broad or doesn’t suit your account structure, you can choose to target specific pages or create rules e.g. URL contains /hats

5. Include negative targets

Just as we can add specific pages from a website that we want to target, we can also exclude pages, so take the time with your DSA set up to avoid showing ads for your website’s Ts & Cs, and other pages which are not focused on achieving conversions.

6. Watch them closely

As with any new campaign or ad group, DSAs need watching closely at the start to ensure they don’t eat away at your budget. Even with all your due diligence, and negatives in place, DSAs can still throw some curveballs and show for some searches that you weren’t expecting…

Closing thoughts

While they won’t work for all accounts, they are a great ad format to trial to help discover missed opportunities and to test landing pages such as blogs that you might not target with your regular keyword campaigns. 

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