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Automate Your Growth Using DSAs and Smart Bidding

Published: September 17, 2018

Author: Kaylee Lucas

Imagine you’re a digital marketer working for a fashion company. You’ve got 29 velvet bomber jackets on the website and the +pink +velvet +bomber +jacket keyword you built drove 80 conversions last month. You buy yourself a pink velvet bomber jacket and do a victory dance. Then, the seasons change. It’s not jacket weather anymore, and over time bomber jacket inventory clears out. By the time you realize it and pause your ads, you’ve spent $1,500 on people searching for a product you no longer have in stock.
Whether it is advertising for something that is out of stock, not advertising for a new product, or missing keyword coverage for valuable long-tail queries, this problem is all too common among marketers. What if I told you there was a robot who always knew what was available on the site, wrote ads for new products, and found all the most relevant traffic that your keywords might be missing? Enter Google Dynamic Search Ads.
First, the Googlebot crawls your website, looking at the titles and frequently used phrases. When someone searches, Google Ads determines if the search query is relevant to your product or service. If it is, Google picks the best landing page and writes headlines.
You can set up dynamic ad targets three different ways.

  • Landing pages: This works well if you have a clean website structure. You can include URLs by saying landing page contains /bomber-jacket, etc., and set up targets for each part of your website. This is my targeting structure of choice.
  • Categories: You can build targets using Google-defined categories such as outerwear or tops. I’ve found difficulty getting full website coverage using this strategy.
  • Page feed: Upload a list of the specific landing pages you want to target from a feed. Use this if your URL structure isn’t great and you have trouble getting full website coverage using Google categories.

But wait, there are even more ways to automate! Consider using one of Google’s Smart Bidding strategies such as Target CPA or Target ROAS. Smart Bidding incorporates contextual signals including the actual search query and ad characteristics. Other contextual signals include device, location, time of day, day of week, demographics and more. Smart Bidding also uses advanced machine learning to train its algorithms how to bid based upon these signals. The algorithm looks at which combinations of ad and query perform well together, automatically bids up/down, and adjusts the ad based upon performance. Using Smart Bidding in conjunction with DSAs automates the process of searching for additional relevant traffic, bidding it appropriately, and creating the most compelling ads. You can automate your growth! Also, the more you grow, and the more data you are feeding the Smart Bidding algorithm, the smarter it gets.
Pro Tip: If you are using Alpha/Beta structure, add your beta keywords as phrase match negatives to the DSA campaigns. This will keep your campaign structure as mutually exclusive as possible! (I don’t recommend adding them as broad match modifier negatives because it limits volume too much.)
Finally, here is a graph of conversion volume and CPA after we restructured an existing DSA campaign to use landing page targeting and Smart Bidding.

The restructure occurred in January. Landing page targeting increased our total website coverage, driving up conversions 350x from December to April. I enabled Smart Bidding once we reached the necessary conversion threshold. Changing bid strategies resulted in a 58% improvement in CPA. DSA conversion volume increased from less than 1% of total Google Ads conversions to 28% of total Google Ads conversion volume. Furthermore, DSAs did not cannibalize existing non-brand campaigns. Total conversion volume grew 176% from December to April. DSAs drove 57% of the growth.

  • DSAs help advertisers ensure full coverage for relevant search queries, automate ad copy writing, and ensure ads reflect what’s available on your website.
  • Utilize landing page targeting to structure your DSA targets into meaningful buckets.
  • Utilize Smart Bidding to incorporate contextual signals such as search queries and ad characteristics.
  • Make your structure mutually exclusive by adding your beta keywords as phrase match negatives to your DSA campaign.

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