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Dynamic Search Ads – Tips for Flawless Incorporation

Published: March 1, 2016

Author: Ryan Noonan

It seems these days that more and more advertisers are moving towards a keyword structure siloed by match type (think Alpha Beta). It’s the right move on many levels: it limits query hopping; accounts respond better to bid changes; and it lays the foundation for organization and growth, just to name a few positives.
But how do dynamic search ads effectively factor into the mix alongside all these keyword-based campaigns? Won’t there be some overlap within your account? Which searches pull from which campaigns?
We’ll cover this in detail later in the post, but first we’ll start with a brief primer: what dynamic search ads are, and why and how you should use them.
Ready? Let’s get started

What are Dynamic Search Ads, and what are they good for?

Here’s a quick memory refresh: unlike standard text ads that serve ads based on the keywords you target, dynamic search ads serve based on the content of your website.
They can be great for:

  • Businesses with content-rich sites
  • Businesses with an assortment of products where items change over time and keyword lists can be difficult to maintain
  • Additional volume and keyword exploration
  • Tech sites where people may be searching for part #’s or codes.

Just because you don’t have to manage keyword lists certainly doesn’t mean you can launch these ads and forget about them, so let’s break down some ways to set these ads up so that they provide value in your account.

Basic best practices

Firstly, if you’re going to run dynamic search ads, separate them into their own campaign. For the sake of organization, budget, and structuring your account, this will keep things very clean.
Secondly, target specific pages on your site. Don’t launch these ads and give them full reign over your entire domain. Selecting a page on your site to target will allow you to write more tailored descriptions in your ads and help to narrow the focus to specific areas.
For example, if one of your goals is to generate leads for an online yoga streaming service, create a yoga streaming ad group and use the “URL Contains” option to ensure that ads in that ad group only serve from content on that yoga page.
Finally, make sure that you have a robust irrelevant negative keyword list and that you’re scrubbing through search query reports for additional negatives on a regular basis.  This holds true for regular keyword-based campaigns as well but is especially important when running dynamic search ads.

DSA strategy for structure

Here at 3Q Digital we’re all about account structure and siloing keywords by match type with the proper negative implementation.  But as stated earlier, incorporating dynamic search ads into a siloed keyword strategy can be a bit tricky, so let’s break it down.
Google states that dynamic search ads won’t compete with exact match keywords in your account, but for searches pulling from keywords with one of the other match types, it is possible for dynamic search ads to compete and thus those queries could hop between the two based on the ad rank. If you start increasing or decreasing bids, that affects your ad rank, which affects which ads win out in the auction, and….well, you get the picture. You’ll inevitably find yourself in a situation where queries begin to hop between searches and bidding for efficiency becomes difficult.
Going back to our yoga example, let’s say you are running a siloed keyword structure so you have a campaign with exact match keywords and another campaign with the same broad match modified keywords. You have the proper negative mapping in place so that there is no query-hopping, but you’re looking to expand your reach with dynamic search ads. In order to ensure that these ads don’t compete with your broad match modified keywords, add those keywords as a negative list into your dynamic search ads campaign (don’t use the plus signs in the negative list).
This way you have coverage for exact match and broad modified match and then DSA explores for everything else that Google deems relevant based on the content of your site (if you’re also running campaigns with broad keywords, it may be wise to pause that campaign and test DSA against it to see which performs better). Now you have two campaigns to mine for additional keywords from the search query reports, and you know that you can still bid these campaigns efficiently because the negative structure limits searches from hopping.
Additionally, if you notice that your broad match modified campaign isn’t performing well or you’d like to test a dynamic search ad campaign instead, you can pause the broad match modified campaign while you test out the DSA one. (Don’t include the broad negatives if you do that! But do remember to add in your irrelevant negative keyword list!)

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