Dynamic search ads access your website content and deploy artificial intelligence to generate headlines, bids, and targeted search terms automatically. These easy-to-employ text ads are the Swiss Army knife of digital promotion: They work well in many situations.
Moreover, dynamic search ads (DSAs) are similar in concept to search engine optimization.
Something Like SEO
For SEO, you’ve carefully selected keywords and entities for all of your important pages. You focused on the technical side, ensuring that Google and other search engines can index your pages. You’ve also optimized the pages’ content, making them high converting.
In the end, you trust the search engine to present a specific page to a potential customer when that person submits a related query.
DSAs are similar.
When someone types a term into Google that closely matches the keywords and entities found on one of your pages, Google Ads dynamically creates a relevant ad and presents it.
Advertisers can optimize DSAs for sending traffic to a website or, if you have conversions set up, to generate ecommerce sales.
DSAs are a striking example of marketing AI. There are multiple reasons to use them.
4 Reasons to Use DSAs
No organic rankings. One of the reasons to pay for any search ad is to garner traffic for a term your website does not rank for organically — or at least not rank on the first page.
Unlike SEO, however, DSAs do not need from advertisers a list of keywords. Google Ads or Microsoft Ads do that for you.
Google could use its index of your site or a page feed to target landing pages.
The page feed takes the form of a CSV spreadsheet with a column for the page URL and a column for custom labels. Advertisers can use these labels to build ad groups within a DSA campaign.
Large business. One could argue that a well-organized, keyword-focused search campaign sending visitors to a popular, conversion-optimized landing page will outperform a DSA.
For large businesses, however, creating all of those well-organized, meticulously-built campaigns might be a challenge.
Imagine you have an ecommerce website with 5,000 or more pages. These pages might include millions of keyword phrases and search entities. Trying to build search campaigns for all of them would be daunting, if not impossible.
Savvy companies focus on the top-performing pages, developing campaigns for the products that will produce the most revenue. This leaves lots of pages unrepresented in ads.
Enter the DSA. It can target those unrepresented URLs and associated products.
Here’s an example. I’m aware of a company that targeted 1,362 pages not included in its Google search campaigns. The DSAs aimed at these long-tail pages generated 2,211 conversions in a month.
Small business. DSA campaigns can help small businesses, too.
While a large business might be unable to build traditional search campaigns for every page, a small business might not do it for any page.
An entrepreneur at the helm of a small ecommerce company has lots of responsibilities. She may need to focus on the supply chain one moment and holiday email marketing the next. In between, she addresses order fulfillment and customer service.
DSAs are a good option when you don’t have the time or expertise to check and optimize ad performance daily. Rather, you can invest a little time upfront and let DSAs drive traffic and sales.
Search term intelligence. DSAs are keyword research extraordinaire.
As a dynamic campaign runs, Google tracks all related search terms — the actual words and phrases folks queried. These words and phrases are a rich source of keyword opportunities.
For every search term, Google provides the number of impressions, clicks, and conversions.
Advertisers can take the top-performing terms and use them in new, keyword-driven campaigns.
As helpful as DSAs can be, there are concerns. DSAs can cannibalize traffic from other ad campaigns and from organic results. And DSAs sometimes result in higher acquisition costs and a less-than-perfect customer experience.
Let’s consider these in turn.
Cannibalization. DSAs can target search terms that match keywords in other campaigns or ad groups. This is especially true if a DSA is in the same campaign as a standard ad group. Don’t do that.
DSAs may also cannibalize organic traffic. For example, DSAs commonly target an advertiser’s brand name. Odds are good your company would also rank for your name organically. Thus you might end up paying for clicks you would have received for free. This could happen with product names and long-tail topics, too.
Acquisition cost. Not all landing pages targeted by DSAs are high converting. Inevitably, some of those pages will produce few conversions, but a DSA will still serve impressions and clicks for those poor performers.
Customer experience. Finally, remember that Google (or Microsoft) dynamically generates the headline of a DSA based on the content of the landing page and the search term.
If your site is not search optimized, the DSA could generate irrelevant headlines or search terms. Sending searchers to an unrelated landing page is a poor experience. In that case, it’s not the DSA’s fault. It’s your SEO.