Utilizing DSAs to Drive High Quality Traffic
Dynamic Search Ads allow advertisers to take advantage of Google’s improving search algorithms to drive high quality traffic to the most relevant landing pages. In order for advertisers to take advantage of DSAs, they must fully understand how they work & advanced strategies that empower them.
Paid Search Manager Lewis Brannon presented on advanced DSA strategies that drive traffic & increase campaign build-out efficiency.
There were a lot of questions we didn’t get a chance to answer – so here they are now with answers from Brannon.
Q. My dynamic campaign bounce rates are much higher than the rest of my campaigns, any advice here?
A. You want to go to the search terms report and check out your individual auto-targets tab within your campaign. In the details sections you will see the search queries that are triggering your ads.
Look at what landing pages Google is sending them to. This is going to be a great opportunity for you to optimize off of that info – because likely what you are going to find is that the way Google is categorizing your content is not optimal.
What they could mean is that either your website is not built well for DSA or you have a “too basic” of a campaign set up (should utilize more stacking rules or exclusions) to hone in on these targets better so that you’re sending relevant traffic to relevant pages because what you’re probably dealing with is an irrelevancy problem. Meaning – you’re getting poor traffic into the landing pages and they are bouncing quicker than you would like.
Q. Can you set negative keywords on dynamic search ads like you can on text ads?
A. Yes, you absolutely can – in the same exact way. The benefit to this is – there are two main strategies for DSA in terms of negative keywords. You can add all of the keywords that you are currently bidding on (in your standard text ad campaigns) as negatives in your DSA campaign.
What this does is it makes your DSA function as a “last line of defense campaign” to catch anything you’re not already bidding on through standard keywords. You can also use negative keywords the same way you do in any other traditional campaigns. You can add negative keywords at the ad group level or campaign level and you can block searches the same way you would for any other type of campaign.
Q. What do I do if I don’t have the best website structure? What would you recommend me do in order to utilize Dynamic Search Ads?
A. I would recommend you do not run Dynamic Search Ad Campaigns if you are not relatively confident in the structure of your website. You are going to experience high bounce rates if your website architecture is poor. I would focus on long term enhancements to your website.
Q. What were your main concerns with Dynamic Search ads?
- Giving up some control over your ad messaging and landing pages
- Ads eligible to show for potentially less relevant traffic
- Need to consistently monitor query reports
- Doesn’t function well for unorganized sites
Pro-Tip: Keep in mind most of these drawbacks only apply if you are using a very basic campaign set up.
Q. Do you think Dynamic Search Ads are cannibalizing organic search traffic?
A. Not necessarily because I think you could ask that same question “are keywords cannibalizing organic search traffic?”. If you’re not running any search advertising and all of a sudden you start running search campaigns – you are likely to see a significant dip in organic traffic in the short term, especially for branded type searches.
No, DSA are not cannibalizing organic search traffic, not any more than standard keywords do. If anything – it’s finding pages on your website that are buried or obscure and it’s sending traffic to those pages that otherwise would not be found organically.
Q. What are the main focus points when optimizing Dynamic Search Ads?
- Mine for converting search queries and add negative keywords
- Never target an entire site with blanket bids only
- Customize ad copy as much as possible
- Stack targets and use exclusions
- Make targets leaner by excluding non transaction pages
Q. What type of results are you seeing with your clients across the board with Dynamic Search Ads?
A. Since the updates in 2015, I went back and looked at a subset of our accounts year over year to see how DSA has been performing. From Q3 2014 to Q3 2015 – we experienced big gains in conversions as well as big gains in ROAs through DSA campaigns. Overall we’re absolutely seeing an improvement with DSA campaigns. If you have a proper strategy in place these campaigns can absolutely be effective.
Q. How does Google determine the categories of the DSA campaigns?
A. What they look at is primarily page titles and the H1 of your pages and content (including trigger words that are repeated many times on your site). Google will bundle those terms together and group them into recommended categories.
Q. Do you see Dynamic Search ads replacing Standard text ads in the near future?
A. As the younger generation becomes more digital savvy and more averse to traditional PPC ads in conjunction with the advancements of Google’s organic search algorithm (Hummingbird), it’s quite feasible that DSA will become more prevailing or perhaps required. I don’t anticipate keywords are going away but a I predict a more blended approach will be necessary.
Q. Is the DSA auction different than the standard text auction?
A. They are actually in the same auction. Keywords compete against dynamic auto targets in the same auction.
Q. How will Dynamic Search Ads save me money in the long run?
A. In the long run, saving money is obviously not something I can guarantee but the thinking is – if you have a very well built out dynamic search campaign and you’re smart with your budget, DSA should perform as well (or even better) than a standard text campaign. It may not be the best option if you are looking to improve ROAs and your cost per acquisition in the short term, it’s more of a long term play out.