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Continuing the Discussion About Dynamic Search Ads

We first shared an in-depth analysis of Dynamic Search Ads here on our blog last fall when they were announced by Google as being in open beta.

Based on the experience we’ve had using the feature with a variety of clients, Google invited us to share a bit more perspective over on their AdWords blog and to answer any additional questions readers might have here in our comments section.

So, fire away!

 

  • Mark Ballard
    Mark Ballard is Director of Research at RKG.
  • Comments
    9 Responses to “Continuing the Discussion About Dynamic Search Ads”
    1. Please feel free to comment on this post as a discussion board. What’s working? What isn’t? What are the must haves to make the product work? In case you missed it in our last post on DSAs, here’s a brief summary of tips:

      - Target specific pages/categories/manufacturers to segment bids and ad copy
      - Exclude non-goal orientated pages
      - Use negative keywords, just as you would any AdWords campaign, and update them regularly based on Search Query results
      - Add new (positive) keywords back to your core AdWords campaigns after DSA discovery

      What are others finding to add to their ‘DSA Survival Guide’?

    2. Kristin says:

      Hi, thanks for the useful insights in this articel. I’m using DSAs for two months now and have some questions. In the post you mentioned it’s possible to see the generated headline (“With Dynamic Search Ads we can see every search that triggers a dynamic ad, the headline generated, the landing page selected, and, of course, performance stats.” ), can you explain, where you can find that? I haven’t found that in Adwords yet, the same for the selected landing page.

      You also mentioned, that the DSAs are compatible with your tracking and reporting systems, I wonder which one you can recommend to use? As far as I know the tracking system I use isn’t comaptible (Efficient Frontier).

      Thanks for your help,
      Kristin

    3. Tom says:

      Hi Mark,

      do you have any details about the nature of the algorithm google uses for this? From what I understand it it separate from the usual spiders and algorithms, but i’m curious to find out how reliable it is to rely on DSA to e.g. only target in-stock products. How often would pages be spidered to determine stock status?
      Also, how does google determine categories. On our clients’ accounts we see a lot of cases where the automatically picked categories are not very specific and not top level (e.g. the category pre-orders appears as a sub category of many other categories so it is meaningless to target it without more level of detail ).
      Our clients would love to hear from Google if there are best practices that enable google to interpret site structure better and how to cater for DSA.

    4. Andy Miller says:

      I have been testing DSAs with one of our clients to target the best categories on the site, it has worked quite well but no where near the CPAs seen in our “manual” campaigns.

      The problem I am finding is that some site categories have products with a wide range of values, say £20, up to £300, in which case CPCs and performance will vary. In this situation what would your recommended strategy be? Would you create new ad groups for different price ranges?

    5. Mark Ballard Mark Ballard says:

      Thanks for the questions everyone.

      Kristin, we do a lot of tracking work on our back-end utilizing referrer logs and parameters like those for ValueTrack. That’s where we can pull the landing page Google selected. Re: seeing the exact headlines, good question, I’m not personally familiar with that aspect, so maybe someone else can weigh in. (edit: please see Matt’s comment below)

      For tracking/reporting, I believe most of the major agencies/tools are supported, including Efficient Frontier’s. If you’re having trouble figuring out the right setup, this support page may help:

      https://support.google.com/adwords/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1133262&topic=1387209&path=1713901-1713898-1710534&ctx=leftnav

    6. Mark Ballard Mark Ballard says:

      Tom,
      Great questions. I don’t know a lot of details about the DSA algorithm or crawl rates, but Google says that the serving utilizes “natural search-based technologies.” So, we can take that to mean it’s not identical, but whether or not pages associated with DSAs get crawled any more frequently, I can’t say.

      Re: categories, yeah, the ones Google automatically generates generally aren’t ideal for the reasons you gave. In my original post on DSAs, I suggested the URL or PAGE_TITLE targeting options are probably better choices for most sites, assuming there is usable information contained in one or the other.

    7. Mark Ballard Mark Ballard says:

      Andy,
      Good point. Product price can have a significant impact on revenue per click and therefore the cost per click we’re willing to pay. There’s no direct way to address this with DSA targets — maybe Google can offer one? — but with some effort, we can make some progress. If there’s a point where further segmentation is impossible with the existing options, it may make sense to simply exclude the individual product pages that don’t perform up to their segment.

    8. Kristin,

      The features described are available with the most recent upgrades to Google DSAs in the AdWords Interface. These can be found by selecting the ‘Auto targets’ tab in the interface, then selecting “See search terms…” > “All”, near the middle of the page. This will reveal the search query, headline used, category & landing page title for each DSA query.

      Regarding tracking I’d be happy to discuss the capabilities with you via email (matt at [our domain])

      Tom,

      Google hasn’t offered us any insights to their secret sauce, unfortunately. My gut tells me that the greater your domain’s rank is in Google’s eyes, the more frequently the site is spidered for content (like in-stock status). Regarding categories, they’ve stated that new ones should appear in the drop-down over time, but we often rely on URL, Page_Title and Page_Content. The product is still growing and developing, and I agree that a custom site map for DSAs would be a great idea!

      Andy,

      You hit the nail right on the head. Continue to refine your Page definitions “bucketing” your Dynamic Ad Targets to match your maximum willingness to pay for each click (based on performance). This can evolve over time, so the first step is segmenting, and the second is measuring individual Ad Target performance to determine the optimal bid.

    9. Curt W. says:

      Hi Matt-

      I’m interested in how you report on cost and click data specifically, so I’ll follow your advice and send an email (matt at [our domain]). I posted here just as a heads up!

      Best,
      Curt