Your guide to dynamic search ads | How to create and optimise them for better performance

Posted: 20 Sep 2022

With dynamic search ads, marketers can rely on Google’s automation to drive traffic to their websites. But just because the process is automated doesn’t mean it can’t be optimised. In this guide, we explain how to create dynamic search ads, why they’re important, how to optimise them and what the future holds for them. 

Why are dynamic search ads important?

Before we explain how to create dynamic search ads and optimise them, let’s first understand why you need them. Whether you operate in B2B or e-commerce, these are the reasons for you to start using them. 

Discover new keywords

The biggest reason for you to use dynamic search ads is that they will unearth new keywords for you. Even if you’re good at collating keywords, keep in mind that about 15 per cent of all searches on Google have never been performed before. 

When you research keywords using the Keyword Planner Tool, several of these keywords won’t be there only because nobody has searched for them before. The other reason is that the search volume for these keywords is low for Google to suggest them. Since searches are becoming more long-tail, now you’ll have a broader set of relevant keywords. 

Save time

It’s difficult to know what keywords customers might be using and this is especially true for long-tail keywords with low volumes. Since dynamic search ads use Google’s machine learning to discover keywords and create ads, there’s little need for you to do keyword research. 

Remember that websites routinely refresh their content and it would take a significant amount of time to manually update keywords. Dynamic search ads automate the process, allowing you to focus on high-value tasks. You also don’t have to spend time copywriting your ads except for description lines.

Identify gaps for higher conversion

Digital marketing teams often focus on their landing pages to optimise them for keywords. Dynamic search ads crawl your website to test pages that don’t get normally leveraged. This helps you identify gaps. A theme, topic or page that doesn’t get promoted could end up converting visitors.

When you analyse your performance data, you will discover what page layouts, content or format better resonate with your users and what aids their conversion. In that sense, dynamic search ads unlock conversion potential across a website and not just on its landing pages. 

How to get started with dynamic search ads

If you’re wondering how to create dynamic search ads and make them work for your website, the first step is to review your website. You need to go beyond the obvious digital assets including landing pages, look at all other avenues and optimise them to attract users. 

It would be helpful if pages on your website can have specific themes. These include blog topics, product pages, case studies etc. Keep in mind that your dynamic search ad targets should include pages based on category, content logic, page title and URL. 

Dynamic search ad targets don’t need to include sections such as investor pages, career pages and others that won’t help your marketing. What you need to give is enough pages with specific content and themes symbolised by unique keywords and phrases. 

When you add dynamic ad targets, you can choose categories that are recommended for your website, specific webpages or all webpages. With more pages, you will also have more insights for optimisation. 

How to analyse and optimise dynamic search ad performance

Start with your search term report and see whether your search words are converting well. You can use them in your dynamic search ads but your regular campaigns can help with bidding and controlling ad copy. 

Once you know what landing pages and keywords are performing well, it’s time to organise your pages by topic, theme, solution or product and create ad groups. This will help you understand which ad group works best. 

While you can’t control your ad copy, there are certain actions you can take to better manage it. Go through your search terms report in dynamic ad targets which will show you the search terms your ad showed for, along with the headlines that the ad used and the landing page it served. 

You can select specific landing pages to be your dynamic ad targets. Ensure that there is enough content on these pages since dynamic search ads will be limited in the keywords they can target. 

If you’re not satisfied with the headlines in your ads, you can either change the content on the landing page or add it as a negative dynamic ad target. You can also add two description lines with specific messages to impress users.

Optimising DSAs for quality conversions

High cost per action (CPA), low conversion rates and unqualified traffic are some of the most common issues marketers face with DSAs. If you face any of these problems, here’s what you can do:

Keyword exclusions

Begin by identifying keywords with the largest volume from your search term report. This shows you how your marketing budget is being spent. Exclude unnecessary keywords by selecting ‘Add as negative keyword.’ 

You should also avoid general themes that may not get you the intended results. Instead of individually excluding them, you can add those generic keywords as negative keywords to the campaign or ad groups.

Landing page exclusions

If your goal is to direct traffic to a particular page or encourage a specific action, focus on those pages and exclude others. For example, if you want users to sign up for your newsletter, download an ebook or register for a product launch, exclude pages that don’t support these goals. 

On the box within that particular row, click on ‘Add as negative URL.’ You can either use precise URLs or rules based on category, page title, page content or URL logic. 

Audience targeting

Another way to optimise your dynamic search ads is by testing them with your first-party audience group. This needs to be large enough to gather a significant number of impressions. 

Since this group is vital to your goals, serving impressions with or without a click is important even if they don’t end up converting. Your DSA campaign will improve with better quality traffic once you layer audience targeting. 

The future of dynamic search ads

We’re only at the early stages of incorporating machine learning to optimise search. Dynamic search ads will continue to evolve and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if they phase out keywords at some stage. 

As machine learning takes over more aspects of digital marketing, it’s important for marketers to test out the new features. Think of it as opportunities to use real-time data to acquire users and optimise performance. if you need support with this, hire an SEO consultant

The bottom line

Dynamic search ads allow marketers to focus on strategic goals by automating keyword searches. As this guide to dynamic search ads shows, automation in digital marketing is set to continue to play a prominent role in in the sector, so it is wise to be prepared.  

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