Optimizing Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) is a valuable product to help advertisers keep their AdWords campaigns effective and relevant.  DSA maintains a fresh index of your inventory using Google’s organic web crawling technology to help ensure ads are generated based on the most recent content on your website.

Since we’ve opened up the product to all advertisers last October, thousands of advertisers have successfully used DSA to target their websites.  On average, they’re getting a 5-10% increase in clicks and conversions and positive ROI.  Just like keyword based campaigns, DSA works best when it’s properly set-up and optimized.  In this post, we'll cover some tips and best practices for optimizing Dynamic Search Ads.
  1. Start off with broad targets
    Dynamic Search Ads helps advertisers target long-tail queries without having to create and manage a long list of keywords.  To realize the true benefit of DSA, target your whole website or large portions of your website to help identify segments of traffic never targeted before.

    Qoo10, an e-Commerce leader in Asia, used this technique and immediately benefitted from DSA’s ability to “fill the gaps” between their existing keyword coverage and what they sell online.  As Muhd Fitri Khamis, Qoo10’s Marketing Executive, notes: “If you start off with targeting a few pages rather than the whole domain, the results may not be as compelling.”  Today, Qoo10’s DSA campaign accounts for 10% of sales coming from AdWords campaigns and the CTR of their DSA campaign is 33% higher than other campaigns.

  2. Use negative targets
    Especially in the early stages of your DSA campaign, you should use the search terms and categories report to exclude searches and parts of your web site that you don't want to advertise or that underperform.  A good starting set of negative targets are any keywords you have paused or deleted in the recent past as well as any pages unrelated to selling products such as customer help pages and general FAQ’s.

    You can learn more about how to set-up exclusions to block certain pages of your website as well as how to add negative keywords in this Help Center article.

  3. Group highly related pages and products of similar values together
    Similar to keywords and ad groups, group highly related pages or products with similar economic values within the same target to increase ad relevance and ROI. For example, you might group your beach vacation rentals together in one target and group your ski lodge rentals together in another target.  You also might want to bundle high-priced, high-margin products separately from low-priced, low-margin products.  For example, group high-end electronics separately from accessories.

    You can do this by creating more narrow targets as explained in our FAQ’s.  This approach will help create more targeted ads for users and help increase ROI by setting different bids for products of different economic values.

  4. Use conversion optimizer or target CPA
    Dynamic Search Ads is best coupled with CPA based bidding.  CPA based bidding helps give you a more automated approach to bid management and by clearly defining your ROI goals, you can ensure that you will continue to hit your CPA goals even as you expand your campaign reach and as the content on your website changes.

    This combination worked extremely well for Soft32.com, a large software download company, who successfully combined DSA with Conversion Optimizer to automatically set-up campaigns targeting thousands of their landing pages - all while keeping within their target CPA.  Founder & CEO Lucian Todea said the company was able to take advantage of the power of the long tail, and within just a couple of months had seen DSA deliver a 15% increase in conversions.

  5. Don’t set it and forget it
    As your website structure and content changes, please make sure your DSA campaign is kept up-to-date to reflect your latest changes.  Remember also to regularly check your search terms and categories report to raise bids on high performing pages and add poor performing pages and queries as negative targets.
For step-by-step directions on setting up a Dynamic Search Ads campaign, please visit the AdWords Help Center.  You can also view a recorded webinar to learn more about Dynamic Search Ads.

Posted by Jen Huang, AdWords Product Manager