PPC Chat Streamcap – Dynamic Search Ads

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “Dynamic Search Ads.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: At what point in the progression of a client’s campaign do you believe it makes sense to use Dynamic Search Ads (if at all)?

  • Considering you need a very high volume of potential keywords for DSA’s…some will never be able to use them. – Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
  • Two stages. 1. Exploration if budget room. 2. Growth when other areas are addressed. DSA is good for long-tail, ecommerce with high-SKUs. Think of it as an extra catch-all. Recommend lower bids. – Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
  • No time like the present, but if a client is revamping their website, it would be the ideal time to use it. – Brian Gaspar (@BGaspar)
  • I am just getting pitched to use them now to combat PLAs and LT Low Search Volume. Will test. – Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
  • Am going to say, with zero experience of them, I don’t see the use case for DSAs, so am looking forward to being shown otherwise. – Matt Whelan (@OldMatt)
  • The use case is for sites with a potentially huge KW inventory. Automates much of the process. – Heather Cooan
  • Personally I’m a bit cautious of this with how much spend will run away without return, will need a lot of optimisation to work. – Phil Walsh (@bwfcphil1)

Q2: How would you compare and contrast product listing ads vs. dynamic search ads?

  • I believe DSAs are essentially a text based version of PLAs (with some minor differences). – Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
  • PLA’s pull from merchant center, DSA’s pull from website…PLA’s you have an offer, DSA’s ad text is dynamic based on template. – Heather Cooan
  • Visual (PLA) vs. Text (DSA) ads. PLAs are now part of central strategy whereas DSA is an extra. – Jeremy Brown
  • As DSAs become more refined I can see a similar situation occurring with how PLAs have grown in prominence over the years. – Matt Umbro
    • Not sure about that as PLAs add something new to the landscape, whereas DSAs only fill gaps…? – Matt Whelan
  • Both run on Google.com only and do not work with auto CPA bidding tools. At least not yet. – Heather Cooan
  • One is powered by your feed, one by your website content, right? Could be big differences there. – Matt Whelan
    • Yes and you can bid at the product ID level with PLA’s, you have to rely on the auto-target currently for DSA’s. – Heather Cooan
  • The obivous truth now is that PLA’s you have to pay for now while DSA’s are free. – Brian Gaspar
    • What do you mean that they are free? – Matt Umbro
      •  Free to show, you pay for click either way. PLA’s you have to pay Google to show up on their Shopping site results. – Brian Gaspar
  • Probably growth for DSA, but less control at this point. It’s just about help for what you can’t easily get to manually. – Jeremy Brown
  • PLAs pulling from a dynamic product feed, while DSA based on domain content. PLAs account for latency and priority, DSA does not. – Chris Kostecki
  • One has a picture. One doesn’t. I like pictures. – Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
    • Valid point…pictures help my conversion rate increase. – Matt Umbro
  • Are PLAs still giving advertisers fits when it comes to activating? I’ve heard of months-long delays struggling w/the program. – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
  • DSA is potentially applicable to more accounts, but PLA is only ecom. – Tamsin Mehew (@TamsinMehew)
  • DSA’s are moving in the wrong direction, taking away control & targeting, compensating for the LT we can no longer go after. – Chris Kostecki
    • I understand your point, but I don’t necessarily agree…they do take away control but they help serve functions… – Matt Umbro
      • Good luck driving efficiency, testing messages, or controlling landing pages. – Chris Kostecki
        • It’s not perfect, but you do have some control. – Matt Umbro
        • That’s my concern. A machine isn’t smarter than I am abt what my client’s customers are looking for. – Theresa Zook
          • Especially the Google AdWords opportunity machines! – Chris Kostecki
  • PLA’s run in shopping results, DSA’s run in regular ad spots and you can run PLA’s on display, DSA’s are search only. – Heather Cooan
    • In limited beta I believe. – Matt Umbro
    • PLAs on Display?? Where are you running those? – Jeremy Brown
      • Woops, not PLA’s…Product Extensions run on GDN. – Heather Cooan
  • PLAs don’t cannibalize existing campaigns, DSAs can. – Martin Rottgerding (@bloomarty)
    • Not so sure on PLAs not cannabalizing. Haven’t heard final word if they impact your text ad showing. – Jeremy Brown
      • Only indirectly, I’d say ,by pushing normal ads down/away. But I dont think they clash w/ the same advertiser in particular. – Martin Rottgerding
        • Agree. Just haven’t heard definitively if having a PLA ad impacts text ad auction. – Jeremy Brown
        • You can definitely show both, i’d assumed there weren’t restrictions? – Matt Whelan
          • Probably a good assumption, but you never know. Seen many queries with PLAs up top and text ads only on bottom. – Jeremy Brown

Q3: How can DSAs help improve overall account performance?

  • Long-tail ecommerce coverage with lower bids. Also, you can then mine for new manual build-outs. – Jeremy Brown
    • Exactly! Great for finding new keywords that are showing interest. – Matt Umbro
      • How do SQRs work with DSAs? More/less transparent? – Matt Whelan
        • Same way. – Matt Umbro
        • I’d say the SQRs are about the same for DSA. Negatives are probably more important though. – Jeremy Brown
        • Very transparent IMO. Great to see dynamic headlines as well. Strange thing is headline length – can be more than 50 chars. – Martin Rottgerding
        • You can see query, ad headline & landing page. – Tamsin Mehew
  • Can help capture what is not represented. Can give insights into further account expansion or optimizations. – Brian Gaspar
  • Can get you in front of more traffic. – Chris Kostecki
  • Can help find new KWs and cover previously uncovered queries, but can also undermine your bidding for existing Keywords. – Martin Rottgerding
    • Do they cannibalise? I thought they were “held back for any search where u have an eligible kw targeted ad”? – Matt Whelan
      • I thought so, too, maybe that was changed – now docs say that it’s only held back for exactly matching KWs. – Martin Rottgerding
        • Really, so anything “low search volume” is fair game…? Not sure if that’s good or bad! – Matt Whelan
      • Only if kwd is exact match I think. – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
      • Traffic for ‘low search volume’ kw intriguing. Have clients where most targeted kw are low volume. – Theresa Zook

Q4: How in-depth do you set your dynamic ad targets?

  • I have each Category as it’s own adgroup. Manage bids based on price/margins. – Brian Gaspar
  • Since it’s designed for catch-all, and to help with changing inventories, broader targets make sense. – Martin Rottgerding
  • Depends on the client. Sometimes segmentation is more important. If DSA spend is low, then not as important. – Jeremy Brown
  • I guess we will try out individual URLs with DSA, too. With PLAs it seemed wrong at first, and then came ID targets. – Martin Rottgerding
  • Has anyone run into non-brand safe ad copy due to the dynamic ad copy component? I have a couple of clients worried about this. – Heather Cooan
  • Does anyone use the predefined categories AdWords auto-generates? If so, any success?
    • They can be ok sometimes. If low volume, it might make sense to go with those. – Jeremy Brown
    • Only with the catch-all target for all pages. Guess we’ll evalute this later, along with categories from SQRs. – Martin Rottgerding

Q5: How do you setup your dynamic tracking URLs?

  • Carefully. For me I have to back end code it so it captures on our ERP. – Brian Gaspar
    •  Interesting…anyone else run into situations where a more custom solution is needed? – Matt Umbro
      • Our ERP is last click attrib, DSA click results in a direct/organic/email conv they get credit & we get the cost. – Brian Gaspar
  • Sometimes some work is needed for tracking. Depends on the client. Overall, negatives are very important for DSA. Weed out irrelevant traffic as well as sculpt traffic to manual coverage. – Jeremy Brown
    • Yes, and that goes for anything that runs on an auto-target. *negs* – Heather Cooan

Q6: Do you believe DSAs can be used effectively for non ecomm campaigns? Say a B2B or B2C site?

  • I think so…if they have the potential keyword inventory for it. – Heather Cooan
  • It’s tough for a B2B. You target both with these ads so the conflict of interest is huge. Much more effective for B2C. – Brian Gaspar
  • Possibly, but I’m skeptical. Feel like you should be able to build out most coverage manually for those. – Jeremy Brown
    • And plus you don’t want to bid dynamically on keywords that are potentially going to cost in the double digits! – Matt Umbro
      • Exactly. You want more control over that when possible. – Jeremy Brown
  • DSAs are great b/c they help dealing with the complexity of inventories, which makes them a potentially great tool 4 Shops. – Martin Rottgerding
  • To add to this, I’ve had to turn off certain categories because of potential conflicts with vendors & retailers. – Brian Gaspar
  • Apartments would be a good exception. So much variety in search queries and locations. – Jeremy Brown
    • For sure, it’s all in the potential KW inventory. DSA’s are really for massive KW inventories. – Heather Cooan
  • For a B2B site w/ limited topical complexity DSA’s probably won’t do much. Maybe help with keyword research for a month. I think with DSAs it’s mainly about volume. For B2B campaigns you’d rather go the extra mile to ensure quality. – Martin Rottgerding


More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Brian Gaspar (@BGaspar)
• Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
• Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
• Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
• Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
• Martin Rottgerding (@bloomarty)
• Matt Whelan (@OldMatt)
• Phil Walsh (@bwfcphil1)
• Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
• Tamsin Mehew (@TamsinMehew)
• Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)

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This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; WebRanking SEM Manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcap Grabber, SEO Blog Author. Connect with me @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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