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This is Part 4 of our Google AdWords series by ex-Googler Anton McCarthy. 

Are you an online store owner who has to manage a site with dozens, hundreds or perhaps even thousands of products? Managing your ads and keywords to reflect the availability of your products in stock takes a lot of time. Do you wish there were a quicker, easier way to manage your campaigns, freeing you up to spend less time on AdWords - and more time on your business?

Well, Google has a solution for you. Introducing: Dynamic Search Ads.

What Are Google Dynamic Search Ads?

Simply put, Dynamic Search Ads are ads that are automatically generated for you by Google. Unlike traditional Google AdWords ads which rely on you inputting lists of keywords, Dynamic Search Ads allow you to target users using the content on various pages of your website. This means that you don’t need to choose keywords that a user might use to find your product. Instead, Google automatically scans your website to determine which searches are a good match for the products on your website.

When a customer’s search is relevant to one of your products, Google dynamically generates an ad headline that includes words from the customer’s search and the content of the landing page on your website. The result is a dynamic search ad. Here's an example:


Why Use Dynamic Search Ads?

Dynamic Search Ads are a great time-saver for busy ecommerce merchants. Let’s say that you have a large variety of products to advertise, and are finding it difficult to find the time to manage all of your AdWords campaigns. Instead of having to invest lots of time matching keywords to landing pages and creating corresponding ad text, you can let Google generate relevant ads which match the searches users are performing to find the products you sell.

You also have full control in that you choose which pages on your website are to be used to generate ads. You can limit these pages to specific categories, e.g. your ‘Blue Widgets’ landing page, or you can choose all pages on your website. In addition, you can prevent ads from showing for products that are out of stock, reducing the need to monitor and then update your ads in such a manual fashion as before.

How Dynamic Search Ads Work

As mentioned, instead of using keywords to target your ads to searches, Dynamic Search Ads use content from your website to target ads to searches. You begin by letting Google know whether you wish to target ads to your entire website, or to specific sections:

  • Pages belonging to specific categories
  • Pages with titles containing certain words
  • Pages with URLs containing certain strings
  • Pages containing certain words

Once you have chosen your ad targets, Google then determines which searches might be relevant to the products listed on your website. When their technology locates searches that are a good fit for your dynamic ad targets, a headline is generated for your ad.

This headline includes text from the search phrase, and content from the landing page chosen for your ad. The remainder of the ad (i.e. the two description lines) is a template that you write when you first set up the campaign.

Dynamic Search Ads and Your Account

How do Dynamic Search Ads work relative to your regular keyword-targeted AdWords ads? 

Here are 5 important things to note:

1. Same Ranking As Normal Ads

The position or ranking of Dynamic Search Ads is determined in the same way as regular keyword-based ads. Dynamic Search Ads enter the auction as equals to keyword-based ads, with the position of your ads ultimately decided by the usual factors - the maximum cost-per-click bid you have selected for the dynamic ad target, and the dynamic search ad’s Quality Score.

2. Interactions With Keyword-Based Ads

If a customer’s search term is an exact match for one of your keywords, your dynamic search ad won’t show. An example is: [red shoes]. If a customer searches using this exact term, your text-based ad will display instead of a dynamic search ad. However, Google may show your dynamic search ad if there is a broad or phrase match with one of your keywords, and when your dynamic search ad has a higher Quality Score than your text-based ad.

3. Full Control and Flexibility

One of the big advantages of Dynamic Search Ads is the time-saving and efficiency they permit. For example, you ideally don't want ads to show which will lead the user to a ‘sold-out’ or ‘out of stock’ page. With keyword-based ads, it can be time-consuming and difficult to track each ad that might lead to such a page, especially if your site contains hundreds or even thousands of products. With Dynamic Search Ads, however, you can prevent your ads from showing when you add dynamic ad targets that exclude landing pages which contain these words.

4. Reporting and Statistics

You still get a full set of statistics and reports for your Dynamic Search Ads as with regular keyword-based ads, e.g. conversion rate data, click-through rates, cost-per-click averages, and so on. This means you can run analyses and compare how your Dynamic Search Ads are performing alongside your keyword-based ads - helping you to increase the performance of your AdWords campaigns and gain additional insight into your overall ROI.

5. Don't Forget Negative Keywords

If you're going to use Google Dynamic Search Ads, it's important to understand negative keywords. Further information on negative keywords can be found here. Best results will be generated when they're used with extensive negative keyword lists, otherwise, Google could match your site to anything.
 

Conclusion

I hope that this post provides you with a good overview of the benefits of Dynamic Search Ads, and how they could work for your ecommerce store. For more on the specifics of how to set up Dynamic Search Ads in your campaigns, please refer to Google’s useful Help Centre material for further information, and as always, feel free to ask a question in the comments!


Have you used Dynamic Search Ads? How have you found them? Do you have any useful hints or tips to share?


This is a guest post by ex-Googler Anton McCarthy. Currently, Anton is an online marketing specialist and entrepreneur who loves all things digital. You can find him blogging at antonmccarthy.com and Tweak Your Biz. Also follow Anton on Twitter.