Search Supplement – Debating DSAs

Jordan Yates

In recent years, PPC has changed with lightning pace. Today’s PPC professionals are operating in a world focused on automation and audience. We must think of the keyword and beyond the keyword. Consequently, the platforms we use have evolved and developed new features to assist us. These features and innovations are focused on automation in all aspects of our role. One of these features, that on the face of it is not new but has certainly evolved notably, is Dynamic Search Ads (DSA).

DSA has been around since October 2011, allowing you to dynamically create adverts and keywords based on your website content. The oft-touted statistic is that  “15% of search queries are new each day” continues to be reiterated by Google, as does the need for automation to better serve your customers.

As time has progressed Google’s indexing algorithm of your web pages has become more advanced and as such, DSA has improved and changed since its initial inception and short years ago. Google can now categorise your website into relevant themes, allow you to target specific URLs, create page feeds or target your website in its entirety. Whilst targeting specific URLs provides a high level of control, it does limit the potential of DSA. Inversely, targeting your entire website will provide huge reach, but will require careful monitoring and maintenance.

Below is a table showing the benefits and potential issue associated with each of DSA’s targeting options:

Historically DSA had to be managed in isolation from regular text ads. However, following an update (Jan ‘18) DSA changed to an ad group type. This allows you to treat DSA like another match type, managed alongside your regular ad’s. I believe the move to an ad group type is positive, however for budget constrained advertisers and campaigns having DSA managed independently in its own campaign could still prove to be the easiest way of managing your campaigns.

So, what is next for DSA? Firstly, DSA is no longer a Google-only offering as Bing Ads have announced (April ‘18) that you will can create your own DSA campaigns on their network and this will probably be evolving further in future, as Google DSAs have. Secondly, here at Manning Gottlieb OMD, we are asking that as mobile’s share of searches grows, would it make sense to have device-specific DSA campaigns? Users search for different things, on different devices and with different intent. You could argue that allowing the bots to focus on one device would help relevancy.

Whilst Google does not recommend using only DSA for keyword mining, it does seem to make sense to let DSA do some of the heavy lifting. For instance, if you’re a retailer, with a good website, a lot of products and limited time, it’s nigh on impossible to think of every combination of search terms that a user might think up never mind misspellings and voice searches! This is exactly what DSA is made for. Picking up longer tail, very specific queries that you have on page content to answer.

In summary, Dynamic Search Adverts offer a great opportunity to embrace automation within your PPC activity without completely handing over the reins. The most important thing you can do with DSA is to create a negative keyword list of all your existing keywords and apply this on all DSA campaigns, saving you money and time in the long run.

Liked this? Read more from our Search Supplement blog series.