Dynamic Search Ad (DSA) Strategy

I love DSA (Dynamic Search Ads). I’ll explain how I use them and the value I they drive but first, what are they (for people who don’t know)? 

Basically you load up a bunch of “Dynamic ad targets” e.g. content categories, exact urls, url rules (contains “keyword of some type”) or all your web pages if you want. I stick with exact urls and URL rules for my targeting.

Then, spin up a few dynamic search ads. You can control the ad descriptions and tracking details but the ad dynamically generates the headlines and the URLs – simple stuff based on the pages you’ve selected to target. 

Bam! You now have a DSA campaign ready to go. (Yes there may be more you want to configure but that’s the real high level set-up to get you going). 

So how do I use them? 

I primarily focus my DSAs on my most important blog/long-form content. I do two things: 

1) Select the content that I think will drive the most relevant traffic to the respective site. Why not all content? Because some blog content is meant to be supporting material for SEO and not necessarily business driving content (that’s for another day but feel free to ask me what I mean in the comments). I add these pages as my dynamic ad targets.

2) Load up newly published content (sans things like news related topics) close to when it is first published. 

Number 1 is pretty obvious – I want to drive traffic to relevant content on my site, especially if it’s not ranking well yet.

Why number 2 though? There is a hypothesis (borrowed – not original thought) that driving traffic to new content through these ads (or any ads) teaches search engines about the content and drives the engagement metrics up faster – a criteria for ranking content organically. 

I don’t want to wait until the content ranks to get those engagement metrics – it can take too long sometimes. So instead, I drive paid spend to it to speed up the process. Does it work? I’d estimate it does considering how many different articles I organically rank for that 1) I’ve run through my DSA and 2) don’t have direct backlinks to them. I’d vouch for this being a viable theory. 

Other than the apparent SEO help this strategy drives, what else is valuable here?

For my campaigns, it’s not generally high volumes of direct conversions, I can tell you that from my reporting. This is more of an awareness play, but certainly with the right contextual offer, you could drive leads. I don’t put a form in front of a lot of my content because I want my visitors to get all the information they need as easily as possible but you might have something truly worth trading PII for.

And maybe you would be concerned that this type of campaign is a costly one (especially if loading up hundreds of blog articles) but for me it’s not. CPC is not high (right now I have it down to about .50/click at the campaign level) and engagement is solid (11% CTR at the campaign level). 

In other words, I’m educating people and providing value while also exposing my business and solutions to thousands of people at a very reasonable cost. 

And while some may be worried that direct conversions aren’t high (results may vary), pop over to your Assisted Conversions report (GA) and check that data as well to see what your DSA campaign is reporting. And even if that isn’t high (mine isn’t), where else can you drive traffic to the most relevant content on your site for the low of a cost? 

As they say, you need a lot of touchpoints before a prospective buyer is ready to talk (especially B2B) – I stand by this being a strong one to keep in your marketing mix. 

There’s always room for optimization as well – if lead generation is still the name of the game where you’re at, I’m certain you could optimize a DSA campaign to deliver towards those goals too.