Monday, January 30, 2012

[G] Perspective on Dynamic Search Ads - Guest Q & A with RKG

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Inside AdWords: Perspective on Dynamic Search Ads - Guest Q & A with RKG

Since introducing Dynamic Search Ads in beta in October, we’ve seen questions from around the web asking about real-world performance and recommendations for implementation. Today we’re grateful to share the perspectives of Matt Mierzewski and Jen Syverud at RKG, an online marketing services firm with B2B and B2C clients ranging from startups to the Fortune 500 (details about RKG below).

Here’s a short video followed by Q&A. RKG has further offered to answer any other questions you might have about their experience with Dynamic Search Ads over on their blog.

Q. What’s your strategy for using Dynamic Search Ads with your clients today?

We think of Dynamic Search Ads as an advertiser-specific broad match type. Here, instead of allowing Google to match searches related to your keywords, you're allowing them to match searches related to your website.

For advertisers without automated pay-per-click inventory-based management solutions, Dynamic Search Ads can help identify products that are new or re-emerging. The system is tremendous in keeping up with changes to inventory in real time. For example, a product line may have been suspended for years, but quietly (without the search marketing team's knowledge) appears back on the website. In this case, keywords for the product line would still be paused until the marketing team is made aware, but Dynamic Search Ads are able to catch the change immediately, create ads, and generate orders. As another example, for advertisers frequently offering clearance products, Dynamic Search Ads are similarly able to offer ads while these limited quantity items are in-stock. In both examples, Dynamic Search Ads act as a safety net for advertisers wishing to advertise on dynamic products and/or inventories.

Q. What were your main concerns with Dynamic Search Ads and how have you addressed them?

One initial concern was that Dynamic Search Ads would cannibalize existing traffic, siphoning it away from active keyword campaigns. What we found was that the vast majority of Dynamic Search Ads traffic was complementary to our campaigns. Another concern was that we would have little to no control over what keywords Google was able to match on. However, Google has provided a great deal of controls within the Dynamic Search Ads product to ensure that the matching queries are relevant to the advertiser.

Q. What does your typical implementation of Dynamic Search Ads look like?

Implementation strategies will vary. In general, however, it is wise to consider pages that the advertiser wishes to exclude, as well as any known keyword negatives within the accounts, and add those from day one. From there, segmenting pages into campaigns or ad groups based on product margin, conversion rates, and so forth will allow for custom max CPC bids and maximum ROI.

Q. What best practices would you suggest for using Dynamic Search Ads?

Through restrictive targeting, exclusions and negatives, tight budgets and close monitoring, Dynamic Search Ads can be made very low risk and the results you see should be encouraging. For conservative advertisers, start by targeting only product level pages in your best converting categories.

A higher-level strategy is to add a site-wide target at a conservative bid with appropriate exclusions, and then layer on additional, more finely targeted ad groups and copy with bids corresponding to their expected performance. This approach is similar to the best practices for running Product Listing Ads and ensures wide coverage, but with a preference towards better quality traffic.

Use the power-tools that Google has made available in both targeting specific pages, while excluding other pages and search queries.

Q. How is Dynamic Search Ads doing with respect to matching relevant queries and landing pages?

With Dynamic Search Ads we can see every search that triggers a dynamic ad, the headline generated, the landing page selected, and, of course, performance stats. The searches that we’ve seen targeted are absolutely relevant to the website content -- it’s the only place Google is able to generate its targeting information from. If the system is matching to any query that the advertiser does not care to be matched on to meet their performance goals, it is very easy to restrict that traffic by URL or Keyword level negatives.

Q. What kind of results are you seeing with Dynamic Search Ads across your clients? Which is it working best for?

We’ve seen Dynamic Search Ads incremental sales impact range from 0.5% to 12%, so it’s important to note that individual account results may vary. The product is compatible with our tracking and reporting systems which makes it easy to measure performance and do head-to-head comparisons with our existing keyword-based campaigns.

Dynamic Search Ads work best for advertisers that have an extensive product offering and well developed web pages for Google to index and match relevant content to.

Q. What do you focus on when optimizing Dynamic Search Ads?

Like other AdWords campaigns, proper campaign management and optimizations are a necessity. Just like broad match, the Dynamic Search Ads product is most successful with carefully selected negative keywords, pages and categories of the website that do not perform optimally, and/or are not goal-oriented. Also similar to broad match, advertisers should monitor queries that produce conversions, and add them back as keywords to other AdWords campaigns.

Q. To what degree do you think Dynamic Search Ads are cannibalizing organic search traffic?

We haven’t seen evidence of cannibalization. But we’ll continue to evaluate performance and, if needed, make adjustments.

Q. Would you recommend Dynamic Search Ads for novice-to-intermediate or intermediate-to-advanced advertisers?

RKG would recommend Dynamic Search Ads for intermediate-to-advanced advertisers. Because it necessitates ongoing management, and is best utilized as a complement to robust keyword campaigns, it’s not likely to be a good fit for novice advertisers. Additionally, as previously mentioned, the richer the site content, number of pages, and breadth of product offering, the more fruitful Dynamic Search Ads will be. Naturally, these characteristics lend themselves to more established and sophisticated campaigns and advertisers.

About RKG

Founded in 2003, RKG is a data-driven digital agency that combines savvy marketers with sophisticated technology to deliver unrivaled results for over 180 clients in paid search marketing, search engine optimization, multichannel attribution management, display advertising and comparison shopping management. Long recognized as the thought leader in search marketing, RKG clients range from start-ups to the Fortune-500, and include both B2C and B2B direct marketers in retail, travel, finance and education. RKG is an independent, privately held agency with offices in Charlottesville, VA, Bend, OR and Boston, MA.

Posted by Katie Miller, Inside AdWords crew

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