In this seemingly never-ending year, it’s comforting for many of us to think about the upcoming winter holiday season, with its warm fires, feasts, festivities, and the final bidding adieu to 2020.
Retailers, however, are facing the wild, wild west when it comes to planning for the holiday season.
A shock of the scale that COVID-19 has brought is likely to create major shifts in the preferences and expectations of all us… shifts that could last even past recovery.
There have already been a lot of unexpected search trends that we’ve witnessed, from an increase in demand for hobbies-related searches to back-up generators, to bread machines, to home fitness equipment.
As advertisers, we need to be there to capture these emerging search queries and ensure we are able to show relevant ads for them.
That’s where Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) can help.
Available on both Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising (my employer), Dynamic Search Ads work by crawling the content of a website to determine themes, just as you would do manually when setting up your keyword lists.
DSAs can then dynamically create an ad for each of your landing pages and match them automatically to users’ queries, which can increase the reach of your campaigns.
According to internal Microsoft Advertising data from the U.S.:
- Dynamic Search Ads have a 4.23% lower Cost per Click (CPC) than ads with non-exact match type keywords.
- Clients who leverage DSAs are seeing an average of 10.55% incremental increase in clicks, compared with their regular text ad campaigns.
Pretty cool, right?
It gets even better.
Page Feeds can help retailers help boost conversions.
What Are DSA Page Feeds?
Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’ve tried DSAs before, they were just OK. What else can I do?”
The answer to that is Page Feeds.
Page Feeds reduce the friction of managing DSA campaigns by enabling you to upload a spreadsheet of all the URLs you’d like to target, versus creating individual auto targets for each URL.
They offer several advantages, including:
Keeping Specific, High-Priority URLs Fresh
Every time a Page Feed is uploaded or updated, all the pages in the feed are automatically recrawled.
Using standard DSA, pages in a domain are recrawled only periodically to make sure the data used to match the pages and create headlines is still accurate.
They Allow You to Use DSA with Pages That Have ‘noindex’ Tags
Helpful because sometimes clients will mark pages that they only want to use as ad landing pages with “no-index” tags in the robots.txt section of their domain.
Grouping Pages Into Auto Targets That Can’t Easily Be Grouped with Standard Auto Target Rules
Standard auto target rules work based on attributes of the pages themselves, such as the URL, or the page content.
However, pages can be often grouped and prioritized in different ways based on information that is only available to the advertiser, such as high revenue products or pages that are part of a specific sale.
In a nutshell, Page Feeds help maximize page coverage as well as enable the labeling and targeting of specific URLs via custom labels.
How Do Page Feeds Work?
A Page Feed is a simple spreadsheet with two columns, only one of which is required – the list of URLs.
The second column, for Custom Label, is optional.
You only need to provide a custom label for each URL if you want to create auto targets using custom labels, for example, seasonal products.
Isn’t that a third column in the screenshot above? Well spotted.
That third column, Ad Title, is used to set a Static Headline.
What Are DSAs with Static Headlines?
Static Headlines are a new beta feature (available to all DSA advertisers) that is unique to Microsoft Advertising.
The static headlines allow advertisers to run pre-approved ad titles and ad copy on Dynamic Search Ads, giving you additional control over what’s shown in your ads.
With static headlines, advertisers in verticals with restrictive ad regulations or legal/brand concerns about dynamically generated ads can take full advantage of DSAs, leveraging the discovery power of DSAs to identify new relevant queries, while maintaining control over ad titles and ad copy.
Getting started is easy.
Simply create a normal DSA campaign and associate a page feed with an Ad Title column included.
Advertisers can choose to set a unique ad title for each page or apply a single general headline to all pages.
Net, net: If you’re a retailer who has hesitated to run DSAs in the past because of concerns over dynamically generated ad copy, then taking advantage of the Static Headlines via Page Feeds can be a good option for you.
How to Leverage Your Product Feed for DSA
The advantage that retailers have is that they have product feeds (a.k.a., Shopping feeds) already, which have a wealth of content. They’re a great place to start when looking for scalability.
A shopping feed has all the essential ingredients of a page feed – so you can leverage it to create a page feed for DSA.
It’s as simple as 1-2-3:
- Open the product feed and pull product page URLs for targeting and remove everything else.
- This feed information can then be used as your page feed file for DSA.
- Flag high-value products via custom labels to assist with targeting and bid mods.
There are multiple benefits to doing this:
- Using your shopping feed to set up your page feed can give you coverage across any gaps between queries you might be matching to in shopping versus ones matching to in text.
- Since the targets work the same as shopping, if there are any gaps between shopping and text ads, you can fill those gaps through DSA.
- The custom labels allow you to be more flexible with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as Cost Per Acquisition (CPA), since you can bid more aggressively for high profitability products, while being more conservative for low profitability products.
You Can Do the Same with Merchant Promotion Feeds, Too!
If you’re advertising sales or promotions via the Merchant Promotions feature, then you can create a DSA page feed based on product URLs that are on sale (using the promotion feed) and adjust bidding accordingly.
Now you have a whole additional layer of support for your sale items, too.
- Test page feeds to help up-level your Dynamic Search Ads.
- If you’re in a restricted vertical, take advantage of Static Headlines.
- Leverage your shopping feed to help you create a Product Feed.
- Similarly, leverage your merchant promotions feed to create a Product Feed for sale products.
A few simple steps can help you up-level your Dynamic Search Ads and boost conversions – getting you one step closer to a holly, jolly holiday season.