Google’s Dynamic Search Ads - good but not great (yet)

By Laura Goodacre | 05 Oct 2011

"16% of all search queries that happen on Google every day have never been searched for before", so says Google. A bit of a shocking statement, one which stokes the idea that no matter how comprehensive your AdWords accounts, you will always continue to miss vital search terms. Google followed this up with the launch of its new feature for Adwords, 'Dynamic Search Ads,' which would appear to be a step in the right direction towards uncovering some of these search terms.

On the face of it, it sounds like a great new function that will allow Google to index your site frequently for changes, taking keywords and then generating highly dynamic search ads based on search queries in Google that you do not already have to set up in Adwords.

For us at Greenlight, in its current form, Google's 'Dynamic Search Ads' is all too similar to the 2004 version of our in-house developed paid search technology, ADAPT.

Several upgrades since (the latest in 2010 being award winning), Greenlight's ADAPT technology has been successfully used to automatically create campaigns, adgroups, keywords and  adcopy by extracting keywords or relevant terms from the feeds inventory.  ADAPT is particularly effective for accounts within the retail sector where stock keeping unit (SKU) specifics are often highly searched for as well as longer tail product specific terms which you wouldn't always think of including.

Like Greenlight's ADAPT technology, Google's 'Dynamic Search Ad' functionality dynamically generates a headline based on what is searched for on Google and the rest of the ad is formatted around a generic text ad template you would create.

However, unlike Google's 'Dynamic  Search Ads', Greenlight's ADAPT takes this one step further by allowing the creation of an array of different templates that can also be set to rotate evenly throughout the day, meaning consumers aren't being repetitively served with the same ad.

The other advantage Greenlight's ADAPT technology has over Google's 'Dynamic Search Ads' is that all campaigns are updated as often as you would like. Therefore, if you upload new products every hour, ADAPT will update its keyword offering just as often, as well as instantly removing keywords when stock is removed from the inventory, thereby preventing any wasted spend on products and categories that are no longer available.

With this in mind, Google claims users have seen a 5%-10% increase in clicks and conversions and are seeing overall positive ROI.

We too have tested this for several of our own client accounts. However, while we have seen extremely positive results for some verticals, others have been less so, which indicates to us that it all really depends on your site and how easily it can be crawled.

If your objective is to purely drive traffic to your site, Google's 'Dynamic Search Ads' could be for you. However, if you are looking for a more structured and proactive way of increasing your keyword coverage to product specifics, I would advise you to look at third party tools, including Greenlight's ADAPT.