Annabelle Hauglie

by Annabelle Hauglie | B2B Strategy

For traditional keyword-based targeting, showing up for a search query requires you to have existing keywords in your account that not only match all the ways that users search for your product or service, but that also have customized ad copy and well-aligned landing pages that are relevant to the searcher. At some point, it isn’t possible to anticipate every single query that a potential customer will use to find your company. That’s when you can utilize Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) to better optimize your targeting and ensure you are showing your ad for relevant customers.

What are Dynamic Search Ads?

DSAs are a paid search tool offered by Google (and, yes, Microsoft Ads has DSAs, too!) that automatically targets audiences and creates relevant ads by matching user search queries to the content on your website. They have commonly been used in SEM strategies as a means to fill in gaps of coverage for businesses with niche offerings, broad inventories or location based services.

They’re most commonly used for eCommerce businesses, mainly because the standardized way those sites are structured lend themselves to the campaign type. But B2B advertisers often don’t realize they can also be useful in their paid search strategy.

DSA Setup Considerations for B2B

Before getting into potential use cases, let’s talk about what you’ll need to do to set DSAs up for B2B success. Since DSAs target queries and dynamically generate ads based on the content of your website, it is critically important that you select your target pages carefully.

Your site’s blog may be a gold mine of keywords to show up for, but the ad users see will contain copy from the page and will be the page they land on when they click the ad, so it may not make for a very strong user experience overall. Typically, we would recommend adding your blog pages as negative dynamic ad targets which can be done simply by setting a condition such as “URL contains ‘blog’” as a negative target. If your blog pages have been optimized towards generating conversions and you’ve seen strong performance, however, you may still consider testing using them in your DSA campaign.

Also, you may have more CRM tracking considerations than an ecommerce business. If you have dedicated landing pages that must be used for proper SEM tracking, then you will be limited to using them as your DSAs targets. This may be ineffective if they don’t contain the content you may be trying to target. If you do test DSAs, make sure you apply any tracking template you’re using to ensure URL parameters are applied for backend tracking.

For more considerations around whether to test a DSA campaign, check out this post from the MT Blog.

When to Test DSAs for B2Bs

The key value of using DSAs is that they are able to fill in gaps of keyword coverage and increase your ability to show ads for searches that align with what your business offers. To successfully use DSAs to grow SEM performance for your B2B company, you must consider what natural blind spots exist in your current keyword strategy. These may be due to technical limitations, feasibility, or even lack of knowledge of the product or service offered. With that knowledge, you can then determine how to best leverage your website content to expand your coverage.

Here are four common reasons you may be lacking keyword coverage in your B2B account and thus potential opportunities to test out running DSAs:

1. The product offering is highly specific or technical
It’s difficult to have full keyword coverage when customers search for your product in very specific ways. For example, if there is a lot of jargon or developer language used in your industry, it may make sense to use DSAs to capture relevant searches.

2. Solution-based queries
Your product may be a brand new idea that people search for indirectly, or maybe it’s applicable to a variety of industries in different ways. Users may be searching for it differently based on the need it will fulfill for their company specifically.

Let’s say you’re a software development company that builds apps for businesses. A prospective customer looking to build a grocery delivery app will likely search in a very different manner than a prospective customer looking to build a fitness app. If your business can build both types of apps, you want to be showing up for each of their searches and have unique ads and landing pages to match their specific queries. But, if you do not have the capacity or keyword insights to build out coverage, DSAs are the way to go.

3. You offer customized packages
If you offer a variety of different services that customers may be searching for in any number of combinations, it doesn’t make sense to launch keywords for every possibility.
Let’s look at Metric Theory as an example – we provide services that include Search, Social, and Feed Management among others. A potential client may be interested in just Search or Search and Social or just Social, or Search and Feeds or Social and Feeds – you get the point. If we have keyword coverage for each individual service, it makes sense to use DSAs to cover the remaining combinations.

4. You sell products in bulk
In the same way DSAs provide coverage for eCommerce businesses with an expansive breadth of product inventory, they can also be used when your business sells bulk products. Chances are, customers will be looking for your business differently based on the specific bulk product they are looking for. Do you have a page for each type of product you sell? If yes, you have a great opportunity to start running DSAs.

For guidance on how to set up DSA campaigns and the targeting options available, here is a guide for Google Ads and one for Microsoft Ads.

Final Considerations for DSAs

Now that you’re ready to launch DSAs for your B2B account, there are just a few things to keep in mind:

1. Build DSAs in a separate campaign from your search campaigns: While you can launch DSAs in any search campaign or ad group, we recommend building them into their own campaign. This is an easy way to monitor your DSA performance as a whole and control the overall percentage of spend going towards DSAs.

2. Keep budgets low to start: DSAs cover a broad range of keywords which means click volume will likely increase in your account, resulting in increased costs. B2B terms also tend to have higher CPCs than B2C terms, so keep budgets low when launching so that spend doesn’t skyrocket overnight.

3. Add existing targeted keywords as negatives on DSAs: You don’t want to be using up your DSA campaign budget on keywords you already have in other areas of your account or serving them ad copy you have less control over. Allowing targeted keywords to be caught up by DSAs may very well hurt ad engagement and overall account performance.

4. Closely monitor the Search Terms Report: Ensure you’re matching to the keywords that make sense for your business and regularly add in negative keywords and targets to better filter traffic.

5. Consider using an automated bidding strategy: Since DSAs open up the door to showing for a larger number of queries, automated bidding strategies can help ensure you are showing up for the searches and audiences that best suit your account goals. I would recommend starting with a Maximize Conversions strategy to start.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to keep testing! DSAs can be a powerful way to expand coverage and uncover new keywords. Are DSAs working well for your account? Try testing DSAs to target RLSA, customer match, or similar audiences. Or perhaps try using DSAs to increase micro-conversion volume. It’s all up to you! Contact us if you’d like to learn more.