I read an article recently in Search Engine Land discussing a subtle change to a Google help file about Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) that now recommends account managers do not add top queries from a DSA campaign.
This is a more interesting shift than it sounds.
The original stated purpose of DSA campaigns when they launched a few years ago was to act as a ‘catch-all’ campaign to find queries that are relevant to the advertiser’s website, based on Google’s crawl of the site, to automatically advertise for those queries and send to appropriate landing pages. This would allow advertisers to find additional relevant keywords to add to the account structure.
The potential win-win benefits are clear: Google increases the monetization of its ad platform by helping advertisers find new and relevant queries, while the advertiser potentially increases scale and reach of relevant advertising. These campaigns must have constant attention as Google’s automatic matching algorithms can obviously get it wrong a lot, but all in all, with these campaigns set at a low bid (relative to the account average cost/click), DSA campaigns have usually been a positive and successful addition to an Adwords account.
This subtle change to Google’s recommendation indicates a shift in Google’s attitude towards automation.
Google is now recommending that the advertiser allow automation take the lead, rather than utilizing it as a research tool in order to expand the keyword set that is under manual management.
We recently took over an account for a client that was started and managed by Google. As we tell clients, this is a lot like allowing the fox to guard the henhouse. Whenever we take over a Google managed account, there is always significant waste – but this one was the worst.
The Google rep told the client they had ‘built out an account’ when really they had just created three campaigns:
- A Google Shopping campaign with one ‘All Products’ target
- A Dynamic Search Ads campaign with one auto-target
- The also had some display targeting which was just throwing money down the drain, in the same campaign as a Remarketing ad group which was (sort of) working
There are so many bad practices there that if you have any experience with Adwords you are probably wincing.
In any case, the Google rep stood by the efficacy of the build, even though the client’s advertising was clearly ROI negative. obviously we came in and optimized the data feed, built out an actual Google Shopping structure, and then took the DSA campaign off auto-bidding, altered the targeting, added negative keywords and began building out a site taxonomy based Search campaign structure.
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