Paid search ads have always been a great way of attracting visitors to your site. Over time, though, ads need to change or cycle through and adapt to the content on your site. Services and product offerings change, which is why Google introduced Dynamic Search Ads through AdWords which allowed PPC to be as dynamic as the content on most websites. Watch today's Daily Brown Bag to learn about what dynamic search ads are, if they'll truly help you with advertising your website, and its relevance in our current market.


Hello and welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today we're going to be talking about Google's new dynamic search ads. I'm Chad Hill and I'm joined by Adam Stetzer.

Good afternoon, Chad. Welcome to The Brown Bag. Dynamic search ads; Chad and I were just talking about this, it seemed like we'd seen this movie before but let's get into it. So what's Google doing?

What are Dynamic Search Ads?

These are ads that are generated dynamically and automatically for you. Normally when you go to advertise PPC, you are responsible for building the ad copy; Google has some tools, helps you along, does some testing. Here, they are automatically generating the ads. How does this work? Well the Google bots are crawling your site, well frankly already have because they do that for their organic SEO world, but now they're using that data to update an index of what they think the searcher might like to see. So I guess, Chad, here the difference is one -- you're advertising your content and two -- you just stick in the credit card and the thing runs. Do I have this thing right? It's a little hard to get your head around it; help us understand this.

This is a little bit like Groundhog Day because there was a beta of this exact product, I think it had a slightly different name a couple of years ago and we kind of joked around and called it, "Paid SEO". You're right, Adam, it's exactly what it does. It goes in, indexes your website; there are something like three billion searches a day on Google and the stat that I think continues to hold true is that 15% of searches are new at any given time.

The general idea is that you can't really keep up with all these very specific search phrases and so Google has built this whole part of its business that's good at matching search queries to content. So why not help boost your content along by paying for these dynamic search ads, which would show in the search results as ads, but you have some control over what part of the site that Google's going to index and show on those ads. So it's an interesting product and we're talking about how we're wondering a couple years ago this didn't really fly, it sort of never really took off, but within the context of native advertising and content discovery, do you think this is going to have a second go, Adam?

Are Dynamic Search Ads Truly Helpful?

I'm just still trying to get my head around it. It's this paid content discovery product is really what Google's rolling out. As you've said we've seen this before, but a couple things strike me and then I want to come back to where the market is because I think you're right, Chad, the market is in a very different place right now than a few years ago. What's a little mystifying here is you're doing a PPC in essence because you are paying per click, but the people are passing through to a content page. So the first thing that strikes me is the conversion is going to be a lot different than when you send someone to a highly tailored landing page; and we talk about this all the time, the conversion is really important to make PPC work for you in the long run. So I have to assume that these clicks are going to be much cheaper. Chad, what's your thought on that? Are these going to be cheaper clicks? Do we have any data on that?

Yeah, I think absolutely. The last time this came out; there was a beta, very similar, we haven't seen the final part of this. Yes the clicks were definitely a lot less expensive and you could probably look at this more like a display ad, where there's going to be a lot of impressions, you probably will have a lot of clicks but the conversion rate, as you said Adam, will be way lower so if you have a targeted cost per conversion, the only way you're going to be able to overcome that lower conversion rate is by paying significantly less for the click.

The importance of dynamic search ads in our current market

Yeah, and that makes some sense. Now, let's catch up with where the market is here in 2014 and this idea of paid SEO or paid organic advertising because it's certainly merging the two. In 2014, Chad, we've got native advertising going strong with some big well-funded players. We've got content discovery going strong, so when you think about the Outbrains and the Taboolas and the Zemantas that are all out there; they're doing a lot of this. That's what makes me think that Google's like "Yeah, let's go back at it this time with a market that's slightly more mature and ready to spend money", probably not as much as typical search based PPC but there definitely is money being spent, very large dollars, for content discovery and we know the click through rates on those are very high. I do think you're right, it's a different market, maybe this time it will catch but I'm still having a hard time getting my head wrapped around it to think if this is the right time for Google to go this way.

Yeah, I agree with you, Adam. I think that it is definitely something people will try. There's definitely dollars that we've seen with our clients out there, to try these new platforms. Certainly this will be one of those things that people will want to test out and certainly get some more traction off of the blog and other content investments they're making.

Yeah, so, dynamic search ads; that's our report for today. Chad, I say we try it out and let's come back to our Brown Bag with some hard dollars and some data so we can share with you. Drop us a comment, let us know if you think this is interesting. We hope, as always, you'll subscribe to our YouTube channel and we'll see you back at another Brown Bag.