RDSA: A Powerful New Google AdWords Campaign

, May 26, 2014

Over the last couple of years Google AdWords has given e-commerce advertisers strong options for both dynamic advertising and remarketing. These options have proved invaluable for showcasing highly relevant, tailored ads to searchers, specifically for advertisers with thousands of products.

The three campaign types that allow for this powerful advertising include: Dynamic Search Ads (DSA), Remarketing List for Search Ads (RLSA) and Dynamic Remarketing. However, I believe there is a fourth campaign type that is missing, which I refer to as Remarketing for Dynamic Search Ads (or RDSA). Before I delve into my thoughts for an RDSA campaign, here is a brief overview of each campaign type. 

Dynamic Search Ads – Based upon Google’s organic crawling technology, search queries will produce pertinent text ads with a dynamic headline and the most relevant landing page. The advertiser’s job is to  write a generic piece of copy for description lines one and two. DSAs are meant to capture traffic that would otherwise not be generated from previously established campaigns. For example, if you already have a campaign setup around all of the different models of Nike running shoes, your DSAs should not show up.

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads – Utilizing remarketing audiences and keywords, advertisers can remarket to visitors through text ads on Google’s Search Network. For example, a visitor views coffee tables on Site A and doesn’t purchase. As that visitor searches for “coffee tables” on Google, Site A’s ad can appear and present a special offer or message for this potential returning visitor. With RLSAs you can bid on regular broad match keywords, as you know the visitors typing in these queries have already been to your site before.

Dynamic Remarketing – By implementing custom remarketing code and utilizing a Google Merchant Center product feed, advertisers create dynamic ads which showcase the products that visitors viewed as they go across Google’s Display Network. Here is an example of what a dynamic remarketing ad may look like:

mod-cloth-image

*Image from www.thinkwithgoogle.com

Remarketing for Dynamic Search Ads

So what exactly would an RDSA campaign look like? In the most common terms, it would be a dynamic remarketing campaign for the search network. In other words, visitors who have already been to the site would search Google for a product, and would then be presented with a dynamic search ad. This dynamic search ad’s headline would speak to the product, and the landing page would go to the most relevant product page. With this campaign type we incorporate facets of DSAs, RLSAs and dynamic remarketing.

Setup

The first step toward implementation of the RDSA campaign is the audience. For the purpose of this post, I will be speaking to the most basic audience, which is all visitors. However, there is room for further segmentation. You’ll need to utilize the “all visitors” list already created by Google (if you currently have dynamic remarketing ads running) or create your own list targeting all visitors. Either is fine, but I would encourage you to create a custom combination that targets all visitors who didn’t convert. (Note: the list size for Google Search will be less than that for the Display Network).

all-visitors

Once the audience is setup, you’ll need to create a new campaign solely for the RDSA combination. This campaign will utilize the Dynamic Search Ads setting located within the “Settings” tab.

dynamic-search-ads

Within the “Auto targets” tab you’ll then need to create a dynamic ad target which encompasses all web pages. This setup is no different from a regular DSA campaign. Finally, you’ll create your actual dynamic search ads. In essence, many of the same steps you would use to create a DSA campaign apply to RDSA campaigns as well.

The difference, of course, lies within the audience. The AdWords interface does not allow you to implement an audience for a DSA campaign. Thus, you must add the audience through AdWords Editor. When adding the audience, ensure that you are classifying it as “Target and bid.” This designation will tell Google to only show these ads to those searchers who have already been to your site.

ad-groups

The campaign is now ready to go, but you’ll need to consider the overall organization of your dynamic advertising campaigns before you implement it.

Organization

Once the RDSA campaign is live, the individual DSA and RLSA campaigns can potentially compete for this traffic. Therefore, it’s important to put in safeguards so the right campaign ad is triggered.

To begin, define your bidding structure. My philosophy is that the stand-alone RLSA campaign should have the highest individual Ad group bids. If I’m specifically remarketing to a custom audience while utilizing targeted keywords, I want these ads to have first priority. For example, I might have a specific message to those visitors looking at the coffee table category. Thus, my keywords would be focused around “coffee tables” and my ads tailored to this audience.

My RDSA campaign would then get a lower bid, followed by an even lower bid for my stand-alone DSA campaign. I’m also adding the “All Visitors – Didn’t Convert” audience as a negative in the stand-alone DSA campaign. Theoretically, this shouldn’t be necessary, but I’m taking an extra step to ensure my DSA ads only show to new visitors. Here is a visual representation of the account structure:

Campaign Visualization

Considerations

One might see a RDSA campaign as overkill. Theoretically, a stand-alone DSA campaign would show ads to searchers whether they have been to the site or not. In addition, a stand-alone RLSA campaign gets potential consumers back to the site. However, here’s where the same benefits of dynamic remarketing on the Display Network come into play.

Just like dynamic remarketing, with the RDSA campaign we can target all visitors to the site in a more efficient manner. We don’t have to bid on keywords, but can still show product specific ads. We know these visitors have already been to the site before, so we’re willing to bid higher. Additionally, we eliminate the need to create product-specific Ad groups.

A good addition to RDSA campaigns would be the ability to target audiences by cost of products viewed. For example, we may decide to only show these ads to visitors who have viewed products that cost at least $100. This type of audience can be setup for use on the Display Network, but not for Search.

Conclusion

I’ve launched RDSA campaigns in a few accounts and the results have so far been inconclusive because I haven’t yet accrued enough data. In one of my larger accounts I am noticing that the cost per conversion is slightly higher than both the stand-alone DSA and RLSA campaigns. Conversion rate is on par with the RLSA campaign and much higher than the DSA campaign. Finally, average order value is significantly higher in my RDSA campaign than the other two. Since I am bidding more aggressively in the RDSA campaign and accruing more traffic, the higher cost per conversion does not surprise me. Additionally, I am pleased to see a high average order value in the RDSA campaign.

Testing of the RDSA campaign type is in its infancy, but early results could show promise for larger e-commerce accounts. I’m interested to hear if anyone else has tried a similar campaign setup. Please leave your comments and feedback below!

Author bio:

Matthew Umbro is the Director of Paid Search at Exclusive Concepts and has been in the PPC industry since 2007. In addition, Matthew is the host of PPCChat (#PPCChat), a weekly Twitter chat where industry specialists discuss various PPC topics. Every Tuesday at 12 p.m. (EST) specialists discuss a new topic from fundamentals and metrics to theory and the future of paid search.