ppc.world: Google DSA Lower CPC And Increase Conversions — International Education Agency Case Study
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Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) solve different tasks, from discovering new keywords to advertising topics that are difficult to moderate. In this case study, we’ll tell you about how we used DSA to drive additional traffic (which is also less expensive) and solved the task of covering different work directions for the international education agency.

Let’s Talk About DSA

Targeting for Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) works not by keywords, like in regular search ad campaigns, but by website’s content. The system scans the content on the website’s pages and shows the ads according to users’ relevant search queries.

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You can pick one of three types of targeting when you set up such campaign:

  • by website’s index: the system scans the content on the website’s pages;
  • by data feed: the system uploads a feed with selected website’s pages;
  • combined targeting (website’s index + data feed): the system uploads a feed and sets up targeting for specific URLs.

If you decide to target by website’s index, you’ll have to pick one of three available types of targeting for the ads group.

  1. Categories. The system automatically creates a list of recommended categories based on the structure of a website specified in an account.
  2. Separate website’s pages. In this case, a specialist could specify URLs of pages or set up targeting rules for specific website pages, specifying the required categories, headlines, content, and links. This way, you can set up ads for webpages with chosen parameters.
  3. All the website’s pages. The system scans all the pages of a website in this case. That’s why you need to exclude URLs or categories that shouldn’t be displayed to the users before you start a scan.

After you finish setting up the targeting, you’ll have to create an ad. The system picks a headline and a landing page automatically, based on a user’s search query. All we have to do is to add a description and the add-ons for this ad.

The Pros Of DSA

  1. Quick launch. When you create a DSA campaign, you don’t need to spend a lot of time working on the semantics and writing relevant ads. The system will pick the keywords and the headlines itself, saving your time.
  2. Semantics’ expansion. Launching a DSA campaign could help you find new keywords that weren’t used in other campaigns. You can add the conversion requests to ordinary search ad campaigns in the future.
  3. Ad displays for ‘Low Search Volume' keywords. Such ads don’t display in the search ad campaigns; however, you can display them in a DSA campaign.
  4. Low cost per click (CPC) for the topics that have high CPC in search ad campaigns. In DSA, the CPC for similar search queries could be significantly lower than in search ad campaigns.
  5. Ads for the prohibited content. If your ad promotes some prohibited content, it will be declined to display in search ad campaigns. However, such ads could be displayed in DSA campaigns.

The Cons of DSA

  1. Broad targeting. After you launch a DSA campaign, you have to monitor search queries regularly as your ads could be displayed for untargeted search queries.
  2. Automated headlines for ads. The system picks the headlines automatically, and you have no control over them. Such ads might not look very pretty: start with a small letter, contain errors, etc. That’s why you need to specify all the perks of a product or service you promote in the description or the add-ons.
  3. They don’t work for all the websites. Page nesting is important when you set up a DSA campaign. If a website has an incorrect structure, you might not be able to add URLs for the categories.

Usage Of DSA To Promote An International Education Agency

Now let’s move on to the case study.

Project: International education.

Level of competition: high.

Geotargeting: Ukraine (selected regions).

Time period: six months (November 2018 - April 2019).

Niche specifics: this is a highly competitive niche with expensive CPC that affects the CPA. Furthermore, the client’s website includes a lot of educational institutions (names of the schools, colleges, and universities) that are hard to work with in standard search ad campaigns as most of the keywords were marked as 'Low Search Volume.'

We had three goals:

  1. To drive additional traffic at a lower CPC.
  2. To increase the number of conversions (for this website filling out the feedback forms is considered a conversion).
  3. To work with new keywords.

Our strategy: the rates for our DSA campaign were six-time lower than the ones for the search ads to avoid competing with regular search ad campaigns and to get lower CPC.

The Result

When we analyze the results of our campaigns for six months, we can see that:

  1. DSA campaigns drove 18% of all conversions while spending only 7% of the overall budget.
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2. CPC in DSA campaign is 77% lower than in search one, and CPA is 69% lower (the numbers were altered to preserve the percentage ratio).

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DSA campaign included both broad search queries with low CPC and narrow ones containing the names of the colleges and universities that weren’t displayed in search ad campaigns because they were marked as ‘Low Search Volume.’

At the same time, the system redirected the users to relevant pages of the website for most of the search queries. This means that this website is filled with high-quality, well-structured content, and the system was able to identify the target traffic, while the proper website structure allowed to redirect the users to relevant pages.

As you can see, DSA helped us to drive additional traffic and conversion at lower CPC.

The Recommendations

Here’s what we recommend to those who want to start working with DSA:

  1. Control your budget and rates during the initial stages of the work. We recommend setting up a small daily budget and set up low rates until you make sure that your campaign drives target traffic to your website.
  2. Use the DSA campaign as an additional tool. It’s important to ensure that it won’t take away the traffic from the standard search ads. The latter should remain the main source of traffic as they give you more opportunities for optimization and analysis: you can work with quality indicators, keywords, ads, etc.
  3. Exclude those categories and webpages that don’t sell: for instance, the Blog section, and the pages that contain the products that are out of stock.
  4. Analyze the search queries in the ‘DSA Goals’ report: it allows you to see which target pages each of the queries redirects the users. If you see that a landing page is incorrect, you can exclude a certain search query or a page’s URL in the report.
  5. Work on a website’s content. If your website has a lot of high-quality content, the system will be able to work with a lot of relevant search queries.

Setting up a DSA campaign doesn’t require a lot of time. Despite that, such a campaign has to be constantly monitored and analyzed after its launch. However, if you combine it with standard search ads, you’ll soon see that it’s worth the effort.

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