One common thing I hear from clients during the onboarding process when they’ve just come from another agency or freelancer managing their accounts is that they didn’t feel they were being innovative enough. My favorite type of client totally gets how most things in PPC need to be tested before it can be determined if it was a success or not. The are super happy to allow testing as long as it’s explained to them why we should do it and the cost/benefit ratio isn’t too out of whack. So, when those kinds of clients come in complaining that their account had become stagnant, I always look to see exactly what the previous account manager missed out on.

Of course, each account is different in terms of what’s been tested, and there are common campaign types like general remarketing that are normally great at increasing ROI. However, I’m going to share today 5 campaign types that are slightly more innovative, and I’ve yet to have an account come in that’s tried all of them. While their success depends greatly on how they’re set up, the site they’re being set up for, and how they’re optimized – I’ve had great success with all of them in multiple accounts!

#1 – Dynamic Search Ads

This campaign type is great when you have rotating inventory like a classifieds site or an expansive ecommerce site. It’s nearly impossible to ensure each item or listing, etc. is being properly represented in your search campaigns. Of course, you can create a feed for Google shopping to make sure you have product coverage, but DSA campaigns ensure you’ll pop up for any relevant search on products/listings/offerings on your site and the user will get a relevant headline and landing page to their search.

Here is your standard AdWords article on how to use this campaign, but here is an article from our very own Associate Director of Paid Search, Jeff Baum, on how to use DSA campaigns.

DSA campaigns are a great way to fill the gaps in keyword coverage for huge sites, especially when inventory rotates frequently. It’s also a great keyword mining tool. I’ve discovered keyword sets I hadn’t thought to advertise through DSA campaigns that proved to be huge revenue generators!

#2 – Smart Lists

Honestly, I hadn’t even heard of Smart Lists until I stumbled across an article about them a few months ago, but I’m IN LOVE. Here’s the article I’m referencing from Rebekah Schelfhout via Search Engine Land.

Basically, Smart Lists are like conversion optimizer for remarketing. Basically. It creates a remarketing audience based on conversion data in Google Analytics. It uses “machine learning” to do this. So, it’s a bit black boxy…


Normally, I don’t like automatic optimizations that I can’t see or control, but I wanted to give this a fair shake.

I tested Smart Lists on a few accounts. One of which only spent a whopping total of $2,367.69 in June, so I wasn’t expecting anything to happen here. However, Smart Lists spent 4% of that budget and got 6% of the overall conversions at a CPA 34% lower than the overall account CPA. Color me impressed!

#3 – RLSA

RLSA stands for “remarketing lists for search ads.” Say that five times fast! Ok, not a tongue twister, but you can see why everyone just uses RLSA. This is a campaign type that is becoming a bit more common, but it’s still not SUPER common. When I do see it being used I just see someone has dropped an audience in an existing campaign and is bidding a bit higher for past visitors. Or, they’ve copied a campaign and created an RLSA campaign that is EXACTLY THE SAME except they’ve added an audience, selected bid and target, and increased the bid modifier.

While these methods might eek out a bit more profit, I think the big potential for RLSA is to use more broad and general keywords with remarketing audiences. You really have to open your mind to all the things you could do if you KNEW your audience was qualified. Think, maybe you could advertise on “Christmas gifts” for people who you know have already added something to their cart on your awesome gift site, but haven’t converted yet. Maybe you’ll catch them in a panic and get them to throw down some cash by offering discounted rush shipping?


#4 – Gmail Sponsored Promotions

I love Gmail Sponsored Promotions because they can just get so creepy. Oh, don’t mind me, just scanning your emails for relevant keywords to serve you ads on. Oh, you’re having a baby?! Congrats! Would you like to buy some diapers? How about a stroller? You’re going to need a bunch of stuff, here’s a coupon.

Marketing Land just did a cool two-part series on this campaign type. Here’s the first and the second part. Susan Waldes explains WAY more over there than I’m going to here, but there are a lot of amazing features for you to play with, and it’s been huge for those of our clients with the right product/service that works with these kinds of ads!

#5 – Similar Audiences

This is an oldie, but a goodie! It’s actually sort of similar to Smart Lists, kind of! Google analyzes a remarketing audience of your choosing and targets similar users. So, for me, I always choose the list I’ve created for converters to use for this. Then, I’m targeting users similar to those who have already converted on my site. I imagine they might call this “machine learning” as well, but they’re more transparent on how this works.

Basically, Google looks at browsing activity on Display Network sites over the past month and looks for shared interests and characteristics of the people in your remarketing list. Based on this information, AdWords automatically finds new potential customers whose interests and characteristics are similar to those of people in your remarketing list.

In Conclusion

There’s a lot of innovative stuff out there for you to get your hands on and test. If you’re not always testing something cool and new, you’re doing yourself and your clients a disservice. First of all, aren’t you bored? What are you even doing all day? Just analyzing bids? Yaaaawn. Try something cool! Secondly, your client is going to be super pumped that you’re showing initiative and staying on top of your game. It won’t hurt that you’ll find lots of stuff that actually works and increase your ROI in the process!