Google’s Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) have been around for almost a decade.

And while this nifty tool has been available to us for 10 years, a lot of us still don’t use them, don’t know how to use them, and don’t understand why they are so beneficial.

DSAs offer a great way to capture an audience you never thought you could reach, and with these ads, you can discover unique searches that could help your business expand even further.

In short, Dynamic Search Ads are here to help understand exactly where and why your search campaigns are proving effective or ineffective.

If you’re still asking yourself, what do they do? How do I set them up? How do they work? There’s no need to worry, below is a step-by-step guide to Google Dynamic Search Ads, how to set them up, as well as the pros and cons of using them.

What Are Dynamic Search Ads?

Dynamic Search Ads are a type of search ad that pops up based on the content of your site.

Essentially, Google utilises its crawling technology to scan your website and uses this information to ensure users are shown dynamic, tailored ads in relation to search queries that match your website.

DSAs differ from traditional text campaigns for a few reasons, the main one being that they forego the use of keywords and simply use your website’s content or product feed.

Once you have set up your DSA, the headline and landing page are dynamically generated to match the search term. This allows the marriage between the search term, the search ad, and the landing page to be more harmonious.

When Will Dynamic Search Ads Appear?

Dynamic Search Ads will appear when a user types in a search query that matches the content on your website.

To do this, Google uses titles and frequently used phrases on your website to assess whether to show a user your dynamic search ad. If Google has deemed the search query aligns with your website, an ad will appear.

How Do I Create a Dynamic Search Ad?

Creating a DSA is relatively simple.

You can either create a DSA within an existing ad campaign or within its own ad campaign.

Current best practice states that it's best to create a DSA within an ad group of an existing campaign, rather than within its own self-contained campaign.

If you want to create a Dynamic Search Ad from scratch, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account
  2. Navigate to the ‘campaigns’ tab
  3. Press the blue “+” new campaign button and select the ‘new campaign’ button
  4. Select ‘search’ campaign or select “Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance”
  5. Name and configure your campaign
  6. Press next and select the ad group type. Select the ‘dynamic’ option
  7. Name your ad group
  8. Enter your website URL
  9. Select your targeting options (see further down the blog for these)
  10. Click next. Create your ad. You will need to add two description lines
  11. Press done

If your site is new to DSAs, please bear in mind that it can take up to 24 hours before these ads appear in user searches.

The Pros and Cons of Dynamic Search Ads

Of course, when considering any new form of PPC advertising there will be positives and negatives to take into account... and Dynamic Search Ads are no exception.

Let’s take a look at the positives first.

The Pros

1. Keywords

    On an average day, there are more than 1 billion searches conducted on Google, and at least 20% of those search queries are completely unique.

    Even if you had “The A-Team” of paid search managers, they would not be able to keep track of all the different searches and keywords cropping up every second of every day. Dynamic Search Ads are an effective solution to keeping up with the volume of these Google searches and the new keywords.

    DSA’s search query reporting will help you find the exact queries that resulted in conversions and add them to new or existing keyword-targeted campaigns, which will significantly reduce the amount of time you spend searching the next keyword craze.

    These search query reports can also be used to uncover negative keywords, which you can then include in your DSA campaign.

    2. Dynamic Search Ads Targeting

      DSAs have a “Targeting” setting that allows you to target an even broader audience without the need for specific keywords. This setting works by matching your users’ searches on Google with specific pages on your site.

      What’s great about this setting is that it allows you to be in control of where your ads will appear to your desired user.

      There are three main targeting options:

      • Categories: Google pre-selects categories based on the content of your site. You then have a choice of which categories you want to target in a particular ad group
      • Specific webpages: You choose the specific pages you want Google to target
      • All webpages: The target would be the whole site

      There are additional types of dynamic ad targets you can create, and you can even block pages using dynamic ad target exclusions.

      3. Time Efficient

        Handing the reigns over to Google to generate your PPC ads allows you to spend more time focusing on your other ad campaigns. DSAs are programmed to appear on the relevant searches without your input.

        A word of caution - we always advise checking your DSA ad campaigns as much as possible to ensure they are targeting your desired audience.

        4. Maximise Your Exposure

          This is an obvious positive, but using DSAs will help you reach a broader audience. For example, you might be running a special offer(s) on your website, and you want to maximise the user traffic to a certain landing page on your website.

          Setting up a Dynamic Search Ad in this scenario would be incredibly beneficial, as you can inform Google that this landing page is vital to your goals and program Google to serve ads directing traffic to that page in every instance that it is deemed relevant.

          The Cons

          1. DSAs Are Not a One Size Fits All Solution

            Just because you saw DSAs work for one company, doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for you. For the most part, DSAs are designed with a certain client in mind.

            If you’re an advertiser who has a website that hosts a number of pages, then DSAs would be a good option for you, as well as those of you with a website with pages that boasts a high volume of products or services, which need updating on a regular basis.

            You should not use Dynamic Search Ads if you operate a small website, a site with customisable products, or a third-party comparison site as they would prove ineffective and end up being a waste of your time and money.

            Instead, take the time to look for other effective paid search strategies that would work alongside your business model.

            2. The Importance of SEO

              For DSAs to actually work, you MUST have effective SEO strategies in place, otherwise they will simply be ineffective.

              This is because DSAs are programmed to use your website content to determine when to generate a specific headline for your ad.

              For example, if your title tags, URLs and header tags aren’t fully optimised your DSA will not be able to generate a targeted ad and could end up appearing to an undesirable user.

              3. Google Is in the Driver’s Seat

                There are ways you can actively control when and where your Dynamic Search Ads appear, such as negative keywords and targeted exclusions. However, you really need to take the time to think about your chosen targets for your dynamic ads and how these users will help you achieve higher conversion rates.

                If you do not consider how these targeted users will impact your campaign performance, then your campaign will most likely fail.

                At the end of the day, you are handing over the power to Google. Google’s system is programmed to serve your ads whenever it’s deemed relative.

                If you have not gone through your dynamic ad targets with a fine-tooth comb, then opting to use DSAs is pointless. So, it’s always worth checking and reviewing your ad campaign on a regular basis.

                Final Thoughts

                For the most part, Dynamic Search Ads are a great tool to use alongside your keyword-driven ad campaigns, as they allow you to address an audience that at first was unreachable.

                While it is the type of campaign you will need to watch over more than others, with proper management and a fine-tuned campaign strategy, you will see incredible results.