7 Dynamic Search Ads Best Practices You Should Know

  • 8 min read

Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) offer advertisers an excellent solution for utilizing website content and leveraging it in Google search ads. However, there is an art to setting them up and it does differ slightly in comparison to standard search campaigns. 

In this article, we will explore Google Ads Dynamic Search Ads best practices that advertisers need to apply when running DSAs. 

  • Dynamic search ads are available on Google’s search network, matching website content with search terms automatically, and dynamically generating ad copy.
  • Due to the intelligent automation involved, DSAs benefit advertisers by saving them time as well as being highly relevant and helping you to grow traffic.
  • Website content is what powers dynamic search ads so it’s the first thing that needs to be correct. Remember to include strong call-to-actions on DSA pages.
  • Start with negative keywords and negative dynamic ad targets to steer your campaigns and control them as much as possible
  • Work out how best to structure your DSAs based on your circumstances and objectives and make sure ad assets are included to help them stand out.

Source: Instapage

What are Dynamic Search Ads?

Dynamic search ads are one of the many ad types available for advertisers to use in Google Ads. To someone searching, they look the same as a standard search ad. However, DSAs are partly automated by Google and the ad headlines and URLs are pulled in dynamically, which is where they get their name from. 

You are probably most familiar with responsive search ads, which is the most common search ad type available on Google’s search network. 

Dynamic Search Ads vs Responsive Search Ads

DSAs look similar to responsive search ads but the way the headlines, descriptions and URLs are built, as well as how these elements come together to form an ad, is completely different. 

Here’s what makes these elements of a DSA dynamic:


Automatically generated by Google


Advertisers must supply two descriptions in a DSA

URL paths

A display URL is automatically generated by Google

Final URL

Automatically generated by Google

In comparison, responsive search ads are made up of the following:


Advertisers can provide up to 15 headlines


Advertisers can provide up to 4 descriptions

URL paths

There are two URL paths available for advertisers to use

Final URL

Advertisers must provide the final URL

How do Dynamic Search Ads work?

DSAs work by automatically creating ads using your website's content. This means the headlines, display URL and final URL are all lifted directly from the content on your website and dynamically generated.

The dynamically generated ad is also highly relevant to a user. This is because Google will crawl your website to find content that matches the search query of a user.

For example, if a user searches for ‘best houseplants for shady rooms’ and your website has specific content on this topic, it will trigger a dynamic search ad. The ad’s headline and display URL will use the content from that page such as the page’s title, ‘Houseplants For Shady Rooms’, or any other relevant content on the page that closely aligns with the search query. That page will also be used as the ad’s final URL.

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7 Dynamic Search ads best practices explained

Follow these 7 dynamic search ads best practices when setting up and managing your DSA campaigns and they will have the best possible chance to succeed. 

1. Use strong website content

The content from your website that's used in dynamic search ads should be top-notch. It should ideally be highly relevant and up-to-date since the content will be lifted and used as ad copy. 

Ensure page titles and description text is well-written and accurate. If the content on the page can be better tailored so that it’s suited to PPC ad copy, then do it. 

Similarly, if there are pages that are out of date or not relevant to a particular Google Ads campaign, then exclude them by adding a negative page target (see best practice #3). 

Website content is what powers dynamic search ads so it’s the first thing that needs to be correct. 

2. Use relevant call-to-actions 

The concept of using call-to-actions is not new in Performance Marketing, especially for PPC that’s conversion-focused. This also applies to dynamic search ads on Google. 

Since content will be lifted from the website and shown as headline copy, make sure the page call-to-actions are relevant. Whether it’s ‘shop now’, ‘download brochure’, or ‘submit form’, get them right on the page so this can be reflected in the DSAs headline.  

On the page below, the call-to-actions that are used numerous times are ‘Request a demo’ and ‘Start for free’, both of which would be relevant if used in a DSA. 


Don’t get caught out by call-to-actions that are in a website’s footer, or pages that have multiple call-to-actions and ones that are less relevant to your campaign. Things like ‘contact us’, ‘request refund’, and ‘book delivery’ may not be relevant to someone in the early stages of their search, for example, so be mindful of limiting these on DSA pages. 

Another way to use relevant call-to-actions is by including them in description copy, which is a best practice when writing a description for a search ad. Description copy is the one element of an ad that advertisers can control. 

The example below uses ‘Book Today & Save’ in description 1 and ‘Contact Our Friendly Team’ in description 2. 


3. Start with negative keywords and monitor search terms

Dynamic search ads are broad and there’s little control over the search queries that will be surfaced and the pages that will be used. This part is dynamic and automated by Google, so it’s important to steer your DSAs as much as possible, to make them as effective as possible. 

Before launching your DSA, start with robust negative keywords. The best way to do this is to use Negative Keyword Lists and apply them to campaigns or ad groups. 

Consider adding negative keywords that are already being used in the account for other campaigns. You could also add brand keywords as negatives if the DSA is a generic campaign. 

Once you’ve launched the DSA campaign, regularly monitor search queries and continue adding negative keywords to the lists as and when required. In the example below for a pet-friendly holiday website, two search terms that are not ‘pet friendly’ related have shown up, so these can be added as negative keywords to block them in the future. 


You can use negative keywords to make sure that your ad doesn’t show for irrelevant searches, saving you money from wasted clicks. This also means your budget will be better spent on relevant search terms that are more likely to convert.

Since using negative keywords reduces irrelevant search terms, it can greatly improve CTR, conversion rate and quality score.

DatafeedWatch’s PPC automation tool allows you to enter negative keywords during campaign setup, which is a fast and effective way to stay on top of DSA negative keywords:


Adding negative keywords to Dynamic Search campaigns | DataFeedWatch

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4. Use Negative Dynamic Ad Targets

As well as negative keywords, consider adding non-relevant pages as negative dynamic ad targets. Doing this will prevent Google from using those pages in the DSA. 

As an example, for the same pet-friendly holiday website, the DSA campaign is intended only for hotels, so pages containing ‘cottages’ have been excluded as a negative dynamic ad target.


Excluding non-strategic pages is important and will streamline your DSA and ensure the search terms are better focused on what’s important. 

For conversion-focused campaigns, other non-relevant pages to consider excluding are blog posts and articles, which may be more awareness based and the page topics could be broader. Delivery and returns policy pages, privacy policy pages, about and contact pages could also be excluded.

5. Ad group structure and categorization 

In some cases, one DSA ad group or campaign will be enough. Since dynamic search ads are broad they will be able to pick up generic search queries en masse and trying to manage this with a granular structure may lead to search term overlap across your ad groups. 

However, in other cases, for businesses that offer quite different products or services for example, a more granular approach to structure and categorization may help performance, as well as management. If certain areas of the business are underperforming, they could be paused and ad spend could be up weighted in top-performing areas. The PPC automation tool will help you structure these ads for you, so you don’t overspend on under-performing products and ads.

To give an idea of how best to structure ad groups, here are four scenarios and for each scenario, what the best approach could be:


Best approach

Targeting both brand and generic search terms

2 separate campaigns or ad groups to keep brand and generic search terms separate. This will provide more insight into performance and improve management.

A bed frame business with a collection of 20 bed frames

1 DSA campaign or ad group will probably be enough, to prevent overlap. Unless there are really distinct differences, such as wooden bed frames and metal bed frames.

A homeware business that sells bed frames, wardrobes, lamps and houseplants

4 ad groups or campaigns would be the best approach, to monitor the performance of each product type separately and better tailor description copy to products.

Hotel website with properties in 5 regions

Either 1 catch-all DSA would be appropriate, or depending on the types of search terms and performance, each region could be separated into their own ad group. An experiment might be the best approach.

There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach in terms of how best to structure DSA campaigns, it really does depend on the individual circumstances and needs of a business. But it is important to consider how best to structure ad groups before setting up DSAs. 

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6. Include relevant ad assets (formally ad extensions)

Make your DSAs more attractive and provide users with additional information by using Google’s ad assets. Ad assets such as sitelinks, callouts, snippets, reviews and images give your ad greater visibility and prominence on the search results page. This will help you stand out, as well as improve CTR. 

Ensure your approach to ad assets is in keeping with your dynamic ads, for example, if you are using one catch-all DSA campaign or ad group, then the ad assets will need to be fairly generic so they appeal to all searches. 

On the other hand, if ad groups are separated out by product type or location, then the ad assets could be tailored to make them more relevant. 

Here are two ads that triggered when searching for hotels in new york, to illustrate the difference ad assets can have on an ad visually, with Expedia’s ad using snippets, review and sitelink assets:



7. Use automated bidding

Automated bidding in Google Ads is now the recommended approach for all campaigns. It uses Google's AI to set your bids for you and will take into account an enormous number of intent signals, to determine an ad’s likelihood to result in a click or conversion. 

Even though automated bidding is recommended, there are still cases where manual bidding is more appropriate, however for DSAs, automated bidding is the preferred choice. This is because DSAs are automated themselves, so it makes sense to lean into Google’s ability to help you increase clicks, visibility in search results, conversions, or conversion value.

Also, dynamic search ads are broad, so by using a conversion based bid strategy for example, you are signalling to Google that the focus is conversions, which will utilize machine learning helping you to achieve that goal. 

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Benefits of using Dynamic Search Ads in Google Ads

You might be wondering what the benefits of using Google dynamic search ads are, and why DSAs could be a great addition to your Google Ads account. 

Time-saving automation

DSAs are automated by Google, which means less time is needed to set up and manage them. DSAs can crawl website content at scale and quickly serve the best content to searchers. 

This saves advertisers an enormous amount of time in manually setting up campaigns, especially when dealing with large websites and product catalogues that go into the hundreds and even thousands. 

For example, instead of manually building campaigns and ad groups that cover thousands of products, not to mention optimizing them all as well, DSAs do all of the heavy lifting for you. Leaning into the automation that’s available in Google Ads is an enormous benefit. 


Google Ads will dynamically generate an ad with a clear headline for the most relevant page on your site. Therefore, as well as saving advertisers time with fast and effective automation, DSAs are also highly relevant to users.

Let’s say 200+ product pages are used as part of your DSA campaign, the dynamic search ad will match the most suitable product page to a search, lifting content from the product page and showing a relevant ad to the user. 

This high level of relevance is important for achieving a high CTR and providing users with a positive experience, by showing them what they want. 

Capture additional traffic

DSAs are a great addition to most Google Ads accounts and they are best used to complement standard campaign types. They can help scale and grow traffic by finding search queries and keywords that are not part of standard search campaigns. 

DSAs are essentially broad-match and they can fill in keyword gaps. Taking the example of a business that has 1000s of products, it’s going to be challenging to cover every single relevant keyword for such a large number of products. 

Ability to control

As well as being broad and automated by Google, DSAs do provide advertisers with a good level of control. Advertisers can choose what pages to include in the DSA target, they can exclude pages that are not relevant, and using negative keywords, it’s possible to prevent ads from showing for non-relevant queries. 

Although there is less control than standard search campaigns, especially around the ad’s headline and final URL, shaping them with targeting and negative keywords is one of the benefits of running DSAs. 

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Follow these 5 dynamic search ads best practices and your DSAs will be in with the best chance of driving the performance you need. 

Remember, Google search best practices apply to DSAs, therefore, experimenting and constantly tweaking and refining your DSA will drive the best results. From this perspective, treat dynamic search ads the same as any other campaign. 

If you’re ready to run dynamic search ads, don’t miss our step-by-step guide on how to set up dynamic search ads in Google.


What's a best practice when writing a description for a search ad?

You have 90 characters to play with for each search ad description, enabling you to get the most detail into your ad. Still, keep your description short and punchy and use numbers to draw attention and ensure it’s easy to read. Finally, include a call-to-action to help drive action. 

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