What are Dynamic Search ads and when to use them?
Dynamic Search Ads, commonly known as DSAs, use content on your website, such as landing pages, product pages and blog posts, to target searchers and automatically generate ads. DSA targeted advertising is great for picking up keywords that your traditional campaigns might be missing and finding low-competition keywords.
As well as automating the process of matching your content to searches, the headlines and final URL are also pulled in dynamically, making dynamic search ads highly relevant to the user.
When to use DSAs?
DSAs are best used to complement traditional campaign types like Search, Shopping and Performance Max campaigns. They can generate extra volume and be a cost-effective way to scale your account when properly managed with the care and attention needed.
As well as being simple to build, Dynamic Search Ads are low maintenance once they are up and running. When new pages and products are added to the website, dynamic search ad campaigns will detect these automatically and use them for the campaign.
From a management perspective, it’s important to monitor search queries and develop comprehensive negative keyword lists, but otherwise, they require less optimization than standard campaigns.
If you’re brand new to DSAs, read our full guide to Dynamic Search Ads to find out how they work, how DSAs compare to responsive search ads and the full list of pros and cons of Dynamic Search Ads.
When not to create a DSA campaign?
If you need to maintain a high level of control over your ad copy and keywords, then Dynamic Search Ads are not for you. With DSAs, you have no control over an ad’s headline because this part of the ad is dynamic and determined based on the content on the website.
Examples of businesses DSAs might not be right for are those that are heavily regulated by a governing or regulatory body or those that follow advertising regulations, such as brands in the healthcare and medicine sector or those regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Businesses in these sectors will need to keep a tight handle on their ad copy.
Also, if you are working with a limited budget it would probably be best to first launch traditional campaigns to ensure the keywords you are bidding on are high intent.
How to set up Dynamic Search Ads: Launching a new campaign
Let’s go through the steps involved in setting up Dynamic Search Ads in a brand-new Google Ads campaign. You also have the option to set up DSAs in an existing campaign, which we’ll cover later on.
Manual set-up in Google Ads
Step 1: Create a new campaign and select your goal.
Step 2: Select the search network and then name your campaign.
Step 3: Choose what bidding strategy you would like to use.
Step 4: Decide whether or not you would like to include search partners and Google’s display network. Both of these options can expand your reach.
Step 5: Choose your campaign’s target location and language.
By default Google will target ‘people in, recently in or interested in your target location’, however, in general, it’s best to select the option to target people ‘in or regularly in my target location’, and not include those who are interested in the location.
Step 6: Decide whether or not you would like to use any audience segments in your DSA targeted campaign, and following that define your ad rotation settings, start and end dates, ad schedule, URL options and brand restrictions as required.
Click next to the ‘Keyword and ads’ section.
Step 7: Skip this section by clicking on the dustbin icon in the top right corner. We’ll instead need to set up a dynamic ad group in order to build dynamic ads.
Step 8: Enter your campaign budget and click next to the final setting, which is ‘Review’.
Step 9: Review the campaign settings and when you are happy, publish the new campaign. You will likely get a message from Google about the campaign needing ads to serve, but ignore this and publish the campaign anyway.
Step 10: Once published, go back into the campaign, navigate to ad groups (which will be empty) and create a new ad group. At this stage, you must change the ad group type from standard to dynamic.
Enter the website URL you will be promoting and name your ad group.
Step 11: It’s now time to add your DSA targeted advertising and there are a number of ways you can do this.
Firstly, you can specify the exact URLs you would like to use to target your DSA ad group. For example, if you have specific pages you would like to use, add them here.
Alternatively, you can choose to target pages based on rules, with the option to build rules based on page content, page title or URL. For example, page content / title / URL could contain ‘product name’ or ‘keyword’. This way any page that meets this criteria will be used in the target.
Now it’s time to create your DSA ads.
This step is much more streamlined compared to creating responsive search ads since headlines, the final URL and path 1 and path 2 are all dynamic, meaning you only have to input two description lines.
You have the option to create multiple dynamic search ads within the ad group, which is a good opportunity to experiment with different description copies. When you are happy, click save and continue.
Step 13: Add negative keywords to your campaign or ad group by navigating to the Keyword section, selecting negative keywords, choosing your new campaign or ad group and begin adding.
The final step is optional but highly recommended, in order to optimize your campaign from the offset giving you more control over the search queries your ads show for, and target pages on the website.
Add negative keywords you know are not relevant for this campaign - you can base this on existing negative keywords in the account or the performance of your existing campaigns. You could also use negatives to block specific products that are low priority or not relevant to the campaign, or some other negative keywords to consider adding are low-intent, broad or competitor keywords.
A good way to block searches for non relevant search terms is by adding negatives in phrase match, for example, ‘free’, ‘guide to’, ‘second hand’, ‘used’, ‘competitor’ etc. to prevent any searches containing these words from triggering your ads.
Automatic setup in Feed-Based Text Ads tool
For maximum performance we always advise to run your DSA ads along the product group campaign to expand your reach and cover as many search queries as possible. So here's how to set up both for better exposure:
Step 1: First, create a Group Campaign and then add a new campaign.
Step 2: Copy over the campaign settings from the corresponding product campaign. Once this is done, click ‘Save & continue’ in every tab except for the ‘Keywords’ section.
Step 3: Each truncated keyword within the Group Campaign will cover at least two or more products/variants depending on how many variants a product has. Each keyword will have a separate ad group and unique landing page.
A truncated product name can have 1-5 keywords, Exact Match is selected by default but you can use different match types to truncate keywords.
Step 4: Set your landing page. To do this, each text ad should link to a Landing page that contains all the products that are in an ad group. Check in your shop, what the URL of the Search Result page is.
Step 5: Paste the landing page in the landing page tab
Step 6: Adjust the Text Ads
The text ads templates are also copied from the Product Campaign, but please note improvements for two fields:
- Product Name is now Truncated Product Name
- Price is now Price From
Step 7: The next step is to create a DSA Campaign. The DSA campaign will include all products that do not have enough search volume (keywords not eligible). This campaign is complementary to the Products campaign and will give products with low search volume more visibility.
To ensure that there will be no overlap between the Product campaign and the DSA campaign, all keywords from the Product campaign will be added as negative keywords in the DSA campaign.
Step 8: Copy the settings from the corresponding product campaign.
Step 9: Click Save & continue in every tab, with only one exception - you must finally add a description copy in the text Ads.
How to set up Dynamic Search Ads: Updating an existing campaign
The third way to set up Dynamic Search Ads is by building them in an existing search campaign. In order to do this, click into the campaign and go to ‘Settings’. You first need to add the website you will be using to the ‘Dynamic Search Ads setting’ and click save.
Next, within that campaign go to the ad group level and create a new ad group.
Follow steps 10, 11, 12 and 13 from the previous section ‘Manual setup in Google Ads’, which includes setting the dynamic ads target, creating dynamic text ads and adding negative keywords.
When adding negative keywords, consider adding them at the ad group level instead of the campaign level, so they don’t impact the rest of the campaign. You should also consider excluding all of the keywords in the campaign from the new dynamic ad group so that the DSA instead finds new searches and doesn’t impact the existing ad groups.
Well-performing DSA campaign examples
Let’s take a look at two examples of Dynamic Search Ad campaigns that are performing well, and why they are performing well.
Luxury Furniture eCommerce: -74% Lower Average CPC In The DSA
Dynamic Search Ads are great for finding search queries that your traditional campaigns are missing. These alternative search queries can also have less competition and lower competition usually translates to a lower CPC. This is exactly what happened for a luxury furniture ecommerce business that sells high value and bespoke bedroom furniture.
The screenshot below from the generic DSA campaign achieved a CPC of £0.41, compared to £1.55 in the standard generic search campaign. The DSA campaign’s CPC was also lower than the PMax shopping campaign CPC, which was £0.73.
This provided the advertiser with an excellent opportunity to drive cost-effective traffic to the site. For this particular brand, the products are high value and the path to purchase is long, averaging more than 30 days. So the ability to generate cost-effective traffic has helped the brand expand the upper funnel.
In the example above, CTR is much lower for the DSA than the standard search campaign, which can happen and it’s something to keep an eye on. The standard campaign is using specific keywords with a very granular ad group structure and the RSAs are heavily tailored to each ad group, resulting in a high CTR.
Travel Website: -19% Decrease in CPA, +14% Increase in Conversion Rate
In the example below, the DSA campaign was set up for a travel website that sells holidays in Europe. The aim of the campaign is to capture really specific location and property searches. This has always been challenging to do manually with a standard search campaign because the business has thousands of properties.
Using the powerful automation capabilities of DSAs, the campaign was able to outperform the standard search campaign and generate a lower cost per acquisition (CPA) and higher conversion rate.
This had a really big impact on the overall performance of Google Ads and the DSA campaign has since become the highest-spending campaign in the account. The DSA campaign hasn’t fully replaced standard campaigns, however, the advertiser has found a good balance using a mix of all the relevant campaign types.
How to turn off Dynamic Search Ads?
Turning off your Dynamic Search Ads is simple and it can be done at either campaign or ad group level. If it’s a standalone DSA campaign and you want to pause it entirely, pause the campaign.
If you’ve set up Dynamic Search Ads within a search campaign that contains standard ad groups and you would like to keep those ad groups running, just pause the DSA ad group(s).
DSA ads are an excellent way to scale your account by showing ads for new search queries and keywords that would have otherwise been missed. Not only that, but they are highly relevant since the landing page and ad headlines are tailored to the search, making DSA-targeted advertising a great tool for advertisers to experiment with.
Another way to scale your Google Ads account is by utilizing Feed-Driven Text Ads, and in this case study, find out how we were able to get around limitations, hit sales goals and scale campaigns during the peak season.
How to set up dynamic search ads?
Dynamic Search Ads can be set up in a new campaign, or within an existing campaign. You must first create a new dynamic ad group, which will then allow you to create dynamic ads targets. This is how DSAs target users, instead of using keywords.
With dynamic search ads what does the advertiser provide?
Since keywords are not used in Dynamic Search Ads targeting, instead the advertiser must provide web pages that are used for targeting. Content on these target web pages are then scraped by Google and matched with relevant searches.