Google AdWords Dynamic Search Ads: 10 Quick Tips to Get Started

KeywordsAs advertisers, we’re always trying to find new and innovative ways to showcase our products. Sometimes it isn’t just about the “look and feel” of our products, but the placement of them as well.

Where can we put our products and ads so that they stand out to our customers? In a grocery store, this is the equivalent to learning whether we should be placing our products on an endcap display, up front by the register, or in a “bull’s eye zone.”

With digital advertising – we learn where to “place” our products by using our existing data to make assumptions about our customers’ behavior. Where are they looking for our product? When is the right time for them to receive messaging about our product?

The Way People Search Online Is Always Evolving

In paid search specifically, we have tons of data. There are the keywords that drive users to purchase, the ones that don’t, and everything in between.

Many times, a query will tell us that a particular user wants more information but they aren’t yet ready to purchase, or that they have a high intent to make a purchase within the next 24 hours.

One of the most helpful ways to discover how our customers are behaving is to review search query reports. The terms within these reports can help us learn how consumers are finding our ads, and are supported with accompanying data that tell us which of those queries turn into sales or conversions.

But, have you ever thought that you are limiting your business by only looking at your existing keyword data? What about finding new keywords?

Should you rely on using more broad match keywords to bring in relevant queries? Or check out the Keyword Planner?

What about looking into competitor data? Plus, there’s always that Paid vs. Organic Report, right?

As advertisers, we know the way people search online is evolving, so how can we also evolve? Well, here’s a simple and quick idea. Launch a Dynamic Search Ad (DSA) campaign through Google AdWords.

How Dynamic Search Ads Work

Dynamic Search Ad campaigns target relevant Google searches by scanning the text of your existing website and serving up ads on Google when a query matches your site.

To do this, Google will use their organic Web crawling technology to scan your website and keep a fresh index of your inventory. Then, when a user searches for something relevant and related to your website, Google will match the query to your website and serve an ad.

The ad will be pretty targeted, as Google dynamically generates a headline based on the query and the relevant landing page, though you will create the pre-set description lines and display URLs. The ad will then enter the auction and compete normally, so bidding is a factor.

With Dynamic Search Ads, you get the benefit of more query data without having to create more keywords. You can then use the data to further expand your campaigns and continuously keep up with searcher behavior, which tends to be a moving target.

But, don’t be deceived – this isn’t a “set it and forget it” campaign. It takes work and refinement, but over time, if created and optimized correctly, this campaign can become your very own gold mine. According to Google Ad Innovations, “During pilot testing, most advertiser’s saw 5-10% more clicks and conversions with satisfactory ROI.”

How to Get Started With DSA Campaigns

  1. Check out this article to see if DSA campaigns are a good fit for you.
  2. Learn how to set up a Dynamic Search Ads campaign and how to create targets for your ads.
  3. When creating targets for your DSA campaign, think of how you can break them out into different ad groups. That way, you can use your ad description lines to be as relevant as possible.
  4. Understand the correct way to set up your destination URLs. It’s important! I prefer the {unescapedlpurl} ValueTrack parameter appended with any third party tracking.
  5. Be sure to add a decent set of generic terms as negative keywords for your Dynamic Search Ads campaign. Many of us already have generic campaigns running to catch non-branded keywords, but we usually intentionally limit their budget. If during the day your generic campaigns cap out, Dynamic Search Ads can continue serving ads on those generic terms (if they’re a good match to your site) unless you add them as negative keywords to your DSA campaign.
  6. Consider adding some high-volume brand keywords as negatives too. You don’t want to pull traffic away from any top performers once you launch your DSA campaign.
  7. Once you’re up and running, check your Search Term and Category Reports often. This is where you’ll find your query data. You won’t find anything in your Keywords tab, so don’t be alarmed if this tab is empty.
  8. If you’ve found a high-converting query in your Search Term report, move the keyword to the appropriate traditional campaign (with a relevant ad) and then also add the keyword as a negative to your Dynamic campaign, so that it won’t continue to serve for your Dynamic campaign. Similarly, if you find search terms or categories with sufficient volume that aren’t converting, these should also be added as negatives for the DSA campaign, and potentially for other campaigns as well.
  9. Feel free to set up your regular bells and whistles, too. You can add most of your regular ad extensions to your dynamic campaigns. For sitelinks, you can either create your own, our let the DSA campaign pick “automatic sitelinks” for your campaign. These, much like the ad headline, are dynamically created based on the search.
  10. Just like with the rest of your enhanced campaigns, you can make bid adjustments to your DSA campaign. Also, there are a number of bidding options as well, including CPC bidding, eCPC bidding, Conversion Optimizer, and more. Pick the strategy that works best for your business and its goals.


If you want to learn more about DSA campaigns, have any questions about how to get started, or want to discuss your experience with these campaigns, please comment below.

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