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Ellie Spinks

What are Dynamic Search Ads: A Guide

31st May 2021 PPC Blog, Bing AdCenter, PPC Blog, Google AdWords, PPC Blog 4 minutes to read

Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) are the perfect way to capture traffic that you never thought existed. They capture unique searches, which lead to more opportunities and drive more traffic to your site. In this guide you will learn what dynamic search ads are, how to use them, why we use them and what the best practices are.

What are Dynamic Search Ads?

Dynamic Search Ads are an easy way to discover users searching on Google for your products or business. This type of ad is “ideal for advertisers with a well-developed website or a large inventory” because Google crawls your website and matches search queries to ones closely related to your website. The headlines and landing pages are then dynamically generated using your content, meaning the ad is always relevant and saves a lot of time. Without having these types of ads in an account, you may miss relevant searches or unique ways people search for your brand and products.

How to Choose What to Target with Your DSA?

DSAs use content from your landing pages to target your ad searches, however you can choose these landing pages in a variety of ways.

URL_Contains – this option allows you to target certain URLs which contain a specific string.

Categories – this option is generated by Google Ads by selecting sets of landing pages from your website and organises them by theme. These will be shown in a list of options where you can check box the category you would like to use as your dynamic ad targets.

URL_Equals – this option allows you to target specific individual landing pages from your website. It is common for people to get kick started with DSAs by using their homepage to test the process out.

Page Feed – this option requires you to upload a spreadsheet of URLs meaning you can target your whole feed.

How are DSA Campaigns Different to a Standard Campaigns?

Similar to a standard text campaign, DSA campaigns can use a cost per click bid strategy. This means that you still pay each time someone clicks on your ad, however, unlike the standard campaigns you don’t apply this to each keyword as DSAs don’t use keywords. Instead, you apply bids to the target level you have chosen, for example the URL you have chosen to target. You will then show in the results based on ad rank.

The other difference between DSA Campaigns and Standard Campaigns is the way the ad is formatted. Google pulls information directly from your chosen landing page or feed in order to generate the headline and, if needed, the relevant final URL. The only part of the ad that is require from you is the description. This will be the same for all ads within this dynamic ad target, so you need to make sure your ad is tailored enough to give the user as much information as possible, but also generic enough to apply to all the products that target could pick up.

When to use Dynamic Search Ads in your account?

DSAs are a great option for people who have a wide variety of products and landing pages. Instead of creating an ad for every product individually, DSAs can do this for you and target users based on their intent.

Another time in which DSAs would really benefit an account is when you are wanting to reach more people or explore more ways in which a user searches for your products. With voice search becoming a popular way for people to talk, you want to make sure we are capturing everybody who has the intent to convert with your business. Adding DSAs into your Google Ads account means that you can pick up unique ways in which people search.

When to not use Dynamic Search Ads in your account?

If you have a website which changes regularly, for example if you have regular promotions on products, then DSAs might not be for you. This is because dynamic search ads are unoptimised for quick changes.

DSAs will not work for your account if you need to have a lot of control over what information is shown in your ad. The headlines for your ads are dynamically generated using content on your website meaning there is a lot less control over what you show your users; you have to put your trust in Google! Also, these campaigns can be time consuming with negating search terms if you are very specific on what keywords you want to show for.

DSAs work best with well-optimised pages where themes and terms can be identified. Dynamic Search Ads do not work well with websites in which Google Ads cannot do this for. One example would be, if you must log in to access the majority of the content on the site then DSAs are not for you.


In summary, whether you have a large account and you need to build out a lot of products, or you are looking for gaps in which you are not covering users searching for your products, Dynamic Search Ads are definitely for you. Just be cautious to check your website is correctly structured and optimised in order to achieve the best results possible.

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Ellie Spinks

Senior Paid Media Executive

A Latin and Ballroom national champion, it’s safe to say that Ellie knows her way around a dance floor and can throw a few shapes. She spent a month teaching maths to school children in Fiji which we think is pretty cool, but what we’re super excited about is the fact that Ellie is a self-confessed amateur cook and baker. We’re so looking forward to getting our hands on some tasty treats to try - second opinions are always required, right?

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