Introduction to Dynamic Search Ads (DSA)

By Jasleen Banwaitt, January 30th 2018 in Ad words
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Dynamic search ads, what, who, how and why?

In this blog I will cover everything you have ever wanted to know about DSA and what, who, how and why they can be a big help to your online advertising campaigns


Dynamic search ads are a way to dynamically create and show search ads to your potential customers without any keywords. Google’s algorithm will scan your web pages to serve a dynamic headline and final URL based on the search query.

Does it compete with your search campaigns? No. When a relevant search occurs and you have an eligible keyword-targeted ad, the dynamic search ad will be ‘held’ back; not affecting any search campaigns that may already be performing well for you.


Dynamic search campaigns can be great for all businesses but particularly:

Niche markets with low search volume: It’s very frustrating when as a business, you want to target specific keywords however when you come to performing keyword research/place a campaign live there simply isn’t enough search volume to gain impressions. This is where dynamic search ad campaigns can help serve ads for relevant terms generated from your web pagese

Commerce businesses selling very specific model numbers: Selling graphics cards, TV brackets or servers and want to push specific model numbers? Or what if you have over 500 model types all that lead to specific pages on your website? You would need 500 Ad Groups for those specific products and often enough Google will categorise search terms like “Dell AMD Firepro S7150 8GB” in the low search volume bank.

This is where DSA is perfect. If your website index is formatted correctly you can group product types together and serve specific ads with dynamic headlines and final URLs into a few ad groups.

The same set up and theory can be applied to other industries such as the travel sector targeting very specific locations like Chania or Rethymnon, Crete.

Businesses looking to expand: Sometimes you’ve covered all the possible keyword combinations you can think of. DSA campaigns can be a great way to find new keywords and fill in the gaps of your existing search campaigns. I like to refer to these as “Also known as terms no-one would think of”.

All businesses can utilise DSA &Audiences:  Buying behaviour is getting more and more complex. When you think about your own behaviour when booking a holiday, you probably search, search again, browse a few sites, see a banner reminding you of the holiday you looked at a few days ago (perhaps now with an offer) and may search again. BHAM! This is where advertisers should be combining DSA (campaigns that can help serve ads for long tail keywords) with an audience list of people that have visited their website from the past 30 days. Our behaviour has always been to find the best deals and search around, as marketers we need to make sure we appear when they search again.


You can find a lot of step by step guides on how to set up a DSA campaign so I won’t bore you with the screengrabs! What I will outline is the different ways you can choose your dynamic ad targets. A dynamic ad target defines pages on your site that you want to advertise with dynamic search ads

Target categories: Google will outline predefined categories based on the content of your website. For this it is best to create an ad group for each category of your website

Target all pages: You can have the option to just target your entire website. If you choose this option be sure to read the section on dynamic exclusions below!

Target specific web pages: There are a few ways you can select specific web pages. They are all pretty self-explanatory, however, when choosing ‘URL’ contains it is important to note: with this option your website URL structure is key. For example if you own a jewellery store and want to target ‘earrings’, it is important all your website URLs for your earrings product range include the word ‘earrings. e.g , if for example when clicking into earrings and then studs the website changes to this subrange will not be added as a dynamic ad target

Custom feeds for dynamic ad targeting: You can also create and upload a custom feed where you specific a label and any urls you wish to target under this label. You can then adjust your bids based on these labels. A url can also have multiple labels associated. This custom feed is then uploaded into the account’s shared library under business data


To sum up there are many reasons why advertisers should use DSA campaigns they:

  • Fill the gaps
  • Find new keywords – Also known as finding terms “no-one would think of”
  • Appear for specific models/products
  • Combat the ‘low search volume problem’
  • Be strategic about complex buying behaviours

If you want to find out more please feel free to give us a call