google dynamic search ads

How to Effectively Use Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs)

If you are managing a Google AdWords or Ad Grants account, you should definitely consider introducing a Dynamic Search Ad (DSA) campaign. Google’s DSAs are an easy way to quickly and efficiently scale traffic to your site, and can offer a window into new keyword opportunities that you might have previously missed. With the sunsetting of Expended Text ads in June 2022, DSAs can provide an additional way to optimize and improve account performance. 

Whether this is a completely new concept to you or you simply need a refresher on the power of leveraging Dynamic Search Ads, you’ve come to the right place. The overview below should help you better understand if this feature is a good fit for you.   

What are Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs)?

Here is Google’s definition of dynamic search ads:

“Dynamic Search Ads are the easiest way to find customers searching on Google for precisely what you offer. Ideal for advertisers with a well-developed website or a large inventory, Dynamic Search Ads use your website to target your ads and can help fill in the gaps of your keywords-based campaigns”

Even though the definition uses the language of “customers” and “inventory,” don’t be fooled into thinking retailers are the only ones who can reap the benefits of Dynamic Search Ads. At Media Cause, we have seen these campaigns drive incredible success for a variety of our nonprofit clients with unique missions.

Unlike traditional search campaigns that are dictated by a list of keywords, Dynamic Search Ad campaigns encourage Google to crawl your site and deliver ads based on your website content and what the engine deems most relevant.  So for instance, if someone searches “what to see in Yosemite National Park” Google might serve your Dynamic Search Ad to that user, leading them to a relevant blog post, “Top Things To See in Yosemite National Park”.

You can specify whether you want the DSA campaign to target your entire site, certain sections of the site (i.e. only crawl URLs that contain “travel”), or specific categories (i.e. “category is park”).

What do Dynamic Search Ads Look Like?

The ad that is served will look very similar to a traditional search ad. The headline will be dynamically generated based on a user’s search term and the language on your landing page; this helps to increase your ads apparent relevance. While the landing page is also dynamic (Google will decide which landing page will offer the best experience), you will still have control over the description text and display URL.

Why Use Dynamic Search Ads?

  • Save time. You don’t have to spend time building out new keywords—you can simply specify the category or URL structure that you want to target instead.
  • Scale your content more easily. If you are having a hard time spending the $10,000 Ad Grants budget, or you just want to scale your traffic/spend quickly, DSA campaigns can be a great solution.
  • Uncover new keyword opportunities. Even if you think you have an exhaustive list of keywords, there will always be gaps in your account where you’re missing something. This is particularly true when it comes to long tail keywords – you can’t capture every term. Like keyword-based campaigns, you will be able to see the queries that are matching to your DSA campaigns and can identify new terms.
  • New content creation ideas. While it’s true that Google will only be serving ads based on your existing content, DSAs can be a quick way to isolate the top performing themes from your site. For instance, if you start to see “Yosemite National Park” queries driving a high volume traffic to your site and achieving a high CTR, then that’s probably a good indication that the search intent is there and that the theme is resonating with your audience. Perhaps it’s time to test out other content variations of Yosemite or test Yosemite content across other channels.

How Do I Create Dynamic Search Ads?

Here are simple instructions from Google on how to Create Dynamic Search Ads.

What are strategies for effectively managing a DSA campaign?

  • Be sure to add negative keywords. You can even exclude particular sections of your site, to avoid serving irrelevant or undesirable content.
  • Mine your search terms report to identify trends, pinpoint queries that are performing poorly and need to be blocked, or queries that are performing well and should be added to your account. Some people find that DSA campaigns actually perform better than traditional keyword-based campaigns. You won’t know until you test it out.
  • Be mindful of trademark keywords. Are you promoting other brands’ content on your site? Check out this note from Google. If you’re running a Google Ad Grant account, check out our blog on how to stay in compliance with the new policies.
  • Tailor your ad copy to fit your targeting. At first, if your DSA campaign targets the entire site, it might be easiest to launch more generic, brand-centric ad copy. But, as you narrow your targeting, you’ll want to tailor your ad copy to match the content.
  • Let the data guide you on determining whether DSAs campaigns are worthwhile. While there is some debate on this, in general, it is believed that DSAs should supplement your existing content, not replace it entirely.

Why would DSA campaigns not be a good idea?

  • If you don’t have a good website structure, it can make it hard for Google to crawl your site effectively.
  • When you can’t keep a close eye on the queries that are matching to your campaign.
  • And keep in mind: if your website content is very limited, Google may serve very few or no ads at all.


Looking for help effectively managing your Google Ad Grant Adwords account? Get in touch! We’d love to help



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