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Understanding Dynamic Search Ads: Their Pros, Cons, Plus How to Use Them

By: Abdi Morrison

Dynamic search ads (DSAs) are a Google automated ad type that uses the content of your website to dynamically generate headlines for your ads. When DSAs are enabled, Google scans the pages being targeted in your website to find keywords that match the user’s search queries. Google uses that information to serve the correct ad to that user.

DSAs can be used for any type of business that you have. They’re great for advertisers who try to send users to a well-developed website that is rich with content or that has a large product inventory. To know if your website is optimized for DSAs, first go to the Google Ads keyword planner. Click on “discover new keywords” and then click over to “start with a website.”

Put the domain of your website in that section and see what keyword suggestions come up. These suggestions will show you what kind of searches your website could show up for if you ran a DSA.

If there are a ton of keyword suggestions, then that means there’s a lot of potential search queries that can trigger your ads. If that’s the case, then your site is probably optimized for DSAs. If there are few keyword suggestions, then you might need to improve the content of your website by adding more information to your landing pages, and by increasing the keyword density on those pages.

Pros of Dynamic Search Ads

1) Simplicity - DSAs are incredibly simple to set up. The only things required to set up a DSA are dynamic ad targets, which are the pages that you want to send users to on your site, and 2 descriptions for your ad copy. You don’t have to generate headlines for your ad or map out any of your keywords. You also don’t have to use a final URL because the DSA will use your domain as the destination URL.

To set up a DSA, you simply create an ad group in your Google Ads campaign, and choose “dynamic” as the type of ad group.

2) Additional traffic - DSAs are great for capturing additional traffic, as well as capturing additional leads or sales. When DSAs work, then you’ll get more people coming to your website, which can help to increase market share.

3) Research tool - As well as capturing additional traffic, DSAs can serve as a research tool, giving you insights into additional queries that users are searching for through the search terms report. These search terms can inform you on new keywords that can potentially be targeted within your standard ad groups.

The Major Con of Dynamic Search Ads, and its Implications

1) Lack of control - The biggest downside of this ad type is the lack of control that you have over it. The convenience that comes with setting up a DSA also comes with minimal control over how your ads are being served. This can produce some very unpredictable results for your campaign.

The best way to mitigate this and take some control over your dynamic ad group or campaign is by monitoring the search terms report daily. By getting rid of the junk terms produced within your dynamic ad groups, you can bring more relevant traffic to that ad group, and then perhaps its overall performance will improve for the better.

2) Unknown headlines - Because the headlines are dynamically created, you don’t know what exactly is being served to the user. You don’t know if the headlines being served truly matches the content of your website, or if they convey a convincing message that will bring in traffic and conversions for your campaign. The unpredictability that comes with this ad type can sometimes be a deterrent for some advertisers.

DSA Strategy

Sometimes a dynamic ad group can be used for new traffic acquisition by targeting a different category of your website that isn’t being advertised by your standard ad groups. Or they can target the same web pages as your standard ad group(s) and act as an additional source of traffic and conversion generation. Sometimes running a dynamic ad group that targets the same web page as a standard ad group can outperform that standard ad group.

Our team was advertising for a property buying company and we decided to add a dynamic ad group to our non branded search campaign to improve its performance. The dynamic ad group targeted the same web pages as the standard ad groups, and it outperformed them all. The dynamic ad group was more effective at generating leads for the campaign because the client’s website was rich with content that the automation could use to write effective ad copy.

Campaign performance during the month of March – Ad Group Level


Dynamic search ads are a unique ad type that can help fill in the gaps on your keyword specific campaigns. They can help you reach new customers and tap into new markets, and they can save you a lot of time with a quick and simple set up. Whether you want to gain insights into search terms and new keyword opportunities, or boost traffic to your campaigns, dynamic search ads can be a great addition to almost any Google Ads account.

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