All About Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) In Google Ads

Google automatically displays dynamic ads based on on-page content. The basis for deciding which search queries are relevant for which products or services form the organic Google search index.

The use of dynamic search ads can be particularly useful. If the offer on the website is so extensive that purely keyword-related campaigns cannot represent it or if changes in the offer cannot be implemented in the AdWords account promptly, e.g., in the event of frequent changes to the offers or range.

Think classified ads portals or large online shops. So DSA campaigns make sense if not all search queries can be saved as keywords in AdWords. And this will often be the case when there are regular major changes to the content of your website. So you should think about DSA if you have a large website or want to promote a large inventory. Dynamic search ads are often a good addition to keyword-based campaigns.

However, Google can only consider changes in the content of your website if your website has been crawled again. This means that content that changes very quickly cannot always be crawled in time and used for display. Except for feed-based targeting, DSA campaigns are not recommended if the content of your website changes daily.

If you advertise your products or services via both keyword and DSA campaigns, the search for the keyword-related campaign will always be displayed if the search queries match exactly. If this is not possible, the keyword with the highest ad rank comes into play. For DSA campaigns, the ad rank also results from the well-known components bid and quality factor as well as an ad format. The storage of ad extensions is, therefore, also highly recommended for DSA campaigns.

Search campaigns without keywords – how it works

Instead of providing Google with a pool of keywords for matching with search queries in AdWords, dynamic search ads (also DSA or Dynamic Search Ads) use the content of a website as a criterion for ad targeting. To vote, Google scans the website content and determines suitable search queries for the content. The advertiser can decide if the entire website or only certain pages should be scanned. 

Benefits of dynamic search ads

So what are the reasons for dynamic search ads? They mostly offer the following advantages:

Time savings

This is the most important reason. With DSA, you no longer need to assign keywords, bids and add text to each product. This work is primarily eliminated with DSA. This means that, especially with brand new Adwords campaigns, you are much faster with your advertising on the market.

Automatic updates of your ads

If your offer changes, your website will be crawled again to ensure that your ads are as up to date as possible. Ultimately, this is also about saving time when updating your ads.

Relevant headlines

If a user’s search query is relevant to your product or service, an ad with a landing page URL and the most relevant headline is generated dynamically. The headline will take the terms from the user’s search phrase into account and be as relevant as possible.

More traffic

With dynamic search ads, you will get more traffic, even if you already have a well-structured AdWords. You have to analyze and decide whether this fits your strategy.

Create dynamic search ads

Make the right campaign settings

To create a campaign with dynamic search ads, you create a new “Search Network only” campaign and make the campaign settings. Then, under “More settings”, check the box next to “Enable dynamic search ads for this campaign”. The next step is to save the website URL and the language.

choose dynamic search ads

Create ad groups

As soon as the campaign is saved, ad groups can be created. This is where the dynamic ad targets are selected that are to be compared with potential search queries. There are three options:

1. Targeting the website’s recommended target categories: Google suggests thematically organized targeting groups based on the content of the website. The categories can be selected individually and given bids.

Dynamic search ads

2. Target all websites:  Google scans the entire website.

3. Target specific websites: Desired categories, page contents, page titles, or URLs can be filtered out and selected based on the words they contain. For example, you could filter by brands or categories.

The standard method is to target the categories recommended by Google. Depending on the website structure, other targeting options may also be useful. It is also important to create a structure that is as granular as possible for campaigns with dynamic ads to be able to store suitable ads. 

Exclusion of irrelevant areas

When targeting the entire website, ads should be excluded from irrelevant areas such as the about us, policies etc. Under the “Dynamic ad targets to be excluded” tab, unwanted areas of the website can be filtered out and excluded at the campaign or ad group level. In online shops, it is recommended to filter out and exclude unavailable products based on the page content (e.g., “sold out”).

Store dynamic search ads

When the ad is served, the title and landing page URL of the text ad are generated dynamically based on the search query. The searcher’s keyword is usually represented in the title, and the appropriate URL is provided. The remaining lines of text and the displayed URL are stored statically.

Dynamic ads are currently only available in the “old” text ad format. A dynamic ETA cannot yet be created. Unlike classic text ads, the title of dynamic search ads can be significantly longer than 25 characters depending on the search query. 

Best practices for targeting DSA campaigns

Broad ad targets Build more dynamic ad targets to get more traffic. If you create an ad target with very few indexed landing pages, your ads are unlikely to reach your reach.

Use bid adjustments

Increase or decrease bids for dynamic ad targets. The bid adjustments give you even more control over when and where your ads will be delivered.

Ad target exclusions

We strongly recommend that you exclude pages that you don’t want to promote. Typical exclusions are, for example, pages that contain words such as “sold out” or “not available”. This is how you prevent yourself from advertising for pages with products that are sold out.

Negative keywords

Dynamic search ads don’t use inclusive keywords. This often leads to the fact that the exhausting keywords are forgotten because there are very well in the DSA campaigns.

As with the standard text campaigns, a carefully maintained list of negative keywords is one of the most important best practices.

How to write ads for DSA campaigns

If you have defined the websites of your website domain to be advertised for this ad group, you can now create your ads.

Since you are not sure about which of your ad targets are advertised for a specific search question in the DSA campaigns, you cannot write an exact ad yourself. Therefore, based on the selected website, AdWords does this task (in part) for you.

In principle, the same applies here as with classic text ads: Granular division also has significant advantages with dynamic search ads. You “only” write the two lines of text and the ad URL. Accordingly, these components must match the entire offer that you want to advertise with this advertising target.

The headline and final URL (formerly destination URL) are created dynamically by AdWords.

The website that is most relevant for the respective search query is selected as the landing page. An important part of the page content or the page title is used as the heading. Interestingly enough, more than the usual 25 characters can be played for the headline.

It also makes sense to formulate several ads for campaigns with dynamic search ads. This way, you can test which ad is most effective.

Finally, you enter your standard bid for the ad group in the DSA campaign.

Don’t forget ad extensions

Please don’t forget to use the appropriate ad extensions. This does not (yet) happen fully automatically.

Evaluate dynamic search ads

As seen, Google does a significant part of your work on dynamic search ads. However, this does not release you from regularly evaluating and optimizing DSA campaigns. Regular checks are particularly important precisely because a lot of automation is involved.

Performance data for dynamic search ads

Of course, you get all the usual performance data at the campaign, ad group, and ad level. The “Automatic Alignment” tab provides further interesting information.

First, you will find an evaluation of the dynamic ad goals that you have defined. Here you will find the special key figure of “website coverage”. For each ad target, this indicates the percentage of all pages in your domain that are listed in the index. So if an important marketing goal affects only a few pages of your domain, you should

a. control the ad target 

b. rethink the structure of your website.

Category report

You can find another special report under the dropdown “Show categories”. The performance data for all categories that Google has recognized for your website are listed here. This makes it easier for you to evaluate which categories are relevant and profitable and possibly develop a more granular ad group structure.

ROI based analysis

Depending on how you analyze your return on investment (ROI), the categories can be sorted differently. If you do not use conversion tracking, you can sort your categories in the “Clicks” column. If you use conversion tracking, you can sort the categories better using the “Conversions” column and find out which category you get more conversions with. This will help you determine which categories and pages are more likely to lead to conversions. Then add these categories or pages to your campaigns and set category-specific bids based on your ROI goals.

Exclusions from DSA campaigns

Exclude ad targets

Below the performance data for your dynamic ad targets is the “Exclusions” section. Here you can use all the options presented to define ad targets that should not lead to delivery. A typical example is the term “not available” in the “page content”. This is how you prevent unavailable products from being advertised. So meaningful exclusions are an important way to improve campaign performance.

Negative keywords

Although dynamic search ads do not use keywords, the ads are, of course, still triggered by user searches. Accordingly, the “Search terms” report is also available for DSA campaigns.

For DSA campaigns, this report can also be found under “Automatic targeting”. It contains additional information such as the landing page or heading created by AdWords.

As with normal text ads, you should use the search term report intensively to improve the performance of your campaigns. Especially by excluding irrelevant searches.

Tips for more performance

Use the best keywords separately

You should outsource particularly profitable search queries to separate keyword campaigns and control them manually. You should then book these keywords as negative keywords with the option “exactly suitable” in the DSA campaign. This is how you ensure that this does not result in unwanted advertising.

Combine DSA and RLSA and CPA

DSA campaigns can be combined with remarketing lists for search (RLSA) and, of course, with automatic bid strategies. So you use all the possibilities of automated ad delivery, often called programmatic buying. This addresses former website visitors who search on Google, receive a dynamic search ad and can achieve a set CPA goal.

To create this campaign, the target group “all visitors” is usually simply assigned to a copied DSA campaign. “Alignment and bids” must be selected as the setting.

If you have more than 100 conversions in a campaign, you should test it.

Use DSA campaigns as a keyword generator

Dynamic search campaigns are a good tool for identifying keywords and the products or services to be advertised. By evaluating the search query and category reports, an advertiser can find out a lot about the search behavior of the users and, based on this, expand and optimize his AdWords campaigns. Even in well-established AdWords accounts, DSA campaigns can be used to uncover keyword gaps or to cover long-tail searches for which otherwise no ads will be displayed. 

DSA + RLSA = remarketing for dynamic search ads (RDSA)

Like classic search campaigns, remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) can also be used for DSA campaigns. If you select the “Targeting and bid” option when depositing the target groups, the dynamically generated ads are only displayed for users who have already shown interest in your website.

For example, for those users who have already visited the website and then continue your search, an ad can appear for further searches that match the offer, even if the keyword is not actively advertised. The combination of dynamically generated, relevant headlines, and suitable URLs with remarketing lists can result in a good click rate and possibly a good conversion rate.

For advertisers, Those who are rather skeptical or cautious about dynamic ad serving can also use an RDSA campaign as a means of approaching the topic. Especially for websites with many offers, DSA campaigns are a good way to advertise a large part of his products or services in Google search with little time and effort.

So do dynamic search ads make sense or not?

In any case. If you are unable to include changes in your offer in your campaigns promptly, DSA campaigns are an excellent way to relieve you of this work.

And what about the performance? DSA campaigns usually don’t quite match the performance of good keyword campaigns, but they often work better than under-managed campaigns.

Dynamic search ads are a quick and easy way to create search campaigns. They are particularly suitable for websites with a large offer, such as e-commerce sites or editorial websites or guides.

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