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Paid Media 20 min read

What Is a Dynamic Search Ad?

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Written by Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

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Expert reviewed by Rachel Meyer

Associate VP of Client Success @ Galactic Fed

Published 05 Sep 2023

As a business owner, you want to use the most effective tools to boost your company’s online visibility.

You might already have experience with traditional search ads, but if you’re wondering, “What is a dynamic search ad,” you’re not alone. Dynamic search ads (DSA) can help drive further traffic to your website. Whether you’re unfamiliar with this marketing tool or just want to understand it better, you’re in the right place.

Dynamic ads have been around since 2011, but they’ve evolved immensely since their debut.

Both Google and Bing offer dynamic search ads, but Google is especially popular among business owners. Clever bots from the search engine giant categorize and crawl through every page of your website, making for better campaign targeting. Not only does this save time, but it also keeps your ads relevant.

DSA campaigns can positively affect your business’s SEO, but only if executed properly. 

While there are best practices to keep in mind, there isn’t one right way to run a DSA campaign. You should conduct in-depth research on these ads so your business can reap the benefits quickly and effectively. We’re here to help.

This article will take a closer look at dynamic search ads, how to set them up, and whether they’re the optimal choice for your company’s marketing strategy.

A laptop with an open starting Google seacrh page

Dynamic vs. Traditional Search Ads

What’s the difference between a dynamic search ad and the traditional search ads you know and may already have experience with? In short, regular search ads are set up manually with keywords you must research, whereas dynamic search ads generate headlines using existing content from your website.

In other words, if a user searches for a query relevant to your business, Google will choose a landing page from your website and generate ad copy from it. As a result, DSA campaigns eliminate the need to conduct keyword research for every page, product, and service on your site.

Dynamic search ads help fill the gaps in your keyword-based campaigns, save time, and boost your website’s SEO. Because these ads pull information automatically, you can spend more time doing other things for your business instead of drowning in keyword research and manually scheduling traditional search ads.

Marketing has gone digital in new, innovative ways, and you should take advantage of it.

The Benefits of Dynamic Search Ads

Like all marketing tools, dynamic search ads have their pros and cons. Evaluating the positives and the negatives is vital to making the best decision for your business.

There are many reasons to make use of dynamic search ads, including the following notable benefits.

1. Convenience

As mentioned, dynamic search ads help fill the gaps in your keyword research. The fact that you don’t have to map your keywords can save you significant time, especially if you have a website with many pages.

If your business offers many different types of products, your list of keywords may feel infinite. As a busy business owner, you don’t have time to research all those words and build your ads around them. You can spend this extra time doing more with your business than just sitting behind the computer.

2. Relevance

When someone searches for a product or service relevant to your business, Google Ads begins to dynamically generate an ad using content from the best and most relevant page on your website. Because DSA-generated campaigns use copy from your site, your ads will always be relevant and up-to-date.

3. Stronger Campaigns

A dynamic ad can enhance your existing ad campaigns. You can decide which of your website’s pages you want Google Ads to feature and even prevent ads from promoting out-of-stock products. As a result, you’ll avoid disappointing potential customers who may see an advertisement for a product you no longer sell.

Because dynamic search ads are easy to work with and control (if you feel the need), they can fit in well with any other ad campaigns you’re running. The more successful campaigns, the better.

4. Automatic Approval

Since Google generates dynamic search ads, you don’t have to worry about adhering to Google’s strict ad copy policies.

When you manually create a traditional Google ad, you must ensure that you’re following all of Google’s guidelines for content. This process can be annoying since you probably just want to get that ad up and running as soon as possible. 

DSA campaigns receive automatic approval by default because Google bots create them. It’s one less thing to worry about when managing your ad campaigns — and trust us, time is money.

5. Always Up-to-Date

You don’t have to manually update DSA campaigns like you have to do with traditional ads. Google will crawl your website for any changes and adjust your ads accordingly. All you have to do is make sure your website stays as accurate as possible.

If you aren’t doing so already, get in the habit of reviewing your website monthly to confirm that everything is up-to-date. It’s worth taking the extra time to see that your ads stay relevant.

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The Cons of Dynamic Search Ads

There really aren’t that many downsides to running DSA campaigns. That said, these types of ads may not be the best solution for your business if any of the following conditions are true.

1. Your Website Isn’t Optimized

You may not benefit from dynamic search ads if your website isn’t structured well or the copy isn’t up to par.

Because DSA campaigns take content from your website, you want to ensure that your landing pages feature SEO best practices. Before running a DSA campaign, review your website’s copy to make sure it will look great and read well in an ad. 

If it’s not where you want it to be, consult a marketing agency to get the copy as strong as possible. Exceptional copy increases the quality of your ads, and it also increases your website’s SEO. Google will reward fantastic content accordingly, usually with more traffic to your site.

2. You Value Control

Google bots generate relevant dynamic search ads so you don’t have to. For many business owners, this is ideal — the less work, the better, right?

Because you don’t have as much control over DSA campaigns as traditional search ads, however, you’ll want to stay on top of them and ensure that they don’t feature irrelevant keywords. If you prefer to have as much control as possible over your ads, it’s best to stick with the traditional option.

3. You Budget Is Limited

If you don’t set up your DSA campaigns correctly, you risk burning a hole through your ad spend budget.

The last thing you want to do is waste money when you don’t have to. It’s therefore crucial to perform thorough research about setting up your dynamic search ads or consult with a reputable marketing agency that can help you enhance your ad campaigns to the fullest.

If you don’t have a confident bidding strategy, you may waste time and money on an ad that won’t benefit your business.

4. You Have a Narrow Customer Base

There are options to narrow down your DSA campaigns, but they generally have a broad reach. It’s something to consider when determining whether these ads are an ideal option for your business’s marketing strategy.

If you have a specific niche and a small customer pool, you may be better off utilizing narrower marketing strategies to be certain that you’re targeting the right market.

Dynamic Search Ad Best Practices

If you want to get the most out of a DSA campaign, it’s important to review and implement these best practices for dynamic search ads in Google.

Be consistent. Does your website change frequently? If so, dynamic ads won’t be the best choice, as Google Ads will run into issues pulling copy. Products and services may shift over time, but your site shouldn’t change so fast that Google can’t keep up.

Publish properly formatted copy. Dynamic ad targets work best when Google can pull from HTML-formatted content with proper titles, headings, etc. Make sure you organize your website to meet SEO best practices.

Produce meaningful text. If your website features Flash content and images or requires users to sign in to access certain landing pages, Google won’t be able to pull quality content. Your website should feature a decent amount of meaningful text that Google can take from.

Emphasize accuracy. If your products or services change, update your website accordingly. You risk disappointing potential customers and wasting your ad-spend budget if your website isn’t up-to-date. You also risk advertising to the wrong users.

Stick with a simple structure. The simpler and more to the point your website is, the smoother your dynamic advertisement will run. Google bots are clever, but they may not pull quality content from a complicated site. Simplicity is preferred for user experience, too.

Use negative keywords. Negative keywords let you exclude irrelevant search terms from your campaigns. Using them can help you keep your ads on topic.

Go global if you can. If you have an international customer base, run your DSA campaign in other languages to boost click-through rates. It doesn’t hurt to reach as many potential customers as possible.

Craft a solid CTA. Dynamic search ads can bring potential customers to your website, but your pages need clear CTAs to get them to contact you. Make sure your CTAs are on point when reviewing your content.

Keeping up with Google and SEO best practices will help make your DSA campaigns as successful as possible.

It’s worth repeating that if it’s been a while since you’ve updated or reviewed your website, you should get in the habit of doing so regularly. That way, you can give your business the best chance of succeeding with dynamic search ads.

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Setting Up a DSA Campaign

Setting up a DSA campaign in Google can be done in just a few simple steps. Don’t be afraid to dive in and give it a shot!

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to set up a dynamic search ad in Google.

1. Start a New Campaign in Google Ads

If your business doesn’t already have a Google Ads account, make one. If you already have an account, open Google Ads and click “New campaign.” Select your objective, and for your campaign type, click “Search” for dynamic search ads. Then, select your bidding strategy (more on that later).

2. Set Up Your Campaign

Go to your settings and enter your campaign’s information. You’ll see a “Dynamic Search Ads” box at the bottom of the page. Type in your website’s domain and the language you want to target (in most cases, you’ll choose English, but you can always add more languages depending on your clientele).

3. Establish Your Ad Groups

Click “Create ad group,” then select “Dynamic ad group.” You can pick from the following options:

  • Specific URLs: This option lets you choose the specific products or services you want your DSA campaign to feature
  • All Webpages: This option targets your business’s entire website
  • Categories: You’ll see a list of options and dynamic ad examples of a DSA for each

After choosing your ad groups, you’ll start to see the magic happen. Google Ads will begin generating headlines using content from your website. 

4. Write Captivating Descriptions

Write compelling descriptions for your ads that will entice potential customers to visit your website (yes, you still have to take care of some content). Make a great first impression with a catchy tagline or highlight a sale or promotion your business is having. When setting up a dynamic ad, creative is the way to be.

After you customize your ad, click “Done.” Remember, you can create multiple ads for a single category.

5. Finalize Your Ad(s)

Set up your assets, plug in your budget, and name your campaign. Finally, review your ad and take it live!

At this point, you can sit back, relax, and watch your DSA campaign take off. You’ve just set up a DSA campaign in five easy steps, and you should soon start seeing results.

What Are Dynamic Ad Targets?

Dynamic ad targets are vital to a successful DSA campaign. You want to ensure that the right users see your ads. A successful dynamic ad targets Google ads and can take your online visibility to the next level.

Let’s review some of those best targeting practices we touched on in more detail.

Specific URLs

This option allows you to target specific landing pages for your DSA campaign. It gives you the most control over your campaign, as you can go broad or narrow. You can use the “URL contains” option if you prefer a general approach.

Here’s a helpful dynamic search ad example.

If you owned a window company, you might put “URL contains single-hung windows,” so the ad would target pages featuring that product. If you prefer to go more narrow, you could put in specific URLs you want to target.

All Webpages

This option lets Google Ads take the reins of your campaign. The search engine will crawl your site and determine the best pages to target.

Letting Google take over is a good option for beginners because it can catch keywords you may have missed in previous ads. You can go this route if you’re okay with relinquishing some control over your dynamic advertisement.

Specific Categories

With category targeting, Google can pre-select categories based on your website, or you can input these categories manually.

Let’s say you have an electronics business. Your dynamic ad examples could be “televisions” or “digital cameras.” The ads would then target those categories. 

What Is Dynamic Ad Insertion?

Do you have videos you want to advertise? That’s where dynamic ad insertion comes in.

Dynamic ads are evolving every day, and video is becoming increasingly popular. Dynamic ad insertion differs from server-side ad insertion, which involves showing different users different ads, even if they’re watching on the same day.

Dynamic ad insertion stitches your video content and ads into a single stream, reducing client errors and producing a seamless stream, similar to watching a television show in HD. You can target individual ads for live linear and video-on-demand programming, among other things.

This type of DSA campaign is worth leveraging if you have videos you want to promote. Videos are fantastic advertising tools, as they have an engaging, hard-to-ignore quality that can draw more customers in.

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DSA Campaign Bid Strategies

Having the right bidding strategy is vital to the success of your DSA campaign.

A bid strategy sets bids for your ads based on the likelihood of a click or conversion. If you’ve used Google Ads before, you know that bidding strategies run on a cost-per-click basis. The number of clicks your ad gets multiplied by the maximum cost-per-click limit you’ve set for your campaign determines the cost.

Bids are auto-applied with DSA campaigns, but you can change the settings to do them manually.

This option is ideal for those with tight budgets who want the most control over their spending. You also have the option of smart bidding, which uses machine learning to increase conversions. Other bidding strategies include cost-per-acquisition bidding and return on ad spend. 

There isn’t a right or wrong way to bid. If you’re a beginner, smart bidding works well because it uses data to help use your budget as effectively as possible, eliminating the guesswork for you.

We understand bidding can be confusing. You can consult a marketing agency for insight into different bidding strategies and what will work best for your unique business. Don’t be afraid to ask questions before spending your precious ad money.

Should You Invest in Dynamic Search Ads?

How can you be sure they’re the best choice to enhance your marketing strategy? It can help to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I looking to boost my company’s online visibility and appear more often and at the top of Google search results?
  • Is my website current, with high-quality content and CTAs that will make for exceptional ad copy?
  • Do I have many website pages? Is keyword research a long, tedious process that keeps me from focusing on other parts of my business?
  • Do I want to run ad campaigns quickly without sacrificing quality so I can focus on other things?
  • Will I do the research necessary to determine the best targets and bidding strategies to ensure success with DSA campaigns?
  • Am I ready to see increased traffic to my business’s website?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, dynamic search ads are the tool for you.

Running these ads is low-risk, as an unsuccessful ad shouldn’t completely break your budget or ruin your SEO. As such, it doesn’t hurt to try a campaign and see how it goes. You may just get fantastic results.

Even if you don’t think a DSA campaign is the right fit for your company now, it’s possible that it will be in the future. With that in mind, learning about these ads is a good idea.

You can also experiment with DSA campaigns. It may take time to figure out how to run these campaigns in a way that benefits your company the most. If you don’t get it right on the first attempt, you can always try again or reach out to a digital marketing agency like Galactic Fed that specializes in dynamic search ads.

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Dynamic Search Ads Can Drive More Traffic to Your Site

If you’ve recently found yourself wondering, “What is a dynamic search ad,” we hope we’ve answered your question. If your business’s website is optimized and you follow DSA best practices, dynamic search ads can be a powerful tool for driving more traffic.

While they aren’t hard to set up and take live, determining the best strategies for your business can be difficult. After all, every business is unique, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

Getting the most out of your dynamic search ads may involve some trial and error, but the results can significantly improve your company’s online visibility. Your business deserves to thrive, and using tools like dynamic search ads can help ensure that it does.

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Sarah Edwards photo

Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed