As you all probably know, dynamic search ads are an innovative, digital marketing ad format created by Google to direct online users to websites with relevant content.

While, at first glance, they seem like any other type of online advertisement, there’s one major difference – dynamic search ads use the existing content on your website to dynamically generate targeted content that results in more clicks and conversions. 

Basically, the bulk of ad content generation is taken right out of your hands. 

In this post, I plan on discussing what dynamic search ads are, their benefits, limitations, trends, and best practices. More importantly, I’ll show you how you can use these ads to increase your engagement and conversion rates!

What are dynamic search ads (DSA)?

As the name suggests, these ads are dynamically created by Google, generated directly from the pages on your website or from a product feed featured on your site. When someone types a query, on Google,  that’s relevant or corresponds to the products or services you offer, Google crawls your site and matches the query to the content on your website.

An ad is then dynamically generated, containing a headline based on the query and ad text based on your most relevant landing page. These dynamically generated ads are, understandably, called dynamic search ads.

Dynamic search ads vs traditional ads

  • While traditional ads leverage keywords and ad copy for all possible matches between a search query and your website content, dynamic search ads are generated foregoing keywords, simply matching the search query to the content on your website. 

If you’re concerned this may compete with your existing search campaigns, rest assured that this is not the case. When a search query is entered and you have an eligible, keyword-targeted ad, your dynamic search ad will be held back. 

DSA campaigns, therefore, will not affect any search campaigns that may already be performing well for you.

  • Unlike traditional ad campaigns, you don’t have to submit bids for individual keywords since DSAs doesn’t use keywords. Instead, you will need to apply bids at the auto-target level, which is essentially the list of different pages on your site that you can target. 
  • Just like a traditional ad campaign, DSA campaigns are priced on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis where cost is determined by the number of times your ad is clicked, multiplied by the maximum CPC you are willing to pay. 

What are the benefits of using dynamic search ads?

  • Dynamic search ads complement your existing keyword-based campaigns and close the gap in terms of keyword coverage

During the pilot testing phase of dynamic search ad campaigns, most advertisers experienced a 5%-10% increase in clicks and conversions with satisfactory ROI, compared to traditional ad campaigns. 

Since Google crawls your website or on-site feed that lists all products and services, not only will it help you close the gap in terms of keyword coverage, but also display keywords that would typically be flagged on Google Adwords as having a low search volume.

  • Ad creation is much easier

As the headlines and context are dynamically generated based on the actual products or services on your webpage(s) – in a way that corresponds to the user’s search query – you don’t have to come up with fresh content for the ad. The only thing you need to do is add a relevant description line. 

  • You no longer have to choose a display URL

With dynamic search ads, Google is just going to use your main domain as the final destination URL. I believe that this even saves you the time you would otherwise spend on creating traditional ads.

  • You can capture additional traffic while saving time

Dynamic search ads can help you gain additional traffic and sales through the identification of new serving opportunities that you aren’t already targeting with keywords. They may also help you advertise to new markets faster, compared to other alternatives, because you no longer have to map specific keywords.

You can opt to show ads based on your entire website or even specific categories or pages. You can also prevent ads from being generated for products that are temporarily out of stock by not opting for dynamic search ad generation.

What are the limitations of using DSAs?

  • Not having full control over ad generation

    Since you don’t have full control over which type of queries are matched to and served, there could be instances when the dynamically created headline or ad may not match the query. 

While I believe that dynamic headlines are great, if you wish to have full control over which type of message is shown alongside your business, dynamic search ads may not be the best option for you.

  • They work best with certain websites

    The other issue I often see is that DSAs work their magic best if you have a well-developed website or a large inventory. This is because you must have enough content on your website for Google to generate an accurate ad for you.

    If your website pages aren’t well-optimized for dynamic ad generation – if, for instance, your web pages mostly have flash content, images or require a sign-in for users – DSAs aren’t likely to work well for you.

    These types of ads are also not recommended if you have a website with content that changes rapidly, such as with daily deals, or if you belong to certain industries like pharmaceuticals or gambling.

Best practices that help you get the most out of your dynamic search ads

While there are certain limitations with using dynamic search ads, there are a few best practices you can implement to make sure that you find creative solutions to these deficiencies. Here are a few of my top recommendations:

  • Improve the flow and quality of your website

The quality of your site is as important as the quality of your ads because to reap the best results, you need a website designed to encourage people to do business with you. Essentially, it should be an easy-to-navigate website with optimised SEO strategies for increased marketing success

Design your website with important information at the top of the page for easy access, make navigation easy, clearly list all the benefits of using your products or services, provide quick links for more information, clear CTA buttons, prices and promotions in relevant pages, and make it easy for customers to reach out to you.

  • Make sure your website content is primed for DSAs

Though you have no control over ad generation in dynamic search ads, you can always make sure your website content clearly and effectively displays what your brand or business is all about. 

  • Cater to mobile users by creating a mobile-friendly site

Dynamic search ads can appear on mobile to customers who are browsing while they are on the go, so it’s best to improve your mobile site for potential customers who will access the mobile version of your site. 

When you design your site, focus on simple navigation, the speed at which your pages load, and use strategies that make the most of mobile screen sizes and viewing preferences such as vertical video marketing.

  • Optimise your dynamic search ads by reviewing search term reports

You can use these reports to see the performance of search terms that have triggered your dynamic search ads, as well as the performance of the landing pages you’ve published. This can help you decide which ads to stop running and which landing pages need a little more finetuning. 

You can use different methods to sort through the search terms report, depending on how you measure ROI.

  • Make sure you have a well-thought-out negative keyword list

    To avoid displaying your ads on searches that don’t convert to sales, enter negative keywords, just like with traditional ads. This will help you optimise the display of your dynamic search ads.

By following these pointers, it’s much easier for you to get the most out of dynamic search ads even if you aren’t a business with a well-developed website or large inventory.

Get out there and give dynamic search ads a try!

I strongly believe that dynamic search ads are a great way to advertise and are a modern and innovative marketing strategy that saves time, money, and, above all, converts your audience.

If you’re looking for ways to optimise your advertising process and make it more efficient or want to drive additional traffic to your site, dynamic search ads are worth trying out. 

In this process, remember to review your website and make necessary adjustments to optimise your pages and product categories, highlight the most important information and compelling selling points, and follow the other best practices I’ve shared to enjoy more clicks, conversions and a higher ROI.