E-commerce marketing
E-commerce marketing
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 min read
January 15, 2019

Google’s Dynamic Search Ads: profitable or not worth the hassle?


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Using Google AdWord’s Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) helps you with targeted traffic online.

Definition: Dynamic Search Ads are a type of Google search advertising that does not involve keywords. With traditional Google search advertising, you select keywords that are used to trigger your ads. With Dynamic Search Ads, you allow Google to automatically show your ad based on a “crawl” of certain pages of your website.

So DSA campaigns use the crawling abilities of Google to display an ad with a custom headline to each target potential shopper, and redirect to the relevant product page within the retailer’s online store. So the site gains traffic through targeted ads to queries, filling up the gaps in keyword campaigns, and thereby driving better ROIs.

How it works

It’s meant to reach more shoppers relevant to your business and offer various segment options based on the products you sell. This is where sites with quality content have an edge. It pulls information from the website or the pages selected for the targeted ads, automatically and dynamically generate headlines and landing page URLs, and then matches them to relevant customers according to the terms they search for on Google.

Ad Control

It allows you control over targets, bids, budget and ad template. With negative keywords you can keep out the irrelevant shoppers, and improve optimisation. If you’re out of stock, you can exclude targets by excluding certain phrases in the content of the website or page. You have further control with the dashboard, which lets you see who clicked the ads, the headlines used, the categories performing better on the website, and the average conversion rate.


Start with a large base, then methodically exclude unrelated terms (based on their conversion rates). When you optimise your DSA you set yourself up to see high ROIs. So pay attention to the target’s estimated website coverage.

  • Negative Keywords

As already mentioned, the search queries are matched to the website content instead of to being matched to keywords. Check your reports frequently for queries that don’t work well or have no relevance to your site as those are wrong targets that cost you without yielding results. Negative keywords help you eliminate them and help with your optimisation.

  • Segmentation

High targeting and good segmentation will result in high ROIs and low bounce rates. Proper segmentation – i.e. targeting your website, certain categories, or specific web pages – will ensure proper optimisation. However, targeting pages or categories is recommended over targeting the entire website as it gives you less control over targeted traffic. don’t target pages that won’t directly convert customers.

  • Exclusions

Like with segmentation, exclusions help optimise as well as structure your campaigns. You can exclude certain targets from your ad groups. This gives you more control over where ads appear and where traffic is sent from those ads.


  • Since DSA links search queries from shoppers to specific product pages and not general website pages, it performs better on content-rich sites that have indexed pages on Google, optimised title tags and H1 titles.
  • It works well for sites featuring lots of products with lots of unique landing pages.
  • For the same reason it doesn’t work for stores that change their products frequently because the page indexing won’t be updated on time.
  • Another requirement to consider is having a sufficient budget to run the ads.
  • Lastly, like AdWords, it must be monitored daily and tweaked accordingly.

Advantages and Disadvantages Over Traditional Search Ads


  • Google’s web-crawling algorithm recognizes changes made to the website (pages or products) and DSAs are automatically updated.
  • You can capture traffic of a far wider keyword range (without any relevant ones – long or short – getting missed) than the keyword coverage you get with traditional search ads.

[Related: Free keyword research tools to guide your new e-commerce website content strategy]

  • By combining what the user searches for with the content of your most relevant pages, and without the deterrent of the 25-character limit of regular search ads, you get an ad headline dynamically generated, a higher click-through rate and lower cost-per-click.
  • DSA creates the creative keyword list for you (only requiring you to exclude irrelevant terms), thereby guaranteeing you relevant customer targeting.


  • Although you’re certain to receive good ROIs with DAS, without proper optimisation and close monitoring of campaigns, you could actually lose money.
  • Although it has improved since its launch, it gives greater control to Google when it comes to targeting; however, advertisers can add criteria to help retain control of their dynamic search campaigns.

The pros outweigh the cons as a little limited control doesn’t dampen the opportuneness and convenience it otherwise offers!

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