Google Dynamic Search Ads – Adwords Becoming More Like Normal Search?

By February 13, 2012 PPC No Comments

What are Dynamic Search Ads?


Dynamic Search ads were introduced to Google Adwords in October 2011, ostensibly aimed at covering the ‘long tail’ of your business site, and enabling you to have adgroups, ad copy and keywords covering an infinite range of relevant searches that your customers might care to type in to Google.


Basically, once you are opted in to Dynamic Search Ads, Google reads your pages, and then matches it to searches based on the content on the page. Not only will it match your landing page with a searcher, but it will automatically generate an ad headline to match the user’s intent, by presenting a snippet of the page’s meta data. (Sound familiar? Google uses their organic web crawling technology to maintain a fresh index of your site, and matches it to relevant queries. Like natural search!)


So, in theory, the user is sent straight to the most relevant landing page (according to Google), and shown a uniquely relevant headline in the ad copy.


DSA could benefit sites with huge numbers of products, or products which are updated very regularly, because it will allow your ads to be generated automatically without you having to add keywords, landing page URLs or ad copy.


Google says that 16% of searches each day have never been seen before, which means that there is a market for this kind of instantaneous and dynamic matching of user intent, rather than just trying to anticipate what the searchers will be looking for.



Who Can Use Them?


You still have to wait to be whitelisted by your Google Account manager, which means that many sites (especially in Australia), will not be able to use this feature yet unless they are approved for the Beta, which you can apply for here.




  • Allows you to display more relevant ads to searchers, covering a lot more products and details than you might be able to within normal Adwords campaigns
  • Delivers searchers to the most relevant landing page, helping them towards your conversion
  • Supposedly they will let your keyword targeted ads win any auction, allowing DSA to just be a ‘filler’ for missed searches.
  • You can easily see in the interface the keywords, dynamically generated headline, and landing page for each search where your ad was shown (VERY interesting report).


  • Limited Control. If you have a huge site, but don’t want visits from generic terms (only the cheaper, more valuable targeted terms), it will be almost impossible for you to filter them all out, which means you need to be vigilantly looking at the ‘See Search Terms’ report to constantly identify inappropriate kw.
  • In campaigns we tested – DSA is winning ad auctions against other keyword-targeted ads in other campaigns.
  • In campaigns we tested – Conversion costs are not always competitive with our regular keyword targeted campaigns, but like anything, I guess it requires testing.

Best For


Any sites with very large numbers of products/listings or those with regularly updated products/listings. For example;

  • Real estate websites with many listings
  • Classifieds sites
  • Job Sites
  • Retail websites



  • On the ‘Auto Target’ page, make sure to use ‘exclusions’ (down the bottom, like on the keywords tab for negative keywords’). You might want to exclude pages using “page_content” excluders, like “job is no longer available”.  Alternatively you can use Category, URL or Page Title exclusions.
  • Keep your eye on the “See Search Terms” report, which will not only show search terms, but also Ad titles and destination URLs. Make sure these are all valuable and relevant.
  • Use keyword exclusions
  • Make sure your meta titles are appropriate, as these will be used by DSA.




SEO Tips


Due to the use of the Organic search robot within DSA, you can use the ‘See Search Terms’ report on the Auto Targets tab in Adwords for some SEO purposes.

– It can help alert you to URLs which are broken, or shouldn’t be being indexed by search

– It can help you see whether Google judges the importance of your pages the way you want them to be seen.

– It can help you quickly see whether the page titles are relevant for the page content and traffic.

On huge sites with many listings, this report is a great way to prioritise the pages you should be looking at, by those which get impressions, traffic and sales.



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