Dynamic search ads (DSAs) are a fantastic way to capture the “who would have thought” traffic. They catch unique searches, which can then lead to expansion opportunities. No matter where your account stands, DSAs help to fill in the gaps where your other search campaigns may be slacking.

Today I’ll walk you through a summary of what they are, how to set them up and how they can be used alongside remarketing.

What Are Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs)?

Dynamic search ads are search ads that show based on the content of your site. Google essentially crawls your site and then matches to search terms that are closely related to the content on your site. From that point, the headline and landing page are dynamically generated to match the search term. This allows for more congruency between the search term, the search ad and the landing page.

The Set-Up

Campaign Settings

  • From the campaign tab in Google Ads, select the blue “+” to start a new campaign.
  • Select the goal you have for your new campaign, or select “Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance”

DSA Campaign Settings 1

  • Hit continue and select “Search” as the campaign type you would like to use.

DSA Campaign Settings 2

  • On the next page, you will name your campaign and configure your target locations and budget as normal. However, under the “Network” section, be sure to select only “Search Network,” as DSAs are only for Search. Then, hit continue!
  • Now, you are at the Ad Group creation stage. At the top of the page change your “Ad Group Type” to “Dynamic.”

DSA Campaign Settings 3

  • Once selected, your screen will change. On the new screen, you will need to enter your website address.

DSA Campaign Settings 4

Ad Group Settings

This is the part where DSAs become unique and different from the set-up of a regular search campaign. Before you hit this step, you must determine if you want to target your entire site, specific pages on your site or specific categories on your site. You will be in charge of the description lines of each ad, therefore, you want to ensure that what you are targeting will be in line with the description lines you use.

  • First, you will need to choose your Dynamic Ad Targets. There are three options;
    • Categories recommended for your website: Google will pre-select categories based on the content of your site. For this, you choose the specific categories that would be targeted for the specific ad group.
    • Specific webpages: You would determine the specific pages(s) that you want Google to target.
    • All webpages: The target would simply be the entire site.

DSA Ad Group Settings 1

  • Once you’ve set your targeting, you will create your ad. Keep in mind, the headline and the final URL will be dynamically generated based on the search term and content of your site. You are simply in charge of the description lines.

DSA Ad Creation 1

  • Once your ad is completed, hit “Done” and your campaign will go live as long as you completed the above steps!

From that point, you will have the ability to implement and adjust different features and settings like you would in any other search campaign. Those settings include;

  • Device bid adjustments
  • Ad schedule and bid adjustments
  • Ad extensions
  • Audience targeting
  • Negative keywords

DSAs and Remarketing

Once your campaign is set-up, you can determine if and how you want to go about remarketing for the campaign. There are essentially two main options.

  • Remarketing: Use the DSA campaign strictly as a search remarketing campaign and only show ads to users who have previously been to your site or taken another action on your site. While this will limit your overall reach, it allows Google to find users who are familiar with your brand and are actively searching for similar products.
  • Acquisition: Use the DSA campaign as a normal campaign but layer remarketing audiences within the campaign. This allows you to bring in new customers but at the same time allows us to increase bids for those users who have been to the site.

To achieve this, you will do the following:

  • From the “Audience” tab in Google Ads, select +targeting.
  • Choose the audience you want to layer on the DSA campaign. Remarketing audiences can be found under the “Browse” tab.

DSA Remarketing 1

  • IMPORTANT: Choose the setting that will determine if your campaign will target all users or if you will focus on remarketing. There are two options;

DSA Remarketing 2

  • Observation: If you choose this setting, you will be targeting everyone but can then make bid adjustments on each specific audience.
  • Targeting: If you choose this setting, you will be targeting only those users in the audience but also have the ability to make bid adjustments on each specific audience.


Whether you have a large account and are looking for gaps in your current structure or you simply want to drive additional traffic to your site and are looking for quick expansion opportunities, Dynamic Search Ads are worth testing.

If you feel that you’ve mastered the basics of Dynamic Search Ads and are ready to step up your game, check out this article on Dynamic Search Ads for Advanced Users!

Original publish date: 08/22/2019