Google Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic search ads: capturing the customers you didn’t know about

Consumers are unpredictable. Sometimes, they come to your website having searched for terms you never would have thought of in a month of Sundays. Unsure what to do about that? Enter dynamic search ads. This clever form of advertising captures customers making those unusual searches – the ones who aren’t targeted through your obvious, mainstream keyword campaigns. Dynamic search ads don’t use keywords. Instead, Google crawls your site, then looks for search terms that are closely related to your content – particularly the titles and frequently used phrases. It then generates ads for your site with headlines that it thinks will match these search terms well, which send the customer to what Google believes is a relevant page on your site. All you need to do is write the 80-character description text. These ads aren’t designed to replace keyword campaigns, but to complement them, and shouldn’t appear for keywords you’re already targeting. As Search Engine Land puts it: “They’re designed to sit in the background and catch any traffic that might have fallen through the cracks of your existing campaigns.” They’re quite easy to set up too – you create a text campaign as you would any other, and tick the box marked Enable Dynamic Search Ads. You can choose to use dynamic search ads for your entire site, or for specific pages or groups of pages, from product categories to pages containing certain words.


The biggest upside is that this can save you a lot of time and effort. As Google points out on its Think With Google website: “Even well-managed AdWords campaigns containing thousands of keywords can miss relevant searches, experience delays getting ads written for new products, or get out of sync with what’s actually available on your website. And user search behaviour can be a moving target.” This is neatly illustrated by the fact that in 2017, 15 percent of searches were ones that Google had never seen before. When you make changes to pages that Google has indexed, it crawls your website again so your ads stay up to date; and you can prevent ads from showing for products that are temporarily out of stock, for example. When optimised properly, the ads can be very efficient. On an e-commerce site, for example, where the product offering is in constant flux, you as the marketer won’t need to constantly update the campaigns to reflect the current availability of items.

Disadvantages – yes, there are disadvantages!

The most obvious disadvantage of Dynamic Search Ads is that you don’t control what your ad headlines say, or where they send your customers – Google does. And it’s not all plain sailing: you’ll still need to put in some effort if they’re going to succeed. You’ll need to monitor search query reports regularly and keep on top of your negative keywords – keywords where you want Google not to show your ad in the search results. These will need to include all the positive keywords you’re targeting through your non-dynamic ads, as you won’t want the dynamic search ad and the keyword-targeted ad popping up together. Compare search queries against your ad copy to make sure it’s relevant. And if a search term is converting well, don’t leave it to be catered for by the dynamic ad – create a targeted campaign for it. You also need to make sure your SEO is up to scratch, as if your titles and header text aren’t well optimised, Google might not send customers to the right pages. recommends “thinking through your brand and the products you sell, and how Google could map these incorrectly.” Need a little help navigating Dynamic Search Ads and keeping them running effectively? Get in touch with us at Search Mechanics today for a helping hand.

Jon is the founder of the Search Mechanics, specialist PPC agency based in Kent.
He has worked in the PPC industry for over 15 years and has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all things related to online paid search including Google Ads and Bing Ads, he also has a thorough understanding of ad server systems as well as Google Analytics.