Dynamic Search Ads, or DSAs, aren’t exactly new in the world of Google Ads. However, the way they leverage SEO data despite being part of paid search makes them an interesting facet of any ads campaign, and for that reason, we decided to discuss them in more depth.

What are Dynamic Search Ads?

To understand Dynamic Search Ads, you’ll need to know a bit of Google Ads history. Way back in 2011, Google unveiled a new technology called Dynamic Keyword Insertion. DKI let Google automatically insert a searcher’s query into the ad’s headline. Ideally, this would ensure that the automatically-generated ad looked highly relevant to the original query and increase click-through rates, all without any additional work on the advertiser’s part.

If the original query exceeded the maximum character limit Google allowed for headlines, the ad would show a default headline set in advance by the advertiser. DKI ads continue to exist and have seen a degree of success, though some advertisers have found that user search queries, while they might be perfectly serviceable as inputs into a search bar, don’t always convey the professionalism (or proper spelling) desired in ad copy.

Examples of Dynamic Keyword Insertion in Ads
Examples of Dynamic Keyword Insertion in Ads

Dynamic Search Ads are like a souped-up version of DKI ads, in which Google has control over not only the ad’s headline but of the keywords that trigger each ad as well. DSAs allow advertisers to skip the arduous task of creating long lists of keywords to cover every possible way someone could search for their business. Instead of generating dozens of variations of keywords like “bakery near me” and “bakery in New Jersey” and “where can I buy cupcakes”, the advertiser simply has to let Google know some basic information about their product, and Google does the rest.

Launching a DSA campaign is incredibly simple. All an advertiser has to do is specify which pages should have traffic sent to them and provide the copy to be displayed under the custom headline for each landing page. Google will then use its algorithms to determine which keywords should trigger the ads and what the ad headline should read. The result is a relevant, highly-tailored ad that requires almost no work to set up.

Dynamic Search Ad Setup
Setting up a dynamic search ad. Note that only the ad description is editable.

When I first learned about DSAs, I was not sold. They sounded too good to be true and based on my experiences with DKI, I felt justified in my skepticism. After all, I’ve spent years learning how to manage PPC campaigns, honing my ad copy skills and launching more keywords than I could possibly count. There was no way that an automated system could emulate my process. After all, what substitute is there for years of experience?

Google’s Got the Data

We don’t think twice about asking Google for the answers to our every question, no matter how specific or subjective. We trust that Google can interpret our search queries and respond with relevant information via organic listings. In fact, the entirety of SEO is built on the idea that website owners can give Google the information it needs to understand the content of a particular webpage, and that Google will then show this page to relevant searchers. Put another way, Google has even more experience than I or any other PPC manager could possibly have, it just comes from matching user queries to organic listings. Knowing all of that, why wouldn’t anyone want to leverage this knowledge to promote their paid ad campaigns?

Dynamic search ads work hand-in-hand with SEO to deliver relevant web results to the right people at the right time. Google has petabytes of data around how people create search queries and how those queries translate into actual user behavior. DSA campaigns simply give Google permission to use organic SEO data to map search queries to whole pages on behalf of ad campaigns, rather than pulling from a more limited list of human-generated keywords.

Sounds Great! I’m Going to Fire My Campaign Manager

No, don’t do that! There’s more to running a successful DSA campaign than setup, and this is where a talented PPC professional is most valuable. At the very minimum, you’ll want a real human to review the keywords that Google uses to trigger your ads and so they can block traffic that isn’t relevant to your website. You can and should test different ad descriptions to determine which text resonates best with your audience to further improve your ads’ click-through rates and Quality Score. Lastly, remember that DSAs only cover the keyword and ad generation components of a successful campaign; additional audience segmentation and its impact on bid strategy will remain an area of opportunity that can take your ROAS to the next level.

Good DSAs Lead to Good SEO, and Vice Versa

There’s a symbiotic relationship between strong DSA campaigns and SEO. Since Google uses the same data to determine when to show both dynamic search ads and organic listings, you can create a positive feedback loop using the data you collect from each to optimize the other. The Quality Score reports Google generates for your DSA campaigns can provide you with inspiration for changes to your SEO strategy, and understanding the relevance of the traffic you get organically can guide you in the creation of negative keywords for the paid campaigns. Any changes you make to improve your pages SEO rankings will trickle into the DSA campaigns as well, and Google’s detailed PPC reporting will give you more data to use when determining which changes to make.

Having experts in PPC and SEO working together is a surefire way to make sure that your entire digital marketing efforts are as strong as possible.

At emagine, we have experts in both areas who are able to share ideas and learnings to create positive outcomes for your business. We’re confident we can help maximize your ad spend while also increasing conversion volume and actual ROI.

We know actions speak louder than words, so just head on over and request a free PPC audit. We’ll review your existing campaigns and provide some recommendations – and we’ll do all of it for free.