Setting-Up & Understanding Google Dynamic Search Ads

  • Home
  • Articles
  • Setting-Up & Understanding Google Dynamic Search Ads

Learn why your business should leverage Google Dynamic Ads and how to properly set these up from scratch.

  • Dynamic search ads are a great option for those with large scale websites.
  • Google does most of the work for you when it comes to dynamic search ads, so they can be a big time saver.
  • Dynamic search ads ensure your entire catalog or suite of services is getting served and are a great complement to regular search ads.
  • While there’s not a ton of customization that can take place with dynamic search ads, you can choose which pages on your site to target.
  • While both responsive and dynamic ads dynamically respond to user search queries and give Google the ability to customize ads to the viewer’s search queries, they are really very different.
  • Learn dynamic search ads through our step-by-step process for how we set this up for our in-house eCommerce brand.

What are Dynamic Search Ads & How Do They Work? 

Dynamic search ads use your website content to target your Google ads to potential customers.

Ad headlines and landing pages are generated by Google using content from your website. The ads target people based on categories or specific pages you choose on your site. You control the descriptions and sitelink extensions.

Dynamic search ads help customers searching on Google find exactly what they’re looking for and serve them ads based on their specific search queries.

example of dynamic search ad.
Example of dynamic search ad we created for DermWarehouse, our in-house eCommerce brand.

Which Websites are Eligible for Dynamic Search Ads? 

Any website can use dynamic search ads. We like using dynamic search ads most for large websites containing a lot of products or services. We share more on this below, but in short, Dynamic search ads are great for research purposes and you get a ton of good data in the search terms. With larger websites when you may not know the best service or products to run ads for, dynamic search ads will help you see what’s popular. Even if you have other ad campaigns running for specific services or product groups, these act as a catch all to ensure you’re not missing anything.

Dynamic Search Ads vs. Responsive Search Ads 

While both responsive and dynamic ads dynamically respond to user search queries and give Google the ability to customize ads to the viewer’s search queries, they are really very different. 

Responsive Search Ads

According to Google, “Responsive search ads let you create an ad that adapts to show more relevant messages to your customers. Enter multiple headlines and descriptions when creating a responsive search ad, and over time, Google Ads automatically tests different combinations and learns which combinations perform best.”

With responsive search ads, you can create multiple headlines and descriptions so you have a lot more creative freedom than with dynamic ads. You’re able to choose your final URLs and display URLs and also pick all of the search keywords you want to target. 

Below is an example of a responsive search ad. As you can see, there’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to how your ad will display.

Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic ads, on the other hand, only allow you to create descriptions. Google takes care of the rest. You don’t choose keywords, and instead pick specific pages or categories on your website to target.

Although responsive search ads give you a lot more freedom when it comes to headlines, final & display URLs and keyword targeting, they are both really great options and serve different purposes.

Benefits of Dynamic Search Ads 

They Save Time

Setting up these catch-all campaigns when you have a ton of products or services that you offer is a huge time saver. Rather than setting up many different campaigns, creating keywords and ads for each of them, Google does the work for you. 

Google will dynamically generate the landing page, the headline and the display URL. They also take the work out of picking keywords to target. All you need to do is create your description!

Constant Update to Ads 

Dynamic search ads are not only a huge time saver, they also ensure your ads are getting constant updates. When you have many search ads running, it can be difficult and time consuming to go back to old ads and refresh the creative. Google will be constantly crawling your site for your dynamic ads, ensuring up to date and relevant information is being included in your ads and headlines are generated accordingly!

New Products & Services Are Being Targeted 

We’re constantly adding new products and brands to our DermWarehouse website. It’s difficult to stay on top of changes and always ensure ads are getting set up and updated for each change we make on our site. Dynamic search ads ensure we have ads running that can target our entire inventory catalog at all times. They make sure we’re not missing out on anything and give all products a fair chance of being shown. The same can be said for service based businesses. As you’re adding or changing services, the ads will be refreshed. 

Great Compliment to Existing Search Campaigns 

When setting up your regular search campaigns, you likely won’t be able to target every possible keyword for each product you’re selling or service you’re promoting. Dynamic campaigns help you fill in these gaps so you’re not missing out on new potential customers. 

When we’re targeting all pages on our eCommerce website with our dynamic campaign, we know that even if we have other search campaigns set up for certain pages or brands, our dynamic campaign will fill in any missing gaps.

Negative Dynamic Ad Targets 

You may have certain products or brands that don’t perform well on Google ads. Alternatively, you may have pages on your website that don’t make sense to advertise for, such as your blog. One great aspect about dynamic search ads is that if you have a poor performer, or a page that doesn’t make sense for advertising, you’re not stuck serving ads for it, even if your ad is targeting your entire website. You can utilize negative dynamic ad targets so that poor performers or other specific pages can be paused. 

Learn More: Utilize Search Terms Report to Formulate a Killer Negative Keyword List

You can see in the image below, we’ve added negative dynamic ad targets to some of the brands that we no longer want to promote, either because we aren’t selling them anymore or because they don’t perform well for us on Google ads. We also make sure to set our blog pages as negative dynamic ad targets. We want people to come to our product pages through these ads so they can make purchases, not our blog pages, where people are more likely just searching for information.

How to Set-Up Dynamic Search Ads

Step 1: Click to create a new campaign in Google.

Step 2: Choose your campaign objective.

We typically choose website traffic as our objective.

Step 3: Choose conversion goals.

These are usually set up at the account level, so you shouldn’t have to change anything here. For an eCommerce business, we use calls from ads and purchases as conversions. For non-eCommerce businesses, we’ll choose goals such as contact form submissions, and calls from ads.

Step 4: Select campaign type.

You’ll want to choose a search campaign for your dynamic campaign!

Step 5: Enter your website and campaign name.

Step 6: Choose your bidding strategy.

I typically choose to focus on conversion value and return on ad spend. This is what makes the most sense for DermWarehouse (and many of our eCommerce clients). If you need more guidance on which bidding strategies to select, check out our blog on the benefits of automated bidding!

Step 7: Go through the rest of the Google ads settings.

  • Networks: We choose not to include Google search partners or the display network, so I would uncheck those boxes.
  • Locations: We typically target just the United States for our clients.
  • Languages: English should be auto selected.

Step 8: Click on “More Settings” and then “Dynamic Search Ads Settings.”

This is an important step, as this is where you’ll determine that your ad will be dynamic! Put your website name in the box where it asks for the website.

Step 9: Choose dynamic ad targets.

This is where the fun really begins and we start setting up our dynamic ad. You can choose to target the following:

  • Categories
    • We rarely use this, but you can target different categories on your site.
    • This would work well if you have a ton of products and want to focus on a specific product type. For example, we have a client who sells lighting. If they wanted to focus just on floor lamps, they would be able to set that as a target here.
  • Specific webpages
    • If you don’t want to target all of the pages on your site, but just want to focus on a few key pages this is a great choice. For DermWarehouse, we sell over 100 brands. If we wanted to set up an ad for our top 5 brands, we would choose this option.
    • Keep in mind that if we wanted to target 95 brands but exclude 5, we could choose the next option and set certain pages as negative dynamic ad targets instead.
    • For this option, you would choose to use an exact URL or create rules to target webpage.
      • For the exact URL, if you have certain product pages or services you want to target, select this.
      • To create rules to target webpage, there are several different options you can choose from. If you’re an eCommerce business selling different brands, you may choose to target URLs that contain specific strings.
        • For example, our product pages on DermWarehouse are structured like this “” If I wanted to target all Park Perfection products, I would enter in the URL “”
  • All webpages
    • Use this if you want to target your entire site.
    • Note: I usually set the blog page as a negative dynamic ad target!
    • For this option, click on the checkbox that says “all webpages”
    • Don’t forget to set any negative dynamic ad targets for any pages on your site that you want to exclude.

Step 10: Create your ad.

Dynamic ads will dynamically pull in the headlines for your ad. This is great because they will match what customers are searching for on Google so the ads will be extremely targeted and customized.

All you need to do here is write out your descriptions. The descriptions in the image below are what Google recommended that we use. We would edit these to ensure they utilized the allotted 90 characters and also add additional details and uniqueness about the  business.

Step 11: Add your extensions.

You’ll want to add sitelink, call out, call, image and any other extensions that make sense for your business. This is similar to what you would do in any other search ad.

Learn More: How to Crush It with Google PPC Sitelink Extensions

Step 12: Set your daily budget.

You can determine the budget you’d like to set for your campaign.

Step 13: Review your campaign and publish.

Need help setting up a dynamic search campaign or other pay per click campaigns for your business? Contact The Media Captain!

About the Author

Related Blogs

Core Services




Need help with digital marketing?

The Media Captain can help you generate more traffic and leads with a unique strategy for your business.