How Retailers Can Generate More Profit Using Dynamic Search Ads


Are you an retailer struggling to keep up with creating ads for each new product that comes into stock?

I think that you would agree with me when i say it feels like your swimming upstream when your inventory is always changing.

But by applying this one simple PPC management tactic you can do away with creating ads manually.

Dynamic search ads are an effective way to create tailored ads for all of your products automatically.

As Google describe this feature…

“Dynamic Search Ads target relevant searches with ads generated directly from your web site dynamically”.

Google keeps a fresh index of your stores inventory using organic web crawling technology.

When a relevant search occurs, Google dynamically creates a relevant advert by changing the headline based on what the user has typed into Google.

Then google directs the user to the most relevant landing page automatically.

Pretty smart right?


They are pretty effective too..

According to Google most advertisers saw 5-10% more clicks and conversions with satisfactory ROI when using dynamic search ads alongside their current non dynamic search ads. And we have found similar results for our PPC management service clients.

Tried them before but not had much success? Try them again….

In July 2015 Google announced some significant changes to DSA that will give advertisers more control over when their ads will be displayed.

Now as well as crawling your website Google will organise your website into categories for targeting your ads which are customised to what you offer.


Image Credit: Google Blog

Recommended categories are customized to your products and services, for example “furniture,” and only trigger ads for search queries where you have a relevant landing page.

Each category can also be refined to show additional, more specific categories.

Who Are Dynamic Search Ads For?

Dynamic search ads can be a huge waste of time and money if they are used on the wrong accounts.

Where DSA work well

  • You are an website with a large inventory of products, services or listings.
  • A website that has an inventory that frequently changes
  • Seasonal product lines or other offerings

Where you should never use DSA

  • Where your website content is not up to date and your on page SEO is poor
  • You don’t have a very large inventory or it is already covered
  • Lead generation websites

Do Dynamic Search Adverts Work?

PPC Hero Case Study

When PPC Hero applied Dynamic Search Ads to their accounts they noticed a consistent patten emerging:

  • A small boost in conversion volume
  • An initially poor CPA and ROAS
  • Above average long term performance from optimized campaigns.

Here is the aggregate performance of their accounts in 2014.

You will see that 5.5% of conversions overall came from DSA compared to the standard non DSA ads.

However the ROAS due to their ads being much more pacific than their competitors was considerably higher at 390% for DSA compared to 34% for their non DSA ads.


Image Credit: Search Engine Land

On three of their accounts where they had run a trial using the DSA they found that in 2 out of 3 instances that DSA had a lower cost per conversion than non DSA.

One thing to notice is that in all of the campings where they ran DSA they only accounted for small percentage of their clicks (between 5-25%).


Image Credit: Search Marketing Expo (SMX)

Grainger Case Study

Grainger is a leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) products serving businesses and institutions.

They implemented DSA within their campings due to the rapidly changing inventory of over 1 million products.

They also integrated the DSA with RLSA to help keep top of mind when users made a search within Google.

They achieved the following results

  • ROAS increased nearly 1,000% compared with non-brand search ads
  • Conversions increased nearly 1,000% compared with non-brand search ads
  • CTR increased nearly 1,000% compared with non-brand search ads

Effective Strategies For Optimising DSA

1) Make your ads as relevant as possible to what the user is searching for.

The key to making your ads as relevant as possible to the search term is by using either the category targeting option or the targeting pages that contain a specific URL.

This will allow you to write highly targeted ads that will perform well as searchers see them as being relevant to what they are searching for.

So lets say for example you have the website that sells a range of iPhone cases


Having one ad copy that targets all web visitors is not going to cut it, instead you need to segment users so you can write more specific ads.

You will want to create a new ad group for each category to get the best results.

So for example we would suggest creating a new ad group for iPhone 7 cases and then using the target category option to target pages and products relating to iPhone 7 cases.

You will want to create new ads groups for the other categories too such as iPhone 7 headphone ad iPhone 7 speakers.


Once you have done this you can then create highly specific advert relating to iPhone 7 cases.

You will see that I have made reference to iPhone 7 cases in the display URL and we would suggest that you do this too.

The description line should contain benefits of your product and offers along with a call to action to tell users what to do next.


Can you see by targeting this ad at product and category pages only that are about iPhone 7 cases and then making the ad highly specific to iPhone 7 cases I will appear to be very relevant to searchers and therefore my ad will perform well.

2) Test your ads based on statistical significance

One of the most important things you can do to ensure that you test based on statistical significance and also that you test based on the right metrics.

I can’t tell you how many people get basic stuff like this wrong and it will be costing them thousands if not tens of thousands of pounds per year.

First of all make sure that you have at least 2 ads in every ad group of your DSA campaign.

Secondly make sure that in your campaign settings that you rotate your ads evenly.

Thirdly make sure that you use a script or software such as optmyzr to Adalysis to keep on top of your tests and see when they have been completed.

Finally make sure that you test based on the right metrics for what you want to achieve.

Here is a table that was drawn up by Brad Geddes that explains which metric you should be using.

To learn more I would suggest reading his guide “what ad testing metric is best for your PPC accounts?


3) Optimise your bids.

Bidding on DSA can be unpredictable as it is with broad match.

Sometimes increasing your bids will help, however at other times it will suddenly ruin what was a profitable campaign.

The key it to testing and then finding the sweet spot for each ad group.

4) Add negative keywords from your SQR to minimise wasted spend

Periodically analysing your search terms report is the bread and butter of any DSA campaign as you weed out the irrelevant searchers.

This is fundamental to making DSA profitable as early on there is likely to be a large number of irrelevant searches that you ads are being shown for.

You can view your STR be going into your DSA campaign and then going to the keywords tab. Once there select the search terms sub tab as shown in the screenshot below.


I am not going to cover how to find good negative keywords to add in this article as it has been convert several times before.

If you would like to learn more about how you can mine your STR then I would suggest reading ‘Advanced Search Query Mining Part 1: The Power of Search Queries‘ by Chad Summerhill over on the Wordstream blog.

For more advanced users you may want to consider looking at n-gram analysis that allows for very in-depth analysis of your search queries.

To do this I would suggest reading ‘AdWords Script: Find Your Best And Worst Search Queries Using N-Grams‘ by Daniel Gilbert over on Search Engine Land.

5) Block your ads from appearing for “out of stock” or “sold out” product

When your products are out of stock you don’t want Google to be dynamically cresating ads for them as this will just waste money.

Instead you want to stop your ads from appearing when your products are out of stock.

STEP 1. First go to your product page and find what text is displayed when your product is out of stock.

For example the website below displays the text “out of stock” when the product is out of stock but other websites may say “temporally unavailable for instance”.


STEP 2. Go to the auto targets tab within your DSA campaign as shown below.

STEP 3. Now expand the exclusions section at the bottom of the page and then under campaign level click the grey add button.


STEP 4. From the drop down select page content contains and then enter the words “out of stock” or “temporarily out of stock” depending on what you found in step 1.

Once you have done this click save and your ads will not be shown if your product is listed as being out of stock on your website.


6) Combine dynamic search ads with RLSA to maximise ROI

One very effective strategy when using the “target and bid” option when using RLSA, infact when Virgin implemented this strategy they saw a 34% increase in ROI from their Adwords campaigns.

The way to implement this strategy is by creating a dynamic search ads campaign as normal and then taking the following steps.

STEP 1. Go to the audience tab within your Dynamic Search Ads campaign.


STEP 2. Click the red + remarketing button as shown below. Or the + targeting button when viewing the remarketing tab.


STEP 3. In the targeting section, click interests and remarketing and then add the remarketing lists that you want to apply to your DSA campaign as shown below.


And there you have it you are able to add RLSA to your Dynamic Search Ads campaigns.

How To Setup Dynamic Search Ads

STEP 1. The first thing that you need to do is create a new campaign for your DSA.

When setting up the campaign you will need to choose Dynamic Search Ads as your campaign type when prompted as shown below.


STEP 2. The next step is to enter the URL of your website and then enter the language that your website is written in, as shown below.

Once you have done this enter the rest of your campaign settings as you normally would for any other search network campaign.


STEP 3. Once you have done this you will need to create a new ad group. To do this click the red +ad group button as shown below.


STEP 4. Give your ad group an appropriate name (this will make your life 100x easier when managing your accounts).


STEP 5. You then have three choices when it comes to targeting.

You can target all website visitors which we would not recommend, you can segment it by category which will help you write more relevant ads, or if you want the highest ROI you can even create specific ads for each landing page though this would be very time consuming.

1. Category targets. You can target categories, for example here I have selected to target pages that are relevant to Revit training courses.


2. Target All website visitors. You can target all website visitors by selecting the second option as shown below.

This is however not recommended as your ads would not be very relevant to what you are advertising and therefore the performance would not be very good.

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-21-17-343. Target specific web pages. This setting gives you by far the most control over when your ads will be displayed and allows you to create ads that are highly relevant to your products.


You have 4 different targeting options. You can target users by category (the same as the first option) by page content, page title or URL.

Probably the most useful one would be to target people based on what the URL contains.



For example if your are a website selling iPhone 4 cases and your category page contains the text /iphone-4-cases/ then you could target all of the pages that contain this URL which will include all of the product pages.

This would allow you to create relevant ad copy that references iPhone 4 cases making the ads more relevant and increase their performance.

STEP 6. The next step to create adverts.

You need to follow ad best practices and ensure that there are at least 2 dynamic search ads per ad group.

The key to getting good performance is to make your adverts as relevant as possible to the category that they are targeting.

So for example if I have opted to target all of the pages on a website that were relevant to iPhone 4 cases then I would want to reference this in the advert.

The best place for this is usually in the display URL.

Within the copy of the ad make sure that you highlight the benefits of your product and follow advert copy best practices which you can learn more about here.

Here is an example advert for iPhone 4 cases.


STEP 7. Now set your bids for your advert and you have completed your first DSA advert.



For advertisers with a large frequently change inventory Dynamic Search Ads present a great opportunity to fill gaps in your keyword coverage and always ensure that you are displaying highly relevant adverts.

For the control freaks out there the 2015 changes to DSA that allow advertisers to choose category and even exact page URLs will be a welcomed update as it gives a large amount of control back to PPC managers.

The key takeaways from this article are that when using DSA make sure that you go granular. Create new ad groups for each category and write targeted adverts that are highly relevant to that category and you will reap the benefits.

Don’t forget to apply advert best practices, exclude out of stock products and try matching your dynamic search ads with RLSA and you will see great results with this feature.

Thank you for reading, if you have any questions please comment below and we will do out best to answer them.

wesley parker
About wesley parker

Wesley is Founder and CEO at Clicteq. He currently manages a £6 Mil Adwords portfolio across a range of different sectors. He regulally features in leading search publications such as Search Engine Journal, Econsultancy and Certified Knowledge. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Linkedin

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