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Google's Dynamic Search Ads

When to Use and When to Avoid

January 3, 2019 | Northwoods Team, Your Trusted Digital Trail Guides

4 Minute Read

Thinking about using dynamic search ads in your paid search campaign? Let’s think DSA through, to help decide if this ad type makes sense in your paid search mix.

Do not take this lightly. Improperly used dynamic search ads can have an extremely negative effect on your account performance. But in the right circumstances, these AI-generated ads can fit perfectly.

Let’s dig into the major pros and cons of Google dynamic ads.


  • Time Saver – You need to get a campaign going immediately and have no time to manage it.DSA Pros Checkmark
  • Keyword Coverage – Deployed alongside manually managed search campaigns, dynamic search ad campaigns can ensure coverage of keywords you might have missed in your manual set up.
  • Keyword Discovery – Monitoring the search queries in your DSA campaign can uncover high-performing keywords or ad groups that hadn’t occurred to you. You can mine these keywords and deploy them in separate manual campaigns to further optimize the overall campaign.
  • Increased Traffic and Conversions – Added keyword coverage will naturally pull in more traffic and conversions than a manual search campaign.
  • Negative Keywords and URLs – DSA provides the capability of excluding keywords and URLs (contact, careers, etc.), to narrow Google’s AI targeting and reduce the range of error. However, DSA is still a broad target and inevitably casts a wide traffic net.
  • Manual Extensions and Descriptions – We do retain some control over ad copy in a DSA campaign. As with manual campaigns, we can define extensions and descriptions. This ensures that specific and unique selling points, calls to action, and brand messaging come across in our dynamically generated ad copy.


  • Performance – Performance will surely suffer if a DSA is your only search campaign. This results from a very broad reach, as opposed to selective, manual keyword targets. DSA cons
  • Irrelevant Keyword Targets – DSAs target keywords based on the content on your targeted landing pages. You could end up with a broader set of keyword targets that may not relate to your specific audience.
  • Dependent – Dynamic search ads depend heavily on how well your website is optimized. If the content and overall health are strong on your final URL (or URLs), Google will more effectively target keywords while creating strong dynamic search ads.
  • Increased Ad Spend – More traffic leads to more spending, whether or not that traffic is the targeted “buyer” traffic you really want.
  • Lack of Ad Control – You create descriptions manually, but AI writes the headlines. Google’s AI has come a long way, but auto-created ads can convey messages that don’t fit your image or goals.

So when should we use dynamic search ads?

Use DSA when

  • you manage hundreds to thousands of pages (in ecommerce, for example) and need AI assistance to complement your manual campaign and ensure you have full keyword coverage.
  • highly targeted manual campaigns are no longer limited by their daily budget and you are looking for ways to expand reach. After all, according to Google, 15% of searches each day are brand new keyword strings. We don’t want to lose those searches to competitors!
  • you have absolutely no time to manage a paid search campaign and are willing to sacrifice performance to get a campaign in place.

DSA Screenshot

If your situation falls into one of the three instances above, get started with dynamic search ads immediately. If not, rethink whether DSAs make sense for your client or business.