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Welcome to the help center for DoubleClick Search, a platform for managing search marketing campaigns.  While the help center is available to the public, access to the DoubleClick Search product is available only to subscribing customers who are signed in. To subscribe or find out more, contact our sales team.

Create and report on AdWords dynamic search ads in DoubleClick Search

Create dynamic targets

A dynamic ad target defines pages on your site that you want to advertise with dynamic search ads. Google uses its search index to determine when a customer's search is relevant to any pages that match your dynamic ad targets. If a search is relevant, Google displays a dynamic search ad that you've defined in the same ad group as the targets.

You can create dynamic targets and keywords in the same campaign, but not in the same ad group. Keep in mind that dynamic targets trigger dynamic search ads and keywords trigger text ads.

To create a dynamic ad target:

  1. Navigate to a dynamic ad group in an AdWords campaign.
    Steps for navigating to an ad group
    1. In the left navigation panel, click All accounts.
      What if the left navigation pane isn't visible?

    2. Click the navigation bar to display navigation options.

    3. In the Agency list, click the agency that contains the advertiser. You can search for an agency by name or scroll through the list.

    4. In the Advertiser list, click the advertiser that contains the engine account.

    5. In the Account list, click the engine account that contains the campaign.

    6. In the Campaign list, click the campaign that contains the ad group.

    7. In the Ad group list, click the ad group.

    8. Click Apply or press the Enter key.

    DoubleClick Search displays the ad group page.

  2. Click the Targets ▾ tab and select Dynamic ad targets.
    If you don't see Dynamic ad targets, the campaign is not set up for dynamic search ads.
  3. In the toolbar above the reporting table, click +New dynamic ad target.
  4. Enter the properties for the new ad target as described below.
  5. Click Save.

Properties for dynamic ad targets

Learn more about these properties and see examples in the AdWords help center.

All web pages:

Targets all pages that are accessible from the domain you specified when you set up the campaign for dynamic search ads.

Web pages that match criteria:

Sets criteria for selecting pages under the site domain. You can specify up to three of the following criteria. The target will only select pages that match all criteria (that is, DS applies a logical AND to each criterion).

  • Category is: Google automatically assigns predefined categories to the pages on your site based on the content of the pages. The dynamic ad target will be included in auctions when a customer search matches keywords related to the categories you enter or select.

    To see the categories that Google has assigned to your site, select the Category is criteria and click in the text box next to the criteria list. If Google has crawled your site (and if your site is large enough), you'll see a list of categories. If the list is empty but you have a pretty good idea of which categories Google will assign to your site, you can go ahead and type categories into the text box. 

    When applicable, the categories are organized into a three-level hierarchy. For example, you might see these category levels depending on the content on your site:

    • Top level: Shoes
      • Second level: Outdoor
        • Third level: Sneakers
        • Third level: Hiking boots
      • Second level: Casual
        • Third level: Flats
        • Third level: Pumps

    Note that as you make changes to your site, Google may adjust the set of pages that match each category. If you change your site to the extent that Google recategorizes the content, the target may no longer match any pages on your site. For example, if you remove content about sneakers from your site, the next time Google crawls your site it may remove the sneakers category for your site. In this case, a dynamic target that specifies the sneakers category will no longer match any pages on your site and will no longer be included in auctions. If this occurs, you can do either of the following:

    • Change the categories in the target. DS will keep all metrics associated with the target, so be sure that it makes sense for you to continue counting clicks and other metrics for this target even though it's now being used to bid on a different category.
    • Create a new target that reflects the new categories for your site. Like a new keyword, metrics for a new target will start from zero.

    Learn more about this property.

  • URL contains: Matches pages with URLs that contain the string you specify.

    The match is not case sensitive, nor does it support wildcards.

    For example, if you enter red in this field, the dynamic target will match pages with these URLs:
    https://www.example.com/shoes/red
    https://www.example.com/elves/TIRED/abc

  • Page title contains: Matches pages with titles that contain the string you specify. This is the title that's specified in the pages <title> HTML element. Some browsers display the page's title in bar at the top of the browser window.

    The match is not case sensitive, nor does it support wildcards.

  • Page content contains: Matches pages that contain the string you specify. Specifically, the string needs to be within the page's <body> HTML element.

    The match is not case sensitive, nor does it support wildcards.

  • Custom label is: Targets pages from page feeds with the specified label.

Max CPC:

(Optional) Overrides the ad group's default max CPC setting. The maximum cost-per-click (CPC) is the highest amount that you are willing to pay per click. Note that often you'll pay less than the max CPC because in each auction, the most you'll pay is what's needed to rank higher than the advertiser immediately below you.

Destination URL:

Select one of the following options:

  • Dynamic destination URL: Inherits the URL template specified for a dynamic search ad, ad group, or higher level.
  • Dynamic destination URL with additional tracking: Overrides any higher level template and creates a URL template specifically for this target. If you select this option, enter {lpurl}, {escapedlpurl}, or {unescapedlpurl}, plus any parameters or third-party redirect URL.

    For example, the following URL appends a static URL parameter, a parameter with a DS macro, and an AdWords ValueTrack parameter:
    {lpurl}?p_id=42&campaign=[*Campaign*]&src={param2}

    See the AdWords help center for guidance and more examples.

Custom parameters (optional)

Defines parameters and values that will be added to the Dynamic destination URL with additional tracking, or that you can manually add to the Dynamic destination URL with additional tracking. If custom parameters defined for a dynamic target or higher level use the same name as the ones defined here, the parameter values here override the values from the higher level.

Create negative dynamic ad targets

You can exclude pages on your site from being advertised by a dynamic search ad, create a negative dynamic ad target.

Negative (exclusive) targets take precedence over inclusive dynamic ad targets. For example:

  1. You create a dynamic ad target that includes all pages that contain the word "shoes."
  2. You also create a negative target to exclude pages that contain the words "out of stock."
  3. Pages that contain both the words "shoes" and "out of stock" will be excluded.

You can create negative targets at the campaign level or within individual ad groups. Campaign-level negative targets apply to all ad groups. So you might create an "out of stock" negative target at the campaign level. Ad group-level negative targets apply only to specific ad groups. For example:

  1. You have an ad group specifically for the "sneakers" category.
  2. You create another, catch-all ad group for the "shoes" category.
  3. You'll want the "shoes" ad group to match all shoes-related products except for sneakers, so you add a negative target to the ad group to exclude pages that are in the sneakers category.

To create a negative dynamic ad target:

  1. To create campaign-level negative target, navigate to an AdWords campaign that is set up for dynamic search ads.
    Steps for navigating to a campaign
    1. In the left navigation panel, click All accounts.
      What if the left navigation pane isn't visible?

    2. Click the navigation bar to display navigation options.

    3. In the Agency list, click on the agency that contains the advertiser. You can search for an agency by name or scroll through the list.

    4. In the Advertiser list, click on the advertiser that contains the engine account.

    5. In the Account list, click on the engine account that contains the campaign.
    6. In the Campaign list, click on the campaign.

    7. Click Apply or press the Enter key.

    DoubleClick Search displays the campaign page.

    To create an ad group-level negative target, navigate to an ad group.

    Steps for navigating to an ad group
    1. In the left navigation panel, click All accounts.
      What if the left navigation pane isn't visible?

    2. Click the navigation bar to display navigation options.

    3. In the Agency list, click the agency that contains the advertiser. You can search for an agency by name or scroll through the list.

    4. In the Advertiser list, click the advertiser that contains the engine account.

    5. In the Account list, click the engine account that contains the campaign.

    6. In the Campaign list, click the campaign that contains the ad group.

    7. In the Ad group list, click the ad group.

    8. Click Apply or press the Enter key.

    DoubleClick Search displays the ad group page.

  2. Click the Targets ▼ tab,  click Dynamic ad targets, and then click Excluded.
    If you don't see Dynamic ad targets, the campaign is not set up for dynamic search ads.

  3. In the toolbar above the list, click the + Dynamic exclusion button.
  4. Enter the properties for the negative ad target.
  5. Click Save.

Properties for negative ad targets

  • Category is: Google automatically assigns predefined categories to the pages on your site based on the content of the pages. Enter or select a category in this field to exclude all pages on your site within the category.
    For more information, see the description of the Category is property for dynamic targets.
  • URL contains: Excludes pages with URLs that contain the string you specify.

    The match is not case sensitive, nor does it support wildcards.

    For example, if you enter red in this field, the dynamic target will exclude pages with these URLs:
    https://www.example.com/shoes/red
    https://www.example.com/elves/TIRED/abc

  • Page title contains: Excludes pages with titles that contain the string you specify. This is the title that's specified in the pages <title> HTML element. Some browsers display the page's title in bar at the top of the browser window.

    The match is not case sensitive, nor does it support wildcards.

  • Page content contains: Excludes pages that contain the string you specify. Specifically, the string needs to be within the page's <body> HTML element.

    The match is not case sensitive, nor does it support wildcards.

  • Custom label is: Excludes pages from page feeds with the specified label.

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