Knowledge |

A guide to setting up Google dynamic display ads

Dynamic display ads are a feature within the Google AdWords display network that allows a website to dynamically display advertisements to users, based on products they have previously browsed on the website, or based on the content on websites.

Dynamic Display Ads Example
Above: Sample Dynamic Display Ads, automatically generated using Google’s software.

The Why.

Traditional remarketing works very well when a website offers a select few services or products, where advertisements can be generated manually for each service/product. This becomes a burden when a website has tens, hundreds, or thousands of different product SKU’s (Stock Keeping Units). Generating individual ads will typically not be cost effective, this is where Dynamic Display Ads come in.

For example, consider the following flow diagram:

Remarketing flow diagram

In this example, users would potentially be lost and unless the said user remembers the website they visited, they are unlikely to come back to finish their purchase. Following the user leaving the website Google will remember the products that the user has visited and re-market the products to them, showing them advertisements as they browse other websites – Dynamic Display Ads solve this problem.

How do I get these ads?

To take advantage of Dynamic Display Ads the website first needs a Google Merchant Center account and feed, which is tied to the Google AdWords account you wish to show these advertisements on.

Note: The implementation of a Google Merchant feed is outside of the scope of this document however Google’s documentation on this can be found on their website

Once the feed has been submitted to Google and available within the Google Adwords interface (this can be checked within your Google AdWords account in “Tools and Analysis > Google Merchant Center” – the feed should be visible there) the next step is to create your campaign and implement the remarketing tags required.


Create your first dynamic campaign

In Google Adwords, create a new campaign, choose a name to identify the campaign (this can be changed later), and select Display Network Only > Remarketing.

Creating a dynamic campaign

Get your Remarketing Tags

When you click “Set up dynamic remarketing” you will be sent to the Audiences section of the Google AdWords interface which will show you a page similar to the following, you should send the tags to your web developer for inclusion within the website. We will review the implementation of these tags later in this document.

Click continue on step 2 and return to your campaign on step 3. Google will have generated additional remarketing lists for your website tailored to different actions by users based on the remarketing tag you will implement on the website.

Remarketing Tags Set Up

Finish campaign creation

After clicking “Return to Campaign” you will be shown some additional options for setting up your Dynamic Display Ads, enter a budget that suits you (we recommend including a nominal budget initially to ensure the ads perform well for you), check “Enable Dynamic Remarketing” and select the Merchant Center account you have tied to this Google AdWords account.

Note: Google recommends you do not select a Location or Language, however if you for example only deliver products to the United Kingdom then you will not want to display remarketing advertisements to users outside of this locale – in this case it is suggested you go against Google’s recommendation.

Finishing Campaign Creation

Create your first Dynamic Display Ad Group

The next screen will allow you to create your first Dynamic Display Ad Group. Google will have pre-selected several website audiences, essentially at this stage this Ad Group will be configured to display advertisements to all users of your website. This selection is the broadest remarketing pool and it is important to bear this in mind.  It is a good idea to have a broad Ad Group, but it will typically not perform as well as an Ad Group that is for example designed to only target users who have abandoned their shopping basket.

It is recommended that the default bid you choose starts off low, this allows you to increase the bid to optimise conversions in the future. If you start your default bid as high, you are more likely to waste budget on non-performing advertisements.

Choose an Ad Group name, a default bid, and select “Save and Continue”.

Create Dynamic Display Ad Group

Create your advertisements

The next step is creating your advertisements. The Google interface makes this really easy and offers a huge variance of advertisement layouts and covers all the ad sizes supported by the Display Network.

We recommend, at least for your first dynamic advertisement, using the setting “Automatically select the best layout and include all ad sizes” rather than a specific layout, this will allow your advertisement to gain maximum visibility. You should upload a logo (we suggest a transparent PNG) and there are several colour options that can be configured under “Show Advanced fields” to tailor the advertisements suit your brand.

A preview of the advertisements and different layout styles can be seen to the right of the options shown below.

Creating Advertisements

Set up your Remarketing Tags 

Now that you have your campaign, ad group’s, and display banners online the final step is to implement the remarketing tag on your website that powers the whole process. This is the more technical stage of the process and will require in depth knowledge of the CMS and access to the underlying code of your website – likely a job for your web developers.

If you have previously set up remarketing for your website then the new tag won’t look much different, there are now additional custom parameters which Google requires to identify the different areas and products on your website.

The template to add to the website is:
<script type="text/javascript">

var google_tag_params = {

ecomm_prodid: ‘REPLACE_WITH_VALUE’,

ecomm_pagetype: ‘REPLACE_WITH_VALUE’,

ecomm_totalvalue: ‘REPLACE_WITH_VALUE’,



<script type=”text/javascript”>

/* <![CDATA[ */

var google_conversion_id = XXXXXXXXX;

var google_custom_params = window.google_tag_params;

var google_remarketing_only = true;

/* ]]> */


<script type=”text/javascript”


<div style=”display:inline;”>

<img height=”1″ width=”1″ style=”border-style:none;” alt=””

The google_conversion_id (labelled ‘XXXXXXXX’ above) is the conversion ID for your tag, this can be retrieved from the email Google sent in previous steps. The Google tag parameter configurations are discussed on the following pages.


The ecomm_prodid represents the ID(s) of the product(s) you are referencing. This field should match the product ID from the Google Merchant Center feed that has been previously configured. Google uses this identifier to link products viewed by users, so they can be shown products via advertising.

This field should be provided on the following page types and left blank on others:

  • product
  • basket
  • purchase
  • searchresults

When a page has more than one product that is relevant, for example on the “searchresults”, “basket” or “purchase” pages of the website, it is likely a user will have more than one product shown, the notation for this is different to single product notation. See below.

The template above changes from:

ecomm_prodid: 'REPLACE_WITH_VALUE',



For example, if the relevant products have the ID’s 123456 and 456789 then the code would be replaced with:

ecomm_prodid: ['123456', '456789'],

For example, on a product page for product ID 123456 that costs £50.00 the parameter tag would be:

<script type="text/javascript">

var google_tag_params = {

ecomm_prodid: '123456',

ecomm_pagetype: 'product',

ecomm_totalvalue: '50.00',



Note: It is essential that the values entered in the fields shown above match the ID from the Google Merchant Center Feed exactly and that all product IDs are shown where relevant – this allows Google to optimise the remarketing, for both upsells and for dropped baskets/product views.


dynamic display ads

The ecomm_pagetype is used by Google to understand the actions a user has taken on the website. For example Google’s algorithms will differ for users that have purchased products from those that added products to their basket but failed to make a purchase.

There are several different page types available, all of which should be used in the remarketing tag, this tag should not be left blank.

For example, on the homepage of the website the template shown above would be updated to show:

<script type="text/javascript">

var google_tag_params = {

ecomm_prodid: '',

ecomm_pagetype: 'home',

ecomm_totalvalue: '',



Note: It is essential that all tags are added to their correct places and labelled appropriately. If for example a payment screen (prior to payment completion) is shown the “purchase” tag it would mean users are up-sold products before they have purchased the products they were looking at in the first place!



The ecomm_totalvalue parameter is used to define the cost of the item(s) referenced within the ecomm_prodid parameter. This is used by Google to perform automated bid optimisation on your feeds and may also be used to categorise your lists into groups based on the value of the products (i.e., you can bid more to sell a £1000 product than a £10 one).

This tag is quite straight forward however it does have a caveat, it should be a plain double number (i.e. XXX.XX not £XXX.XX) and on pages where a sale is being performed (such as the basket and purchase page types) this parameter should include the full cost of the basket (i.e. if you have 10 products this number should show the total value of the basket/sale).

For example on a shopping basket page, with the product IDs 123456 and 456789 with individual values of £25.00 and £50.00 the remarketing parameter tag would be:

<script type="text/javascript">

var google_tag_params = {

ecomm_prodid: ['123456', '456789'],

ecomm_pagetype: 'basket',

ecomm_totalvalue: '75.00',



Validating your tags

Once the tags have been added to your website it is a good idea to test that they are functioning correctly, luckily Google has two resources that make this easy, through the use of the Google Tag Assistant (Google Chrome extension) or the Google AdWords Interface.

Google Tag Assistant

The Google Tag Assistant is an official plugin by Google that tests all of your Google tags (analytics, remarketing, conversions etc) and provides input into any problems they have encountered with your tags.

Get it here:

Google Tag Assistant

Google Adwords Interface

Within the Audiences section of the Shared Library in Google AdWords there is a new diagnostics tool that will help to identify problems within your remarketing tags and also provides specifics on the problems when they occur.

More information on this can be found at Google:

Google Adwords Interface

For more information on setting up Dynamic Display Ads, or to find out more, please do not hesitate to get in touch!