HomeBlog3 Reasons to Use Google Ads Dynamic Exclusion Lists (+How to Do It)

3 Reasons to Use Google Ads Dynamic Exclusion Lists (+How to Do It)

Author: Susie Marino
Last Updated: November 10, 2022 | Paid Search Marketing

It’s interesting how quiet the release of Google Ads dynamic exclusion lists was back in April 2021. In my personal experience as a consultant specializing in display, this is a game-changer.

If you’re running a display or video campaign, odds are that at some point, you’re going to run into a placement you’ll want to exclude. So, any tool to streamline the process is welcomed with open arms and this new tool from Google is the first of its kind.

example of google display and youtube ad placements

Today, we’ll be demystifying Google Ads dynamic exclusion lists by diving into:

  • What makes Google Ads dynamic exclusion lists dynamic?
  • Why are dynamic exclusion lists important? 
  • When and how do I use dynamic exclusion lists?
  • Who can benefit from dynamic exclusion lists?

By the end of this post, you’ll learn about how dynamic exclusion lists can help you to more efficiently know if a dynamic exclusion list is a good fit for your account and have the tools you need to get it started!

Why you need dynamic exclusion lists

In a nutshell, here’s why you need not just exclusion, but dynamic exclusion:

  1. Protect your reputation: Ensure your brand is never placed alongside inappropriate content that may offend your audience and tarnish your reputation.
  2. Maximize budget: Prevent wasted spend on irrelevant ad traffic.
  3. Save time: Streamline placement monitoring and management with the click of a button.

Speaking of wasted spend, use our Free Google Ads Performance Grader to find and plug leaks in spending now!

What makes dynamic exclusion lists dynamic?

You can think of dynamic exclusion lists as a beefed-up version of content exclusions by placement. You essentially curate a list of specific websites or apps that you would never want your ads to show alongside with that gets refreshed regularly.

Sounds like normal placement exclusion lists right? Well, the dynamic part kicks in when you then upload that list to your account and schedule automatic updates as new websites get added. Or, you can find a third party’s list. When the third party updates their list, your copy gets updated as well!

In short, they’re an extended, automatic form of placement content exclusions. Therefore, even though they’re implemented at the account level, dynamic exclusion lists are only applicable to display and video campaigns.

For good measure, here’s Google’s official statement on the new feature:

“These lists can be created by advertisers themselves or by a third party they trust, such as brand safety organizations and industry groups. Once advertisers upload a dynamic exclusion list to their Google Ads account, they can schedule automatic updates as new web pages or domains are added, ensuring that their exclusion lists remain effective and up-to-date.”

new dynamic exclusion list creation in google ads

Why are dynamic exclusion lists important?

Calling all small businesses advertisers! Google goes on to mention in its announcement that blocking web pages you don’t want to show on obviously takes up a ton of dedicated resources for regular updates. When you’re a smaller account running local PPC with limited time and a shortage of helping hands, this will help to alleviate that extra work of constantly adding content exclusions manually.

With dynamic exclusion lists, you have the peace of mind of knowing that you’ll never have a risk of running alongside content that doesn’t align with your brand. Since they’re found under the Shared Library, small businesses can use shared dynamic exclusion lists that other team members or third parties can add to. Then, whenever that list is updated, Google will automatically update those exclusions across all applicable campaigns without you having to lift a finger.

dynamic placement exclusions list in google ads

When and how do I use Google Ads dynamic exclusion lists?

Since this feature is so unique, I felt that there were two main components you’ll want to keep in mind if you feel ready to use dynamic exclusion lists. The when will help you to identify when it is the right time to try these out. The how is of course key to actually implementing them!

The when

You’ll want to ensure you’re using dynamic exclusion lists for your YouTube and display placements if you meet the following criteria:

  • Your business could relate to sensitive content, so you want to be mindful of where your ads are showing up.
  • You’re short on time and can’t exclude certain placements manually.
  • You’re seeing unusual or unwanted placements slip through under the “Where ads showed” report.
  • You have multiple display or video campaigns you want to add the same exclusions to.
  • You simply want to exclude certain websites, apps, or pages from ever having a chance to show your ad.

The how

The setup is refreshingly easy (thank you, Google), so there’s just a few simple steps:

  1. Have your dynamic exclusion list ready-made offline, so that you can upload it in.
  2. Click into tools, and under shared library click placement exclusions.
  3. Click the blue plus to upload a dynamic exclusion list. (you can also schedule multiple dynamic exclusion lists to be uploaded regularly).
  4. Once the list is uploaded, you can select it, then click the edit drop-down to schedule for updates.
  5. Select the display or video campaign you’d like to apply the dynamic list to.
  6. Click into placements, then exclusions.
  7. Click the blue pencil to edit placement exclusions, then select your placement exclusion list.
  8. Hit save!
exclusions tab in google ads that leads to dynamic exclusion list creation

Who can benefit from dynamic exclusion lists?

The answer is (drumroll, please): anyone and everyone looking to optimize their placements for video or display! The point of this is to save you time from having to constantly upkeep your placement exclusions by doing the updating for you automatically either from your own organization’s list updates or from your third-party list!

So, if you’re a small business tight on time that wants to just share an industry group’s list—then these are for you! Or, if you’re a large enterprise that wants to have multiple teams sharing and contributing to a master list—then dynamic exclusion lists are definitely for you too!

Plus, you can plug that same list across multiple display or video campaigns, since it acts like a “placement exclusion template.” So, regardless of account size, this feature does a lot of the heavy lifting for you.

Get started with Google Ads dynamic exclusion lists!

In a nutshell, dynamic exclusion lists can be a fit for any account looking to ensure their ads are showing in appropriate places online.

As important as it is to find new placements to target, excluding certain places is just as important. It’s one of our display advertising mistakes to avoid.

Even if you feel like you already have your individual placement exclusions under control, give this new Google Ads feature a go. You never know how much you’ll want to scale out in future, and if you do, you’ll be glad you have this already set up!

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Meet The Author

Susie Marino

Susie is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist at WordStream, where she uses her experience as a PPC consultant to share tips, tactics, and best practices in the ever-evolving marketing and advertising space. Outside of work, Susie loves to get outside for some snowboarding or (once the cold weather melts away) hiking!


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