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Dynamic Keyword Insertion: 32-Point Guide
For Getting Dynamic To Get Results

Dynamic keyword insertion (or DKI) is a feature offered by both AdWords and Bing, which will allow you to dynamically insert a keyword into your ad copy.
 
In simpler terms, dynamic keyword insertion will allow you to customize your ad copy based on the search terms that someone might be searching with aka queries.
 

Why Is Dynamic Keyword Insertion Important?

It’s an advanced feature offered by both platforms, which helps make your ad copy more relevant while using a generic ad for a variety of keywords.
 
Dynamic keyword insertion is especially convenient and can be important to use in businesses where there’s a large inventory of the same item (e.g. ecommerce stores). It will allow that business to market that item without having to create numerous ad groups, thus saving time, money and energy.
 

This ad group shows that there’s tons of keywords here, 54 live ones.

This ad group shows that there’s tons of keywords here, 54 live ones.


 
The screenshot above shows from one client the number of keywords that are in only one ad group. In this specific campaign, there are over 140 ad groups, so making SKAGs for each of these keywords may not have been top priority at the time. And in order to save time, the client created a DKI for these keywords.
 
 
In the same ad group, we can see that the DKI ad not only has a higher CTR but lower CPC, saving money.

In the same ad group, we can see that the DKI ad not only has a higher CTR but lower CPC, saving money.


 

So, Why Use DKI?

 

Higher Relevancy

So, Joey is thinking of ordering a cheese pizza. And when he types in “cheese pizza,” Papa John’s shows their ad with “cheese pizza” clearly in the Headline 1. This makes the ad super relevant to the person searching, and will most likely result in a click through.
 

In the Google search above, “cheese pizza” may be dynamically inserted when someone searches “cheese pizza”.

In the Google search above, “cheese pizza” may be dynamically inserted when someone searches “cheese pizza”.


 

Higher CTRs

When a search query matches the wording in the ad copy, Google will bold those words which makes them standout. Because they stand out, it’s more likely that they will be clicked on more,  resulting in a higher CTR (click-through rate).
 

You can see how CTR is up compared to the rest of the ads in the ad group not using DKI. And why are high CTRs important to an account?

You can see how CTR is up compared to the rest of the ads in the ad group not using DKI. And why are high CTRs important to an account?


 

Higher Quality Score

Increasing quality score is something that’s always on the mind of advertisers and marketers. As a marketer, this is something that we’re constantly asked about by our clients. With higher quality scores, it can help the account with lower CPCs, better position averages in searches and a lower CPA.
 
The best way to increase quality score is to focus on creating a relevant ad. With DKIs, this is a great and quick way to ensure your ads are relevant to what the user is searching with.
 

Character Limitations

I don’t know about you, but when I hit the exact number of characters that I’m allowed in an ad’s field, I do a little mini dance at my desk. It’s exhilarating (nerd alert). However, when you have the perfect headline to use and it doesn’t fit, it can be one of the most frustrating situations in paid search.
 
DKI gives us a bit of a wiggle room here. While it’s not a guarantee for every DKI, if Google allows it, your headline can actually be longer than the character limit will allow. This gives you that headline that you always wanted, but maybe couldn’t have had.
 

What?! We can go beyond the character limitations? - GIF source

What?! We can go beyond the character limitations? – GIF source


 

DKI Saves You Time

One of the best things you can give to a marketer is time. With more time, instead of building out ad after ad for each individual search term coming through, DKIs pretty much does the work for you.
 
In the case of accounts like an e-commerce one with lots of inventory, it might not be practical to build out numerous ads and ad groups. Especially, if you have search terms coming through that can use the same description for each, this just makes it a bit easier and gives you more time to focus on bigger and better things.
 

What It Looks Like

Have you ever gone into an AdWords account, looked at the ads and seen the brackets in the headline of the ad and thought, “what the heck is this?” I know I have, and that’s when I came to understand DKIs.
 
A bit of an explanation about those brackets in DKI: this is where the keyword is displayed, assuming it fits in the character allotment. The “keyword” term in the brackets is important when it comes to defining the case that you want the keyword to be in: title case, sentence case, or lower case.
 
{KeyWord: high security door locks} – High Security Door Locks
 
{Keyword: high security door locks} – High security door locks
 
{keyword: high security door locks} – high security door locks
 
So, depending on the placement of the keyword in the headline will determine the case that you’ll use for the keyword.
 

Screenshot of what the ad looks like in AdWords.

Screenshot of what the ad looks like in AdWords.


 
In Bing, adding in dynamic text is easy with the links below the fields.

In Bing, adding in dynamic text is easy with the links below the fields.


 
In our example above for Headline 1, we have the keyword “High Security Door Locks”, which is the default text. What this means is that if the keyword that gets switched out in the brackets doesn’t fit, this default text will show instead.
 

How to Use DKI

Best answer for this is sparingly.
 

Use DKI sparingly, not like Joey and his desserts.

Use DKI sparingly, not like Joey and his desserts. – GIF source


 
Before you implement DKI, you’ll want to make sure that you know exactly which keywords are in your ad group. If there are keywords in there that aren’t related, when you use the DKI feature, your ad copy has the potential to not make any sense.
 
Google has made it very easy for you to create DKIs, doing it at the ad level. First, you’ll want to create a new ad:
 
 
Choose “Text ad” from the options in the dropdown.

Choose “Text ad” from the options in the dropdown.


 
When you get to the ad creation view, choose the headline that you want to create the DKI for. Simply type a squiggly bracket into the field and Google will provide you with a number of options, DKI being one of those:
 
 
Choose “Keyword insertion” from the options in the dropdown.

Choose “Keyword insertion” from the options in the dropdown.


 
Type in your default text, and choose the option for the Case that you want to use in your headline. Note, that the default text is what you would like to appear if the code can’t be replaced by a keyword.
 
 
Choose between title case, sentence case or lower case for your ad copy.

Choose between title case, sentence case or lower case for your ad copy.


 

The Warnings of DKI & When Not To Use Them

Because DKIs are a pretty advanced feature, you don’t just want to use it freely across any campaign and ad group. It’s best to be safe and not sorry in this situation.
 

Don’t be sorry like Joey.

Don’t be sorry like Joey. – GIF source


 

Competitor Keyword Targeting

There are some industries where it may be illegal to use a competitor’s name in your ad. Sure, you can bid on their keywords, but adding their name is a big no-no and can get you in trouble with Google’s trademark policy. So, ad groups that have competitor names as keywords, don’t use DKI.
 

An example where a competitor was using another’s brand name. This violates Google’s trademark policies.

An example where a competitor was using another’s brand name. This violates Google’s trademark policies.


 

Proofreading & Misspellings

With DKI, you’ll be inserting keywords into phrases, and you have to be careful and make sure that the ad makes sense. For example, say you’re using the DKI that we showed earlier:
 

What DKI looks like in the Headline 1.

What DKI looks like in the Headline 1.


 
Now, say there’s a keyword in this ad group that is “security high lock”. The phrase “Best Security High Lock” won’t make sense. With testing your results, you can avoid headaches and embarrassments like these.
 
Another part of proofreading is making sure that your DKI code is entered in correctly. Extra spaces, incorrect use of capitalization, or using parentheses instead of brackets can all make your ad look amateurish.
 
Ugh…I think we’ve all been there where we caught a misspelling in one of our ads, or even worse when the client does. We can avoid this by making sure that we’re not targeting misspelled keywords. Sure, the visitor typed it in, but we’re smarter than that.
 

Plurals/Singulars

This also applies to plural and singular versions of your keywords. It’s a good idea to have both types of keywords targeted, but making sure that it makes sense in your ad copy is important. A get-around for this is to separate the plural and singular keywords into separate ad groups.
 

One-Word Headlines

Google is generous and has given us 30 characters to use in a single headline. Not taking advantage of it can make your ad look like spam and boring. So, you want to make sure to avoid one-word headlines, by avoiding one-word keywords in your dynamic keyword insertion.
 

Don’t Use for Broad Match Keywords

The point of using dynamic keyword insertion is to make the ad copy more relevant for the person searching and closely matches the search term that they’re using. With broad match keywords, there’s a high likelihood that it can come through your DKI ad and make the ad look confusing and irrelevant.
 

Some Additional Tips

 

DKIs Aren’t Limited to Headlines

The headline is the most common place to use DKIs, but that doesn’t mean it has to only happen there. The headline makes sense to have DKIs, because a best practice is to have the search term show there. According to Google, the headline text is the text that’s most likely to be noticed, so that’s why we’d recommend putting the DKI there.
 
However, if it makes sense, you can include DKIs in the other headline, the path, or the description text of the copy. Word of caution: make sure that it makes sense in the description. There’s a lot more characters here and a higher chance of having a grammatical error occur.
 

Consistency Is Key

One of the best practices that we have at KlientBoost is writing the headline in title case. So, it would be a stupid move on my part to have a dynamic keyword insertion and not choose title case for the text. It will make my ad harder to read and a bit amateurish if it were to look like this:
 

Where “Orange County” is the search term coming through, but as lower case.

Where “Orange County” is the search term coming through, but as lower case.


 

Watch Your Capitalization

One thing to keep in mind as well is that Google has strict guidelines on what types of capitalization is approved. While using capitalization like “FYI” might be approved by Google, words like “FREE” or “PIZZA” most likely will be flagged by Google and disapproved.
 

Keep Your Ad Groups Tight

So, you’re using dynamic keyword insertion to make your ads more relevant, and to add another layer of relevancy onto this is to make sure that the keywords in your ad group are relevant. For example, you might have “cheese pizza”, “pepperoni pizza”, and “vegetarian pizza” in an ad group–but having “antipasto” might not make sense here, unless your description is super generic and can cover all those choices.
 
By making sure that your ad groups are tight, and keywords are similar, you’ll have your relevant ads.
 

Keep Your Default Text Short

Because some search terms coming through your ad group might be a bit longer, you’ll want to ensure that your default text is kept short. Sure, there are times that Google will expand across the allotted character limits like we talked about earlier, but don’t rely on it.
 
For example, if your text talks about “the best pizza”, a search term like “cheese pizza” will fit okay. But if your default text is “San Juan Capistrano’s Best Pizza”, and someone searches with cheese, you might miss out on having that search term included in your text. Don’t fret, your default text will show, but the point of the DKI is to have the search term be added, so think about that.
 

DKI for Landing Pages

Dynamic keyword insertion isn’t limited to only in PPC channels like AdWords and Bing. In fact, DKI is useful when it comes to landing pages. While DKIs in ads are meant to help performance for CTR and quality score, it’s not the final step in helping convert those clicks.
 
To help convert leads, having a landing page that matches the ad copy will perform better than a page which doesn’t have anything to do with what the visitor saw in the ad. See how this blog talks more about message match.
 
For example, we have a client, AskNicely, whose business is to promote a software which collects and acts on real-time customer feedback, or Net Promoter Score (NPS). Because the software can be defined as NPS Software, or a Customer Service Software, or even Customer Survey Tool, instead of creating multiple landing pages to match these different keywords, we can instead insert a DKI.
 

The original landing page, with the word “Software” as the dynamic keyword.

The original landing page, with the word “Software” as the dynamic keyword.


 
When someone searches for NPS Software, the Software is dynamically changed to NPS Software.

When someone searches for NPS Software, the Software is dynamically changed to NPS Software.


 
Make sure that the keywords you’re inserting make sense with the sentence. It even works for Customer Survey Tool.

Make sure that the keywords you’re inserting make sense with the sentence. It even works for Customer Survey Tool.


 
All this is great, but is there the data to back up that DKIs work? Here’s a look at a campaign where we have it filtered to show only ads that contain “kw” in the final url which indicates the page was a dynamic keyword insertion. As you can see in the screenshot below, compared to the rest of the ads in this specific campaign, CPA is almost $100 less, and conversion rate from 4.17% to a 7.67%.
 
 
Success in AdWords. CPA is lower and conversion rate is higher when using DKIs in this campaign.

Success in AdWords. CPA is lower and conversion rate is higher when using DKIs in this campaign.


 

Wrap Up on Dynamic Keyword Insertion

While knowing the concept of dynamic keyword insertion is important, it’s also important to note that when creating a campaign using single keyword ad groups (SKAGs), DKIs might not really be necessary.
 
DKIs may become relevant when an account has used them before and you’re optimizing the account, you’ll understand the feature. Like I mentioned earlier, it can also be used for campaigns that have a heavy inventory, and creating SKAGs might not be realistic.
 
However you choose to build your campaigns, though, I will stress the importance of making sure your keyword or search term is showing in the ad.

The PPC Agency
That’ll Make You More Money

Klientboost Blog Author Kim Fitkin

Kim Fitkin

Director of SaaS

  • Charles Brocato

    Hi Kim,

    Nice post, thanks. I try and use DKI as much as I can. I do use it in SKAGs mainly so I don’t have to create multiple landing pages. I find it easier to just pass the parameter to unbounce.

    You mentioned (for example, in section – keep your default text short) that the user search term gets inserted into the ad, I’m assuming you meant the keyword in the ad group that triggered the ad to show. Adwords uses the keyword and not the actual user search query.

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