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Customize Your Ads with Dynamic Keyword Insertion

One of the most powerful ad tools in AdWords – and one of the least used – is Dynamic Keyword Insertion or DKI. DKI allows you to create ad headlines that use the searcher’s own search keywords in the headline. This allows you to create highly relevant ads based on exactly what the user is looking for.

What if you are the world’s leading seller of tacos. You have a huge list of keywords relating to tacos.

  • Hard Tacos
  • Soft Tacos
  • Chicken Tacos
  • Fish Tacos
  • Floppy Tacos

and so on.

Normally your ad would have a static headline whenever someone searches for one of those taco types. Something generic like “Buy Fresh Tacos Online”. Or, you could create dozens of Ad Groups, each with its own very specific keywords and ad copy written for just those terms. However, by using Dynamic Keyword Insertion you can customize your ads to match exactly what the customer is looking for without creating dozens, or hundreds, of Ad Groups like we did in the dark ages, where each Ad Group had a single keyword in it in an effort to get a perfect ad with a perfect quality score.

DKI Floppy Taco Keyword Chart

How To Create A Dynamic Keyword Insertion Ad

Step 1: Make sure that your keywords are carefully selected for dynamic ads. The software does not care what the keywords are and will use any matching word or phrase whether it makes sense or not. Additionally, make sure that your keywords are set to either ‘Exact Match’ or ‘Phrase Match’. Broad match keywords and phrases have the very real potential of turning your ads into gibberish or get you in trouble with Trademark issues.

To make your dynamic keyword ads have the greatest chance of success, you should use very carefully curated keyword lists and not some auto-generated bulk keyword research tool.

Step 2: Create your new Text Ad by clicking on the Campaign and Ad Group that you wish to run the ad in and click the + to create a new ad and select Text Ad.

DKI - Create New Ad

Dynamic Keywords are inserted into your ad using the syntax {Keyword:Default Keyword}. The first keyword is the dynamic text that is used, the Default Keyword is the phrase that is used if the search phrase pushes the headline or description beyond the character limit (30 or 80 Characters).

Screen of Ad created using Dynamic Keyword Insertion

You can control capitalization by capitalizing the {keyword}

  • all lower case:  keyword
  • First word capitalized: Keyword
  • All Words Capitalized: KeyWord

A Few Items To Watch Out For

First, do not include brand terms in your keyword list. This will cause those brand terms to appear in your ads and can lead to a Trademark violation. There are few things worse than waking up to find your ad or entire account being suspended for Trademark violations.

Second, be sure that every keyword you choose works with your ad copy. What if we included the term Taco rather than Tacos, not that anyone ever eats just one taco. Your headline now reads Buy Taco Online rather Buy Tacos Online.

Finally, track everything. The only way to know if your new Dynamic Ads are performing better than your current ads is to have a very solid foundation in analytics. Test, compare, test some more. You may find that you can nearly double your click thru rate and greatly increase your conversion rate with these ad types.




  1. Anne Kelley March 21, 2018

    Great work! Love the refresher!

  2. Steve Bonin March 21, 2018

    Great Article Steve, boils it all down to salient points and what to be careful about. I am definitely going to use more of these.

Comments are closed.

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