How to Effectively Create AdWords Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) Ads

One of my favorite features in AdWords and Bing is Dynamic Keyword Insertion (also known as DKI or Keyword Insertion). In an age of personalized marketing, Dynamic Keyword ads are a great way of creating ads that remain targeted to every search query.

Be sure to let me know in the comments what you think of this feature or any questions you might have.

What is Dynamic Keyword Insertion?

Keyword Insertion is a feature that allows an advertiser to create one dynamic ad that automatically updates based on the users search query and the keywords in your ad group.

How does DKI work?

Dynamic Keyword Insertion will put one of your targeted keywords directly into your ad based on the search query. AdWords will select the keyword from your ad group that is closest to the search query and dynamically put that keyword in the ad.

Still confused? I was when I first read about DKI. Below is a picture example of how Dynamic Keyword Insertion works based on the search “best tv deals 2014” and the keywords in your ad group.


 As you can see, AdWords does not use the users search query but instead matches the closest keyword in the ad group to the search query. AdWords dropped the ‘2014’ because the targeted keyword was +best +tv +deals. If the targeted keyword was actually +best +tv +deals +2014 then that would have been the headline instead.

Where to Use Keyword Insertion?

In the previous example, I only showed DKI in the headline. However, you can use Dynamic Keyword Insertion In the headline, either one of the description lines, or your display URL. Not that it’s recommended but you can use it in all 4 fields in the same ad.

I usually only use Keyword Insertion once per ad and I like utilizing it for the headline. Depending on the keywords, industry, and level of competition, using it twice might help make your ad stand out even more.

How to Use Dynamic Keyword Insertion:

The simple code for using keyword insertion is {KeyWord:Default Keyword Here} where ‘Default Keyword Here’ is the keyword you want to show up in case a dynamic keyword cannot be inserted into your ad. The {} brackets and the colon must be in the ad like this for it to work.

Now that you have a background into DKI, it’s time to look into Dynamic Keyword Insertion and how to actually utilize this feature effectively. Below, we are taking a look at the search query ‘Red Basketball Sneakers’ and how your ads will look if you use Keyword Insertion.

The first column is what your ad will look like in your account and the second column is how it will appear in search results. Look at the takeaways to see why the capitalization occurs this way.

Search Query: “Red Basketball Sneakers”


  • The dynamic keyword is all lowercase because ‘keyword‘ is lowercase.

  • The first letter of the first word will be capitalized because of ‘Keyword’.

  • My Favorite: Capitalizes first letter of each word because of ‘KeyWord’.

  • The entire keyword is capitalized because of ‘KEYWORD‘.

  • The first word is capitalized and the first letter of every other word is capitalized because of ‘KEYWord’.

  • The first letter is capitalized and the rest of the keyword will be capitalized because of ‘KeyWORD‘.

More Takeaways:

  • Keyword Insertion only affects the default keyword that you put within your code. In all the ads where ‘Red’ is on the outside of the code: Red {KeyWord:Basketball Sneakers} the word “Red” remains exactly the same.

  • How you capitalize the word ‘keyword’ in your code {keyword:Keyword Here} controls the capitalization of the keywords in your ad. I always use {KeyWord:Keyword Here} because I like to capitalize the first letter of each word.

  • There are not many instances where you can use all capitals in your ad so your ad might get disapproved if you try to use all capitals.

As you can see, capitalization is a huge part of Dynamic Keyword Insertion. You have some different options on how to capitalize the words in your ad based on the Keyword Insertion code you use.

Effectively Utilize Dynamic Keyword Insertion:

Dynamic Keyword Insertion only works well if the account is set-up to use it properly. You need tightly themed ad groups and you need to take into account how every keyword will look in your dynamic ad. I have implemented dynamic ads in the past only to realize that they performed worse than their static counterpart, and it usually comes down to an issue with the keywords that are being targeted in the ad group.

Keyword Insertion Issues to Avoid:

Wrong code

The code I use for keyword insertion is this {KeyWord:Enter Keyword Here} because it capitalizes the first letter of every word. If you miss one of the {} brackets or use the wrong brackets then DKI will not work. You also cannot forget about the Colon. You can literally copy and paste my code if you’d like and just enter your own default keyword for your ad.

Shorter keywords

Shorter keywords are many times very popular but they are not always descriptive. For example, if someone searches ‘Ink Toner’ to buy new ink, you are better off with a headline of ‘Buy Ink Toner Cartridges’ than just ‘Ink Toner.’ See the graphic below for an example.


Plurals can cause a headache with Dynamic Keyword Insertion. Let’s say you are bidding on the keyword [basketball sneaker], You do not want your ad to say ‘Buy Basketball Sneaker’ or ‘Red Basketball Sneaker’ if someone’s search query is “Best Basketball Sneaker.” Just take into account how your ad will look with the different keywords you are targeting.

Misspelled words

If someone misspells a word in their search query, your ad will still appear just fine because AdWords dynamically inserts YOUR keyword. However, if you misspell your keyword, then your ad will end up being misspelled. Just be sure the keywords in your ad group are spelled correctly.

Broad match keywords

DO NOT use Dynamic keyword Insertion when you are targeting broad match keywords. It works well with modified broad, phrase, and exact match, but broad match only will make your dynamic ad irrelevant most of the time.

Trademarked terms

DO NOT bid on competitor keywords and insert their brand in your headline. For example, if you are not selling Reebok sneakers but you want to bid on their keywords because your sneakers are similar, you can use something like ‘Compare Us To Reebok’ but DO NOT use ‘Reebok Shoes For Sale’ because then your ad will not match with your landing page.

Examples of Dynamic Keyword Insertion Ads:

Below are graphics that show three different examples of search queries and a comparison between a static and a dynamic ad. I am not trying to point out that the dynamic ads are great but I wanted to compare different ads from the same search query.

Example #1


I wanted to point out that dynamic ads are not always perfect for shorter keywords. In the example above, the headline ‘Buy Ink Toner Cartridges’ is much better than just plain ‘Ink Toner.’

Example #2


Here is an example where Capital One decided to use their brand instead of a dynamic ad, which is not a bad thing at all because the ad is still very targeted. On the other hand, American Express decided to use a dynamic ad (I believe) instead of just using their brand.

Example #3


Last but not least, here is an example of a franchise company looking for new franchisees. Instead of using their company in the headline, they simply use ‘Entrepreneur Opportunities’ instead of ‘Water Dealer Franchise.’ The other ad seems to me like the landing page will be more relevant with a list of franchise opportunities rather than just one opportunity, but they did not use a dynamic ad.

This is an example where I would recommend ad #2 to be dynamic and I would recommend ad #1 to not be dynamic but instead more descriptive about the actual water dealer franchise.

In Conclusion:

Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) is a great feature if you utilize it effectively. In an organized account with tightly themed ad groups, it can help boost your CTR and make your ads more relevant for every search query. However, there are many issues associated with improperly using this feature so it is important to understand exactly how it works.