Transparent Growth Measurement (NPS)

Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI): What is it & How to Use

Contributors: Amol Ghemud
Published: August 14, 2018


Let’s take a look at a key function that automatically updates ad content with search query-matched keywords, enhancing ad relevance and performance. It guides through creating DKI ads, benefits like increased click-through rates, and addresses potential pitfalls.

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Reaching people with Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) ads or any ads as they search for your products and services can be a moving target. It’s difficult to catch up when users’ queries evolve, your site changes, inventory shifts, and you expand your business to new markets. Google Adwords enables you with different campaign options like Search, Display, Call, etc. You can create additional text ads within a Search campaign, including those using Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI). If you’re wondering how to use Dynamic Keyword Insertion, it’s a powerful tool for automatically customizing your ad text to match the user’s search query.

Text ads typically consist of three main sections: headline text, a display URL, and description text. Utilizing Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) in the headline can significantly increase the chances of clicks, as it dynamically inserts the user’s search queries, making the ad more relevant.

The display URL is essential because it shows users where they will land after clicking the ad. It consists of two parts: the first part is your domain, and the second part, known as the “path,” is optional. Smartly incorporating search queries or keywords into the path can guide users to specific internal pages, enticing them to click.

In the description text, advertisers can showcase their product or service’s Unique Selling Points (USPs) and include strong Call-to-Action (CTA) phrases. This section is crucial for persuading users to take the desired action, such as purchasing or signing up for a service.

Understanding how to use Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) effectively in these sections can enhance the relevance and performance of your text ads in Google AdWords.

How does a dynamic keyword insertion ad work?

Dynamic keyword insertion ads work by automatically updating the content of your advertisements with keywords from your ad group that triggered the ad’s display. This process enhances ad relevance to potential customers based on their search queries, improving the likelihood of attracting clicks and engagement.

Here’s how dynamic keyword insertion ads function:

  1. Keyword Relevance: When a user performs a Google search using keywords closely related to your website or ad, your Dynamic Search Ad has the potential to appear in the search results.
  1. Automatic Ad Customization: When the ad appears, both the headline as well as the landing page are dynamically generated based on the specific search terms the user entered. This means that the ad’s headline is automatically adjusted to align with the user’s search intent.
  1. Example: Let’s say you own an international jewelry shop. A user searches for “Jewelry Shop in India” using Google’s keyword tool. If your ad is triggered, the user will see an ad with the headline “Jewelry Shop – India.” When they click on your ad, they will be directed to the website’s page that corresponds to your top India location.
  1. Enhanced User Experience: Dynamic Search Ads enable a quick and seamless process, directing potential customers to the specific content or products they are looking for on your website.
  1. Control Over Ad Description: While dynamic keyword insertion takes care of the headline and landing page, you still maintain control over the ad’s description and the targeting based on your site’s content.

Creating Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) ads in Google Ads is straightforward. 

Here are the steps to create a DKI ad:

1. Log-In to Your Google Ads Account:

Log in and navigate to the ad group or campaign where you want to create a Dynamic Keyword Insertion Ad.

2. Create a Text Ad:

Within your selected campaign or ad group, go to the “Ads” section and choose to create a text ad.

3. Enter Ad Text:

Enter the ad text as you would for a regular text ad.

4. Insert the Dynamic Keyword Insertion Code:

Type an opening brace ‘{‘ in your ad text to implement Dynamic Keyword Insertion. A drop-down menu will appear.

5. Select “Keyword Insertion”:

From the drop-down menu, select “Keyword Insertion.” This tells Google Ads to insert the keyword that triggered your ad in place of the code.

6. Define Default Text:

In the “Default Text” section, specify the text that should appear when the keyword cannot be replaced. This acts as a fallback option.

7. Choose Capitalization:

Select the desired Capitalization for your keywords:

  • Title Case: Capitalize the first letter of each keyword.
  • Sentence Case: Capitalizes only the first letter of the first keyword.
  • Lower Case: Don’t capitalize any letters.

8. Click “Set”:

Once configuring the settings, click “Set” to apply the Dynamic Keyword Insertion code.

9. Complete Ad Sections:

Fill in the remaining sections of the ad, such as the URL, Path, and Description, just as you would for a regular text ad.

Through these steps, you can easily create a Dynamic Keyword Insertion ad that dynamically replaces the placeholder with the keyword triggered by a user’s search query, making your ad more relevant and engaging.

While Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) ads can be a powerful tool for improving ad relevance, they can encounter common problems if they must be set up correctly. 

Here are some issues associated with DKI ads:

1. Character Limitations: DKI ads must adhere to specific character limitations, such as no more than 30 characters in each headline, no more than 80 characters in the description line, and no more than fifteen characters in the URL path. Exceeding these limits can cause issues.

2. Incorrect Grammar: Be cautious about using phrases that contradict your ad’s syntax. Incorrect grammar can make your ad appear awkward or nonsensical.

3. Nonsense Keywords: The inserted keywords should make sense in the context of your ad. Irrelevant or nonsensical keywords can confuse users.

4. Misspelled Words: While AdWords accepts misspelled words, it’s advisable to remove them from your keywords as they may not display correctly in ads.

5. Landing Page Compatibility: Ensure that your URL supports dynamic text insertion, or consider excluding keyword insertion from your landing page URL if it causes problems.

6. Adult Content: Avoid using keywords that promote adult content, as these may violate advertising policies.

7. Dynamic Search Ads (DSA): DKI doesn’t work with Dynamic Search Ads, as DSAs don’t rely on keyword targeting. Even if you’ve set up keyword insertion with DSAs, your ad description will include the default keyword insertion text.

Addressing all these common issues can help ensure that your DKI ads function correctly and provide users with a relevant and engaging experience.

Why should you use a dynamic keyword insertion ad?

1. High Relevance

With dynamic keyword insertion, ad relevancy with the search term increases; hence, the Ad would show the searched keyword in the text. An increase in relevancy will lead to a better user experience.

2. More CTR

CTR is directly related to the relevancy of your ad. An ad will have more CTR given that the Inserted keywords match search terms. More CTR will increase your chances of getting conversions.

3. High QS

Quality score is the product of the relevancy of search terms with Ad text, CTR and user experience on the landing page. With Dynamic keyword insertion, high relevancy & higher CTR is observed. This, in turn, increases the Quality Score of your keywords.

4. Saves Time

No one will spend extra time making Ads relevant to each of your included keywords. Create one Ad copy, use Dynamic keyword insertion.

Being cautious while creating Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) ads is essential due to potential pitfalls and unintended consequences. 

Here are some reasons why you should exercise care:

1. Target Definition: Careful consideration of your ad targets is crucial. The more precisely you define your ad targets, the more likely you are to achieve your advertising goals. Broad or incorrect targeting can lead to undesirable outcomes.

2. Relevance: Misusing DKI can result in irrelevant ads to user queries, negatively impacting user experience and click-through rates.

3. Negative Keywords: The absence of negative keywords can lead to problems, as demonstrated in the example of “The Hindu” targeting the competitor keyword “Times of India.” With proper negative keywords, your ads may show relevant queries.

4. Competitor Strategy: Competing with competitors’ keywords can be risky. In the example provided, “Times of India” and “The Hindu” both used different strategies to compete, with “The Hindu” making a mistake by using competitor keywords directly in the ad group. Choosing the right approach is crucial for success.

5. Unintended Results: Incorrect implementation of DKI can lead to unintended and potentially costly results. Sometimes, it must align with your advertising goals or audience targeting.

6. Ad Quality: DKI should enhance ad quality and relevance, not compromise it. Creating ads that don’t match user intent or using DKI for unrelated keywords can result in poor ad performance.

In summary, while DKI offers benefits regarding ad customization and relevance, it should be used judiciously. Careful consideration of targeting, negative keywords, and ad strategy is essential to ensure that DKI ads align with your advertising goals and provide a positive user experience.

When creating Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) ads, it’s essential to consider the following important points:

1. Create Targeting Groups Based on User Behavior:

  • Segment your ad groups based on user behavior and intent. This allows you to create more relevant dynamic ad targets, enhancing the user experience.

2. Broadly Define Dynamic Ad Targets:

Avoid creating overly narrow dynamic ad targets, as they may limit your ad’s visibility and potential traffic. Striking a balance in defining your targets is vital.

3. Optimize Results with Bid Adjustments:

Utilize bid adjustments to fine-tune your dynamic ad target bids. Bid adjustments give you greater control over when and where your ads are displayed, helping optimize performance.

4. Exclude Unwanted Traffic:

Exclude traffic you want to avoid capturing with your Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) campaign. Add exclusions for pages containing phrases like “sold out” or “unavailable” to improve the user experience.

5. Implement Negative Keywords:

Use negative keywords to exclude specific terms or queries for which you don’t want your ads to appear. This helps ensure your ads are shown only for relevant questions.

In conclusion, dynamic keyword insertion is a powerful tool for creating highly relevant ads that align with user queries. Following these best practices can enhance your ad’s quality score, improve your ad rank, and increase the likelihood of conversions. Providing users with ads that speak to their specific queries can significantly boost your campaign’s effectiveness.


1. What is Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) in advertising? 

Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) in advertising is a feature offered by platforms like Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords). It allows advertisers to customize their ad content dynamically to match the search terms or keywords users use in real-time. DKI is a powerful tool for creating highly relevant and personalized ads that can improve click-through rates and ad performance.

Here’s how DKI works:

  • Insertion of Keywords: Advertisers include a DKI code in their ad text. The code typically looks like this: “{KeyWord: Default Text}”. The curly braces {} indicate where the dynamic keyword should appear.
  • Keyword Replacement: When a user’s search query matches a keyword in the advertiser’s ad group, the DKI code is replaced with that specific keyword in the ad. If there’s no matching keyword, default text is used instead.
  • Customized Ads: As a result, the ad’s headline, description, or other parts can dynamically change to reflect the user’s search query. This makes the ad more relevant to what the user is looking for.
  • Relevance and Engagement: Dynamic Keyword Insertion helps improve ad relevance, leading to higher click-through rates (CTR) and more engaged users as they see ads that directly relate to their search intent.

Overall, Dynamic Keyword Insertion is a valuable tool for advertisers to create personalized and highly targeted ads that respond to the specific keywords users enter into search engines. 

2. How does DKI work in advertising? 

Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) in advertising is a technique that allows advertisers to create more personalized and relevant ads by dynamically inserting specific keywords into their ad text. Here’s how DKI works:

  • Ad Text Setup: Advertisers create ad text with a placeholder for the dynamic keyword they want to insert. The placeholder typically looks like “{KeyWord: Default Text}”. The curly braces {} indicate where the dynamic keyword will appear.
  • Keyword Match: When a user performs a search query, the advertising platform (e.g., Google Ads) checks if any of the keywords in the advertiser’s ad group match the user’s query.
  • Dynamic Replacement: If a keyword in the ad group matches the user’s query, the DKI code in the ad text is dynamically replaced with that specific keyword. This means that the ad shown to the user will include the keyword they used in their search.
  • Fallback to Default Text: The advertising platform will use the default text specified in the DKI code if there is no matching keyword. This ensures that the ad always displays relevant content, even without an exact keyword match.
  • Ad Display: The ad with the dynamically inserted keyword (or default text) is displayed to the user in the search results.
  • Relevance: The ad now includes the user’s specific search query, so it becomes highly relevant to the user’s intent. This increased relevance can improve click-through rates (CTR) and overall ad performance.

3. What advertising platforms support DKI? 

Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) is a feature primarily supported by Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), one of the most popular online advertising platforms. Google Ads allows advertisers to use DKI to dynamically insert keywords into their ad text to create more relevant and personalized ads for users.

While Google Ads is the most well-known platform for DKI, other advertising platforms may offer similar functionality or alternative ways to customize ad content based on user search queries. However, the specific implementation and support for DKI may vary from one platform to another.

Suppose you want to use DKI on a platform other than Google Ads. In that case, it’s advisable to check the platform’s documentation or consult with their support to determine if and how DKI can be implemented within their advertising system.

4. Are DKI ads suitable for every advertising campaign? 

Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) ads can be a powerful tool for many advertising campaigns, but they may only be suitable for some campaigns or advertisers. Whether DKI ads are appropriate depends on various factors:

Relevance: DKI ads are most effective when your target keywords are highly relevant to your products or services. If your campaign covers a wide range of topics or has diverse keywords that aren’t directly related to your ad content, DKI might need to work more effectively.

Branding and Messaging: Some advertisers have strict branding guidelines or specific messaging that must be consistent across all ads. DKI ads sometimes make it challenging to maintain consistent branding and messaging.

Keyword Variability: If your campaign includes many keywords with significant variability, such as synonyms, plurals, or different word orders, DKI may only sometimes produce coherent or meaningful ad copy.

Quality of Landing Pages: DKI ads drive users to unique landing pages based on their searches. If your landing pages must be better optimized or aligned with the keywords triggered by DKI, it can lead to a disjointed user experience.

Negative Keywords: If you rely heavily on negative keywords to filter out irrelevant traffic, DKI ads might inadvertently display queries you’re trying to exclude.

Testing and Monitoring: DKI ads require careful monitoring and testing to ensure they perform well and generate the desired results. Advertisers who don’t have the resources or expertise for ongoing optimization may find DKI challenging.

5. What are the advantages of using DKI in ads?

Using Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) in ads offers several advantages:

Improved Relevance: DKI allows ads to match the keywords that users are searching for dynamically. The increased relevance can lead to higher click-through rates (CTR) and improved ad performance.

Ad Customization: DKI can be used in various ad parts, such as the headline, description, or display URL. This flexibility allows advertisers to customize different ad elements based on user intent.

Higher Quality Score: Relevance is a critical factor in determining Quality Score in platforms like Google Ads and Higher Quality Scores can result in lower CPC and better ad placement.

Reduced Ad Fatigue: DKI can help prevent ad fatigue by keeping ad content fresh and aligned with current search queries in campaigns with a wide range of keywords.

Increased Click-Through Rates (CTR): Relevant ads are more likely to attract clicks, and DKI aids in creating highly relevant ads and can lead to higher CTRs and better campaign performance.

Personalization: DKI creates a personalized user experience by tailoring ad content to their specific search queries. Users are likelier to click on ads directly addressing their needs and interests.

Time and Resource Savings: For advertisers with large keyword lists, manually creating individual ads for each keyword can be time-consuming. DKI automates the process, saving time and effort.

Dynamic Keyword Insertion is a valuable tool for advertisers looking to enhance ad relevance, increase user engagement, and improve ad campaign performance by automatically customizing ad content to match user search queries.

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About the Author

amol ghemud
Optimizer in Chief

Amol has helped catalyse business growth with his strategic & data-driven methodologies. With a decade of experience in the field of marketing, he has donned multiple hats, from channel optimization, data analytics and creative brand positioning to growth engineering and sales.

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3 responses to “Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI): What is it & How to Use”

  1. cialis says:

    You are so awesome! I don’t think I’ve read a single thing like that before.
    So nice to discover somebody with a few unique thoughts on this issue.
    Really.. thank you for starting this up. This site is one thing that is needed on the web,
    someone with some originality!

  2. Yilmaz Sarac says:

    Thank you for the post Kashif, this is clear information.

  3. Interesting to say the least. Will think this one over.

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