Each of the major search engines offers an ad text tool called “dynamic keyword insertion.” Keyword insertion is an advanced feature that helps you create more relevant ad texts by automatically inserting a user’s search query term into your ad. This tool can be extremely helpful when used properly. However, there is an art form to using dynamic keyword insertion successfully in order to increase your click-through rate.

Here is why dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) is great. Relevancy is the name of the game and DKI takes you one step further by explicitly displaying the exact keyword that the user queried. If I sell widgets of all kinds but I want to display the right widget to right user at the right time, I may try out DKI (say that sentence fast times!).

For example, if my product is blue widgets but I want my ad text to display each variable keyword of this keyword/product, this is how I would format my headline in Google, Yahoo or MSN:

Buy {KeyWord:Blue Widgets} Now!

{KeyWord:Blue Widgets} means that my keyword will be displayed in the headline. However, the text after the colon is my default text. So, if the keyword phrase is too long and will cause my headline to be longer than 25 characters, my DKI will automatically use my default text of “Blue Widgets.”

Here is a list of examples of how your headline will display for these keywords if you utilize DKI:

Now that we know how to format a DKI ad, here is where the art form comes in. DKI can be a very helpful tool to write great ads when used properly but you need to make sure that your ad groups are structured in a manner so that every keyword in your ad group can appear in your ad text, and the ad text still make sense and incite users to click and purchase. Also, you need to structure your headlines in order to display DKI properly.

You’ll notice that the headline in the above example uses DKI to display different products – that is a good way to use DKI. However, often I see ads that have been formatted in this manner:

{Keyword:Buy Blue Widgets Now}

This means that your entire headline could be only one keyword and that usually doesn’t make for an optimal headline (if you are targeting these general terms). Here are a few examples:

These headlines are not very appealing, and they can look “spammy” which is shooting your ad in the foot.

So, now you know that DKI can help boost your ad text’s relevancy but you need to use it sparingly. By this I mean, if you HAVE to use DKI to make your ads relevant for the keywords in your ad group – you need to start restructuring your ad groups because obviously your ad groups are too broad to begin with. DKI should be used only to give your ads that little extra push. DKI should not be a relevancy crutch.

In summary, use DKI to make your ads more relevant to users. However, there is a certain finesse that you need to use in order display DKI in your ads correctly. And don’t use this tool as a crutch because you’re too lazy to break down your keywords into tight knit ad groups!