How Not to Use DKI, Part 2

Dynamic keyword insertion is one of the great features of PPC.  Dynamic keyword insertion, or DKI, allows the advertiser to automatically insert the bidded phrase into ad copy.  This can provide a huge boost to ad relevance and CTR, but it can be easily misused and over-used.

I’ve written before on how not to use DKI, and you’ve probably seen some pretty crazy examples of it yourself.

There’s another common misuse of DKI that I’ve seen during PPC account audits that bears discussion.  It’s not egregious like the common DKI fails, but rather, an honest mistake that can have a negative impact on PPC ROI.


Don’t hide your USP in DKI.

I’ve frequently seen unsuspecting advertisers hiding their USP, or unique selling proposition, in DKI.  For example, let’s say you’re a retailer promoting a big, limited-time sale.  You’d rightly want to include “Limited Time Only” in your ad copy – after all, it creates a sense of urgency and should increase your CTR.

Unfortunately, though, it’s not uncommon for these advertisers to hide that feature behind DKI!  The ads look something like this:

{KeyWord:LimitedTime Only}
Huge Sale on Red Widgets at Joe’s
Shop Online Today & Save!

On the surface, the ad looks great – after all, one of the key points is in the headline, right?

Wrong.

Remember, DKI inserts the bidded keyword, and only uses the default text (the part after the KeyWord: command) when the keyword is too long to fit.

Let’s say this advertiser is bidding on the branded term “joes store” and the non-branded term “buy red widgets.”  The actual ads would then be:

Joes Store
Huge Sale on Red Widgets at Joe’s
Shop Online Today & Save!

And

Buy Red Widgets
Huge Sale on Red Widgets at Joe’s
Shop Online Today & Save!

In both instances, the “limited time only” call to action is gone!  DKI has effectively watered down the offer.

How can we make these ads better and still use DKI? It’s pretty simple.  And this is how DKI was really intended to be used.  Remember, keywords can be inserted anywhere in the ad copy, including display URLs.  It’s not limited to the headline.

So in our example, instead of this:

{KeyWord:LimitedTime Only}
Huge Sale on Red Widgets at Joe’s
Shop Online Today & Save!

We’d do this for brand terms:

Limited Time Only
Huge Sale on Red Widgets: {KeyWord:at Joe’s}
Shop Online Today & Save!

And we’d do this for non-branded terms:

Limited Time Only
Huge Sale! {KeyWord:Red Widgets} at Joe’s
Shop Online Today & Save!

As you can see, good account structure is critical for this approach to work.  If you have branded and non-branded terms in the same ad group, it’s nearly impossible to write DKI ads that make sense.  But if you’ve taken the time to create small, tightly-themed ad groups, incorporating DKI is a breeze.

When used properly, DKI is a useful tool that can really make your ads stand out.  Just don’t hide your USP in it!

Have you used DKI in a unique and successful way?  Share in the comments!

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