If you're new to working with PPC, you may be like every other newbie in the world and be confused by the jargon often used. PPC, CPC, CTR, DKI ... It doesn't take long to figure it all out, but in the beginning it would have been nice to have someone lay out the soup for me, so I thought I'd lay it out for you. The obvious ones are: PPC = Pay Per Click; CPC = Cost Per Click; CTR = Click Through Rate; and lastly and maybe not so obvious, DKI = Dynamic Keyword Insertion.

Dynamic Keyword Insertion
When I was first learning PPC, I had no idea what DKI referred to, so as part of Boot Camp, I hope to help others understand. Essentially what DKI does, is insert the searcher's keyword into the ad text. With search terms bolded in the ad text, your ad stand out among the other advertisers. Because the search phrase is actually displayed in the ad, exactly as the searcher entered it (well, almost exactly), it also makes text more relevant to the searcher. They see your ad written and advertising exactly what they're looking for! In finding this, the searcher is more likely to click your ad.

Take a look at these two ads. If you were looking for Mad Rock climbing shoes, which ad do you think you'd click? Which site do you think actually has what you're looking for?

Mad Rock Climbing shoe ads

As the advertiser, Mountain Gear is paying a lot more per click than Zappos, not only because they're ranked higher, but the ad is not as relevant to the search. Relevance is key to quality score and lower CPC bids. Relevance is also key to higher CTR. I happen to know for certain that Mountain Gear do sell Mad Rock shoes, but I certainly couldn't tell from their ad. If they were to use DKI in their headline, they could use the same ad text for Mad Rock, Sportiva, Five Ten, Montrail and Evolve. Each search would display an ad that is unique to the search term.

DKI is entered using code like this --> {Keyword:default text} the {Keyword: part is what tells the search engine to enter the users search phrase into the ad. What follows after the colon :default text} is the default text, or what is inserted into the ad if the user's search phrase has more characters than the ad will accommodate. (see SEM Boot Camp: Paid Search Rules for an explanation on character allowances). The brackets and code {KeyWord: } are not part of the character count, but anything that is between the colon and the closing bracket are.

Instead of manually entering in the headline: Mad Rock Climbing Shoes or Sportiva Climbing Shoes, and having to create a separate ad for each, enter the headline using Dynamic Keyword Insertion like this: {KeyWord:Mad Rock Climbing Shoes}. How you capitalize the code has a big effect on how the DKI text appears. Take a look at these advertisements:


Both ads are likely using DKI in their headlines, but notice the difference in capitalization. Sportiva climbing shoes vs Sportiva Climbing Shoes. Capitalization is controlled by how you enter the Dynamic elements.

The capitalization in the code controls the capitalization in the ad. Capitalize the K in Keyword, and the first letter of the search phrase is dynamically capitalized. Capitalize the W also (KeyWord), and each word in the search phrase will be dynamically capitalized. Don't capitalize any of the code, and none of the text will be capitalized. Capitalize the entire code, and all the text will be capitalized (although Google does not allow for all caps, so don't use this there).

Keyword = Sportiva climbing shoes
KeyWord = Sportiva Climbing Shoes
keyword = sportiva climbing shoes

Recall earlier where I said ... the search phrase is actually displayed in the ad, exactly as the searcher entered it (well, almost exactly). I said almost exactly because the search phrase may be capitalized in the ad differently than how it was searched. They may have searched sportiva climbing shoes, but if you've using KeyWord as your DKI, then the text will appear as Sportiva Climbing Shoes. Look again at this Sportiva ad by ShopZilla:


The DKI in the headline would have been entered like this {Keyword:default text}, where the second description line would have been entered like this: Deals on {KeyWord:default text}!

Quirks to work around
If the display of the second description line were to have read Hot deals on climbing shoes!, the default text could not be sportiva climbing shoes, because Hot deals on Sportiva climbing shoes has 37 characters, two characters too many. In this case, your default text might be climbing shoes. When the search phrase makes the line have too many characters, as would Sportiva climbing shoes, the DKI would insert the default text, instead of the searched phrase, and would read Hot deals on climbing shoes!

Preview your DKI
As long as there is room in the Headline (or description if you've used DKI there), the DKI will use exactly what they've entered. This can be a bit funky sometimes if the search phrase is exact match or even phrase matched. If you want to see the DKI in action, use Google's Ad Preview tool. Use this tool any time you want to see your ads and not get unwanted impressions that lower your CTR and increase your CPC.

Check out what your ad will look like with each of your terms (or a random sample of the odd ones). Say for example you've bid on the broad match term lasportiva mythos, and used DKI in the Headline and Description, you'll get something like this:


This looks weird to me, but maybe that's how the person searching spells La Sportiva. By using DKI, the ad shows them what THEY searched, not how you prefer to spell it. As with anything, when you're experimenting with your ad text, and DKI, test one ad creative against another. Maybe you'll get a better CTR without DKI, or maybe you won't. Write the same ad but use DKI in one version, and no DKI in the other version. Which is going to convert better for you, DKI or not? You won't know if you don't test. So test. :-)

May 30, 2008

Diana Adams is a Pay-Per-Click Manager, SEO Specialist and all around "get-er-done" authority. Diana helps clients achieve high ROI with their PPC campaigns by providing detail oriented attention to their Pay-Per-Click ad management.

Outside the office, Diana enjoys rock climbing, skiing, hiking and camping, and has tried river kayaking. She and her husband were high school sweethearts, tying the knot 20 years later. They have five (nearly) grown children.


Another helpful resource for going down the learning curve on paid search is to see what your competition or what the industry leaders are doing on paid search. Services like adquants.com/search.php allow you to see which keywords the competition is buying, their typical ad rank as well as which title/copy they are using. It takes a lot of guesswork out of setting up and benchmarking a campaign

Comments closed after 30 days to combat spam.

Search Engine Guide > Diana Adams > SEM Boot Camp - Alphabet Soup and PPC