Using keyword insertion

Keyword insertion allows you to dynamically update your ad text with the keyword that's used to target your ad. Keyword insertion can help make your ads more relevant to potential customers, while making it easier for you to create unique ads for a large number of keywords.

To use keyword insertion, you just need to add a snippet of code to your ad text. Then, each time your ad shows, we'll replace the code with the keyword that triggered the ad.

Using keyword insertion with your ads

You can use keyword insertion with any text-based ad, including a standard text ad, an ad with a location extension, or a mobile ad. Keyword insertion works for campaigns that target the Search Network only, Search Network with Display Select, or the Display Network only.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Your ad can be dynamically updated with any of the keywords in that ad group. Keeping that in mind, make sure all of the keywords in your ad group would make sense inserted in your ad.
  • For each ad that you're using keyword insertion with, make sure your destination URL directs customers to a landing page that's relevant to any potential variation of your ad. That way customers are directed to a page on your website that relates to the ad they clicked. Learn more in the Next Step at the end of this article.

Did you know...

We've found that people searching are more likely to think an ad is useful if it mentions a specific product, rather than a more generic ad. This means that keyword insertion can help improve the clickthrough rate (CTR) of your text ads because it makes your ads more specific to what customers are looking for.

Using the keyword insertion code

How to add the keyword insertion code to your ad

You can add the keyword insertion code with any component of your text ad: headline, description lines, display URL, or destination URL. And, you can use the keyword insertion code multiple times within an ad and across several ads at once.

Here's the snippet of code that you'll use: {keyword:default text}

In this code snippet, simply replace default text with a word or phrase that you'd like to appear in your ad. The word or phrase that you use as your default text will appear when a keyword can't be dynamically inserted in your ad (for example, when the keyword would make your ad text exceed the character limit).

When you insert the snippet of code in your ad - let's say the headline - here's what the ad would look like in your account:

Headline: Buy {keyword:Dark chocolate}
Display URL: www.example.com
Description line 1: Artisan candy from San Francisco
Description line 2: Free shipping orders $50 more

Here are a few things to keep in mind when using keyword insertion:

  • Make sure your default text is short enough to keep your ad within the character limits. If your keyword is too long and would cause the ad text to exceed its character limit, the ad's default text will be used instead.
  • The keyword, not the search term that triggered your ad to show, will be inserted into your ad. For example, if a customer searches for organic dark chocolate and your ad group contains the keyword dark chocolate, your ad could appear with the headline Buy Dark Chocolate. For Search Network campaigns, if a phrase match keyword triggers your ad, the keyword will still be used in the ad.
How to use keyword insertion with your ad text

Let's say you're running a campaign to advertise your candy store and you have an ad group that promotes your chocolate candy products. You'd like to use keyword insertion in your ad's headline so that it's dynamically updated with the keyword that triggers that ad - making the headline more relevant to what customers are looking for.

The snippet of code that you'll insert in your ad text might look like the following: {KeyWord:Chocolate}

In this example, we replaced the default text with Chocolate. This means that when a keyword can't be inserted in your ad, we'll insert Chocolate instead.

Here are the keywords and ad text that you might create for your Chocolate candy ad group:

Keywords Ad text
dark chocolate
sugar free chocolate
gourmet chocolate truffles
Headline: Buy {KeyWord:Chocolate}
Display URL: www.example.com
Description line 1: Artisan candy from San Francisco
Description line 2: Free shipping orders $50 more

Depending on which keyword is triggered by a customer's search, the above ad could look different. Here are some examples of how your ad could look for customers:

Customer searches for: Your ad could look like:
dark chocolate Buy Dark Chocolate
www.example.com
Artisan candy from San Francisco
Free shipping orders $50 more
sugar free chocolate Buy Sugar Free Chocolate
www.example.com
Artisan candy from San Francisco
Free shipping orders $50 more
gourmet chocolate truffles Buy Chocolate
www.example.com
Artisan candy from San Francisco
Free shipping orders $50 more

Note that in the last example, the default text is used in the ad's title since the keyword is too long to fit.

How to use keyword insertion with your display URL

We'll use the same ad group as in the example above to help you understand how to use keyword insertion with your display URLs. By using keyword insertion with your display URLs, you can help make your ads more relevant to what customers are looking for (and hopefully more likely to click your ads).

The snippet of code that you'll insert in your display URL might look like the following: {KeyWord:Chocolate}

Note that in this example, we replaced the default text with Chocolate. This means that when a keyword can't be inserted in your display URL, we'll insert Chocolate instead.

Here are the keywords and ad text that you might create for your Chocolate candy ad group:

Keywords Ad text
dark chocolate
sugar free chocolate
gourmet chocolate truffles
Headline: Buy Chocolate Candy
Display URL: www.example.com/{keyword:Chocolate}
Description line 1: Artisan candy from San Francisco
Description line 2: Free shipping orders $50 more

Depending on which keyword is triggered by the customer's search, the above ad could look different. Here are some examples of how your ad could look for customers:

Customer searches for: Your ad could look like:
dark chocolate Buy Chocolate Candy
www.example.com/dark+chocolate
Artisan candy from San Francisco
Free shipping orders $50 more
sugar free chocolate Buy Chocolate Candy
www.example.com/sugar+free+chocolate
Artisan candy from San Francisco
Free shipping orders $50 more
gourmet chocolate truffles Buy Chocolate Candy
www.example.com/chocolate
Artisan candy from San Francisco
Free shipping orders $50 more

Tips

  • For Search Network campaigns, see how your keyword insertion ad will appear to potential customers by using the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool, making sure your ad is enabled, and checking your account statistics.
  • If you're using ads from the shared library, consider using keyword insertion with those ads. That way, your ad text will be more tailored to what people are searching for.
  • To ensure that all browsers show ads properly when using keyword insertion, special characters are not fully supported within your Destination URL. For example, if your URL contains the letter "e" with an acute accent (é), the URL will appear with '%C3%A9' instead. To avoid this, we recommend that you don't include special characters in your Destination URL.
Keyword insertion guidelines

Ads using keyword insertion must adhere to the following guidelines or they'll be disapproved:

  • When a keyword appears in an ad, the ad should reflect correct grammar and punctuation. It should also be accurate, clear, and directly relevant to your site, service, or product. Read about our policy on relevance, clarity, and accuracy to make sure ads using keyword insertion meet the requirements.
  • When you create a text ad that uses keyword insertion, you must follow our trademark policies. Learn more about how keyword insertion works with trademarked terms.
  • Keyword insertion ads can't promote adult content.
  • As with any ad you create, you must follow our advertising policies when creating a text ad that uses keyword insertion.
Keyword insertion and capitalization

You can change the capitalization of the keyword when it's inserted in your ad. To do so, simply modify the "keyword" portion of the code as show in the chart below. In the following examples, let's assume the keyword ABC triggered your ad to show when a customer searched for ABC, your trademarked chocolate candy bar.

Your ad's title How the ad title appears to potential customers What part of the keyword is capitalized?
Buy {keyword:Chocolate} Candy Buy abc Candy No part
Buy {Keyword:Chocolate} Candy Buy Abc Candy The first letter of the first word only (sentence capitalization)
Buy {KeyWord:Chocolate} Candy Buy Abc Candy The first letter of each word (initial capitalization)
Buy {KEYWord:Chocolate} Candy Buy ABC Candy The entire first word and the first letter of each additional word
Buy {KeyWORD:Chocolate} Candy Buy Abc Candy The first letter of the first word and the entirety of each additional word
Buy {KEYWORD:Chocolate} Candy Buy Abc Candy The first letter of each word (initial capitalization). Note that this works the same way as the "Buy {KeyWord:Chocolate} Candy" example above.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you use capitalization with keyword insertion:

  • AdWords editorial standards still apply, which means that an ad can't include excessive capitalization such as BUY DARK CHOCOLATE. Full capitalization may only be used when the natural spelling of a word requires it, such as in acronyms, technical terms, and trademarked terms, which is shown in the example above.
  • Make sure to choose a capitalization option that's consistent with the rest of your ad. That way, your ad will look the way you'd like it to when a keyword is inserted. For example, if you wanted the headline of your ad to look like Buy ABC Candy, your snippet of code would look like {KEYWord:Chocolate}.
  • The default text will appear how you write it and isn't affected by how you capitalize keyword in your snippet of code. In each example above, the title would always read Buy Chocolate Candy if the default text were used.
Using keyword insertion effectively

When you use keyword insertion, make sure that all of your keywords in your ad group are closely related and fit well in each ad that contains the snippet of code. Otherwise, your ad could appear confusing or irrelevant to potential customers if there are some keywords that wouldn't work well with keyword insertion. For example, if you have the keyword hardy candy in an ad group that mostly contains keywords about chocolate, you may want to move that hardy candy keyword to an ad group about hardy candy.

To get an idea of how to create an effective ad group when using keyword insertion, take a look at the examples below. In general, the more narrowly focused your ad groups, the more successful they'll be.

Example of a good ad group

Let's say you own a candy store and sell a wide assortment of sweet treats. You create an ad group with a range of keywords covering each type of candy. You also create general ads that are relevant to all the keywords in your ad group.

Ad group name Candy
Keywords candy bars, lollipops, taffy, gummy candy, sour candy, hard candy
Ad text Headline: Buy {KeyWord:Chocolate}
Display URL: www.example.com
Description line 1: Artisan candy from San Francisco
Description line 2: Free shipping orders $50 more

Example of a better ad group

Alternatively, you might want to create a separate ad group for each type of candy. Each ad group could contain keywords only about that candy, and the ads could be specific to that type of candy.

Ad group name Sour candy
Keywords sour gummy bears, extreme sour candy, sour sweet candy
Ad text Headline: Buy {KeyWord:Sour Candy}
Display URL: www.example.com
Description line 1: Artisan candy from San Francisco
Description line 2: Free shipping orders $50 more

Keep in mind

If your keyword insertion ads are well-written and separated into well-organized ad groups, they'll be more relevant to potential customers and more likely to get you clicks. This also means that keyword insertion might help improve the Quality Score for your ads and keywords over time through improved clickthrough rates (CTRs) and overall performance.

Keywords aren't showing in approved keyword insertion ad

Your keywords might be approved for your ad group, but it's possible that they aren't appropriate for us to insert them in your ad text. In this case, your keywords are conditionally approved, with the restriction that they shouldn't be inserted into your ad. In other words, your keywords can show your ad to customers, but they won't appear in your ad text.

To help you get a better idea of why your keywords aren't showing in your ad, here are some common reasons why your keywords might be restricted:

  • Too many characters: Ads can't contain more than 25 characters in the headline, or more than 35 characters in each of the two description lines. The display URL in your ad can show up to 35 characters. If your URL is longer than 35 characters, it will appear shortened when your ad is displayed.
  • Ads targeting certain countries: For text ads targeting certain countries, the character limit can vary. Ads in languages with double-width characters (such as Chinese (simplified or traditional), Japanese, or Korean) can contain the following number of characters, including spaces: 12 characters in the headline, 17 characters in each of the two description lines, and 17 characters in the display URL. Certain Eastern European and Asian countries support longer text ads that can contain up to 30 characters in the headline and 76 characters in the rest of the ad text.
  • Unclear ad text: Your ad text must make sense. For example, central europe might be appropriate as one of your keywords. However, if we insert that keyword into the headline "Buy {KeyWord:Products}", the resulting ad text would read "Buy Central Europe."
  • Incorrect grammar: Your ad text shouldn't use incorrect grammar. For example, red shoe might be appropriate as one of your keywords. However, if we insert that keyword into the headline "Buy {KeyWord:Products}", the resulting ad text would read "Buy Red Shoe." This headline is grammatically incorrect, and should read "Buy Red Shoes."
  • Misspelled words: Keyword insertion shouldn't be used when ad groups contain misspelled keywords. For example, ipodd might be appropriate as a keyword that's used to target your ads. However, per our advertising policies, misspellings are not permitted in ad text, so it's inappropriate to use keyword insertion with ad groups that contain misspelled keywords.
  • Unacceptable content: The keywords that we insert can't promote unacceptable content. For example, keywords that are related to certain restricted content or products, like firearms or tobacco, may initially be appropriate as keywords for your ad groups. However, if we insert one of those keywords into the body of your ad text, your ads wouldn't comply with our advertising policies.
  • Adult content: Keyword insertion shouldn't be used when ads promote sexual content or adult material. For example, an ad promoting a strip club may initially be appropriate to include in an ad group. However, per our advertising policies, ads using keyword insertion can't promote sexual content or adult material. This requirement helps us maintain a positive experience for all our customers and AdWords advertisers overall.

Keep in mind

Any ad text that's the result of a keyword being inserted into your ad text is subject to our advertising policies.

Disapproved keyword insertion ad

If you use keyword insertion with your ad and it gets disapproved, the default text might not meet our advertising policies or your ad might use the snippet of code incorrectly. Below are examples of two common situations when using keyword insertion can lead to an ad being disapproved.

  

Incorrect default text

Let's say you've inserted the snippet of code in your ad's headline like the following examples:

Headline: Buy Gourmet {Keyword:Default Text} Here

Headline: Buy Gourmet {Keyword:Blank} Here

The default text used in the examples is meaningless to potential customers. Instead, the default text should describe the product or service you're providing. For instance, the following default text would be acceptable:

Headline: Buy Gourmet {Keyword:Chocolate} Here

Landing page URL error

The ad's landing page URL should still function when the default text is inserted instead of a matched keyword.

Let's say the website is expecting a URL that ends with ?kw=nil only, it can't recognize ?kw=chocolate. Therefore, potential customers would arrive at an error page, not a working webpage. You should only use keyword insertion in your destination URL if the final URL the customer will be taken to will be a working webpage. For instance, the following destination URL would be acceptable:

Destination URL: http://www.example.com/?kw={keyword:chocolate}