Create a placeholder keyword

The information in this article applies to Bing Ads, Yahoo! Japan, and Baidu accounts only. For information about creating placeholder keywords for:

Even if DoubleClick Search (DS) doesn't fully support a specific feature of an engine, you can often still use DS for reporting by creating placeholder keywords. A placeholder keyword is a keyword that provides a DS tracking URL (clickserver URL), but that isn't trafficked to the engine. Instead, you manually copy the keyword's clickserver URL and use it as a way to report clicks in DS. DS collects data about the click and then redirects the user to the ad's original URL.

To create a placeholder keyword:

  1. Create an ad group to contain the placeholder keywords.

    While it's technically possible to create placeholder keywords in an existing ad group that contains other, non-placeholder keywords, creating placeholder URLs in a separate ad group or campaign makes it easy to distinguish placeholder keywords from regular keywords, and less likely that you'll accidentally traffic placeholder keywords to the engine.

  2. Pause the ad group.
    Pausing the ad group prevents DS from trafficking any of the placeholder keywords you create.

  3. Navigate to the ad group you created and click the Keywords tab.

  4. Click + New keyword, which appears above the reporting table.

  5. In the text box that appears, enter the following properties for each placeholder keyword (one keyword per line):
    Keyword text,Match type,,Landing page URL

    Here's what to enter for each keyword property:

    • Keyword text: Specify something to help you identify the purpose of the placeholder keyword. Because this keyword won't traffic to the engine, the keyword text will never be used to match a customer search.

    • Match type: Specify something that's valid for the type of engine account you're in. Because this keyword won't traffic to the engine, the match type will never be used to match a customer search.

    • ,,: For a normal keyword, you'd specify a max CPC. But because this is a placeholder keyword, just specify an empty field.

    • Landing page URL: Specify the URL you want DS to redirect users to. This could be a page on the advertiser's site or the address of another tracking service that will eventually redirect to the advertiser's site.

    For example, the following two lines create two placeholder keywords:
    home mortgage,exact,,
    home loan,exact,,

  6. Click Save.
    The new keywords appear in the reporting table.

  7. If you created this keyword in an existing ad group that contains regular, active keywords, change the status of the keyword to Paused:

    1. Select the check box next to the keyword.

    2. Click Edit ▼ above the reporting table and select Pause.

    3. Click Save in the edit panel.

  8. Copy the keyword's clickserver URL:

    1. Click the Columns button above the performance summary graph.

    2. Next to Available columns, type clicksever URL in the search box and press the Enter key.

    3. Click + next to the column name in the Available columns list.

    4. Click Apply.

    5. Copy the URL from the Clickserver URL column.

  9. Copy the clickserver URL to the engine. Do one of the following:

    • On Bing Ads, Yahoo! Japan, or Baidu, paste the clickserver URLs as the destination URLs for the items you'd like to track (ads, keywords, etc.).
    • AdWords only. Read this article for information about how to edit a clickserver URL before copying it to AdWords.


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