Keyword Insertion Strategy for Ad Copy

Gerard Tollefsen - August 4, 2010

When running a Pay-per-Click campaign (PPC), using keyword insertion is a solid strategy to help your click-through rates.  As explained by Google, “Keyword insertion is an advanced feature that can help make your ad more relevant to a diverse audience. To use keyword insertion, you place a short piece of code into your ad text. Each time the ad shows, AdWords will automatically replace the code with the keyword that triggered the ad.”  Keep in mind, the character limit for ad headlines in Google AdWords is 25 characters, including spaces.  When you use keyword insertion, you must choose a “back-up” or default keyword for the headline in case the search term that triggers your ad is over the character limit.  It is fairly easy to set up, but you must be careful where you choose to implement the strategy.  It is not something that should be used across the board in all campaigns.

Because the search engines replace your default headline with the exact search query used to trigger your ad, you need to be cognizant of when misspellings are acceptable.  For example, if you are running a Branding campaign, it would not be wise to employ keyword insertion for ads associated with your business name.  The main idea behind keyword insertion is to create a stronger connection between your ad and the search term that triggers your ad by replacing your default headline with the search query.  However, you should protect your brand by keeping the correct spelling of your business name even if the searcher made a typo.  Instead of keyword insertion, you are better served by bidding on any common misspellings of your brand or business name and keep the correct spelling in your ad.

In addition, you would not want to use keyword insertion for ads associated with competitor’s brand names.  There are convincing reasons to bid on competitor business names, but you must be aware of Google’s trademark guidelines.  For example, Google does not allow for trademarked terms to be used in ad headlines.  If you mistakenly use keyword insertion on ads in a competitor campaign, you will quickly see those ads disapproved by the search engines. 

Keyword insertion is a fine strategy when applied to ad copy that focuses on your core products or services, outside of Branding and Competitor keywords.  Be mindful of this when creating ads and using keyword insertion, because there are times when you will not want to replace your headline with one dictated by the search query.

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