Dominos and DKI

Aug 04th 2016

Dominos and DKI

A Dynamic Keyword Insertion Pizza Party


Near the end of May, Reddit user Jan0606 posted an ad that they found while trying to order pizza.

Strangely enough, a Pizza Hut ad with the keyword “Order Dominos Online” showed up as the second ad result.



At first glance, this looks like Pizza Hut created an ad reading “Order Dominos Online” in their headline, which would be a purposeful use of another company’s trademark, with a link going to Pizza Hut, not Dominos However, this was likely a case of Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) gone wrong.

What’s the difference? In the eyes of Google, (and likely lawyers for Dominos as well), not much. This ad was quickly flagged and removed.

Why? Not only does it look unprofessional, it also deceives the consumer, which is a quick way for a business to lose their positive reputation, and for Google to lose trust with advertisers.


What is Dynamic Keyword Insertion?

Dynamic Keyword Insertion, or DKI, is the strategy of automatically replacing designated ad text with the keyword triggered by the user’s search query. For instance, if a user searches for “Red 11-inch left-handed screwdrivers” and you are running ads for the keyword “screwdrivers” you don’t have to write specific ad text for every possible combination of words. You simply use Dynamic Keyword Insertion to create an ad with the headline ““Red 11-inch left-handed screwdrivers.”

This allows you to serves highly relevant ads for very obscure searches, like specific products or product numbers. Now, this sounds like the best way to run your ads, right? With the ability to match every search query with an ad that includes exactly what the consumer is looking for, why would you ever refrain from utilizing DKI?  

There are many risks involved with Dynamic Keyword Insertion, including copyright infringement, as seen in this Pizza Hut ad.

One common mistake with Dynamic Keyword Insertion is using it with irrelevant keywords. If you are going to utilize DKI, I highly advise using it in very targeted ways. For example, it is perfect for ecommerce, as ads that use DKI to display product numbers in ad headlines show consumers that you provide exactly what they are looking for. On the other hand, using DKI on keywords that are only loosely affiliated with your services or products can lead to poor, nonsensical ads. Because of this, long-tail keywords and exact match campaigns are the best places to make DKI work.

Another pitfall that advertisers fall into is the overuse of DKI in a single ad. I recommend using it a single time in an ad, preferably in the headline. If you use it three times, once in the headline, and once in each line of text, your ad could look something like this.

Nike Ads

This comes across as not only unprofessional, but also as a potentially shady advertisement, as it seems to be trying too hard to be EXACTLY what the consumer searched. By only using DKI in the headline however, the ad remains highly specific to the searcher’s intent while avoiding the tackiness of a repetitive ad.

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “Would I get into any trouble if this keyword were in my headline?” If the answer is no, then you should not be using DKI in that situation.


As we saw in the Pizza Hut ad, you definitely want to avoid copyright infringement in your ads, as it is unproductive, unethical, and most definitely illegal. The simple way to do this is to refrain from using it in competitor campaigns completely. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “Would I get into any trouble if this keyword were in my headline?” If the answer is no, then you should not be using DKI in that situation.

With all these risks and hangups, why should a company bother with DKI? Well, it depends. If you are looking for an easy, quick way to make a ton of bulk, generic ads, then you should look elsewhere. But if you are striving to improve your ability to target your searchers’ specific interests, and you are willing to learn how and when to use this useful tool, then you may be able to implement Dynamic Keyword Insertion with great success.


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