The Most Powerful Amazon Negative Keyword Strategy

advertising reports keyword targeting sponsored products strategy Jul 21, 2020
negative keyword targeting amazon

With Amazon PPC, you want to convert as many clicks into sales as possible. If your ads are showing for unrelated customer search terms, then you’re spending (or rather, wasting) money on keywords that aren’t relevant to your products.

That’s why it is important to remove keywords that are hurting your campaigns through negative keywords

In this post, we’ll explain what negative keywords are and how they work, why they are important, and how to find them and put them to work including the powerful Amazon negative keyword strategy we use to reduce wasted ad spend by over 53%.

What Are Negative Keywords 

So what is negative keywords? Negative keywords enable you to prevent your ads from showing for words or phrases that are not relevant to your products. 

You can use them to exclude irrelevant search terms that are unrelated to your product and to remove weak search terms that drive a lot of traffic but convert poorly.

The goal of using negative keywords, therefore, is to help sellers get their products in front of the right customers and avoid terms that drain your ad budget that generates clicks without conversions.

Amazon Negative Keyword Types

Negative keywords have two match types: negative phrase match and negative exact match. 

Negative phrase match

A negative phrase match prevents your ad from showing for search queries that contain certain phrases in the same order. For example, if we have 'soft toothbrush' as a negative phrase, then your ads won't show up for terms such as 'cheap soft toothbrush' or 'soft toothbrush for adults.

Negative exact match

A negative exact match needs to exactly match the search term in order to block it. So if the exact keyword is 'soft toothbrush' your ads will not show if this term is used in the search bar exactly.

The best way to identify negative keywords is through the Amazon Search Term Report

Benefits of using Negative Keywords

If used correctly, Amazon Negative keywords are a highly effective way to optimize your Amazon PPC campaigns. They help to improve the relevancy and overall performance of your campaigns by refining the targeting of your ads to show for only the most relevant keywords. This has multiple benefits:

  • Minimize wasted ad spend: you can save your ad budget from getting depleted and showing for search terms that drive lots of clicks and impressions but few conversions;
  • Improved conversion rate: negative keywords drive higher-quality traffic to your listing to improve the conversion rate because you are appearing only to customers who are interested in your products;
  • Improved Advertising Cost of Sale (ACoS): an improved conversion rate will in return improve your ACoS as you are no longer wasting money on useless clicks;
  • You can focus your budget on traffic that drives conversions: you can reallocate that wasted spend to highly relevant keyword traffic to further improve ACoS and get more sales for less ad spend.
  • Improved Click-Through- Rate (CTR): Amazon likes to be sure that the ads being shown on their site are relevant for the customer. Negative keywords lead to a higher CTR which makes Amazon happy and over time will help you to secure higher ad positions.

Which Amazon Negative Keyword Types Should You Use?

Many sellers will look at their search term report, find a search term that has received lots of clicks or ad spend with no sales and immediately add that as a negative exact match in their campaigns.

However, you need to look at the data for all occurrences of a search term across an entire campaign, not just as a single occurrence or line item otherwise, you risk blocking potential sales-generating keywords.

A single search term can show up dozens of times after being triggered by different keywords or on different days so you need to be sure that you have the full picture before adding these types of negative keywords. 

That's why we like to use negative exact match keywords for those search terms that are somewhat relevant but for whatever reason just do not convert for your product.

We have a far more powerful way of using negative keywords for those completely unrelated or irrelevant terms.

The Single Word Negative Phrase Match Strategy

To prevent your ads showing for non-relevant searches, we strongly recommend that you take the time to create a list of single keywords that are irrelevant to your product and add them as a single word negative phrase match.

If used correctly this is hands down one of the most effective ways to prevent your ads from showing up for irrelevant searches. In fact, this is one of the single most powerful strategies we use to eliminate waste from our client's campaigns. This strategy alone could save you thousands of dollars in wasted ad spend!

One single word negative phrase match keyword can eliminate dozens of irrelevant search terms. For example, let's say you sell a silicone whisk. You can add all the materials that are not relevant to your product as a single word negative phrase such as stainless, steel, plastic, etc. 

If you waited to negative exact all of these non-relevant terms you could waste hundreds or even thousands of dollars in ad spend while also harming your Click-Through-Rate and conversion, and therefore your overall campaign performance.

Let's look at an example in more detail. This time, we are selling a nylon scrubbing brush.

After looking at the search term report we can see that we have multiple occasions where our ad has been clicked on when someone was using the word “silicone” in their search resulting in $171 of wasted ad spend. 

Simply by adding silicone as a single word negative phrase match keyword to these campaigns, we can eliminate all of these clicks and wasted ad budget instantly.

How To Add Negative Keywords

To add an Amazon negative keyword to your PPC Campaigns in Seller Central  single word negative phrase match keyword:

  1. Navigate to your desired campaign/ad group in Campaign Manager;
  2. Click the “Negative Keywords” tab.
  3. Select which match type you want, "negative phrase" or "negative exact". Using the above example, we would select "negative" phrase'.
  4. Add your negative keywords, one per line.
  5. Click “Add keywords” then “Save.”

The main reason behind using singles words as a negative phrase match is that it keeps ACoS down and it helps to get your PPC campaigns to break-even faster. We’ve seen a whopping 53% reduction in wasted ad spend in the first 7 days for new campaigns since we’ve started doing this.

As you can see, negative keyword targeting on Amazon is an essential component of running successful PPC campaigns. The whole point of Amazon PPC is to drive highly relevant traffic to your product listings. Negative keywords enable you to do that and provide an extra level of control to help reduce wasteful ad spend on your Amazon ads and improve your ACoS towards greater profitability. 

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