Negative Keywords Can Help Advertisers Better Target Their Ads

May 25, 2021, 0 Comments

How Negative Keywords Can Help Advertisers Better Target Their Ads in 2021

According to a 2019 article by AdExpresso, on average an account on Google ads ends up wasting 76% of their money due to wrong keywords. That’s a lot! What makes a keyword irrelevant and how it affects your business, is what we will find out in this article. We will explain negative keywords and how you can turn the tables to make negative keywords profitable.

What are negative keywords?

So your team has finalized an ad campaign and the ads are ready. The campaign results show that you are getting responses from people who are searching for a related keyword.  Your ad pops up for the wrong keywords to customers driving unnecessary traffic to your site.  Even though you get traffic but the moment people realize your ad was intended for a different purpose they bounce back!

That would be a horror movie in action for any brand right? Those keywords that bring undesired results to your site are called negative keywords because of their negative impact on your brand. If your brand deals with “telescope lenses” but your ad shows up for terms like “contact lenses” or just “lenses then that can be a deal-breaker.

Techniques like PPC (pay-per-click) require brands to pay a fee, per click on their ads so an irrelevant click can be costly and damaging. Platforms like Google Ads where brands bid for ads allow you to enter negative keywords to avoid ranking for them.

Types of negative keywords?

There are 3 negative keyword match types that you should know before adding them to Google ads:

Types of negative keywords

1.    Exact match

As the name suggests, this type refers to a keyword that should not make your ad appear when entered as it is. E.g. if you don’t want your ad to appear for a search like “contact lenses” then when someone types this exact phrase, your ad won’t appear but if someone types “best contact lenses” your ad may appear.

2.    Phrase match

After exact matches are dealt with, it’s time to eliminate the chances of a phrase or word hiding in a long string of words from making your ad appear. E.g. if you write “contact lenses” as a phrase match then even if “best contact lenses” or “cheap contact lenses” are searched your ad won’t appear.

The very presence of the phrase match keyword in a set of words eliminates the entire search query from showing your ad.

3.    Broad match

After exact and phrase match keywords are gone let’s look at negative keywords from a broader perspective. E.g. if you don’t want either “glass” or “lenses”, you will enter “glass lenses” as a broad match keyword.

When someone enters “glass” or “lenses” within any phrase like “cheap lenses” or “cheap glasses” or “cheap glass lenses” your ad won’t show. So broad match in short prevents keywords from a broad range from affecting your ad campaigns.


How do negative keywords improve ad targeting?

Negative keywords can help advertisers make the best out of their PPC campaigns. PPC is a method used by brands to spot customers and earn accordingly. Before launching a PPC campaign, once it’s launched or on a regular basis, negative keywords usage can help PPC fulfill its purpose.

improve ad targeting

If you are using negative keywords correctly you make more money, your ads reach the right people and your site gains more value.

How exactly do negative keywords help PPC? Here are some of the ways:

1.    Improved CTR

CTR means a click-through rate that indicates how many people click your ad. The more the clicks the more people visit your site but if they bounce back without making a purchase then you will end up wasting money. A simple solution to that is to use negative keywords to target customers who type very specific keywords and so you won’t have to pay the price for irrelevant clicks resulting in fewer charges on ad clicks.

This way you pay less and get more sales out of your ad campaigns.

2.    Better conversion rate

Conversion rate means the number of customers who visit your site, actually buy a service, product, or perform an action that positively affects your brand. If you use negative keywords correctly you will end up getting valuable customers required for your brand and customers will get what they came for. A win-win situation!

3.    Enhanced Keyword quality score

This score ranges from 1-10 and indicates how a keyword performs. 1 means poor and 10 means great.  When your click-through rate increases your keyword quality score also improves in the longer run. The score depends on how the keyword performed historically and how well it works for you so the right ones get the best score.


4.    Optimized ROI

ROI means the return on investment which shows whether your marketing techniques are useful or not. Through revenue generated, we can see how much the marketing strategy helped in gaining profit. If you use negative keywords correctly you save money, gain more customers make more sales and ultimately you make a profit.

According to MOZ, companies save 5% to 40% on PPC by using thousands of negative keywords so negative keywords are precious to your business.



In this article, we explained what negative keywords are and the reason behind the hype around them. Negative keywords are irrelevant keywords that you don’t want to rank for. By removing them from your target keywords you improve your click-through rate, ROI, keyword score, and conversion rate.

All these factors help you in making more money, reaching relevant customers, and building a good reputation.


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