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What are Amazon negative keywords & how to use them effectively

What are Amazon negative keywords & how to use them effectively

A battle for visibility and conversions is always there in a fiercely competitive marketplace like Amazon. Sellers can utilise the powerful advertising options available on the platform to stand out and promote their products & brand. Every click on Amazon counts, so there’s no scope for irrelevant ad clicks or wasted ad spend on the platform. A strategic use of Amazon negative keywords can play a vital role in preventing unwanted ads from showing up. It significantly reduces your advertising expenses in the long run. The often underutilised yet potent negative keywords can be used to refine your campaigns, curtail ad spend, and achieve great outcomes for your advertising efforts. Let’s explore more about negative keywords in this blog post and understand their effective usage in the realm of Amazon advertising. 

What are Amazon negative keywords?

What are Amazon negative keywords

Simply put, negative keywords are phrases or keywords for which you don’t want your ads to appear. Regular keywords trigger your ads when a user searches for a relevant phrase, whereas negative keywords prevent your ads from showing up when a particular phrase is searched for. The ads are not shown to people with less likelihood of a conversion, ensuring your ads draw the right audience and do not hurt your pocket. 

Negative keywords essentially act as filters, ensuring that your Amazon sponsored ads only display for the most relevant searches. For instance, if you are selling high-end fashion accessories, you can use negative keywords to exclude terms like ‘cheap’ or ‘budget’ to avoid attracting users seeking lower-priced items. With negative keywords, you can narrow down your audiences to those that are more likely to convert. 

Why are negative keywords important?

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When users search for a product, they have a specific intent in mind. If your ad shows up for unrelated or irrelevant searches, you’re not only wasting your budget but also diluting your campaign’s performance metrics. These irrelevant clicks can negatively impact your click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and ultimately your ACoS (Advertising Cost of Sales). You can fine-tune your ad targeting with negative keywords and showcase your products to an audience with a high likelihood of converting. It translates into more quality clicks, improved conversion rates, and optimum utilisation of your ad spend.

Identifying negative keywords

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The first step in using negative keywords is identifying terms that are generating irrelevant clicks. This requires a comprehensive understanding of your target audience and meticulous Amazon product keyword research. Start by analysing your existing search term reports. These reports provide insights into the actual search terms that triggered your ads. Look for patterns and terms that consistently lead to clicks but not conversions. These can be your potential negative keywords. Utilising advanced keyword research tools like Helium10 or Merchant Words can be invaluable for identifying negative keywords. These tools can help you unearth search terms that might not be immediately obvious but are driving unproductive clicks. 

Types of negative keywords

Amazon negative keywords can be categorised into two match types: phrase, and exact. 

Phrase match negative keywords: Phrase match negative keywords prevent your ads from showing up when search terms include the phrases or close variations as specified by you. If ‘discount shoes’ is your phrase match negative keyword, your ad won’t be displayed for searches like ‘buy discount shoes’ or ‘discounted shoes online’. 

Exact match negative keywords: Exact match negative keywords do not show up for ads when the exact keyword you specify is searched. If you use ‘sneakers’ as an exact match negative exact keyword, your ad won’t appear for a search that exactly matches ‘sneakers.’ 

Creating an effective negative keyword strategy

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Crafting a well-rounded negative keyword strategy is crucial to the success of your Amazon advertising campaigns. It’s a dynamic process that involves constant refinement and adaptation. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you harness the power of negative keywords effectively:

Step 1: Start by identifying negative keywords

Begin by finding negative keywords that have the potential to eliminate a wide range of irrelevant traffic. Think of terms that are completely unrelated to your products or services. These are often generic terms that might trigger your ads but don’t align with your offerings.

Step 2: Analyse search term reports

Regularly review your search terms reports to identify search terms that are generating clicks but not leading to conversions. Check recurring terms and patterns that are draining your budget but not delivering the requisite outcomes. Shortlist the terms or negative keywords that can be used to filter out unwanted traffic for your ad campaigns. This step requires ongoing vigilance and refinement as new search terms emerge.

Step 3: Regularly update negative keyword lists

The landscape of customer behaviour and search trends are ever-changing. Consequently, your negative keyword lists need to evolve too. Regularly revisit and update your negative keyword lists based on shifts in your industry, seasonal trends, and emerging search terms. Don’t just set and forget your negative keywords. An outdated negative keyword list could inadvertently exclude relevant traffic, so be sure to stay proactive.

Step 4: Implement match types strategically

Amazon negative keywords can be assigned two match types, phrase, and exact match to control the degree of exclusion. Choose match types based on your campaign goals and the level of precision you seek. 

Step 5: Monitor and adjust as needed 

As mentioned earlier, your negative keyword strategy can’t be a ‘set-it’ and ‘forget-it’ activity. Consistency in approach and regular monitoring of the impact of your negative keywords on campaign performance is essential. If you notice that a negative keyword is causing too much exclusion, leading to decreased visibility for valuable searches, consider adjusting its match type or removing it altogether. 

Similarly, if certain negative keywords aren’t providing the desired effect, you might need to reconsider their relevance and effectiveness. Consistently monitoring and adjusting your negative keywords strategy ensures your campaigns remain finely tuned to deliver optimal results. 

Regular keywords Vs. Negative keywords 

Regular keywords Vs. Negative keywords

Regular keywords are the foundation of your advertising strategy on platforms like Amazon. These are the terms that you choose to trigger the display of your ads when users search for products related to those keywords. To explain with an example, if you are selling hiking boots, you could select keywords like ‘waterproof hiking boots’, ‘hiking shoes’, or ‘trail footwear’. When a user searches for these terms, your ads have a chance to appear, driving targeted traffic to your product listings. 

Negative keywords on the other hand play a vital role in refining your ad targeting. These are the words or phrases that you explicitly exclude from triggering your ads. By adding negative keywords you ensure that your ads won’t be displayed when users search for terms that are not relevant to your product. So anyone selling high-end hiking boots may add ‘cheap hiking boots’ as a negative keyword. This prevents the ad from showing up in searches where users are looking for budget options. 

Key benefits of using Amazon negative keywords

Using negative keywords on Amazon offers several advantages for your advertising campaigns:

Cost savings: Negative keywords prevent your ads from showing for irrelevant or unrelated search terms. This means you won’t waste your advertising budget on clicks that are unlikely to result in conversions, saving you money in the long run. 

Improved ROI: By excluding irrelevant search terms, you can focus your ad spend on keywords more likely to drive conversions. This leads to better outcomes and improved return on investment for your advertising campaigns.

Enhanced relevance: Negative keywords help you maintain the relevance of your ads. When your ads appear only for relevant search terms, you’re more likely to attract shoppers who are interested in your products, which can lead to higher conversion rates. 

Refined targeting: Negative keywords allow you to fine-tune your targeting. This prevents throwing ads at people who are least interested in your offerings and ensures that your ads reach the right audience. 

Better ad performance: By reducing clicks from irrelevant search terms, your click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate are like to improve. This can lead to a better quality score and lower cost-per-click (CPC) over time. 

Improved ad ranking: With higher ad performance metrics and relevance, your ads may receive better ad placements in search results. Amazon’s algorithm rewards ads that are highly relevant to user search queries. 

Competitive edge: Using negative keywords can help you stand out from your competitors who might be bidding on the same keywords. By refining your targeting, you can make your ads more compelling to the right audience. 

Saves time: Negative keywords eliminate the need to manually filter through irrelevant search terms and adjust bids for them. This allows you to focus your time and efforts on optimising campaigns for the keywords that matter. 

Flexible campaign management: As your product catalogue evolves or seasonality changes, you can easily update your negative keywords list to reflect these shifts in demand. 

How to find negative keywords on Amazon?

How to find negative keywords on Amazon

You can follow these steps to find negative keywords on Amazon. If you face any difficulty, feel free to seek help from our Amazon seller central experts.

Keyword research tools: Utilise Amazon’s built-in keyword research tools like Amazon Auto Suggest and the ‘Search Terms’ report to identify potential negative keywords. These tools will provide you with keywords that are loosely related but relevant to your products. 

Search term report: In your Amazon seller central account, go to the Advertising tab and select ‘Campaign Manager.’ Choose the campaign you’re interested in, click on the ‘Keywords’ tab, and then click on the ‘Search Terms’ tab. This report shows the search terms that triggered your ads. Identify terms that are not relevant to your products and consider adding them as negative keywords. 

Analyse ad performance: Review the performance of your ad campaigns. If you notice that certain search terms are generating clicks but not converting into sales, they might be good candidates for negative keywords. 

Competitor research: Study your competitors’ product listings and ads. Analyse their product listing optimisation techniques and look for keywords that are driving traffic to their listings but are not relevant to your products. These keywords can be added as negative keywords in your campaigns. 

Use keyword research tools: There are third-party tools available that can help you identify potential negative keywords based on your existing keyword list and ad campaign data. These tools can provide insights into keywords that are not performing well for your products. 

Regular review: Continuously monitor the performance of your ad campaigns and adjust your negative keyword list accordingly. New irrelevant search terms may emerge over time, so it’s important to stay proactive in maintaining your lists. 

How to add negative keywords? 

To add negative keywords to your campaigns, follow these steps:

  1. Log in: Sign in to your Amazon seller central account. 
  2. Navigate to campaign manager: Go to the advertising tab and select ‘Campaign Manager’
  3. Select the campaign: Choose the campaign for which you want to add negative keywords. 
  4. Edit keywords: Click on the campaign, and then select the ‘keywords’ tab. Find the keyword list you want to modify and click the ‘Edit’ button. 
  5. Add negative keywords: Scroll down to the ‘negative keywords’ section. Here, you can add the keywords that you want to exclude from triggering your ads. Enter each negative keyword on a new line. 
  6. Save changes: After adding your negative keywords, click the ‘Save’ button to apply your changes.

Final thoughts

Harnessing the power of negative keywords on Amazon can turn your lacklustre campaigns into a success. You can prevent irrelevant searches and focus on the right audience by optimising your advertising budget and enhancing your chances of conversion. But always remember that managing negative keywords is a continuous process of analysis, refinement, and adaptation. Regularly review your search term reports, evaluate your campaign performance metrics, and make adjustments in your negative keyword lists to stay aligned with ever-evolving trends and customer behaviour. 

Negative keywords empower you to fine-tune your ads and direct your budget where it matters most. For assistance, you can get in touch with our Amazon consulting experts and unlock the full potential of your ad campaigns by using negative keywords effectively.

About The Author

Jimi Patel

Jimi Patel, is a Co-founder and CEO at eStore Factory, an Amazon SPN certified agency that serves as a one-stop solution for all your Amazon business needs. Having helped countless brands increase sales and grow their footprint on Amazon, Jimi provides the most practical and effective solutions for your business. He is highly skilled in developing and executing plans that align with your specific business goals and objectives. When not working, Jimi enjoys practicing yoga and traveling to new places. He is an avid reader and enjoys staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the e-commerce industry.