Last week Akhila filled you in on how to apply match types and bids to your SMB accounts. The Shah’s Cars account is now ready to go live, but there’s just one more adCenter feature to explore: Negative Keywords.

Trust me, it’s all positive when it comes to negatives. Negative keywords are an optional aid to help prevent your adverts from being displayed when a search query contains your keywords but the search query as a whole is irrelevant to your landing page content. Adding negatives to your account will help to maximize your click through rate (CTR), decrease the cost per click (CPC) and improve your average position.

For example, if Shah’s Cars included ‘car’ as a keyword on broad match, there’s a chance that the ads might be showing to searchers who are looking for ‘car games’, ‘car film trailers’ or ‘car insurance’. These people will probably not click on Shah’s Cars ads. But, by adding ‘games’, ‘film trailers’ and ‘insurance’ as negative keywords associated to the bidded keyword ‘car’, you can prevent the ads displaying when combinations of search queries containing these terms are searched for. Perfect!

Negative Match Types and Hierarchy

Microsoft adCenter supports negatives only with keywords that have been assigned either at broad or phrase match type.

You can apply negative keywords at different levels:

  • Campaigns - these apply to all keywords in a campaign, except when associating negative keywords with an ad group or a specific keyword.
  • Ad Groups - when applying negatives at ad group level, campaign negatives will not take effect to that ad group.
  • Specific keywords - when correlating negative keywords with a specific keyword, campaign level and ad group level negatives will not be functional to that keyword.

Finding Negative Keywords via the adCenter UI

You could spend forever trying to come up with terms you don’t want your ads to be triggered by, but adCenter can quickly do this for you. Here’s the process:

  • Log in to adCenter
  • Click on the Tools tab
  • Click ‘Research Keywords’ (under the ‘research and optimization tools’ heading)

I have used the car example below:

Applying Negatives via the adCenter UI:

Applying negative keywords via the adCenter Desktop tool:

  • Navigate to the campaign or ad group that you would like to apply the negative keywords to.
  • From the editor pane, click the 'exclusions' button.
  • From the properties dialog box, enter the negative keywords where promoted click ‘add’, then click ‘OK’.
  • The negative keywords will now be applied to the account.

Key points to remember…

I hope you’ve found this useful and thank you for reading.

Raman Jhooti

Pay-per-Click (PPC) for SMBs #1: Paid and organic search

Pay-per-Click (PPC) for SMBs #2: An introduction to Bing

Pay-per-Click (PPC) for SMBs #3: An introduction to adCenter

Pay-per-Click (PPC) for SMBs #4: Introducing adCenter Desktop

Pay-per-click (PPC) for SMBs #5: The Microsoft Advertising Intelligence Tool

Pay-per-click (PPC) for SMBs #6: How to set up a new Microsoft Advertising adCenter account

Pay-per-click (PPC) for SMBs #7: How to find keywords

Pay-per-click (PPC) for SMBs #8: How to write great ads

Pay-per-click (PPC) for SMBs #9: Bid and match types