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How to Optimize Amazon Product Targeting with Negative Keywords

Negative keyword targeting is an impactful way to boost PPC performance while keeping costs low. Learn the basics of negative keywords and how to optimize their performance in Amazon. By Rachel Van Clepper November 8, 2021
How to Optimize Amazon Product Targeting with Negative Keywords

PPC prices can rack up, and negative keywords are an essential tool you can use to keep costs low and keep outcomes successful on Amazon and other e-marketplaces.

But how do you find the right search terms to use for your negative keyword list, and how do you use them to improve your Amazon product targeting?

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What are Negative Keywords in Amazon Advertising?

It sounds obvious, but negative keywords are the opposite of keywords. 

If you don’t use negative keyword targeting, your Amazon ad will likely appear to hundreds if not thousands of irrelevant and unprofitable searches.

Before we dig into how to use negative keywords on Amazon, it’s important to take a step back and consider how negative keywords are typically used.

Negative keywords are the phrases or terms used to prevent your ad from showing up on an Amazon SERP page. Additionally, they prevent ads from appearing in search queries that are unsuccessful, low priority, or irrelevant. 

For example, if you sell drinking glasses on Amazon, bidding on the phrase match keyword “glasses” without a negative keyword could result in your ad appearing in a search for “reading glasses.” Not only would you be showing up on uninterested buyers’ search queries, but they may also accidentally click on your ad. 

Why Use Negative Product Targeting on Amazon?

The short answer is to avoid wasted spending and narrow in on your target audience by choosing keywords you want to avoid bidding on for PPC ad placements.

Using Amazon negative keywords for your PPC campaigns helps you avoid… 

  • Wasteful ad spend. In the hopes of increasing visibility on Amazon, many sellers or brands will run auto campaigns or manual campaigns with broad/phrase match keywords. You can continue to do this as long as you add in your negative keywords for more effective targeting. This is a simple way to lower ad spending while improving your results.
  • Lower product rankings. By attracting qualified leads with negative keywords, you improve your CTR, which over time, will help you to improve your Amazon ranking.
  • Keyword cannibalization. You don’t want to be competing against your own campaigns! You can use negative keywords to prevent your manual and automatic campaigns from experiencing keyword cannibalization.

Overall, using negative keywords on Amazon is a win-win for both your paid and organic strategy. 

Types of Negative Keyword Categories on Amazon

There are three main keyword categories on Amazon, exact match, phrase match, and broad match. Here are the differences between the three:

  1. Exact Match: A search query that exactly matches the seed keyword (primary or main keyword), plural variant, and slight misspellings.
  2. Phrase Match: A search query that is close to the seed keyword or selected set of words in an exact sequence, with allowance for plural variants and slight misspellings.
  3. Broad Match: A search query that is the least restrictive of keyword match types. It reaches a larger audience with a broader range of search terms. Broad match ads appear for search terms containing keyword variations like acronyms, plural variants, synonyms, and misspellings.

Using phrase match covers more negative keyword variants, while the exact match will help you target a specific term that you do not want to show up in paid search results for. Remember, you can use both exact match and phrase match for a Sponsored Product Ad Campaign and Automatic Campaign Keyword Targeting.

Further Reading: A Guide to Amazon PPC Keyword Match Type

How to Optimize Amazon Product Targeting with Negative Keywords

At their best, negative Amazon keywords will help you clarify your target audience and maximize your keyword relevance. 

Here are three different strategies you can use to get those end results:

1. Refine Your Broad Match Campaigns with 3 Metrics

Amazon Advertising allows you to identify which search terms are negatively impacting your campaign. You can use this information to adjust your strategy and boost your campaign’s performance. All you will need are three different metrics that you can use to understand what low-performing keywords should be turned into negative keywords. Those metrics are:

  • Low CTR non-converters: These are usually defined as terms that get your ad over 2,500 impressions, less than a 0.18% CTR, and no conversions. If you have any terms that fall under these measurements, you need to turn them into a negative keyword.
  • High-click non-converters: Amazon sellers have an average conversion rate of 9.8% for anything with over 34 clicks. If you are getting clicks without purchases in this range, it’s time to find a better-performing term for your product.
  • High-spend low-converters: Look at your budget and your product’s profit margins to see what terms are creating your highest spend with no conversions. If you have any in this category, this is a money-wasting term. Get rid of it!

Use the metrics above as a guide for developing your negative keyword list. 

Further Reading: How To Optimize Your Keywords for Amazon Product Listings

2. Stop Competing with Your Own Ads

Don’t waste your money competing on your own PPC bids. Use negative keywords to prevent similar products from competing for the same bid terms. 

For example, say you have a range of backpacks. You can use negative keywords to prioritize the type of backpack that is a top priority to sell with a term like “children’s backpack” and use more specific terms like “pink children’s backpack” or “velcro children’s backpack” for the other backpacks in your product line. This will help you sell more of your priority product while avoiding competing with the same keywords for each product. 

3. Use Audience Targeting (also known as Campaign Sculpting)

Advertisers often fall into the trap of using broad matches without more direction. If you use the term “coat” as a broad match keyword, you are competing against items like oversized puffer coats and children’s coats, even if your product is a “wool-blend coat for women.”

You can use negative keyword campaign sculpting for broad match keywords to avoid irrelevant or non-converting clicks. Be sure you’re clear on what search terms your audience is using before cutting any high-converting terms. 

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About the Author

Rachel Van Clepper is a content marketing writer for Feedvisor, where she contributes to the company’s content marketing initiatives. Before joining Feedvisor, she was a senior content marketing writer for a nonprofit software company.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that you should be working negative keywords into your Amazon PPC campaigns to save some money and increase CTR. If you haven’t yet, use the tips above to create a successful negative keyword targeting strategy.

If you are still in the search of more great keyword content, we’ve got you covered. Our easy-to-read one-pager tells you everything you need to know to dominate Amazon search, including best practices for search optimization to help ensure your product detail pages are fit to drive relevant, high-value traffic. Download the Amazon Keyword Cheat Sheet.

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