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The Positives of Negatives: Using Keywords in Google AdWords

For instance, a website that sells airplane tickets might use negative keywords to direct searches that involve certain cities to a separate ad group whose ads promote the sales prices…

Greg Thoenen

Nov 06, 2012

For instance, a website that sells airplane tickets might use negative keywords to direct searches that involve certain cities to a separate ad group whose ads promote the sales prices for airfare to and from those cities, rather than displaying more generic ads from a different ad group that involve airfare more generally.

Using negative keywords to direct traffic is not typically used on a large scale within a single advertiser’s campaigns due to the effort required to manually create enough ad groups, positive keywords, and negative keywords to make it worthwhile. However, when using a fully automated solution like Finch, the use of negative keywords for directing traffic, combined with an extremely granular campaign structure that would not otherwise be feasible, can result in incremental performance improvements that make a positive impact to your bottom line.

Finch bids independently on every match type for each keyword, creating a separate ad group for each match type of the keyword that contains only that single keyword of that single match type. Use of this kind of extremely granular campaign structure allows us to add negative keywords to direct traffic to the most closely matching match type for a keyword. In particular, adding the negative phrase match keyword “buy rare books” to the ad group containing the broad match keyword “buy rare books” keeps that ad group from showing ads that would otherwise be shown from the ad groups that contain the phrase match and exact match keywords. Similarly, adding the negative exact match keyword “buy rare books” to the ad group containing the phrase match keyword “buy rare books” keeps that ad group from showing ads that would otherwise be shown from the ad group containing the exact match keyword.

Using this kind of structure and negative keywords, we drive traffic to the match type of the keyword that most exactly aligns with a user’s search query. So, in this example, someone who searches for “buy rare books” will have ads shown from the ad group that contains the exact match keyword “buy rare books,” not the ad groups containing the phrase or broad match keywords. And, more importantly, the bid for the exact match keyword is what will determine how much is paid for that ad, rather than the less exact phrase or broad match keyword bids. It does not take much imagination to see, if you sell rare books in great shape for a premium price, why you might want to bid differently for your ad when someone searches for “buy rare books” (exact match) from what you would bid on “buy rare books at discount” (phrase match) or “buy books online” (broad match).

If you take a look at the keywords in your campaigns, for keywords that get clicks and produce conversions, you will find that in almost every case the conversion rate varies (sometimes wildly) between the different match types for the same keyword. With this being so, why bid on them the same? Finch doesn’t. With our granular campaign structure and daily-automated analysis, we drive traffic to the keyword that makes the most sense and bid on that keyword exactly what is needed to produce the resultant margins you desire.

Want to see an example of this on a personal level? Just sign up for a free audit, and we will give you examples straight from your account.

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