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Can Negative Keywords Help Boost Your Amazon Advertising?

Amazon Advertising may be one of the most significant ways to enhance your presence on the eCommerce giant. In fact, it’s estimated that .Amazon is now the largest global advertiser with reports of $11 billion in revenue for 2019—roughly 2 percent of global ad expenditure. And if you’re new to Amazon Advertising, you need to know how to optimize your spending effectively.

One underlooked but effective method is through negative keywords. But what are negative keywords? Why should you use them? Where should you use them? And how can you analyze negative keywords to maximize your ROI?

What Are Negative Keywords?

Negative keywords prevent your ads from showing up on certain words or phrase strings that are entirely irrelevant to your product. They've been well established on Google Ads and Facebook Ads for years now. And while Amazon Advertising has always allowed their usage in campaigns, many businesses are only now realizing just how effective they can be.

Negative keywords prevent your ad from showing up on Amazon queries when users search for them. Here’s an example. If you’re selling earbuds, search queries might show up as: earbuds, wireless, wired or peace and quiet. If your ad is optimizing keywords that aren’t related, there’s a strong chance it’s going to result in a low conversion rate. It may garner clicks and impressions; but customers will ultimately click away once they realize your product is irrelevant to their query.

There’s two types of keywords which can be added as negative keywords.

  1. Irrelevant Keywords: Irrelevant keywords are just that. Keywords entirely unrelated to your product—but they still get clicks. These can frequently come from both word matches and exact phrase matches. And ultimately, they’re simply a waste of time and money if you’re not seeing an increase in your conversion rate.

  2. High Spend No Sale Keywords: Other keywords that can be added as a negative are those in which you’re seeing little or no sales despite higher spending. These require a certain analysis, and result from consumer trends as much as they do Amazon’s own peculiar quirks. Keep in mind that they might be closely related to your product, so you should consider whether they should be added as negative keywords or paused temporarily in your campaign.

How Do I Find Negative Keywords?

The quickest way to look for the right keywords is in your search term report. By regularly reviewing and analyzing your report, you’ll see which keywords are having the biggest impact on your budget. Start by looking just for irrelevant keywords. For many businesses, analyzing high spend no sale keywords can be a time consuming process if performed manually—particularly if you have multiple campaigns and ad groups.

To maximize your time, start by sorting by the “Impressions” column in your search term report from highest to lowest. After that, sort the sheet by your “Spend” column to see which keywords are wasting money. Look for each search term’s click through rate (CTR) and conversion rate. If the search term has high CTR but low conversion, it's more than likely an irrelevant keyword. It’s not always going to be an obvious judgement call. Take the time to dive deeply into your search term report. The two negative keyword metrics can tell you just how relevant your keywords are to your customer’s search query.

Where To Add Negative Keywords

After analyzing your negative keyword results, there are two options to consider before adding them to your ad campaigns.

  1. Phrase: which prohibits your ad from showing the same sequence or close variations of a negative keyword.

  2. Exact: which is an exact match of any negative keywords.

To add either, simply go to the Campaign Manager option on your account. There’s a Negative Keywords tab in the drop down. Simply add your keywords to the box and click save.

There’s two levels to consider when adding negative keywords:

  1. Campaign: When you add negative keywords at a campaign level, they’re also automatically added to your ad group. It's your best strategy if you have similar product ad groups and you’re finding that negative keyword phrases are affecting all of them.

  2. Ad Group: Adding keywords into each individual ad group is a strategy if you’re running an Amazon Advertising campaign across multiple product lines. However, it’s time consuming and requires analyzing negative keywords carefully according to each specific ad group.

Benefits Of Using Negative Keywords

Negative keywords don’t just target your customers effectively. They ultimately benefit your advertising cost of sales.

By refining your advertising to only the most effective search terms, you’re ensuring that each click isn’t a waste of both your time and budget. You’re improving your conversion rate since you’re only appearing to customers with the most interest in your brand. You may not convert everyone. But at least you know they’re prospects and not accidents.

And where negative keywords are most effective is in Amazon PPC. The extra level of control ensured by negative keywords helps you reduce spending while driving you towards profitability. Amazon Advertising may set you up for success. But you need to know the metrics and tools that can get you there effectively. And negative keywords just might be one of the most effective tools in your marketing arsenal.


Color More Lines helps you drive more sales and maximize your advertising spending with proven and experienced marketing expertise on Amazon and beyond. We provide white glove, global account management of your ecommerce platform so mission driven companies can focus on new product development, branding and growth strategies. Find out more at Color More Lines.

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