Amazon PPC Negative Keywords… What They Are, How To Use Them… And The Big Mistake To Avoid.

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For starters, negative keywords for Amazon PPC are probably one of the most misunderstood areas of Amazon advertising… by reading (and acting on) this article you can save yourself massive amounts of lost sales & profits… not to mention confusion and frustration.

What Are Amazon PPC Negative Keywords?

Negative keywords are the words or phrases that you DO NOT want to appear in any customers’ search queries that you pay for.

That may be because, from your research, you have found that searches which include that word or phrase do not generate any sales… or that they do generate sales but at too high an ACOS (in other words they are too expensive).

So, for example, if you sell English beer you’ll probably find that people who search for “American beer”, “Indian beer”, “Chinese beer” or “Australian beer” may get you some curiosity clicks to your product… or accidental clicks… but very few, if any sales.

In that case you’d want to add those search terms as negative match search terms… and that would mean that your ad would not appear to anyone searching for “American beer” etc…

You’d save yourself some money… and your ad would be a little more profitable.

So far so good… but there’s a lot more to negative keywords than that as you will discover.

Where Can You Use Amazon Negative Keyword Targeting?

You can use negative keyword targeting for any of your Amazon product advertising campaigns regardless of whether the campaign is using:

  • manual targeting (where you select the keywords that you want to target)
  • automatic targeting (where Amazon decides where and when your ad will be shown)

and also whether you’re targeting:

  • keywords and search terms
  • ASINS (whether you are selecting specific ASINS to target or you are targeting a category and showing your ad for all products within that category)

Negative Phrase vs Negative Exact Match

With regular keywords you have a choice of 3 levels of targeting:

  • broad match
  • phrase match
  • exact match

Broad match is by far the loosest of the 3. You give Amazon the seed keyword and Amazon then decides what it considers to be relevant alternatives to your chosen seed keyword. If your seed keyword is “English beer” then it’s almost certain that Amazon will show your ad to anyone looking for beer from anywhere around the World (i.e. including American, Indian, Chinese etc) so you’d want to monitor “broad match” keywords closely and block any unwanted matches as soon as they became apparent.

And now we come to the vital information which will set you apart from, and give you a huge competitive advantage over, the massive majority of Amazon advertisers.

Negative phrase and negative exact match are almost certainly not what you think… and what seems like a minor difference on the surface can have a massive impact in terms of sales and the profitability of your Amazon advertising.

Few will argue that the pioneers of online advertising were Google. And it’s no surprise that later adopters of online advertising, such as Facebook and Amazon, have adopted many of the terms originally used by Google AdWords.

So in Amazon Ads we have the same basic structure as Google Ads uses:

  • Campaigns
  • Ad Groups
  • Ads

And the match types for keyword targeting share the same names in Amazon and Google too.

But with Amazon Advertising the match types are treated slightly differently to what advertisers have become accustomed to with Google Ads. And that slight difference has massive, and potentially very expensive, implications when it comes to negative keywords for Amazon PPC and creating the optimum Amazon PPC strategy.

And 99% of Amazon advertisers are either completely unaware of this… a minority might understand the difference but do not know about it.