Amazon PPC Negative Keywords: What Are They & How to Use Them


When you are spending dollars or even more to get a click on your Amazon ads, you want to ensure that your ads are shown to the right people.

Otherwise, you are just wasting your ad spend.

But how do you make sure that your ads are not displayed to shoppers who are not the right fit for your product?

Negative keywords!

In this blog, we will cover

  • What are Amazon PPC negative keywords?

  • Why should we use Negative Keywords?

  • Types of Amazon Negative Keywords

  • Difference between Regular and Negative Keywords on Amazon

  • How do you find Negative Keywords on Amazon?

  • Where and how to add negative keywords on Amazon?

What are Negative Keywords in Amazon PPC

Negative keywords are words or phrases you can use in your ad campaign to prevent your ads from appearing when shoppers search for those terms on Amazon.

Adding negative keywords will improve the performance of your campaigns by preventing them from showing your ads on search queries that aren’t closely associated with your products.

For example, let’s say you sell “white shirts” on Amazon and target ‘shirts‘ as a Phrase Match Keyword in your campaign. Now, your product will also be eligible to appear when somebody searches for ‘black shirt‘ or ‘blue shirt.’ However, if a shopper is looking for a black or blue shirt, your product would be irrelevant to them.

Hence, adding these terms as negative keywords will prevent your ad from appearing to shoppers who may not be interested in your products.

Why Use Negative Keywords?

Utilizing negative keywords in your Amazon PPC campaigns can provide several valuable advantages, including:

Increasing Click-Through Rate and Conversion Rate

The click-through rate is the ratio of impressions to clicks, and it is a crucial metric for determining a product’s relevance to the customer’s search term.

Negative keywords ensure that your ads are displayed to a relevant audience, improving the click-through rate and increasing the likelihood that those who click are genuinely interested and likely to convert, thus improving your overall conversion rate.

Preventing Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization on Amazon occurs when multiple campaigns for the same product compete against each other for the same keyword.

It can happen in two scenarios:

Between an Auto Campaign and a Manual Campaign targeting exact match keywords.

Imagine running both an Automatic targeting campaign and a manual campaign focusing solely on exact match keywords for your product. The ‘close_match’ targeting in the Automatic campaign may steal impressions from the exact match campaign, affecting the latter’s performance. To address this, you can add the keyword as a negative in your auto campaign to ensure that your ads are only displayed from the manual exact match campaign.

Between two related but different products.

Suppose you have a variation listing of two products, ‘milk chocolate’ and ‘dark chocolate,’ and you are targeting ‘chocolate’ as a phrase match keyword for both products in their respective campaigns. If a user searches for ‘milk chocolate,’ they may see the ad for the other product, leading to poor click-through rates and conversion rates. To avoid this, you can add ‘milk chocolate’ as a negative keyword for the ‘dark chocolate’ campaign/Ad Group and vice versa.

Minimizing Wasted Ad Spend

Adding negative keywords prevents irrelevant clicks, ensuring your budget is spent on relevant keywords or targets. This is very useful if you have a limited budget and only want your ads shown to shoppers most likely to convert.

Types of Negative Keywords in Amazon Advertising

There are three types of negative keywords/products in Amazon Advertising.

Negative Exact Match: 

Exact Match Negative Keywords prevent your ads from appearing for search terms that exactly match the defined terms, including plurals and slight misspellings of the term.

For example, if you add ‘milk chocolate’ as a negative exact match, Amazon will prevent your ad from showing search terms such as ‘milk chocolate’ or ‘milk chocolates.’ However, it will still display the ads for terms like ‘large milk chocolate’ or ‘milk chocolate sweet’ because the search term contains other terms, and Amazon won’t prevent the ad from showing.

Negative Phrase Match:

Negative Phrase Match prevents your ads from showing search terms that contain the keyword in the defined sequence. For example, ifyou add ‘milk chocolate’ as a negative phrase match, your product won’t appear for search terms like ‘sweet large milk chocolate’ or ‘large milk chocolate,’ but it will still be visible for searches such as ‘milk chocolate cheap’ or ‘milk chocolate sweet.’

Negative Products: 

In addition to keywords, you can also add products as negatives. If you add a product ASIN as a negative, Amazon won’t display your ads when someone visits that product detail page.

Difference between Regular and Negative Keywords on Amazon

Amazon Negative Keywords

How do you find Negative Keywords on Amazon?

You can identify negative keywords by downloading the search term reports of a particular ad group or campaign. In the search terms column, look for keywords or products that meet the following criteria:

  • A high number of clicks but little to no conversions.
  • A high CPC but a low conversion rate.
  • An increased number of impressions but low click-through rates.

With the help of Adbrew, you can save time by quickly reviewing the search term reports of all your campaigns in one place, applying desired filters to narrow down the list, and negating irrelevant keywords on the go.

Amazon Negative Keywords

Where can you add Negative Keywords?

Negative Keywords in Amazon can be added at two levels:

Campaign Level: 

Adding Negative Keywords at the campaign level applies them to all Ad groups within that campaign. This is useful when you want to negate a keyword across all ad groups in a campaign.

Ad Group Level: 

Negative Keywords can be added at the ad group level when you only want to negate keywords for a specific ad group, without affecting others in the campaign.

Where can you add Negative Keywords?

Step 1: Go to the campaign/ad groups where you want to add negative keywords and click on the “Negative Keywords” tab.

Amazon PPC negative keywords

Step 2: Click on “Add Negative Keywords”.

Amazon Negative Keywords

Step 3: Enter the keywords you want to negate. Add keywords on separate lines.

Step 4: Select the match type you prefer, either “Negative Exact” or “Negative Phrase”.

Step 5: Click on “Add Keywords” and save your changes”.

Amazon Negative Keywords

Ready to get started with Adbrew?

Use Adbrew Automation to automatically identify and negate keywords to improve your ad performance.

Final Thought on Amazon PPC Negative Keywords:

In conclusion, negative keywords are essential for improving the performance of your Amazon advertising campaigns. They offer flexibility to filter out irrelevant search queries, boosting your click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate by ensuring your ads are shown to a more targeted audience.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you remove negative keywords on Amazon?

Go to Campaign Manager, and navigate to your specific campaign’s “Negative Keywords” tab. Select the unwanted keywords and choose “Archive” to remove them.

How frequently should I add negative keywords on Amazon?

Ideally, you should review your new campaigns every week to identify underperforming and irrelevant search terms. Once you have optimized a campaign for 1-2 months, you can transition to reviewing it bi-weekly or monthly, as you won’t encounter a significant influx of new terms daily.

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