Amazon Negative Keywords: Why They’re Important and How to Use Them

Bailey Bezzant

May 13, 2021

Negative keywords play an important role in your Amazon advertising strategy. They can affect how relevant your ad is to the search it shows up for and improve your spending efficiency for a better ACoS. But first, what are they?

Why are negative keywords important?

While a key part of beginning to advertise on Amazon is adding relevant keywords to campaigns, an equally important part is utilizing the negative keywords feature. Negative keywords are targets that allow an advertiser to disqualify selected keywords from being eligible to have ads served on them. Making sure negative keywords are a part of every keyword-based campaign is an optimization that can not only save advertisers a lot of money over time, but also help them drive better conversion.

Negative keywords are just as important as regular keywords because they allow advertisers to directly prohibit ads from showing up on certain keywords that may seem relevant but actually aren’t, making it a lot easier for a brand or advertiser to control exactly where ads serve. As a refresher, there are three different match types on Amazon–exact, phrase, and broad.

Exact match keywords

A keyword added as an exact match will only show up on that specific keyword and nowhere else–adding exact match “diapers for babies with sensitive skin” will mean only customers searching for that full string will see the ad. In this exact match example, the advertised product will not show up under the customer search for “baby diapers,” even though it seems so similar to the full string.

Phrase match keywords

Phrase match means as long as the keyword is contained somewhere in the phrase searched, the ad could show up. For example, if the targeting term for the ad “baby diapers” is added as phrase match, it could show up under “baby diapers,” “extra small baby diapers,” or “baby diapers for infants,” but not for “diapers for baby.”

Broad match keywords

But broad match would allow that to happen. As long as the words contained in the targeting term are also included in the customer search term, the ad has the potential to serve, no matter the order of the words. Adding “baby diapers” as a broad match could mean the ad serves on “baby diapers,” “diapers for newborn baby,” and “lightweight baby diapers.” Broad match is helpful in casting a wide net for searches, because let’s face it, it would be impossible to think of every possible combination someone could search when looking for baby diapers.

Negative keywords

This is where negative keywords come in handy: if a supplement brand with an adult-formulated iron supplement product were advertising on the keyword “iron” as a broad match (meaning as long as the word iron is contained in the customer search term, it could show up) in an attempt to target customers and search terms they hadn’t thought of yet, the product ad could also accidentally show up in places like “cast iron skillet,” or “iron supplement for newborns.”

People searching for “cast iron skillet” aren’t as likely to click on an iron supplement ad, because they don’t have the same search intent. But if you are only broadly looking for iron keywords, your ad may show up and you may still see higher-than-normal impressions numbers that aren’t actually relevant to your brand. By accidentally targeting “iron supplement for newborns,” there will most likely be ad spend wasted on consumers clicking on the supplements ad and quickly realizing the product isn’t formulated for newborns, their specific need. By making those two terms negative keywords as exact match, the advertiser can ensure their adult iron supplement ads are more targeted while still discovering new keywords from the original “iron” term, such as serving on “iron supplement for men” or “high quality iron vitamin” without sacrificing spend where it is not necessary.

How to use negative keywords on Amazon

There are many ways to effectively use negative keywords. First, an advertiser may choose to create multiple different campaigns where some campaigns target brand-related keywords and others target non-brand-related keywords. This way the brand can defend their presence and keep others from advertising on their own name and still separately bring in new customers who may not have heard of the brand before. For example, an advertiser for Crayola crayons may want to advertise on both “Crayola” and “good quality crayons” knowing they are targeting two different audiences.

There’s good reason to separate them at the campaign or ad group level to help track if customers are coming from branded or non-branded keywords. In this case, Crayola may create two separate “branded” and “non-branded” campaigns using the same products but different keywords depending on who they’re targeting–people who are already aware of the brand or potentially returning customers (using branded keywords containing “Crayola”) and shoppers who may not know or expected to search for the brand, i.e. potentially new customers (using non-branded or generic keywords like “crayons”).

By separating their placement, they can add “Crayola” as a negative keyword on the non-branded campaign to ensure that only new customers or people searching for more generic terms are clicking on their ad. Without this negative keywords, if someone searched “good quality Crayola crayons,” the ad may serve in the non-branded campaign or ad group and the purchase may unintentionally be attributed to a new customer sale estimation when in reality, the customer searched Crayola by name and are most likely not a new customer. By making sure “Crayola” is negative at the exact and phrase level, the advertiser will only see sales from people who were not already searching for the brand.

Second, negative keywords make it easy to optimize and take full advantage of automatic campaigns. Because automatic campaigns on Amazon can serve on any term, it is important to monitor these and make sure they’re not wasting ad spend on irrelevant keywords. If an automatic ad for a car dash camera ends up serving on customer search terms like “security camera,” you can use negative keywords to make sure those close-to-relevant keywords are not served on as part of your automatic campaign optimization routine. Using the negative keyword feature makes certain that automatic campaigns are only looking for keywords relevant to your product and only spend money bidding on those relevant keywords.

Where to find negative keywords on Amazon

While some obvious exclusions may come to mind immediately, there are likely far more that are less obvious. To find some of the best negative keywords, use the Search Term Report Amazon provides. Using this report on a regular cadence allows advertisers to gain better insight into what customers are actually searching for to find their ads and can also give a birds-eye view into customer search terms that are not converting. Pulling this report is especially important for any advertiser using phrase or broad match on any keyword, along with those who have enabled automatic campaigns. Because so many potentially irrelevant keywords can end up being served on through those targeting options, it’s important to check reports like the Search Term Report to find those non-converting, or irrelevant, keywords that are taking spend. You can then make the choice to negate them from being served on at all via the negative keywords feature.

Adding negative keywords can not only save advertisers and brands on cost, but also ensure every click is more meaningful and conversion-driven by guaranteeing that anything irrelevant is excluded. For those looking for an alternative to only using exact match keywords (thus missing out on potential new keyword discovery with phrase and broad match or automatic campaigns), negative keywords provide an avenue for both efficiency and discovery over time.

Let Pattern help

Ready to see bigger success from Amazon advertising but not sure how to find the time to dive in? Work with Pattern’s team of expert advertisers to maximize success and minimize cost. Schedule a demo for your brand, today.

Explore Our Ecommerce Resource Library

Find relevant content to accelerate your ecommerce business. Stay on top of industry trends and best practices.

Sept 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters]( Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News]( Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail]( DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail]( The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](
Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail]( THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail]( US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](
Sept 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce Marketplace Consultant Must-Haves

Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces. 

Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.

So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.

Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products. 

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.

An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.

Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services. 

2. Proven Results

It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.

4. Network of Resources

The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces. 

With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.

Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.