How to use Negative Keywords in Google Shopping Campaigns (a short guide)

Negative Keywords
In most AdWords campaigns, you can use keywords to show an ad only to relevant searches. On Google Shopping, there is no such option, which makes things a tad harder for you to target a specific audience. One of the ways for better targeting is to create a list of Negative Keywords that will filter irrelevant clicks.

The concept is that Google shows your products to searches semantically similar to your products. The problem is, though, that many of those searches are probably not suitable for your business. For example, let’s say you only sell football shoes and a user searches for a football shirt. Google must not show him an ad from your store because getting a click from someone that is not interested in buying from you, is actually paying for someone that will not convert.

How to find negative keywords for your Google Shopping Campaign?

Brainstorm. Think what words or phrases would be irrelevant to your products and add them to a list of Negative keywords.

Search Terms. You will find plenty of keywords, so let's prepare the UI (User Interface) to find the appropriate information. To do so:

  1. Click Modify Columns
    adwords search terms modify columns
  2. Search and select Cost, Clicks, Impr., Conversions, CTR
    adwords search terms add columns
  3. Click Apply
  4. Filter your result on Conversion < 1
    adwords filter conversions equal to zero
  5. Order by Click (high to low).
  6. The search terms that get many clicks but have 0 conversions are probably worth adding as negative keywords. Those are clicks that cost you money, and chances they will never make you a single $.
  7. Order by CTR (low to high).
  8. Look for queries with many impressions and CTR close to 0 or 1. This is the case where Google believes that your ad is PROBABLY relevant. We have seen keywords with thousands of Impr. that had < 0.05% CTR because the client used a very general keyword for a product line that would show up in irrelevant searches.
  9. Order by impressions (high to low).
  10. Now, look in general for search terms that don't make sense for your business, like queries relevant to your competitors or words with double meaning (i.e. a pool may refer to a swimming pool, but can also be for billiards).

How to apply the Negative Keywords.

There are three easy ways to apply Negative Keywords.

  1. Directly from Search Terms Report. Just click on one search term and add it to your ads.
    add negative keywords from search terms report
  2. Keywords > Negative Keywords (click the + button).
    negative keywords tab
  3. Settings > Shared > Negative Keywords (then click the + button). You are free to create easy-to-update lists which will expand across different campaigns.
    share library negative keywords

When should you apply Negative Keywords?

  1. If you have some generic negative lists from other campaigns, it is best to apply them before you create a new Google shopping campaign.
  2. Once every two weeks search your bad performing keywords and apply them as negatives. After 3 or 4 times you will probably have collected all 'bad keywords'.

What will be the actual result of all this?

A bifold benefit for you. First of all, you stop spending your money inefficiently on Google Shopping ads, which will eventually increase ROAS. Secondly, you will potentially increase CTR. This in turns, will allow your campaigns to perform better into the ad auction and give your lower CPCs.

If you have got thus far, you are probably serious about getting Google Shopping campaigns right. For more handy tips, in-depth information, and other Google Shopping Optimisations that you can apply even today, we suggest you check out the comprehensive guide we have created for you.

This post is part of adaplo Blog.

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