Use AdWords Negative Keywords to Target Ads Better
I don’t do much (Ok, none) buying of ads via Google’s AdWords platform. However, an AdSense publisher I find it very useful to stay up to date on AdWords program features and developments. Just like a T.V. executive must have a firm grasp on what advertisers want in a T.V. show — and, more importantly, the audience it delivers — a successful online writer needs to have a grasp on what advertisers want in a website, and the readers it delivers.
What I have noticed is how many AdWords advertisers do a very poor job in using exclusions to keep their ads properly targeted. For advertisers paying per impression (CPM), this is throwing money down the drain, pure and simple. Even for cost per click (CPC) poorly targeted ads are likely to have poor conversion ratios and do nothing but chew up your online ad budget faster.
Negative Keywords for Better Ad Campaigns
The big national advertisers and the ads from online-focused endeavors tend to use the negative keywords feature of Google AdWords to exclude poor matches from eating up their ad dollars. Local businesses and those that are not as online savvy tend to be the ones who make poor choices in this regard. More specifically, local small businesses need better negative keywords to make their advertising perform well.
Here is an example.
I happen to live in Denver, Colorado. So far, no problem there.
I also happen to write a lot about computers, including Microsoft Windows.
Can you see the potential problem coming?
Take a quick look at the ads displayed on this very webpage. See any ads for a Denver company that sells or installs Windows? Glass windows, not software windows?
There might be some of those ads there right now, and there might not. I never know what ads will appear at any given time and it is completely in the control of Google, not me. However, I have seen on previous articles advertisements that seemed strangely out of place only to realize that the issue is improper use of negative keywords. In this instance, Denver window companies would do well to use microsoft as a negative keyword, especially considering that in the technical world of online publishing, it is at least 50-50 that on a given webpage, the text refers to the software and not the glass used in houses.
As an advertiser, there may be a fear that using negative keywords will exclude your ad from somewhere you want it to be. While that is always a concern, there are so many places for ads to be displayed that most advertisers have trouble with the dollars side of the equation and not the display side. Err on the side of too many negative keywords and adjust from there. You’ll find your ad budget goes further and your conversion ratios will go up.
Oh, and just as an aside, it works out better for us publishers too because people are so much more likely to click on a related ad than a random one that is poorly matched to the content.