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Search query management can feel interminable... 

Negative keywords play a crucial role in maximising the ROI of an AdWords campaign by making sure you don't waste money on irrelevant keywords. Adding negative keywords to your account will prevent your ads from showing when that word is searched.

In theory, you can view the account's search query report, select each irrelevant query, and add them as exact match negatives. But in practice, it feels like five new search queries pop up every time you add a negative! Whack-a-mole is a tedious strategy for search query management. 

Identifying “query roots” (the defining word that makes the search query irrelevant) is a more efficient approach. This way, we can eliminate clusters of irrelevant search queries and prevent more from triggering in the future.

Our algorithm analyses the performance of individual words in your search queries (ignoring stop words like and, to, or, etc.) and flags up any clear outliers.

How does this improvement work?

If a particular word appears in many search terms, and those search terms have spent significant budget with few or no conversions, we'll suggest adding that word as a negative keyword.

To help you decide whether you should Add Negative Keyword or Dismiss this improvement, we'll show you the amount spent on queries containing that word, the number of conversions & CPA that these queries achieved, and your current target CPA for the campaign group.

We'll also show examples of search queries in your account containing the word, giving you a feel for whether the word would make an appropriate negative keyword. If those examples appear relevant to your business, it might not be a good idea to add the negative.

If you disagree with the improvement (you believe this word's performance is acceptable and shouldn't be blacklisted), it may be that your CPA target is set too low. Consider adjusting the target from inside Manage > Campaign Groups. You can read more about Campaign Groups here.

What happens when I push this improvement?

Completing this improvement will blacklist the word by adding it to a shared negative list at the account level.

Opteo will create a new shared negative list called "Keyword negatives for search campaigns (auto_gen_general)". By default, we'll add all new negative keywords to this shared list. You can rename this list if you'd like, but make sure to keep the (auto_gen_general) part. We check for that tag each time we add a new negative keyword, so to avoid creating a new shared list every time.

Click 'Adjust' to choose from a different shared negative list.

We'll always add negative keywords as phrase match types.

Technical notes: 

  • We'll prioritise the queries that are costing you the most.
  • We'll only look at queries generated in the last 90 days (to keep things fresh), but for those queries, we'll gather all-time metrics. This helps beef up stats for search queries, which tend to have very low metrics.
  • If the CPA is acceptable (less than 3x target CPA), Opteo will offer an Add Keyword from Search Term improvement task instead. 
  • We'll check your campaign-level negatives, your ad group-level negatives, your shared negative lists, and your existing keywords to make sure that a query isn't already covered. 

This improvement is triggered when a word CPA exceeds the following thresholds:

  • If search terms containing the word have 0 conversions and the word is unmatched by keywords in your account, we'll trigger the improvement when cost is more than 2.5x your CPA target.
  • If search terms containing the word do have conversions and the word is unmatched by keywords in your account, we'll trigger the improvement when CPA is more than 3x your CPA target.
  • If search terms containing the word have 0 conversions and the word is matched by keywords in your account, we'll trigger the improvement when cost is more than 3.5x your CPA target.
  • If search terms containing the word do have conversions and the word is matched by keywords in your account, we'll trigger the improvement when CPA is more than 4x your CPA target.

How does this improvement work for Shopping campaigns? 

If you use Shopping campaigns, you might see a recommendation to Add Negative Keyword to Shopping Campaign. The improvement works in the same way as Add Negative Keyword, scanning the search terms report and highlighting terms that triggered ads but converted few buyers. 

It’s useful to note Shopping negatives can include two-word phrases, whereas Search campaign negatives can only comprise one word.

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