Categories: Amazon Advertising|By |10.4 min read|

Amazon Negative Keyword Targeting Explained

Need to filter out irrelevant traffic on Amazon? Negative keyword targeting can help. It’s a targeted approach to avoid ads reaching uninterested shoppers and draining your budget. Learn how to select and employ negative keywords for a streamlined and cost-effective ad campaign. In this article, we’ll cover how to identify key negative keyword types, implement them strategically, and harness them to enhance your campaign’s performance with negative keyword targeting on Amazon.

Key Takeaways

  • Negative keywords optimize Amazon ad campaigns by preventing ads from displaying irrelevant queries, while positive keywords attract potential customers.
  • Amazon provides two types of negative keyword match types: exact and phrase match, giving advertisers control over the precision of filtering out unwanted search terms.
  • Implementing negative keywords at both the campaign and ad group levels can fine-tune ad targeting and improve advertising efficiency, thus enhancing ROI and ACoS.

Understanding Negative Keywords on Amazon

In the domain of Amazon advertising, negative keywords act as vital gatekeepers, eliminating unrelated traffic and ensuring that your advertisement reaches only those with a genuine interest and likelihood to purchase. For instance, if you’re selling apples, setting “Apple phones” as a negative keyword ensures that your advertisement won’t be displayed to individuals looking for smartphones, but rather exclusively to potential apple buyers.

On the flip side, we have positive keywords, which are the search terms on which you place bids to secure ad placements for products. Utilizing Amazon negative keywords enables advertisers to refine their campaigns, ensuring ads are shown to the most relevant audience, thereby optimizing ROI.

Definition and Function

Negative keywords serve as crucial filters for your Amazon PPC campaigns, shielding them from unrelated traffic and boosting their effectiveness. These are the terms or phrases that you designate to prevent your ads from being triggered. For example, by specifying “used” as a negative keyword when selling new books, you can ensure that those searching for used options won’t see your advertisements. This precision in filtering out irrelevant search queries enhances the relevancy of the audience who sees your ads, which is one of the key advantages of utilizing negative keywords within PPC campaigns.

Positive Keywords vs. Negative Keywords

Positive and negative keywords may appear to be at odds, but they are actually complementary in enhancing the effectiveness of your ad campaign. Positive keywords serve as beacons, drawing attention with ad impressions and clicks from those looking for products similar to what you offer.

Conversely, negative keyword targeting acts like a filtering mechanism that guides your ads away from irrelevant or less important search queries. This process prevents your ads from accumulating unnecessary impressions on individuals unlikely to make a purchase. Negative keyword strategies make your campaigns more focused by removing people who aren’t interested and targeting those who are. By applying this targeted approach through negative keywords, you can significantly improve ad performance and effectively reach an audience poised for conversion.

Types of Negative Keyword Match Types on Amazon

Amazon offers two types of match types for negative keywords: phrase match and exact match. Each provides a different level of precision, serving distinct purposes in keyword exclusion. Negative exact match keywords operate with pinpoint accuracy to filter out specific unwanted search queries, while negative phrase matches are more general, sweeping away a wider array of irrelevant searches.

The selection between these negative keyword match types should be based on your product specifics and the particular search queries you wish to block. It’s important to note that there is a word limit when setting up these parameters. Negative phrase keywords can only consist of up to four words, while an exact match for negatives allows up to ten words, both subject to an overall 80-character limitation.

Negative Phrase Match

Negative phrase match functions as a selective barrier, eliminating search queries that include the specified sequence of words or their close variations in the same order. It is particularly useful for disqualifying phrases with plural versions or slight misspellings. When employing negative phrase match, one must be cautious and accurate to prevent inadvertently blocking pertinent search terms that could generate beneficial traffic. This match type demands careful application to ensure its effectiveness.

Negative Exact Match

The negative exact match keyword functions as a highly targeted filter within your Amazon PPC campaign, ensuring that ads are not displayed for search queries that correspond precisely to the keyword or similar variations. This form of negative product targeting is instrumental in eliminating irrelevant traffic and guarantees more accurate ad placements.

Pertinent details about negative exact match include:

  • Its role is to prevent ad displays for search queries with an exact correspondence to the keyword or closely related variants.
  • Its effectiveness in filtering out unwelcome traffic while sharpening targeting precision.
  • A restriction imposed by Amazon on the use of negative exact match keywords, capping them at ten words or eighty characters maximum.

Despite this limitation, the specificity provided by using a negative exact ensures it remains an essential element for fine-tuning your advertising strategy on Amazon.

Implementing Negative Keywords at Campaign and Ad Group Levels

Incorporating negative keywords into your campaigns and individual ad groups provides granular control over how you target and differentiate your ads. This strategy enables better refinement of overarching campaigns as well as focus on specific ad groups, ultimately fine-tuning the allocation of your advertising budget.

Employing these negative keywords within both layers can sharpen the relevance of where and when your ads show up by filtering out unrelated search queries. By eliminating irrelevant search phrases, Amazon advertising negative keywords helps optimize ad campaigns and increase targeting precision. This, in turn, results in a more efficient allocation of your advertising budget while reaching a more qualified customer base.

Campaign Level Negative Keywords

Incorporating negative keywords across an entire campaign is akin to deploying a comprehensive filter. This tactic spans all ad varieties within the campaign, such as those employing keyword targeting and both product-targeted and automatically-targeted ads. A proficient campaign manager recognizes the value of this strategy and the advantages that come with using negative targeting.

By embedding negative keywords at this broad level, you’re essentially honing the efficiency of every ad in your campaign, ensuring optimized performance throughout.

Ad Group Level Negative Keywords

Introducing negative keywords at the ad group level can be likened to selectively fishing for a particular species. This approach affects only the targets or keywords contained within that ad group and does not extend its effect to additional ad groups.

By assigning negative keywords to individual ads, you ensure that your ads are not displayed in response to search queries that include these specified negatives. Consequently, this enhances both the relevance of targeting and the overall performance of the ads.

Discovering Effective Negative Keywords for Your Amazon Campaigns

Uncovering the appropriate negative keywords for your Amazon ad campaign can be likened to finding hidden gems that greatly enhance the efficiency of your campaigns. When you prevent your ads from showing up on unrelated search queries, you channel your resources toward productive keywords, thus achieving a more cost-effective Advertising Cost of Sale (ACoS).

To unearth these valuable negative keywords, it’s essential to take a methodical approach that includes analyzing reports from past ad campaigns, keeping an eye out for keywords with low conversion rates, and employing keyword research tools.

Analyzing Search Term Reports

Analyzing Amazon search term reports is akin to deciphering a treasure map that leads you to potential negative keywords. These reports help identify searches that perform well, allowing you to craft negative keywords from those terms not meeting your campaign goals. They reveal irrelevant or underperforming keywords, particularly ones garnering numerous clicks without conversions or incurring high costs with minimal returns. Such insights are valuable for pinpointing strong contenders for negative keyword inclusion in your campaign.

Monitoring Low Conversion Rate Keywords

Keeping track of keywords with low conversion rates is crucial, as these are the terms that generate impressions and clicks without leading to actual sales. Recognizing these underperforming keywords allows you to designate them as negative keywords in your broad match campaigns, which can refine your advertising strategy by steering it towards a more effective exact match bidding process.

Managing Negative Keywords on Amazon Ads

Tweaking the negative keywords in your Amazon Advertising Console is akin to delicately tuning a musical instrument. This process sharpens your ad campaign’s effectiveness, streamlines your advertising expenditure, and guarantees that the right audience views your ads.

Adding Negative Keywords

Incorporating negative keywords into your Amazon PPC campaign can be done with ease. Simply navigate to the Amazon Advertising Console, and choose the relevant campaign and ad group where you wish to include your negative keywords. The advantageous aspect of this procedure is its versatility. It permits the addition of negative keywords at both the campaign’s creation phase or subsequently, allowing for continuous optimization based on evolving insights into how your ads are performing.

Removing Negative Keywords

You have the power to both add and remove negative keywords from your Amazon PPC campaign, giving you the flexibility to fine-tune and improve the effectiveness of your campaigns. The operation is straightforward and user-friendly, empowering you with the capability to modify your campaign configurations as needed.

By extracting negative keywords from your ad campaigns, they maintain an element of malleability that allows them to adjust effectively in response to evolving market dynamics and consumer patterns.

Optimizing Your Amazon Ad Campaigns with Negative Keywords

Incorporating negative keywords into your strategy is not merely for filtering out unwanted search queries. It’s a calculated move to enhance the effectiveness of your advertising spend. By doing so, you can ensure that your ads appear in more relevant searches, which could lead to betterment in ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) and reduce ACoS (Advertising Cost of Sales).

Refining Broad Match Campaigns

By adding irrelevant search terms as exact matches to your negative keyword list, you effectively hone your broad match campaigns. This process is analogous to adjusting a ship’s sails for optimal wind capture. It streamlines the use of negative keywords, ensuring that only pertinent keywords are targeted, thereby filtering out unnecessary traffic.

Preventing Ads from Competing Against Each Other

By meticulously managing your negative keywords, you can prevent your various campaigns from targeting identical search terms, akin to coordinating a team so each member strives for the same objective. This strategy minimizes internal competition among your ads and maximizes the efficiency of your advertising expenditure.

Transitioning from Broad Match to Exact Match Bids

Shifting high-performing search terms from campaigns using broad match to those employing exact match bids is akin to homing in on the most likely candidates for success. This transition sharpens your targeting accuracy and refines your ability to manage bids, ensuring a more focused approach.


In the ever-evolving world of Amazon advertising, understanding and utilizing negative keywords is crucial for guiding your ads to triumph. They allow you to sharpen your targeting precision, avoid internal bidding wars, and maximize the efficiency of your ad spend. Embarking on a successful path in Amazon’s marketplace might very well start with incorporating a single negative keyword into your strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Negative keywords on Amazon advertising are terms or phrases that advertisers specify to prevent their ads from being triggered by certain search queries. By incorporating negative keywords to filter out irrelevant search terms, advertisers enhance targeting accuracy and ensure that their ads are presented to a more pertinent audience. This strategy heightens the overall efficiency of advertising campaigns.

Negative product targeting prevents your brand from being associated with unrelated products or brands on Amazon, ensuring that your ads are not displayed alongside irrelevant listings. On the other hand, negative keywords function by blocking specific search terms from triggering your ads, thereby enhancing targeting accuracy and ensuring that your ads appear in relevant searches.

Log into your Amazon Seller Central account, select the ad campaign you want to modify, and go to the “Negative Keywords” tab to add negative keywords. Additionally, if needed, you can add negative keywords at the level of individual ad groups.

Indeed, by incorporating negative keywords to filter out irrelevant search terms, you enhance targeting accuracy and ensure that your ads are presented to a more pertinent audience. This strategy heightens the overall efficiency of your advertising campaigns.

Negative phrase match excludes searches containing the specified phrase, while negative exact match prevents ads from showing for exact keyword matches. It’s important to differentiate between the two to effectively manage ad campaigns.

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