Negative keywords can be used to prevent your ads displaying when those keywords are contained in the user’s search query (or contained in the content, if your ads are showing on the content network).
Why would you want to do this?
- Avoid useless traffic
- Avoid embarrassment
- Improve your click-thru ratio and conversion rate
You can apply negative keyword at campaign or account level. Most of the keywords you’d enter will probably be best at account level.
For example, if you’re a travel company specialising in the world’s more ‘interesting’ locations, unless you’ve got some really good reasons you might want to start with a few words that you never want showing in conjunction with your destinations: war, unrest, insurgency, coup
Airlines would do well to avoid words like: delay, crash, drunk pilot, scandal, strike.
These are extreme examples but many brands and businesses have the potential to be dragged into situations that aren’t ideal, and advertising your product against a negative newspaper story or blog post is a good way to avoid the ridicule often poured upon such ‘ad placement fails‘.
The bottom line
The most common reason for using negative keywords however is to improve your click-through ratio and conversion rate, giving you a higher quality score and thus reducing the cost of customer acquisition through PPC.