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E-Marketing Performance Blog

Develop a Winning Negative Attitude

There is much to be said about having a positive attitude, but I have recently developed quite a negative attitude. Negative as far as keywords go that is. Personality wise I’m as chipper as ever.

At the risk of stating the ever obvious, I’m going to talk about testing negative keywords. I have a client who sells plastic cards. We’re all familiar with them, gift cards, rewards cards, you know the type. When I took over the account, there were very few negative keywords. I ran a Search Query Performance report and found a wonderful bunch of terms that were returning clicks on my ads. Remember my client sells the plastic gift cards, but terms such as “greeting,” and “playing” were not only resulting in impressions, but they were resulting in clicks that did not convert. It didn’t take me long to build a big list of negative terms that I applied campaign wide.

Why so negative?
Now we no longer get impressions or waste clicks on someone looking for plastic playing cards. Now here is the crazy thing. I expected to be able to look at impressions and find a significant drop in irrelevant searches. But that wasn’t the case. After analyzing the results up one side and down the other, I almost developed a true negative attitude because I wasn’t finding what I expected. But alas, it has occurred to me that there are thousands and thousands of impressions and clicks incurred over a month’s time. When you’ve got those numbers, it is very hard to see the small (yet meaningful) number reduction in impressions. It is equally hard to see any increase in conversion percents. Regardless, reducing the number of irrelevant clicks, every penny, or in this case dollar, counts.

One thing at a time
Another factor I initially neglected to take into account was that there have been many, many changes affecting the impressions, CTR, Cost, and Conversions. Many more factors than simply the negative keywords. With this in mind, I realize that for me to truly test the effectiveness of negative keywords I can’t change anything except the keywords. Wow. This whole testing thing can get intense and create a negative attitude towards testing … Yipes. But seriously, as with all testing – take one thing at a time.

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