How Getting Negative Can Be Positive For Your Business

Few things drive us up a wall like inheriting an internet advertising campaign that was designed poorly and that is wasting ad budget. Sure, internet advertising is complicated, but we often see huge amounts of money being wasted by so-called “advertising experts”.

This week, we started with a new client (let’s call him Steve) who works in the legal field. Now, before I begin elaborating about Steve’s campaigns I think it is important to stress what I’m about to tell you is probably occurring right now with your businesses advertising campaigns unless regular audits are performed to check for this. Steve’s campaigns were generating his company new leads online. In fact, Steve was so happy with the success of his online advertising campaigns, that he had asked his previous marketing consultant to increase his monthly budget. However, as the monthly budget increased, the amount of new leads coming in from his website remained flat. Not knowing who to turn to, Steve sought out a referral and was put in touch with TLG Marketing by an individual in his network.

To begin, Steve provided us with access to his Google Adwords account at the read-only level, this allowed us to perform our campaign audit and research on his specific industry without having access to make any changes. This is often the best way to proceed because it gives our agency the ability to diagnose an issue, without potentially making any changes that would skew the results of the campaign. Campaign structure aside (it was a mess), we saw that the keywords being targeted were right on track with Steve’s business, and the settings in place on the campaign were in good shape as well. Next, we went through the Change History of the campaign for the last year, and at the specific periods of time when Steve had mentioned to his previous marketing consultant to increase the budget. During this analysis we noticed that despite the increase in advertising budget, the number of leads (conversions) appeared to be flat, if not decreasing slightly. Upon a closer examination of the keywords, it appeared that the broad-match terms that were being targeted in the campaign were producing worse results than before the budgets were increased

Typically when a campaign becomes less-efficient it is a result or new advertisers in the market, the inclusion of new keywords that are wasting budget or bids being too low to place the client’s advertisements in the top ad positions. However, what we saw with Steve’s campaign was even more surprising.

What Are Negative Keywords?

As my Team explored the keywords more closely, we checked the Negative Keywords lists to see what was included and saw that it was totally empty! We were shocked. Negative Keywords can be just as important to a campaign as the actual targeted keywords in the campaign.

Negative Keywords are a type of keyword that prevent advertisements from displaying if detected within a keyword search. So for instance, let’s say Steve was in the business of selling Major League Baseball Licensed Apparel on a website (he’s not, but I like baseball). Well, important keywords to target in this type of campaign would be “mlb jerseys”, “mlb hats”, “mlb posters”, etc. These are searches that would likely result in his company’s advertisements displaying to individuals looking for specific MLB items to purchase online.

Negative Keywords that would be important to include within a campaign would be, “tickets”, “schedules”, “radio broadcasts”, “app downloads”, “vacation packages”, and thousands of other terms related to Major League Baseball that are for items that Steve’s business does not sell online.

Incorporating Negative Keywords In Your Online Advertising Campaigns

Sure, the advertisements were appearing for the keyword searches that he wanted his advertisements to actually appear for, but by not including any negative keywords, his advertisements were displaying for thousands of daily searches that were in no way relevant to the service that his company provided. This explained why despite increasing his daily budgets, his campaign failed to produce more new leads. His additional budget was going to all of the irrelevant keywords that his advertisements were displaying for which generated clicks and visitors to his website that stood little chance of actually converting. Not only was this a waste of money, it also negatively skewed the metrics in his Analytics reports showing that visitors were spending less time on his website, and visiting less total pages.

So folks, check the negative keywords in your online advertising campaigns. If you don’t know where to look, or if you want a professional to check for you, simply give us a call at 562-537-6936 and we’ll handle a no-cost, totally free, 100% confidential analysis and audit of your existing campaigns. Happy hunting!