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Why Negative Keywords are a Must for Search Ads Broad/Search Match Types

Gabe Kwakyi | October 24, 2023

Why Negative Keywords are Worth the Trouble

In previous posts, we've extolled the importance of setting up separate campaigns for search match, broad match and exact match, with proper negative keywords placed into each campaign and between ad groups, to ensure that impressions go only to the right keywords; this will prevent you from making poorly informed decisions on a broad match keyword that is actually serving on search terms not sensible for that broad match keyword.

Below is a simple illustration of why not adding negative keywords to force searches to match to the most relevant keywords is a bad practice.

Here, the search term to do is matching to all types of keywords, including task keywords. While this may be an innocuous example (after all, we do want traffic from both task and to do, and they are pretty similar), the implications of this are large and hold more consequence.

Take, for example the case that a broad match keyword appears to be driving an excellent CPA, CVR, ROAS; if that broad match's success stems from matching to branded or competitor search terms, then you may raise budget or bids to get more volume, only to discover that the keyword stops matching to those high ROI search terms and starts branching off into other lower ROI terms, ultimately destroying your ROI and wasting your money.

That said, along with other issues, negative keywords and Apple search ads in general currently don't appear to be working quite right yet, so be careful to check that your negative keywords are working properly. In the photo above, we had added to do as a broad negative keyword to our task ad group, and task as a broad negative to our to do ad group to prevent this problematic impression matching from occurring. It appears that exact match negative keywords (tested at the ad group level) work more reliably.

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Incipia is a mobile app development and marketing agency that builds and markets apps for companies, with a specialty in high-quality code architecture and keyword-based marketing optimizations. For blog/video or speaking requests, business or press inquiries please contact us or send an inquiry to