What Are Negative Keywords on Amazon?

by | Jan 19, 2022

Without exploring the right keyword opportunities , it is almost impossible to manage Amazon PPC campaigns effectively and yield desired outcomes. There are several building blocks of an effective keyword strategy. Making use of negative keywords is a proven method of making sure that your ads reach the right customers. In this article, we’ll explain the what, the how, and the why of negative keywords on Amazon by answering the following questions:

  • What are negative keywords in Amazon Advertising?
  • Why should I use negative keywords in Amazon Advertising?
  • How can I find and add negative keywords on Amazon?

1. What are Negative Keywords in Amazon Advertising?

Negative keywords are exactly what the words suggest. They are the keywords to use when you do not want your ad to appear on Amazon’s Search Engine Page Results (SERP) when a shopper enters a search query. 

Therefore, effectively using negative keywords prevents your ad from showing up for unrelated search queries and helps optimize auto campaigns. Unlike regular or ‘positive’ keywords in amazon ads, negative keywords have two match types – phrase and exact.

Here is an example to explain the concept further. Let’s say you sell ceramic mugs and you are bidding for the keyword “mugs”. If you do not use negative keywords, a customer searching for a “glass mug” will see your ad because their search query includes the word “mug.”

image showing ads for glass mugs on Amazon

Since your ad shows up on SERP, the customer may even click on it only to find that your product isn’t what they were looking for. 

After all, the customer came to Amazon looking for a glass mug.

2. Why Should I Use Negative Keywords in Amazon Advertising?

Understanding your negative keywords is crucial to ensure your ad spend is used effectively rather than wasted on keywords that don’t matter to you. 

Without devising a well-thought-out negative keyword strategy, your ad may likely appear for numerous searches that are unrelated and unprofitable due to low conversion and low click-through rates.

Running effective Amazon PPC campaigns and integrating negative keywords goes hand in hand. Apart from wasting ad spend, ignoring negative keywords can also result in lower product rankings and keyword cannibalization. 

Click-through rate is one of the factors in how Amazon ranks your products. If your competitors optimize their CTR with negative keywords and you don’t, this will likely push your product down in organic rankings. You may have heard that 70% of shoppers never move past the first page of Amazon. Given this statistic, can you risk lowering your CTR due to the absence of negative keywords?

Apart from losing precious ad spend, many sellers don’t realize that ignoring negative keywords is harmful to multiple campaigns. 

Consider this example:

Let’s say you have two different products – ‘traditional lamp’ and ‘wireless lamp’ categorized in two ad groups, and you’re bidding on the phrase-match keyword ‘lamps’. 


If a customer searches for ‘lamps modern’, both ad groups are eligible to show up on the page and it’s not possible to control which ad appears first. Therefore, it may happen that the ad for the traditional lamp would show up first and rank above the ad for the wireless lamp.


This will increase the chances of pushing down your wireless lamp product even though it is more relevant to the keyword ‘modern lamps’. The solution to such a problem is simple though, using ‘lamps modern’ as an ad group level negative keyword for traditional lamps would solve the problem and save your campaign. 

3. How Can I Find and Add Negative Keywords for Amazon Ads?

Given the extensive information on Amazon advertising and the availability of negative keyword tools, finding negative keywords on Amazon is not a challenge. Here are the key metrics to help you make sense of terms that aren’t performing well:

  • Low CTR Non-Converters

These are the keywords that are not giving you any sales. If shoppers aren’t even clicking on your ad, it’s a sign that the keyword is not worth your ad spend.

  • High Click Non-Converters

The average conversion rate from ads is 10%, but this percentage is variable and industry-specific. If your ad has yielded 30 or so clicks with zero conversions – it is safe to assume that the keyword is not suitable for your campaign. 

Trellis’ Top Tip: If you’re experiencing the scenario above for all your keywords, then it is time to dig deeper into your product page and look into multiple factors such as reviews, pricing, and listing content. 

  • High Spend Non-Converters 

Spending on keywords that are yielding low or no conversions is a waste of budget. Keep a close eye on terms that have a high spend and monitor conversions. If the conversions are too low, it is best to eliminate the term. 

Exceptions to the Metrics

While the metrics mentioned above cover the fundamentals of how to identify negative keywords, some exceptions should be considered. These include:

  • Competitor Keywords: Sometimes, you may want to chase competitors’ keywords to target some of their customers. While these keywords may not supercharge your conversions, you can add them as positive keywords to win your competitors’ customers. 

Now that you know how to identify negative keywords, adding them to your Amazon PPC campaigns is straightforward, and here’s how to do it:

  1. Log into Seller Central
  2. Under the ‘Advertising Tab’ click on ‘Campaign Manager’
  3. Select ‘Negative Keywords’
  4. Start entering desired negative keywords at the ad group or campaign level
  5. Done!

Closing Thoughts on Negative Keywords in Amazon Advertising

  • If used correctly, Amazon negative keywords can be a powerful tool in helping your Amazon PPC campaigns meet their targets.
  • An effective negative keyword strategy for your Amazon PPC campaigns can help you effectively use your ad spend, increase click-through rates, and counter keyword cannibalization.
  • Using negative keywords tactfully can help the right customers find your products while boosting your rankings on Amazon’s SERP.

by | Jan 19, 2022