Microsoft AdCenter Negative Keywords: Using the Negative Match Type on Bing & Yahoo

May 2, 2018

There are a lot of key differences between Google and Bing match types, but people seem to be particularly confused about adCenter’s negative keyword match type. Most people are familiar with negative keywords in Google AdWords and understand the mechanics of using negative keyword tools and selecting the best negatives for a campaign in Google AdWords, but many people struggle with some of the nuances of leveraging negative keywords within Microsoft adCenter.

In this post we’ll walk through how negative keywords work in adCenter and how, specifically, that functionality is different from Google AdWords.

Using Negative Keyword Match Types in Microsoft adCenter

In the post I linked to above, Bethany Bey created this great chart comparing the way negative keyword match types function on different match types in Google vs. Bing.

Since that post was written, Bing (or adCenter) has actually added a negative exact match option and revamped the way that negative keywords work within the platform.

Now you can create an exact match version of a negative keyword in Bing that allows you to exclude more specifically a multi-term keyword you want to designate as a negative.

In the adCenter post on the change in the way negative keywords work, the adCenter team offered two images that showed the “before and after” of how negative keywords work:

Before the Changes

adCenter Negative Keywords

After the Changes

Negative Keywords in AdCenter

Once you understand how negatives are applied within your campaigns, it’s important to note that the mechanics of adding negative keywords at the campaign and ad group levels are significantly different within adCenter. Rather than adding them within the keyword tab, as you would in AdWords, you’re actually editing the settings at the campaign and ad group levels:

adcenter campaign negatives

Once you’re in the settings for the campaign or ad group you want to add your negatives to, you can then add the negatives pretty easily:

Campaign-Level Negatives

The images above are for including negative keywords at the campaign level, but the process and the eventual dialog for adding negative keywords at the ad group level is very similar, with the main difference being that at the ad group level you can designate the ad group–level negative keywords and also preview the campaign-level negative keywords within the ad group negative keyword dialog:

adCenter Ad Group Negatives

The process of adding negative keywords at both the ad group and campaign levels is pretty straight forward once you know where to find the area where you can add negative keywords within adCenter.

Importing Negative Keyword Lists Into Bing/adCenter

Beyond the way that negative keywords actually function within the Microsoft adCenter interface, people frequently have questions about how to import a negative keyword list from Google AdWords. To learn more about this process, I recommend a few great resources that are already out there:

Ultimately, a lot of the best practices around negative keywords (such as identifying irrelevant terms in your keyword research process, looking at historical performance within your campaign, and weeding out underperforming terms that are costing you money) hold true within adCenter in much the same way they do within Google AdWords. But actually designating the terms as negatives within adCenter can be slightly different, and so it’s useful to understand both how the negatives work, and how to actually implement negatives within your adCenter campaigns.

Tom Demers

Tom Demers

Tom Demers is Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Measured SEM and Cornerstone Content.

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