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  • Writer's pictureHeath Thompson

Should I Negative Match Keywords Duplicated from Exact Campaigns? - Waterfall/Cascade System, does it work?

The Full Question:

Hi Heath, when I do a Broad keyword campaign, is it picking up keywords that I've already targeted in exact campaigns? Should I let the duplication happen or should I negative the keywords that are already in my exact campaigns? 



Also, after I ring-fence the final list of keywords and repeat the same campaign, do I negative exact the keywords that were already previously picked up from the first triple indexed keyword campaign since I want it to find new keywords? Thanks.

The Answer:

Hi A,


Firstly, Broad, Phrase, and Exact match keywords do not compete with one another for ad space. Your ads for these match types are shown subject to how the algorithm reads the buying intent of the shopper, based on their regular buying habits.

When you are targeting Exact campaigns all the money you invest into those keywords will help your organic ranking when they get a sale. 


It can be argued that having the same keyword targeted in multiple campaigns of the same match type will compete with one another.  After testing this for 18 months and across 38 accounts, I didn't find meaningful data that could be attributed specifically to duplication. You need to test this out for yourself.

The simple way to measure this is to track the keywords you already target and see whether by having them in other campaigns you are driving more traffic to that keyword or are spreading out the traffic across a number of the same keywords.


Your keyword tracking will confirm which is happening - if the ranking isn't improving then you can stop the worst-performing keyword, and if it is improving, you can keep the duplication.


The alternative is to not create keywords that are already targeted, but think about what is happening...


For example, the algorithm chooses to channel an ad through a Broad keyword match type, but shouldn't it have channeled it through the exact keyword you were targeting in a different campaign? Why didn't it do that if you are already targeting that as an Exact match keyword? Why did it choose to channel the shopper through a new campaign that wasn't targeting that specific keyword?


Because the algorithm doesn't work in a way that we see as being rational. Even Amazon doesn't fully understand what it does, and why it does it.


Having duplication in this way is going with the flow. Checking every converting search term in a Broad campaign to see if it is also targeted elsewhere is demanding on your time. Maybe, not at the start. What I choose to do, is look at each keyword individually. If it performs well, I don't care if it is already in another campaign. So, no, I would not negative match a relevant keyword.


Where I see duplication as a problem is within the same ad group. Unfortunately, no one can say "You should definitely do this or that" because each account is different. At best, I can alert you to the issue and then you need to see what is happening with your own account.

If you have three identical keywords in different campaigns targeting the same match type and they are each performing to your benchmark, does it matter?  If one of them isn't, you would lower the bid or pause it.  The only complication is that when you are managing your ad campaigns you won't necessarily know if the keyword you are looking at is duplicated somewhere else.

You can use software such as PPC Scope to highlight where duplications are.  This is what I used when measuring the effects of deduplication.

And finally, the idea of the Waterfall/Cascading system has come from Google advertising. This is a method to focus on specific keywords that have proven successful and to help hone your marketing to be more successful. Amazon is different because it is considering buying intent too. Therefore, if you blocked (negative matched) the keyword in Phrase or Broad because you are targeting it in Exact, you will potentially miss out on around 80% of clicks.

And in my experience, when you block a keyword by negative matching it, you are essentially telling the algorithm that you don't want your product to appear for that search term [or any that it groups together as being similar]. Do you want to send these signals to the algorithm for relevant keywords? I would rather bid manage them than block them.

I have seen several instances where accounts have liberally blocked relevant keywords across different match types and automatic campaigns and their ranking has plummeted, and it's always difficult to get back. So, I would caution against using negative keywords for anything but irrelevant search terms that don't convert to orders.

Hope that helps.

Need help running your campaigns?

If you can't stand the stress of managing them anymore, or you wish you could get on and focus on what you love about your Amazon work, feel free to get in touch at heath AT I might be able to help.

Check out my FREE Amazon Beginner PPC Course by clicking the image below...

Tags - Amazon PPC Keywords - Amazon PPC Management - Amazon PPC Strategy - Amazon PPC Tutorial - Negative Matching Keywords - Does the Waterfall System Work with Amazon PPC? - Does the Cascade System work with Amazon PPC?

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