Why you should use negative keywords also when Google tells you that Smart Bidding is doing the job

Do you think Google’s algorithm can outsmart the account managers? According to marketing professionals, it looks like the machine still has a long way to go in making better choices.

We recently conducted a survey on LinkedIn, asking the Google Ads managers if they agreed with Google when it says “Avoid negative keywords when using Smart Bidding.” The result was pretty clear: 94% voted that they’ll still add negative keywords even when Google tells that their smart bidding algorithm is doing the job.

We totally agree with those who don’t want to pay for training a bidding algorithm with our brands’ precious budgets when we can block the irrelevant search patterns right away.

You should use negative keywords with smart bidding even when Google tells you not to do so because;

  • Googles doesn’t have the business knowledge the account managers have: 

Account managers know right away that some search patterns don’t make sense at all. Google has to “learn” for a while until the algorithm hopefully detects that the brand shouldn’t spend money for that pattern. One example mentioned was a B2B website where Google would pay a lot of money for obvious B2C related search patterns.

LinkedIn conversations about the survey.
  • Google still struggles when it comes to meanings and semantics: 

It will always be very difficult to understand the meaning of a word when there are a lot of different options. The machine needs a lot of training even though Google has made great improvements in their understanding of search intent, it still has a long way to go. Whereas a well informed account manager can tell right away which search terms are relevant or not. 

One mentioned example was in the context of searching for a Master’s degree. Google got this completely wrong and matched on queries for the golf masters. Maybe Google is bidding down after some hundred clicks for the golf masters but one can’t help asking “Why pay for training an algorithm while we’re doing the job and saving budget perfectly well?”

Key takeaways

???? 94% of the participants in our LinkedIn survey use negative keywords with Google’s Smart Bidding.

???? Account managers know better and detect irrelevant search patterns right away.

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