The importance of a negative audience in PPC campaigns

Targeting the right audience in PPC is more important now than ever before.

There are endless ways to dissect the perfect audience for your brand on ad platforms, which also allow you to identify the types of people you don’t want to reach – called negative audiences.

Identifying negative audiences as part of an audience strategy is an excellent way to ensure that you don’t waste money targeting the wrong people and helps to stop online shoppers from being continuously retargeted with products. It also ensures people see the right messaging at the right stage of the purchasing funnel.

Here are five audiences you should consider excluding from some or all of your PPC campaigns.

1. Existing customers

Current customers offer differing value for different clients. Some clients prefer to exclude current customers from all campaigns, whereas others prefer to continue targeting existing customers.

If you wish to upsell to existing customers with new or related products to the ones they have previously bought, you can segment customers so that they are only included in campaigns for products that they haven’t bought yet. E-commerce brands often target past customers by segmenting them into their own audiences and assessing how they perform, before bidding accordingly on those of value.
To create an audience for exclusion you simply need to upload a
list of customer match email addresses for those that have previously purchased from you. If your product offers a web-based login you can also build a retargeting audience based on people who have accessed pages that would point out that they are paying customers.

2. Jobseekers

If someone heads to your website and clicks only on the ‘Careers’ section then this indicates they are solely looking for a job at your company, and not interested in what you are selling. For this reason, it would be a waste of retargeting spend to show them adverts for your newest products or sale.

To exclude this audience from PPC campaigns, you first need to create a URL-based audience for the ‘Careers’ page to identify these people. If applicants are redirected to a third-party site to fill in a job application then you can either pixel that site or track links to it in Google Analytics.

3. Past converters

Deciding whether to target or exclude past converters – people who have engaged with your brand but not bought a product – all boils down to your marketing strategy. Some companies use data from contact forms or competitions in their PPC campaigns, whilst others add this information to a retargeting list based on them reaching a “thank you” page for a form or competition, and then exclude this audience because ads will return little value from these types of people.

4. Support seekers

If a person is browsing your ‘Support’ pages then chances are they are people who have already bought your product, looking for help with something. In effect, these existing customers are probably not worth targeting in PPC campaigns. On the other hand, a particular campaign might work well with existing customers – for example, there may be an opportunity to upsell another product to a current customer needing a little help with their new product.

To exclude them, simply build retargeting audiences based on the URLs associated with the ‘Support’ section of your website.

5. The same people in multiple campaigns

When running retargeting campaigns, it is vital to ensure that you’re not reaching the same people in other campaigns. This can happen if, for example, people visit your site from an ‘interests’ targeting Facebook campaign and are added to a retargeting audience to be sent separate messaging. These people will still fall under the original interests audience so will need to be added as an exclusion in the interests targeting campaign, to avoid duplication.

To conclude, take measures to ensure you are spending money on the right people who will convert.


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