Use negative keywords

Ensure that your search results ads won’t appear for certain search terms

If you’re running Apple Search Ads Advanced search results campaigns, negative keywords can help control costs and improve campaign efficiency by preventing your ad from appearing for certain searches. Negative keywords should be related to your ad group keywords, but they should also indicate that the searcher is looking for something that your app doesn’t offer. The default setting for negative keywords is broad match, and we recommend you change the setting to exact match.

A negative keyword may be appropriate when:

  • You want to prevent your ad from showing for search queries that don’t apply to you. So if your app was about women’s fitness, adding men’s fitness as a negative keyword means your ad wouldn’t show for any searches related to men’s fitness.
  • Your campaign or ad group performance data shows a particular keyword doesn’t lead to conversions for your app. Adding it as a negative means your ad will no longer show for searches using that term.

You can add negative keywords during campaign and ad group creation, upload them using a spreadsheet in the Keywords tab, or add existing keywords as negative keywords to one or more ad groups or campaigns. Once your campaigns start running, you might find you need to add to your negative keyword list, or cut back. It’s easy to make changes anytime in the Keywords tab.

How to add negative keywords to an existing campaign or ad group

  1. From the All Keywords dashboard or the Ad Group Keywords dashboard, navigate to the Negative Keywords tab.
  2. Click the Add Negative Keywords button.
  3. Enter negative keywords to be added. Use brackets around each entry (as in [keyword]) to automatically apply the exact match type.

    Learn more about match types
  4. Click Save.

If you’d prefer to bulk upload your negative keywords, choose Upload Keywords from the Actions menu to access the template (see below).

Download Negative Keywords CSV Template

You can bulk upload a maximum of 5000 negative keywords in each ad group, using up to 5000 rows in the spreadsheet at a time.

How to add keywords as negative keywords

  1. From the All Keywords or Ad Groups dashboard, select the keywords you’d like to add as negatives (up to 50 per page).
  2. Open the Actions menu and choose Add as Negative Keywords.
  3. Within the Add Keywords as Negative Keywords page, select whether you want to add the new terms at the campaign or ad group level.
  4. Enter the name of the campaign or ad group where you’d like to add the negative keywords, or select from the list that appears.
  5. Adjust your match type if needed. As a reminder, exact match is recommended.
  6. Click the Add button.