Top 10 Negative Keyword Categories for Christmas Search Campaigns

The top 10 categories that may be considered negatives to your business are (in no particular order):

  1.  Santa’s Workshop, now while most websites may want to use the name Santa in their ads, they may not have anything on their site that would support that term itself so bidding on it may not be the best strategy. Terms could include things like the name Santa, or elves, or the north pole.
  2. Education, this would include terms like Christmas history, the meaning of Christmas, facts, traditions, and so on.
  3. Media, this could be searches like Christmas music, lyrics, movies, dvd’s, films, radio etc.
  4. Food, anything from Christmas dinner, recipes, crackers and cookie exchanges.
  5.  Clothing, queries like Christmas aprons, socks, sweaters, ties.
  6.  Décor, here we saw everything from Christmas trees, centerpieces, to napkins, to wreaths, angels, ornaments and more.
  7. Toys & Activities, things like crafts, games, colouring pages that kind of thing
  8. The Written Word, people searching for things like Christmas poems, bible verses, cards, greetings, jokes and so on.
  9. Travel & Events, anything from Sante Fe to the Rockette’s was found in this category.
  10. A mish mash Other Category, which would include Brand names, personalized gifts, funny gifts to norad.

Here’s the complete list of Negative Keywords For Christmas Search Campaigns. Hopefully you’ll find them useful.

The reason I put this together is that in last week’s episode of Marketing Geeks I talked about Boxing Day searches in Canada. After we launched the episode I received a lot of great feedback and was asked by a few people if I could explore searches around Christmas. So that’s what I did.

Every year my clients will want to run a campaign around Christmas terms that will reach people who are looking for ideas of what to buy for their loved ones. In these campaigns we’ll target keywords like “Christmas gift ideas”, “cool Christmas gifts”, that kind of thing. but choosing and bidding on the terms you want your ads to show for is not enough.

When we look at unrefined queries around the Christmas theme we find that it generated 218,436,550 searches in December 2010 alone, which is a huge number and when there’s that much opportunity most marketers will want to be present. But trying to target all of these searches is likely to lower your click through rate and increase the cost per click.

In the past I’ve talked about negative keywords and this is a situation that demands them. Some of you may not know what negative keywords are so let me quickly explain what they are.

Negative keywords are keywords that you place in your paid search campaigns that act as stop words. Every AdWords campaign should include them because you’ll want to filter when your ad is shown for ambiguous or undesired terms.

One of the most common negative keywords is the word free.

Let’s say you sell TV’s, when the word free is used as a negative keyword it would stop your ad from being shown to anyone looking for a free TV or even free tv shows.

Removing these unwanted impressions is a good thing because when you do that it only places your ad in front of relevant queries. This is important because when this happens that decrease in impressions will likely increase your click through rate which is major factor in determining what you pay per click for each keyword. The higher your click through rate the better your average cost per click will be.

So to go back to the Christmas theme keywords and the 200 million plus queries that will likely happen again this December.

When you start to refine what people are searching there are several categories your business may not have any interest in and you’ll want to add the terms within these categories as negative keywords. That’s why it’s important to review all 10 categories.

Every business is different so use your discretion when choosing your negatives. The rule of thumb I use to determine whether or not you should use the term as a negative is to answer this question. Do I have a page on the website I’m sending traffic to that supports this concept? If you do, great expand on that theme get more traffic, if not add it to the negatives and save your self wasted impressions.

When you remove all of these terms from the 200 million search results it cuts the impressions almost in half, but by adding the terms as negatives ensures that when you bid on things like Christmas gift ideas, it’s not being matched to irrelevant search queries Santa Norad Tracker.

Just so you know, Christmas themed searches typically start in November but some terms are searched year round like the single keyword, “Christmas”, which had as little as 301,000 searches during the spring to the peak where it reached 16,600,000 queries last December. Competition is low to moderate most of the year and heats up in the last couple of months and the average cost per click, $1.29 on Google AdWords (Canada, English, Desktop/Laptop).

Let me know what you think and if you have any other negative christmas themed keywords I’d be interested in seeing them.


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Cool video from Google, ‘The Evolution of Search’

Google posted an excellent short film (6:31) that details a brief history of search and where the company is headed. If you are at all interested in search this video is a must watch.

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Marketing Geeks New Facebook Fan Page

Hey there, as you know for awhile now my friends Hessie Jones, Martin Byrne and I have been recording a podcast about marketing and business, called Marketing Geeks. We’re always trying to improve and it would be awesome if you could listen to an episode and give us some feedback. We’ll be posting content on our facebook page so please like us here:

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Episode 39 of Marketing Geeks is Live

In this week’s episode we discuss getting cheap traffic for boxing day, why holiday spending is moving online and how to use Facebook to enhance your online store. You can find it on iTunes or listen on our website, Take a listen and let us know what you think.

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25 worst passwords of 2011 revealed

Today the CBC announced the worst passwords used in 2011. The list was compiled by SplashData which sourced the list from hacker websites.

The Top 25 Worst Passwords are:

  1. password
  2. 123456
  3. 12345678
  4. qwerty
  5. abc123
  6. monkey
  7. 1234567
  8. letmein
  9. trustno1
  10. dragon
  11. baseball
  12. 111111
  13. iloveyou
  14. master
  15. sunshine
  16. ashley
  17. bailey
  18. passw0rd
  19. shadow
  20. 123123
  21. 654321
  22. superman
  23. qazwsx
  24. michael
  25. football

Tips for strong passwords

  •  Make them eight characters or more, with a mix of characters, e.g., letters, numbers, symbols.
  • One way to create longer, easy-to-remember passwords is to separate short words with spaces or other characters, e.g., “eat cake at 8!”
  • Don’t use the same username/password combination for multiple websites.
  • Use a password manager if you have trouble remembering your passwords. SplashData makes one called SplashID Safe.”
    Source: SplashData Inc.

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I think you’re going to like this new ebook from Google

Google released a free eBook yesterday titled The Zero Moment of Truth, or simply ZMOT (“ZEE-mot”).

It’s 75 pages and available in pdf,  Scribd, Google eBookstore, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook & Apple’s iBook formats. Best of all it’s free and full of useful information. You can find the book here:

So what is the the ZMOT?

ZMOT is that moment when you grab your laptop, mobile phone or some other wired device and start learning about a product or service you’re thinking about trying or buying.

An example of a Zero Moment of Truth is: A WINTER SPORTS FAN IN A SKI STORE, pulling out a mobile phone to look at video reviews of the latest snowboards.

To define the impact of ZMOT in numbers, Google commissioned a major study from the independent research firm Shopper Sciences. They reached 5,000 shoppers across 12 different subcategories with surveys specially designed to show exactly which sources influenced shopper buying decisions.

The Key findings were:

  • 84% of the shoppers said that ZMOT shapes their decisions.
  • 70% of Americans now say they look at product reviews before making a purchase
  • 79% of consumers now say they use a smartphone to help with shopping
  • 83% of moms say they do online research after seeing TV commercials for products that interest them
  • 37% of shoppers find online social sources to be an influential driver when making decisions. That was up from 19% in 2010
  • 54% comparison-shopped for products online

The top online social activities among shoppers:

  • Getting an online referral from a friend
  • Becoming a friend or follower of a brand
  • Reading blogs where the product was discussed
  • Seeing the brand mentioned on a social networking site like Facebook

Audiences are asking three things about your product:

  •  Will it save me money?
  • Will it save me time?
  • Will it improve my life

When people ask each other about your product at ZMOT, you can bet they’ll be talking about one of these three things.

This all means that Pre-shopping before buying has become a huge, huge part of customer behavior.

Google is challenging businesses with this methodology. They recognize that companies for decades have focused on three critical moments: stimulus, shelf and experience.

What they want businesses to do is to ask the question: What do we have in place to win that grabbing-the-laptop moment?

Changing your marketing mental model to include ZMOT will allow you to gain a very big competitive advantage. Because you’ll reach those millions of shoppers who are making decisions before they enter the store.

If you’re available at the Zero Moment of Truth, your customers will find you at the very moment they’re thinking about buying, and also when they’re thinking about thinking about buying.

Google thinks that the future belongs to marketers who recognize the power of ZMOT, staff for it, even reorganize for it.

I’m only scratching the surface here but this eBook is full of useful research with examples from different categories like packed goods, auto, entertainment and insights from industry professionals. I highly encourage you to check it out and we’ll put a link to it on our website.

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Check this out… New Google Interface!

I did a search this afternoon and Google looked a little different so I thought I’d share this with you. Click the first image above to see a slide show of all the different search variations. Let me know what you think?

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