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Where You DON’T Want Your Digital Ads To Appear

April 20, 2024


Where your ads don’t appear is just as important as where they do. Including negative keywords, excluding websites, and choosing content exclusions can safeguard your brand image while making your digital ads more effective.

Where You DON’T Want Your Digital Ads To Appear

Marketing is all about sharing the right message to the right audience at the right time. With sophisticated audience algorithms and more tools than traditional advertising, digital advertising gives you more tools than ever before to do just that. Google, Facebook, and other digital ads have plenty of options for defining your target audience and controlling where your ads are seen.

Being specific about who sees your ads and where is an increasingly important step in making the most of your digital ad campaigns. Where your ads don’t appear is just as important as where they do. Including negative keywords, excluding websites, and choosing content exclusions can safeguard your brand image while making your digital ads more effective.

Why Does Narrowing Your Digital Ad Placements Matter?

In short, showing your ads to the people who are most likely to click on them optimizes your digital ad spend.

The price of digital ads is usually measured in cost-per-click, or CPC. The CPC of your ad is determined by taking your total budget and dividing it by the number of users who clicked your ad.

When you specify your audience and ad placements, you improve the percentage of people who click on your ad after seeing it. This encourages Google, Facebook, and other digital ad platforms to promote your ad by proving it’s valuable and interesting. The end result is an efficient ad spend that earns you more quality leads.


Don’t show your ad in searches for unrelated keywords

When advertising on search engines such as Google and Bing, you may end up paying to appear next to keywords that don’t relate to your business. For example, if you owned a house painting business, you may unintentionally appear in a search for “Painting classes at home”.

Whenever that happens, your campaign becomes less effective. It’s best to avoid it altogether by specifying negative keywords.

What Are Negative Keywords?

A keyword is a search term that you’d like your ad to appear on. A negative keyword is just the opposite – a search term you never want your ads to be associated with.
In the example above, “painting” and “home” would be great keywords to use for a house painter. Using the negative keywords “classes” and “class” would clear up any confusion. Since it’s highly unlikely someone searching for those terms would click your ads, excluding them makes your ad campaign more efficient.

How to check for negative keywords

Even Though you can foresee some negative keywords and add them to your campaign from the start, it’s highly unlikely that someone can think of all the unrelated keywords a person could use next to your keywords.
Once your search campaigns are running, constantly monitor the actual search terms people use that triggered your ad to show up. Here you can find all the unrelated keywords and start adding them to the negative keywords list.


Don’t show your ad next to questionable content

To maintain your brand image, it’s important to ensure that your ads don’t appear next to questionable content. This may include mature content, adult language, controversial videos, political opinion pieces, and more.

Excluding this content from your ad placements can help you maintain professionalism and avoid unintentional associations with negative messaging.

What Are Content Exclusions?

Google and Facebook allow you to choose what content you don’t want your ads to appear next to. On Google, there are three main categories of content exclusions:

  • Digital content labels: This acts as a rating system, from general audiences to mature audiences. Choose which sections of the scale you don’t want associated with your brand. It’s often safest to exclude the most mature category, DL-MA, and content that hasn’t yet been labeled.
  • Sensitive content: Most of the sensitive content labels are beneficial to avoid. These include topics such as profanity, tragedy, and controversial social issues.
  • Content type: You can also choose not to have your ads placed within videos, in YouTube live streams, in games, and more. These are a bit more up to debate, so take the time to review what’s best for your type of business.

Facebook calls their version Content Type Exclusions. You can choose topics such as religious & spiritual, gaming, politics, and news to exclude from your ad placements. In addition, you have the option to remove your ads from live streams, where content is more difficult to monitor and rate.


Don’t show your ads in low quality placements

Your Google Ads, mostly display ads, show up in Google’s Display Network (GDN). This network includes websites, apps, YouTube channels and more, which are called placements. But not all placements are created equal. They range from highly regarded news channels to low quality websites.

We mentioned that you can create content exclusion. For example, you don’t want your ads to show up on kids or gaming YouTube channels. But content exclusion is not perfect and your ad could still show up in placements that you don’t desire.

How to check for low quality placements

Similar to checking for negative keywords, you can check for places your ads appeared in the “where ads showed” Google Ads tab. If you don’t like one of these placements, select them and ask Google Ads to exclude them from your campaign.


Don’t show your ads to certain audiences

Defining your target audience is a huge step in setting up strategic digital ads. It’s helpful to target your ads based on location, age, interests, and more to make sure your ads are reaching the right people. This step should also include choosing what audiences you don’t want to see your ads.

Targeting just the right people can improve your cost-per-click and overall results. Experimenting with ad audience exclusions is a great way to make sure you aren’t spending money advertising to current customers or incompatible audiences.

What Are Ad Audience Exclusions?

Both Google and Facebook have options for removing audience members based on certain characteristics.

  • Current customers: Based on your ad content and objective, advertising to current customers may not suit your goals. For example, brand awareness ads are better served to audiences who haven’t visited your website before.
  • Current employees: Your employees are already aware and interested in your business, so it’s best to exclude them from your audience.
  • Conflicting interests: By excluding users with certain interests from your audience, you can reduce negative feedback and better optimize your ad spend. For example, a local thrift store may choose not to target audiences interested in luxury brands when advertising a sale. Finding a conflicting interest may take some creative thinking, but this step can really narrow your ad audience!
  • Users who have interacted with your brand: If someone has messaged, liked, followers, or otherwise interacted with your account, they’re likely already aware of your brand. Excluding these people, as well as users who may appear in remarketing audiences, can assist with brand awareness objectives.


Looking To Learn More About Digital Marketing?

Liquid Creative has guided many businesses through successful Facebook, Google, and Instagram ad campaigns. With experience with local to national brands, we bring strategy and amazing creative work to every one of our clients.

If you’re a small business owner looking to learn about conducting your own digital marketing campaigns, check out Liquid GROW! This is a new digital marketing course to teach you the basics of Google, Facebook, and other digital ads. If you’d prefer a full-service marketing partner to run your digital marketing from strategy to results, contact us today!