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Using Negative Keywords in Google Ads for Highly Targeted SaaS Campaigns

In the competitive world of Software-as-a-Service (Saas) marketing, running effective Google Ads campaigns requires strategic targeting and optimization. 

While choosing the right keywords is important, the power of negative keywords often goes unnoticed. 

Negative keywords play a crucial role in refining your ad targeting, reducing wasteful spending, and improving campaign performance. 

In this article, we will explore the significance of negative keywords in Google Ads optimization specifically for Saas companies, and how they can maximize your ROI.

Understanding Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are specific words or phrases that you exclude from triggering your ads. 

By adding negative keywords to your Google Ads campaign, you prevent your ads from being shown to irrelevant search queries, ensuring that your budget is focused on reaching the right audience. 

Negative keywords help you refine your targeting and improve the overall quality and relevancy of your ad impressions.

Refining Ad Relevance for SaaS Offers

In the SaaS industry, ad relevance is crucial for attracting qualified leads and driving conversions. 

Negative keywords allow you to exclude irrelevant searches that may not align with the specific features, functionalities, or target audience of your Saas product. 

By eliminating irrelevant impressions, you can improve ad relevancy and attract more qualified clicks, increasing the chances of conversions.

✏️To learn more about how to increase conversions, check out our guide on conversion rate optimization.

Cost Savings and Improved ROI

Negative keywords have a direct impact on cost savings and ROI. 

By excluding irrelevant search terms, you eliminate unnecessary ad impressions and clicks that would not result in conversions. 

This optimization technique ensures that your budget is allocated to reaching users who are genuinely interested in your Saas offering. 

By reducing wasteful spending, you can achieve a higher ROI and optimize your campaign budget for better results.

Filtering Out Irrelevant Audiences

Negative keywords enable you to filter out audiences that are unlikely to convert. 

For example, if your Saas product is targeted towards professionals, you can add negative keywords related to free or non-professional users. 

By excluding non-relevant audiences, you can focus your efforts on reaching those who are more likely to engage with your Saas offering, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your campaigns.

Competitive Advantage and Ad Positioning

Implementing negative keywords also provides a competitive advantage. 

By excluding keywords that your competitors might be targeting, you can ensure that your ads are displayed in a more targeted and specific context. 

This enhances your ad positioning and visibility among relevant searches, increasing the likelihood of attracting high-quality clicks and conversions.

Regular Monitoring and Expansion of Negative Keywords

To achieve ongoing optimization, it is essential to regularly monitor and expand your list of negative keywords. 

Analyze search terms that trigger your ads and identify any irrelevant or low-performing keywords. 

Continuously review search term reports, and based on the data, add new negative keywords to further refine your targeting. 

By consistently optimizing your negative keyword list, you can fine-tune your campaign performance and improve overall ad relevancy.

Leveraging Match Types for Negative Keywords

Google Ads provides different match types for negative keywords, allowing you to control the level of exclusion. 

Broad match negatives, phrase match negatives, and exact match negatives enable you to refine your exclusion criteria based on the specificity of the search terms you want to exclude. 

Experiment with different match types and closely monitor their impact to ensure optimal targeting and ad relevancy.


Negative keywords play a crucial role in Google Ads optimization for Saas companies.

By refining ad relevancy, excluding irrelevant audiences, reducing wasteful spending, and improving ad positioning, negative keywords help maximize ROI and drive better campaign performance.

Regular monitoring, expansion of negative keyword lists, and leveraging match types are key strategies to optimize your Google Ads campaigns and ensure that your Saas offering reaches the right audience, resulting in higher-quality clicks and conversions.

If you liked this guide, be sure to learn more about how to increase your quality score in Google Ads.


What are negative keywords in Google Ads?

Negative keywords are words or phrases you’d like to exclude from your campaign. They ensure your ads are not displayed to irrelevant traffic, allowing you to focus on the right leads and make online advertising more efficient and profitable.

How can negative keywords improve my campaign?

Negative keywords can:
1. Improve the quality of prospects, ensuring more relevant leads come through.
2. Enhance the Click-Through Rate (CTR) as the audience will likely be more interested in your offering.
3. Save money by excluding undesirable keywords and improving Return on Investment (ROI).

What are the different types of negative keywords in Google Ads?

There are three types of negative keywords:
1. Negative broad match keywords: Exclude your ad if the search contains all the negative keywords, regardless of their order.
2. Negative phrase match keywords: Ensure your ad won’t show if the search contains the negative keywords in the exact order they appear.
3. Negative exact match keywords: Block your ad from showing only if the search contains the exact negative keyword phrase.

How can I find negative keywords for my campaigns?

Google offers tools like Google keyword planner and the Search Terms Report within Google Ads that can help identify potential negative keywords.
For instance, if you’re selling rain boots and the keyword planner suggests “cowboy boots”, you might add “cowboy” as a negative keyword to prevent irrelevant clicks.

Why is Google Ads marketing challenging for SaaS companies?

The challenge for SaaS companies in using Google Ads is twofold:
Supply: Google Ads is intent-based, meaning you can only tap into the existing relevant searches for your SaaS offering. The “high intent traffic” or those looking precisely for what your company provides is finite.
Demand: With the growth of the SaaS industry, there’s market saturation, leading to increased competition and cost-per-click (CPC).

Michael Schroder

Michael Schroder

Michael Schroder is a Google Ads and SaaS marketing consultant. He has been managing $200k-$300k monthly ad spend and has worked with 200+ SaaS companies. The thing that makes him unique is his data-led approach and his focus on SaaS businesses.