How to disable impressions by synonyms in Yandex.Direct

What’s wrong with synonymous impressions?

Yandex.Direct introduced impressions by synonyms back in 2016. Since then, the system can automatically launch ad impressions based on the synonyms of keywords specified in the ad campaign. For example, an advertisement for the key “get help + for traffic police” can be shown by the synonym “+ for traffic police get help” or an ad for “irrigation hoses” for the query “irrigation hoses”.

As Yandex itself stated, the update made it possible to provide Yandex users with more relevant responses in search results, and made it possible for advertisers not to miss impressions for phrases with the same meaning. In addition, the update is useful for newbie advertisers who have not yet worked deeply on keyword phrases in ad campaigns.

But you need to know about two nuances of the system:

  1. This tool cannot be disabled. You will be forced to be shown for synonymous queries, whether you like it or not.

  2. Advertisers who initially did not take into account all possible variants of synonyms for key phrases may notice that over time, the CTR will decrease, and the share of “non-targeted” queries will grow. As a result – worsening of advertising ROI.

So be on the lookout and remember to take the time to thoroughly work out your negative keyword list before launching your ad campaign.

A case from practice …

While working with one of the largest clients in one of the reporting periods, we noticed a sharp drop in CTR for brand campaigns:

It turned out that the unexpectedly working system for selecting synonyms dropped our click-through rate and “ate” a significant share of the client’s budget. The system selected synonymous words for the store name, which was used in key phrases. As a result, ad impressions followed requests that were irrelevant to the client.

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According to Yandex, in order to disable the display of ads for possible options that are irrelevant for the advertiser, it is necessary to work out a list of negative keywords.

But what if right now working out the list of negative keywords is impossible, and the impressions of the advertising campaign must go?


… and an elegant solution

We found a way out of this situation – we used the exclamation mark operator “!” to consolidate a specific word form. Thus, the system displays impressions only for a specific word in the word form you specified, without selecting synonyms.

However, here it is worth considering the following fact: if you fix a specific word form with an exclamation mark operator and do not work out the key phrase in all possible word forms, then there may be no impressions for these word forms. For example, fixing the word “! Set” in the query “order! A set of bedding”, you run the risk of ignoring the relevant query “order sets of bedding” for a user who is interested in buying several sets.

While we were figuring out the whole essence of the problem with Yandex, this solution helped to quickly stabilize the CTR of advertising campaigns and return it to its previous level, as well as get rid of unwanted expenses due to impressions for irrelevant queries:

Results after changes

Of course, using the “!” – temporary measure. However, in an emergency, this life hack can help your CTR stay healthy, and you can be sure that your advertising campaign budget will only be spent on targeted queries.

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