Cross-minus is the addition of additional negative keywords to key phrases that exclude overlap in impressions between these key phrases. Overlaps occur if there are two or more phrases in the list of keys that match the same search query. The main purpose of cross-minus is to split traffic between broad match keywords, for example, with only two words, and phrases with three or more words.
What are the advantages of cross-minus:
- the most relevant ad is shown;
- the advertiser is more efficient in spending the budget, since the cost per click and auction are different for each request, and for “narrower” keywords the cost per click is lower;
- gives the opportunity to bring the user to a relevant landing page.
Using the example of an online store, let’s look at how you can personalize an offer using cross-minus:
Cross-minus can be done both at the keyword level and at the ad group and campaign level as a whole.
At the ad group level, cross-minus will be in addition to keyword-level remaking. If there are not ten key phrases, but, for example, a thousand or more, then when using cross-minus at the level of key phrases, we may not have enough characters for broad match keys. In this case, cross-minus is useful at the ad group level, at least in Yandex.Direct.
Let me leave a little off topic. Sometimes people ask what to do if there are not enough characters in negative keywords for a campaign? I’ll give you a little life hack: when choosing a mask, check how many non-targeted requests it contains. If there are more than 30% of them, then such a mask should not be used. Choose a better mask in which the number of non-targeted requests will not exceed 30%.
Now I propose to return to our topic and figure out with an example how to do cross-minus correctly.
Preparing for cross-minus
Let’s say we have two key phrases: buy macbook and buy macbook 13 air…
If the keys are left in this form, they will compete with each other, and Yandex can choose the most expensive for display. What if each of them leads to different pages? Then the user will be shown not what was originally planned.
I often see that cross-minus is done in this way:
buy macbook -13 -air
buy macbook 13 air
If the campaign contains key phrases that differ from each other by more than one word, then this cannot be done, because with this approach it will not be possible to cover all queries. This is how cross-minus should look like:
buy macbook -13 -air
buy macbook 13 -air
buy macbook air -13
buy macbook 13 air
So, we will not reduce the effectiveness of the advertising campaign and will be able to show the most relevant ads.
You can make such cross-minus using the direct-pro.rf service (free option). We go to the site, register and create a project.
Next, a pop-up window will appear, which will display all the new keywords that we have collected. We copy them to an Excel file, check all phrases and delete unnecessary ones, if any.
Cross-minus should be used with caution so as not to get the status “Few impressions” in Direct or “Few queries” in Google Ads. This will be discussed below.
How to cross-minus Direct in Commander
To make a cross-minus one, you need to go to Direct Commander and select campaigns, select ad groups and keywords between which you need to cross-minus. Then you need to click on the “Multi-edit” button.
Next, select “Correcting phrases” and the item “Correct intersections”. Do not forget to remove duplicates from the campaign beforehand.
Press the “OK” button and you’re done.
The only caveat is that you can eliminate overlaps and remove duplicates only for ads that are shown in the same regions and advertise the same site.
How to make a cross-minus one in Google Ads
Cross-minus is more difficult in Google Ads: there are more pitfalls. On the other hand, Ads can load general negative keyword lists.
It is very convenient to use them, especially if you already have experience in Yandex.Direct and have decided to master Google Ads.
One more nuance: cross-minus at the level of key phrases in Google Ads it will not work, unless of course you have three keys per campaign. The reason is that the restrictions on the number of characters in the keyword field are much stricter than in Yandex.Direct.
Accordingly, cross-minus in Google Ads can be done at the ad group level, but there are also some nuances here, since re-minus is not always needed.
Unlike Yandex.Direct, everyone sets up ads in Google Ads differently. For example, you can create a SKAG (1-1-1) campaign, or add all match types to each ad group. You can also group key phrases by masks.
This is important: in order to properly cross-minus in Google Ads, we need to understand the types of keyword match. And in order not to deviate from the topic, I will not go into details and will just put a table from Google Help. I think everyone will understand everything and there will be no unnecessary questions.
Which match types do not need to cross-minus:
- If you are using a wide match type. Key phrases will be mixed with each other in any case. I recommend using broad match keywords only when traffic is sorely lacking.
- It makes no sense to do cross-minus in the exact type of match. This type is a kind of analogy for quotation marks in Yandex.Direct, here you just need to remove duplicate keywords.
In the broad match modifier and in the phrase match, cross-minus can be done, but very carefully.
Let’s look at an example. Let’s say we have grouped key phrases by key mask.
Group number 1 on the mask “macbook air 13”
Group No. 2 on the “buy a macbook” mask
In this case, there are groups in the advertising campaign that contain general requests – group No. 2). And then there are groups that include branded queries – group # 1. To show the most relevant ad and drive the visitor to the right page, you need to cross-minus between these ad groups.
Do I need to do cross-minus at the campaign level? It all depends on the structure of the advertising office. If you are fond of deep segmentation and mask campaigns rather than ad groups, then it makes sense to cross-minus between campaigns. The cross-minus one by key masks, which I have already described above, is done in a similar way. In all other cases, cross-minus should not be used between campaigns.
Few requests status
Also in Google Ads there is a status “Few requests”, which many people forget about. Using the example below, I will try to explain how this might look like in practice. We have two ad groups:
We add a negative word to group number 1 -atech and we get the following situation: in group No. 1 there will be no impressions for keys from group No. 2, and in group No. 2 the status “Few requests” may appear. As a result, we will lose traffic. Therefore, it is necessary to assess the demand and regularly check whether the keywords have appeared this status.
That, in general, is all. Do cross-minus right and delight your clients with great results.