negative match typeIn November 2011, MSN began supporting exact match negatives. It was a long time coming since Google has supported the match type for years. Although MSN differs a bit from Google in other match types such as their use of broad match, exact match negatives work the same in both MSN and Google.

Using exact match negatives gives you the ability to exclude very general search terms while maintaining the high volume search traffic that comes with broad and phrase match.

Let’s say an online travel supplier wants to target users searching for discounted travel arrangements, but finds that searchers looking for general terms such as “travel” or “cheap flights” aren’t far enough into the buying cycle to make the clicks profitable. They can add exact match negatives like - and - so their ads will still show for terms like “travel fares” or “cheap flights to Hawaii,” but they won’t match on the broadest queries.

Negative exact keywords can be added to your MSN just like any other keyword through the user interface, the desktop editor or through bulk sheet uploads. To add an exact match negative to a campaign or ad group, go to your campaign or ad group’s settings, then click negative keywords. To add a negative exact keyword in the desktop editor, add it as a negative like you would normally but put brackets around it.

With the addition of exact match negatives, MSN has sunset the use of keyword level negatives. We recommend taking a look at your keyword list and moving any keyword level negatives to the ad group or campaign level.

The best way to discover which keywords to add as exact match negatives is by running a search query performance report found in the Reports tab. By analyzing the cost and conversion data by search query, you’ll be able to identify specific queries that aren’t converting yet are matching on broad keywords and add those queries as broad, phrase or exact match negatives.

In addition to the new match type, MSN has introduced a new feature in the newest version of the adCenter desktop editor. It will now inform you of any negative keyword conflicts. So if you have the keyword “free whitepaper download” and the negative keyword free, it will highlight that ads aren’t showing for that keyword due to the negative keyword overlap.

Now is a great time to give some extra attention to your negative keywords in MSN to make sure you are reaching maximum traffic without wasting spend.