Negative Keyphrase Conflict Detection

Sep 1, 2020 | Product News

MatchCraft’s platform adVantage was designed to make campaign management scalable, and intuitive, for our reseller and agency clients. Our team continually enhances the platform by introducing feature updates that deliver on that promise.

adVantage’s Negative Keyphrase Conflict Detection feature is a great example. This feature attempts to identify cases where there is an unintentional conflict between negative and positive keyphrases.

What is a Keyphrase Conflict?

Search campaigns use two general types of keyphrases (a.k.a. “keywords”), positive and negative, to determine who gets to see a merchant’s ads. Positive keyphrases determine who should see the ads & negative keyphrases determine who should not be shown the ads. Search terms are then compared to keyphrases to determine whether the ads can be shown.

A conflict occurs when a positive keyphrase and a negative keyphrase issue contradictory instructions. For example:

  • Show the ad to people searching for ”plumbers”.
  • Do not show the ad to people searching for “plumbers”.

But the above is a simplified way of explaining the issue. In reality, it is much more complex and many factors can attribute to full or partial keyword conflict.

Positive and negative keyphrases have three different match types – Broad, Phrase & Exact. The Broad match type can be further segmented to include modifiers (‘+’), meant to trigger additional matching requirements. So, the presence of these different match types, along with broad match modifiers, creates the possibility of partial blockages. For example:

  • Show the ad to people searching for “emergency plumbers” or relevant variations of that term (positive broad match).
  • Do not show the ad to people that include the phrase “emergency plumbers” in their search (negative phrase match).


Using the above instructions, a search engine might allow a match on the search term  “emergency plumbing” but probably would not allow a match on “emergency plumbers”.  That’s a partial blockage, and it could be an unintentional conflict.

Negative Keyphrase Conflict Checking in adVantage

adVantage checks segment negatives, geomodifiers, and category keyphrases for conflicts (variations of words, such as snake vs snaking, are not compared) and warns campaign managers whenever it detects an unintentional conflict between negative and positive keyphrases.


Campaign managers can also pull ”Negative Conflict” reports in adVantage. They simply have to select the campaigns that they want to test for negative conflicts & run the report. The resulting report can be exported in a CSV format, for further review.


What Differentiates MatchCraft’s Version of Keyphrase Conflict Detection?

Keyword conflict detection is certainly not a feature unique to MatchCraft’s adVantage. But adVantage’s version has more comprehensive detection capabilities and user-friendly reporting. Below is a comparative table:



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