Destination Digital

Should You Use The Word ‘Cheap’ In Your Google Ads Campaigns?

We look after a number of clients that offer premium products and services, or that have eco and ethical credentials that is not always synonymous with the word ‘cheap’. So, when it comes to managing Google Ads campaigns, how should you deal with the word cheap?

We can hit the word ‘cheap’ head-on when it comes to premium positioned products and services. We have one client whose commissioned projects budgets start in the region of £25,000, and so for most people’s pockets this would not be considered to be cheap. They produce a premium product, the sort of product that is otherwise available in a much more inferior format at about a 10th of that price, but the two are not comparable and they have different target audiences.

In this case when people use the word cheap in conjunction with the name of their product, the psychology of the person is that they are looking for the lower end of the market model, and they are not looking for what our client sells.

You could think of this in terms of somebody looking for a second-hand car versus a Tesla perhaps? They are both cars, but someone looking for a second-hand car is not the same person as the one who is looking for a Tesla. The person looking for a seoncd-hand car might well look for a ‘cheap car’ but the person looking for a Tesla most definitely would not.  So, in examples like this, it is clear that you should add the word ‘cheap’ to your negative keyword list if you have a more premium offering to avoid spending click money on people who clearly are not your target audience.

But what about if you sell something that’s much lower in price but it’s still not ‘cheap’?

As well as looking after premium brands for whom their customer base make considered purchases, we also handle Google Ads accounts for a lot of FMCG manufacturers selling direct to consumers.

You will have seen on our website and our social feeds that we look after people like Faith In Nature who sell shampoos and body wash, Mr Fothergill’s who sell seeds and St Moriz who sell self-tan lotion. With these kinds of man- and woman-on-the-street customers in their sights, they are selling their products for a few pounds and are operating in a very price sensitive space.

In a world where Amazon exists – and in the case of some FMCG retailers eBay is also a big problem – a key factor in being able to sell your product online successfully is to be the cheapest. And if not the cheapest, pretty close to it.

So, we’re going to get all semantic on you right now about the word cheap. Here is Oxford Languages take on this word.




  1. low in price, especially in relation to similar items or services.
  • charging low prices.
    “a cheap restaurant”
  • inexpensive because of inferior quality.
    “cheap, shoddy goods”
  1. of little worth because achieved in a discreditable way requiring little effort.
  • deserving contempt.
    “a cheap trick”
  • miserly
    “she’s too cheap to send me a postcard”


The word ‘cheap’ is a very direct word.  As can be seen in the above, of the 4 definitions, 3 of them are negative, and the one with a neutral connotation can’t be claimed to be wholly positive!  So, the takeaway from this is that ‘cheap’ means ‘bad’.

However, cheap is also synonymous with ‘bargain’, and we all know how much everyone likes to bag a bargain.

Here is where we need to employ our thought process on the intent behind the use of the word ‘cheap’ when we look at it in context of our brand. For instance, the phrase ‘cheap flights’ is very popular, running at around 450,000 searches a month. ‘Cheap flights to Paris’ runs at a volume of 9,900 searches a month, ‘cheap flights to New York’ is a phrase searched for over 9,000 times a month too. Nobody would suggest that the customer would like to get on a ‘shoddy flight to New York’, as that could end, quite literally in disaster.  In this case, cheap is synonymous with bargain (which means ‘a thing bought or offered for sale for much more cheaply than is usual or expected.’)  Much more positive!

So on the one hand, you might have a brand for which the word cheap really does not sit well, and on the other hand it might be a useful way of bidding for the eyes of your prospective customers to lure them away from your competitors. We would advise that you take this on a case-by-case basis and try to get into the mind of your customers’ intentions by reading what they actually type in the search box to be presented with your ad to help you decide.


How do you block undesirable searches in Google Ads?

If you have been reading so far and are nodding your head, you might now suddenly be wondering with an awful realisation that you don’t know if you are spending Google Ads money on the word ‘cheap’ when you really didn’t ought to be. You might also be wondering exactly how to block this from your Ads account.  Perfect! Because that’s what we are about to explain in the next few paragraphs!

As you might already be aware, in Google Ads Search campaigns, you bid for keyword phrases in order that your ads come up on ahead of all the other search results on that search result.

Keyword phrases might be something like ‘garden sculpture’, or ‘garden obelisk’ because you sell finely sculpted marble garden ornaments, maybe even commissioned to order. If we imagine that this is your business, then you are a high-end company and you likely sell your pieces for thousands of pounds. These are definitely not cheap!

If you bid for a phrase like ‘garden sculpture’ however, Google will match it for as many people searching for that phrase as it can find.  Google Ads is also known as PPC and PPC stands for ‘Pay Per Click’.  Google only gets paid when people click and so it’s in their best interests to get people clicking as often as possible.

The problem comes when your bid-for phrase is part of a longer phrase.  If you choose the Broad Match option, then your bid will even come up for what Google thinks are related searches to that bid-for phrase. A bid you are paying for in the form of ‘garden sculpture’, and that you think is doing great on click-through rates might actually be accepting the clicks of people who have searched for ‘cheap concrete garden sculpture’ or ‘how to make your own garden sculpture cheaply’ or ‘cheap B&M bargains garden sculptures’.  The horror!

Luckily you have a couple of options to rectify this problem.

  1. Firstly to see what people are clicking on when they see your ads is a great place to start. You can find this in your Ads account under ‘Keywords’ and then by selecting ‘Search terms’ underneath.  This will give you a list for all the search phrases that matched your bid-for search phrase. Browse through this list and click the checkbox against all the search phrases you don’t want to pay for, and then click ‘add as a negative keyword’ at the top of the list when you are done.
  2. If you see a phrase coming up time and again, like ‘cheap’ but also perhaps words like ‘ebay’ or ‘used’ or ‘amazon’, then you can block singular words which will then cover all searches using that particular word.

    To do this, select the ‘negative keywords’ option right above where you just clicked into ‘search terms’ and you can then add single words as a quick and easy way of blocking all permutations of a phrase you might have spotted.

The trick with negative keyword blocking is to come back to the account and check in often as part of the routine of managing the account.  So once you have mastered how to do this, and why, then make it a regular habit and you’ll soon see the quality of your leads go up, and the wasted spend in your Google Ads account go down.


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If you’d like to talk to us about Google Ads management, whether you are a Derbyshire based business, or you are elsewhere in the UK and beyond, please email us on or give us a call on 01629 810199.


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