Sam’s Club MAP Negative Keywords Offer Transparency and Control to Retail Media Marketers


Sam’s Club MAP negative keywords offer a nuanced retail media keyword management approach. They allow advertisers to precisely target their audience and reduce wasteful ad spending. Learn all about the details, benefits, and tips about Sam’s Club MAP negative keywords in this insightful post.

As retail media continues to grow in importance for most digital marketers, that growth is not without some growing pains. One of the biggest challenges facing retail media today is the need for more standardization across retail media networks (RMNs). The ad products, measurement tools, and available data offered by one RMN aren’t necessarily provided by all, which makes it challenging to coordinate campaigns across RMNs. This disparity necessitates a deeper understanding of each network’s unique mechanics, particularly when managing keywords and match types.

Sam’s Club Member Access Platform (MAP), for instance, uses a nuanced approach to keyword management indicative of the industry’s complexity. While most RMNs operate on a cost-per-click (CPC) model, allowing advertisers to bid on keywords, the types of keyword matches—broad, phrase, and exact—and the proper use of negative keywords can significantly influence campaign effectiveness.

For example, with Sam’s Club MAP, negative keywords are managed with an “Exact Match” approach, meaning ads will not appear when a member searches for the exact keyword an advertiser defines. This approach is especially beneficial for advertisers because it can increase targeting precision and reduce wasteful ad spend.

The push for standardization across RMNs, coupled with their increasing sophistication, means that understanding the uniqueness of networks like Sam’s Club MAP will become integral to retail media strategies.

Here’s everything you need to know about using negative keywords in your retail media campaigns, with a special focus on how Sam’s Club MAP is helping advertisers navigate these complexities.

What is keyword matching?

Search engines pioneered keyword matching because they needed to offer their advertisers a way to better control how their targeted keyword ads matched user queries.

For example, when shoppers search for specific items on or the app, they input keywords that trigger retail media ads to appear prominently within search results. With Sam’s Club MAP, keyword matches determine the degree of similarity required between the keyword and the user’s search query to qualify the ad for auction consideration. This system supports three different types of keyword matches: broad, phrase, and exact, each catering to the different strategic needs of advertisers.

Advertisers working with MAP are encouraged to utilize a mixture of these match types to optimize their reach and target shoppers effectively based on various search behaviors.

Sam’s Club MAP match types 101

With MAP, match types are crucial because they help ensure that the keywords advertisers bid on target the intended audience. This targeting is essential as only some searches containing a keyword are perfect matches for a brand or product, particularly in an environment like Sam’s Club, which offers a variety of items and services to its members.

Broad match. These matches offer the broadest reach with the least precision. With MAP, broad matches allow you to capture all shoppers who include your keyword phrase in their search, regardless of the word order or any additional words in their query. While this match type is excellent for driving new or top-of-funnel shoppers to your product page, it’s also more susceptible to attracting less relevant traffic. The broad criteria might lead shoppers to your ads even if they initially looked for a different product or business.

Phrase match. These matches are more refined with MAP. Ads are served to shoppers who have used your exact keyword phrase, possibly with additional words before or after the keyword. While phrase matches have less reach than broad matches, they offer more precision, making them ideal for targeting shoppers deeper in their buying journey’s research and comparison stages.

Exact match. This match type offers the highest precision with MAP by connecting you with shoppers who have typed in your exact keyword or phrase. Exact matches provide the most accurate alignment with user intent, ensuring that your ads are displayed to those most likely to convert. Although this match type has the narrowest reach, it often leads to higher conversion rates since these shoppers are usually very motivated to purchase.

These distinctions in match types are especially significant with MAP, where precise targeting can dramatically affect campaign efficiency and ROI. Understanding and leveraging these match types effectively allows advertisers to fine-tune their approach to meet specific campaign goals, reflecting the platform’s sophisticated capabilities in managing search-driven advertising.

The elegant and practical negative keyword

With Sam’s Club MAP, negative keywords serve as a critical filter to prevent your ads from appearing in response to unrelated or unwanted search queries. While keywords are the terms users are most likely to use to find your brand or product, negative keywords are the exact opposite: they are terms that shoppers might use that are, perhaps, linguistically related but have nothing to do with your products or business. Implementing negative keywords helps ensure that your advertising spend is not wasted on users who are not interested in your offerings.

For instance, consider a scenario where you’re a produce company advertising farm-fresh apples on Sam’s Club during the peak season from late July through early November. You wouldn’t want your ads displayed to shoppers searching for iPhone cases. In this case, you might set Apple cases and Apple accessories as negative keywords to prevent such irrelevant ad matches. Sam’s Club MAP perfectly supports this, ensuring ads are not displayed for these terms, preserving your budget, and improving campaign relevance.

Building an effective negative keyword list with MAP involves analyzing past performance data to identify non-performing or misleading keywords. Start by reviewing your top-performing keywords based on impressions and refine by examining click-through and conversion rates. Keep track of terms that might initially seem promising but fail to deliver expected results. In our previous example of a business marketing apples, aside from blocking electronic-related terms, you should exclude searches like Apples-to-Apples board game and pre-made apple pies to focus purely on your target audience.

MAP allows you to set negative keywords with an exact match approach. This ensures that only searches exactly matching your specified negative keywords are excluded, thereby offering tight control over which ads appear.

Key benefits of negative keyword matching with Sam’s Club MAP

  • Improved ad relevance. Excluding irrelevant search terms and negative keywords helps ensure that your ads are only shown to users with genuine interest, increasing the relevance of your traffic.
  • Cost efficiency. Preventing ads from appearing in irrelevant searches reduces wasteful spending, thus optimizing your advertising budget.
  • Enhanced campaign performance. With more focused targeting, campaigns yield higher click-through and conversion rates, reflecting more accurately on the potential customer base.

Things to be mindful of when using negative keyword matching

  1. Risk of over-filtering. If not carefully managed, you might exclude valuable traffic by setting overly broad or incorrect negative keywords, especially since they are treated with an exact match criterion.
  2. Management is complex. Keeping track of which negative keywords to apply and adjusting them as market dynamics change requires constant attention and detailed analytics.
  3. Limited reach. While necessary for precision, using negative keywords can sometimes overly narrow your potential audience, mainly if relevant variations of search terms are not thoroughly considered.


Sam’s Club Member Access Platform (MAP) provides essential control and transparency for retail media marketers using negative keywords. This feature helps ensure ads reach only relevant audiences, which improves efficiency and reduces wasted spend. MAP enhances the precision of ad targeting by allowing marketers to specify which searches should not show their ads.

As retail media networks grow and become more complex, the straightforward tools offered by MAP become increasingly important. These capabilities help marketers manage campaigns more effectively in a dynamic retail environment, focusing on strategic ad placements that align closely with their marketing goals.

To maximize your MAP campaigns, consider Skai’s Retail Media solution, which empowers marketers to plan, execute, and measure digital campaigns that meet consumers when and where they shop. As part of our omnichannel platform, connect the walled gardens and manage campaigns on 100+ retailers, including Sam’s Club, Walmart, Amazon, Target, and Instacart, alongside major publishers across paid search, paid social, and apps.

Please schedule a brief demo for more information or to see our retail media innovation firsthand.