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Reduce wasted ad spend with negative audiences and next-best-action

Updated on August 4, 2022

Negative audiences, introduced in Pega Customer Decision Hub 8.5, contain all individuals that were not selected for a specific action due to eligibility, low propensity, and so on. You can now reduce wasted ad spend by using negative audiences to negative target ad campaigns regardless of whether you are also targeting the positive audience.

Pega Customer Decision Hub

Advertisers spend the bulk of their advertising budgets on anonymously targeted campaigns – generally to acquire new customers. That results in wasted advertising to individuals that are ineligible or that have low propensity for the underlying action. The advertising spend to these individuals is not only wasteful but also reduces the performance of acquisition advertising budgets. Paid Media Manager can limit this waste on major ad platforms, and in doing so increase the performance of acquisition advertising campaigns that drive the vast majority of advertising today.

Advertising campaigns for a particular action can then be configured to exclude these individuals from being served ads. These negative audiences are updated each time an individual triggers Next-Best-Action on any channel. Also, they are updated in nightly batch runs across all known individuals.

Enabling negative audiences

To enable negative audiences for a destination:

  1. Log in to the Pega Customer Decision Hub portal as an administrator.
  2. Click Next-Best-ActionDesignerChannels.
  3. In the Paid Media > Paid Destinations section, click the Configure icon, and then select the Negative audience check box to increase the accuracy of your targeting by excluding individuals who are ineligible for an action.
  4. Click Save.
  5. Configure a trigger for the paid audience update, such as a real-time container or a real-time event.
    Tip: You can define the container or event at any level of the hierarchy. When the container or event is triggered, Paid Media Manager updates negative audiences only for the actions on that level of the hierarchy that are enabled for paid synchronization. For example, if you define a real-time container at the Sales-Cards level, only audiences for actions from the Cards group of the Sales issue will be updated.

Viewing negative audiences in Pega Customer Decision Hub

You can view current negative audiences on the Audiences > Paid Audiences landing page in the Pega Customer Decision Hub portal. Each negative audience has the naming convention Issue-Group-Action-N, for example, Acquisition-Credit Cards-Platinum Credit Card 2020-N.

Adding negative audiences to a Facebook ad set or Google ad group

After a paid run or real-time container update, these audiences are communicated to the destination platform. Negative audiences can then be excluded from targeting by using platform-specific mechanisms on platforms such as Facebook Ads or Google Ads, demand-side platforms (DSPs), and advertising networks.

For more information about configuring the mechanism for Facebook Ads and Google Ads, see the following topics:

Excluding negative audiences from Facebook Ads targeting

To exclude a negative audience from being targeted by an ad set on Facebook, add it to the ad set after it is communicated to Facebook Ads.


This is a one-time configuration. The audience membership on the platform is continuously updated once the audience is created.

  1. Log in to Facebook Ads Manager.
  2. Click Create to create a new ad set. For more information, see Create an Ad Set in Ads Manager.
  3. When defining the audience, click Exclude, as in the following figure:
  4. Select the negative audience created by Paid Media Manager.

Excluding negative audiences from Google Ads targeting

To exclude a negative audience from being targeted by a Google Ads ad group, follow the steps described in the topic Exclude specific audiences from your targeting.

Appendix: Deprecated negative audience behavior in previous releases

In previous releases of Pega Customer Decision Hub, the Next-Best-Action negative target audience was used for negative targeting. Its primary function was to exclude known individuals from being targeted by ads aimed at anonymous users.

However, since Pega Customer Decision Hub 8.5, the Next-Best-Action negative target audience is superseded by negative audiences, which offer more granular results that indicate who should not be targeted for a specific action. The Next-Best-Action negative target audience is considered deprecated, and will be removed in a future version of the product.

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