You can easily become a slave to your work habits and the smallest changes can go unnoticed. If setting up negative keywords across 50 state campaigns wasn't such an arduous task, I may have never noticed. This was definitely a pain point for me. For more about pain points, this is a great article by Ross Hudgens about the many pain points that exist and how to alleviate these SEO pain points.
You can also get to the same area while editing negative keywords under the AdWords keyword tab. Sadly, this is the first time I noticed this Control Panel and Library menu so I thought I would share.
Using this account as an example, all of my state campaigns have basically the same list of keywords which I am able to manipulate by state. For the purpose of this account, it works best this way since a very high level of control is optimal. However, it does get cumbersome. I was able to take advantage of the Google AdWords API to set daily geo-targets per state but several tasks are daunting and every little bit of time savings in this account can be multiplied by 50!
Get to the point! What is the negative keyword list? In a nutshell, it's a master negative keyword list, or several master keyword lists that can be applied to different campaigns. Now, when I have to add negative keywords, I can just update my list and it will automatically be applied to the associated campaigns.
For example, I have a negative keyword list that is called "All Campaigns". Each campaign that is in the account has this keyword list associated to it. I can add a negative term like "purple widget" to my "All Campaign" list and like magic, the negative keyword "purple widget" will be applied to all my campaigns. That saves me from adding that one negative keyword to 50 campaigns. I could also create a keyword list for "East Coast" terms or "States that begin with the letter I" and use the same methodology.
This is a small change but brings some big time savings for me. Hopefully this will help someone else alleviate another pain point.