You might be familiar with the Bing search engine and see these adverts if you’ve used the Microsoft Edge browser or another browser which has Bing as the default search engine.
Bing Ads allows you to choose keywords to target to show text adverts at the top of search results, advertise individual products with an image and price and to advertise image-based ads on selected partner websites. You can set a budget and monitor the results to optimise the account and track sales and revenue down to individual keywords or products.
Like with Google, you can target demographics. However, like Google, it’s not entirely reliable. With Facebook, people tend to log in on their own profile and have stated their age and gender, but with Microsoft accounts people are not necessarily even logged in to their account, or might be using someone else’s login and might not have even disclosed their age and gender.
You’ve also got the choice to target people by the location they are in, you can target mobiles, tablets and desktop separately and you can also set a schedule for when you want your ads to show. So, you might favour Monday to Friday 8-6 or keep them running 24 hours, 7 days.
There’s also Bing’s equivalent of Google’s Display Network (which looks to be growing in importance) and is called Microsoft Audience Ads. Audience Ads allow you to do Dynamic Remarketing or just show image based adverts to users on websites such as MSN or Microsoft Outlook.
How does it differ from Google Ads?
For anyone familiar with Google Ads (which has very recently re-branded from Google AdWords) it’s basically a blatant copy. Microsoft took the decision they wouldn’t try to compete by creating a unique Ads platform and that their best option was to make it as easy as possible for people to either switch to using Bing Ads from Google AdWords or to use it alongside.
When you log into Bing Ads, the layout is a very close copy of the old Google AdWords interface. Some Google Ads accounts still have this live but most have now switched over to the new interface so if you’ve only been using Google Ads for a year or less, you might never have seen the old interface and so Bing Ads might look slightly alien to you.
To make things simpler, lots of the Google Ads terminology can be found in Bing Ads too – Campaigns, ad groups, phrase match keywords etc. You’ll also find sections like Dimensions and Keyword Planner and a Merchant Center.
In terms of market share, Bing say officialy that in the UK they have a 24.7% share of the search engine market which works out at 960 million monthly searches across Bing, Yahoo and AOL. A lot of people are skeptical of that figure -myself included – but it’s certainly true that you can reach a lot of people.
Bing is a different search engine, with a different landscape in terms of the competition, so when things go live, you may well find that products that are big sellers on Googe don’t sell as well on Bing and that you start to get regular orders for products that don’t normally sell well on Google.
Cost-per-clicks do tend to be cheaper. Anywhere from half to 4/5 of the cost in Google Ads and Cost-per-Conversions can be very low but you have to remember that there isn’t the same volume of sales to be had on Bing.
Who should be using Bing Ads?
Any business which makes sales from Google Ads should be on Bing Ads.
You’re unlikely to match your sales from Google Ads but it’s an almost guaranteed quick win that if you transfer your Google Ads account structure over to Bing Ads, you will start making a profit from it from day one.
A little tip, if you want to see if your competitor is or has used Bing Ads in the past, download the browser add-on Bing Tag Assistant. It will show you if they have the tracking tag on their website. That’s another copy from Google. This time of their Google Tag Assistant.
What should a business do with their Bing Ads account?
Bing has made it super easy to get started if you’ve already got a Google Ads account. At the top of the interface is a big ‘import campaigns’ button and when you click on it, there’s an option to import from Google Ads. A word of caution, this import works very well but don’t just assume it has got it right. Do double check things like location settings as these have a tendency not to import over properly. If you’re using custom rules in Google Merchant Centre which applies extra information to the feed which then determines how the feed is broken down in AdWords, such as by margin or price, then you’re likely to have issues importing the structure properly meaning you have to re segment down all the campaigns.
Test the Search Network and Product Ads. So don’t just advertise the image ads with the price or don’t just do the text ads. try them both as there are some eCom sites which convert better with the text ads than they do with the image ads and vice versa.
Make sure it’s set up in the best way so you’re not wasting spend. Very much like Google Ads, you want to segment down those Product campaigns so that you can see data for and control bidding at the item level. This is one of the most common errors you can find in an account. It will be set up and every item in the catalogue has the same bid applied to it, regardless of whether it is making a profit or not.
Conversion tracking and variable revenue tracking should also be set up so you can see revenue against each item in the Bing Ads interface to help with management.
Finally, optimise it separately to Google Ads. You can schedule an import so that changes made in Google get automatically imported but ideally you should be optimising around the data you see in Bing.
For anyone already on Bing Ads, is there anything else they can be doing to get more out of the platform?
Download and use Bing Ads Editor (a copy of Google Ads Editor). You can make thousands of bid changes, for instance, across multiple campaigns in just a few minutes.
Like Google Search partners, where Google will show your ads on partner websites like eBay, unless you tell them not to, Bing can show your ads on places like Gumtree. So make sure to assess this and make the appropriate changes.
Use Custom rules. Like with Google Ads, you can apply rules to the feed so that you can segment down the products in the interface in a helpful way. Two popular ways to do this is by price buckets or by margin.
Hear recent podcast about Bing Ads.