Bing Ads trademark policy: Market by market variations

From a network quality perspective, trademark use is one of the most common complaints. There are many excellent blog posts already available on the topic, in particular: What's in a Brand Name? Using Trademarks and Copyrights in Your Advertising provides an informative overview of policy and best practice, from the perspective of an advertiser uploading their advertisements.

At the onset, please be advised that it is the advertiser’s responsibility to ensure that the use of keywords and ad content, including trademarks and logos, does not infringe or violate the intellectual property rights of others. If a trademark owner is concerned that their trademark is being used improperly in ad text, the owner should first contact the advertiser directly to address the issue. Please note, we do not act as mediators for IP dispute resolution purposes; for more information, please review our Intellectual property policies.

In this article, our aim is to examine the opposite side of the coin, namely situations in which another advertiser may bid on a different company’s brand terms, as well as a more in depth look at the differences in trademark policy in the European markets.

Differences in Trademark Policy in European Markets

Bing Ads trademark policy may differ depending on the market.

We will review complaints concerning advertisers who use brand terms belonging to third parties in the ad copy, taking into account what may constitute “fair use” of the brand terms (we will examine what “fair use” entails later in the article). This is enforced in all markets.


Here, Contoso Coffee Shop (an advertiser with Bing Ads) is using Fourth Coffee Shop’s brand term in the ad copy with no relevant content on the landing page and with a similar product offered. This behaviour is disallowed

Contoso Coffee Shop

Better than Fourth Coffee Shop

However, in some European markets, namely: Spain, The Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Austria and Switzerland,  we will not review requests concerning advertisers that may choose to bid on another company’s brand term e.g. Contoso Coffee Shop may bid on the keyword “Fourth Coffee Shop”.

This is also the case in markets like US and Canada (including the French language Canadian market).

Conversely, in France, Italy, Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom, we accept requests concerning advertisers who bid on other companies’ brand terms i.e. Contoso Coffee Shop bidding on “Fourth Coffee Shop”.

(The full country list: Australia, Brazil, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom)

What constitutes fair use?

On the face of it, the decisions surrounding trademark use in ad copy seem relatively routine, but there are many instances in which usage could constitute a legitimate use of a brand term in paid search advertising. The subsequent non-exhaustive examples highlight this:

  • Use of a trademark by a reseller of authentic goods or services

Here, Contoso Phones, an authorised reseller of The Phone Company’s products, is bidding on their brand terms. This approach is compliant as The Phone Company products are available to buy on Contoso Phones’ website

Contoso Phones

Your premiere one-stop shop for phones and tablets, all providers. Sale on all The Phone Company products!

  • Informational websites about goods or services, such as product reviews

Here, Contoso Food Finder is a website that offers non-commercial information (e.g. there are no purchase options). This site offers information about Fourth Coffee Shop that is helpful to users.

Contoso Food Finder

Fourth Coffee Shop – Cafés in your area

  • Ordinary dictionary use of a term

Here, Contoso Windows is bidding on the term “windows”, with the ad referring to actual windows, and not the Microsoft product (brand) Windows.

Contoso Windows

Affordable window cleaners in your area

Similarly, Contoso Studios is bidding on the term “fine art”, the ad is referring to actual fine art, and not the brand term School of Fine Art

Contoso Studios

Fine art by respected local artists

  • Comparative advertising

Here, the Contoso Insurance Compare site offers a service to users by providing helpful information. Claims made by this type of site would need to be supported by independent research to attest to their veracity.

Contoso Insurance Compare

Find the best insurance for you

So there you have it! If you have run through this check list and still believe that the usage of your brand terms in paid search advertising is in violation of our policies, you can escalate your complaint via the relevant Bing Ads intellectual property concern form.

Again, as a reminder we do not act as mediators for trademark or other IP disputes between advertisers. As a first step we encourage you to contact the other party to solve the issue directly with them.

I hope I’ve helped clarify when the use of trademark terms in ad copy and at keyword level is permitted. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Bing Ads Support or visit the Bing Ads forums.

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#InfoBites – How Quality Score Can Improve Your Performance and Save You Money

Understanding Quality Score and knowing how to improve it will not only improve your campaign performance, but could also save you money. So, what is Quality Score?


Let’s start with this question: Who is going to win this race?

It’s impossible to tell from the picture. We need more information on the swimmers; how are they performing now as the picture's being taken; how were they performing previously, and how are their competitors' performing? With this information we’re in a better position to determine the winner.

Replace the swimmers in the race with keywords in the marketplace and Quality Score is the answer to the same questions; how is your keyword performing now; how was your keyword performing historically; and how is the same keyword performing for your competitors? Quality Score is therefore a measure of your keyword's performance and competitiveness in the marketplace.

Quality Score looks at a number of factors from whether a keyword participates in an auction to the quality of the ad's website. It then produces a score between 1 and 10 (with 10 being the highest). Your Quality Score is updated daily, and is made up of 3 sub-scores.

In other words, the sub-scores measure the following:

  1. Expected Click Through Rate – The likelihood your Ad will be clicked & how your keyword competes against others targeting the same traffic.
  2. Ad Relevance – The relevance of the Search Query, to your Ad and your Landing Page.
  3. Landing Page Experience – The expected and actual customer experience when landing on your Website.


How is Quality Score calculated?


Each sub-score is marked as either ‘above average’, ‘average’, or ‘below average’. When the sub-scores are combined, they produce your Quality Score.  


Note: Where a Quality Score is below 6, your Ad has limited eligibility to serve.

Why is Quality Score important?


1. Improving your Quality Score can lower your Cost per Click (CPC) in a given Ad Position.

 How?   CPC is calculated as   Competitors Bid * Competitors Quality Score     

                                                                Your Quality Score

 So, the higher your Quality Score, the lower your CPC, or the less you spend per click in your ad position.


2. Improving your Quality Score can have a positive impact on the future performance of your keywords.

Remember, Quality Score looks back at historical performance. In the future, your Quality Score will look back at your performance today.


3. Quality Score sub-scores indicate where, when and how you can improve your overall performance.


If your Expected Click Through Rate is ‘average’ or ‘below average’:

a) Improve your impressions, clicks and CTR (by improving your Ad Copy, your bid, your Ad Position, or organising your campaigns);

b) Remove underperforming ads and keywords;

c) Add only relevant keywords;

d) Make your ad grab the attention of your audience

If your ad relevance is ‘average’ or ‘below average’:

a) Group related keywords and ads into their own ad group and create a unique landing page for the ad group;

b) Make sure your ad is relevant to the search query:

c) Give customers an overview of your products and services; 

d) Avoid keyword stuffing (too many keywords for the same landing page)


If your landing page experience is ‘average’ or ‘below average’:

a) Improve your website quality and make sure your landing page loads quickly;

b) Link your destination URL’s to the correct webpages;

c) Make sure your webpage content adheres to the Bing Ads editorial policies

d) Keep advertising links on your webpages to a minimum;

e) Use original in-depth content. 

3. Improving your Quality Score sub-scores can have a positive influence over your Ad Position

 While Quality Score is not used in determining Ad Rank, there is an indirect relationship between these two scores, where improving one can positively influence the other.

Quality Score is assigned to each keyword, but for easier visibility of your performance, we’ve also assigned a Quality Score to your Campaigns and Ad Group. These aren’t merely an average of all your keyword Quality Scores in that Campaign or Ad Group, but an impression weighted average, meaning the Quality Score appropriately reflects the bigger impact of your highest impression keywords.

Use these Campaign and Ad Group level Quality Scores to identify where your keywords are performing well, and where they could be more competitive. Then drilldown to use the individual sub-scores as action signals to improve your Quality Score.

For this, and more, find attached an ‘all you need to know’ one pager on Quality Score.


Check out other articles in the #InfoBites Series:

How Ad Position Can Impact Your Performance

Understanding Your Audience Can Help Improve Your Performance





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Meet Marketing Made Easy – Bing Ads @Dmexco 2015 in Cologne!



On September 16th & 17th 2015 Microsoft and other giants of the digital industry are exhibiting at the Dmexco 2015 trade fair in Cologne. The Bing Ads team is excited to be part of a larger “OneMicrosoft” dmexco presence under the banner “Marketing Made easy”.

With over 30,000 attendees expected this year, dmexco is regarded as one of the leading international events in the digital industry. “Bridging Worlds” is the theme of this year’s dmexco, with the aim being to introduce attendees to the best possible strategies in the field of Marketing in the digital era.

Microsoft’s recently launched Windows 10 will be a big topic at the “OneMicrosoft” booth. But what impact will Windows 10 have on Bing Ads direct advertisers and agencies? Put simply, more traffic for their business.


Bing is completely integrated in the entire Windows 10 concept, which translates into increased volume for Bing Ads advertisers through the whole product portfolio of Windows 10 devices.

 Bing Ads is entirely integrated in Windows 10 


Representatives from Bing Ads sales, marketing and management as well as from the Bing Ads editorial and tools support teams are on hand for personal 1:1 client meetings and optimization clinics. To request a meeting, simply email us at An experience lounge, where a variety of Windows phones, touch laptops and much more can be picked up and tried out will also be integrated into the booth.


The booth is going to be located in Hall 7.1.


Meet Bing Ads in Hall 7.1 Booth B – 049 C – 040


You can find more information about the booth here.


Be sure to return to the “OneMicrosoft” booth at the end of the first day, where our DJ hosted booth party offers the opportunity for networking and socializing with the team over some drinks and finger foods.




Finally, when at the event make sure to take part in our fun Bing Ads dmexco selfie “contest”*. Simply take a picture or selfie at the Microsoft booth, post it to twitter @bingads using the hashtag #Dmexco and you can collect some great giveaways from our stand hosts and also be entered into our draw for a Lumia 640 XL phone!  


 Bing Ads Selfie „Contest“*


Lumia 640 XL Price



The Bing Ads Team is looking forward to welcoming you to our “One Microsoft” booth at Dmexco 2015!



 *Veranstalter des Gewinnspiels ist die Microsoft Deutschland GmbH, Konrad-Zuse-Straße 1, 85716 Unterschleißheim. Die Gewinner werden durch ein Los bestimmt. An der Ziehung nehmen alle Messebesucher, die ein Foto von sich auf dem Microsoft Stand auf Facebook oder Twitter mit den oben aufgelisteten Hashtags bis 23:59 Uhr am 20.08.2015  hochgeladen haben. Es entscheidet der Zeitpunkt der Veröffentlichung. Die Gewinner werden auf der Bing Ads Facebook Seite/ Bing Ads Twitter Seite/ Bing Ads Instagram Seite bekanntgegeben und müssen sich innerhalb von maximal 30 Tagen nach Bekanntgabe der Gewinner bei dem Veranstalter über einen der oben genannten Social Media Kanäle melden zwecks Bestimmung des Weges für den Preiserhalt.

Teilnahmeberechtigt ist jeder, der das 18. Lebensjahr vollendet hat. Von der Teilnahme ausgenommen sind Mitarbeiter von Microsoft und deren Angehörige sowie Amtsträger und für den öffentlichen Dienst besonders Verpflichtete. Verlost werden zwei Nokia Lumia 640 XL Smartphones. Die Gewinner erklären sich mit einer Veröffentlichung ihrer Namen und Foto auf der Bing Ads Facebook Seite/ Bing Ads Twitter Seite/ Bing Ads Instagram Seite einverstanden. Die Ausbezahlung der Preise in bar ist nicht möglich. Der Rechtsweg ist ausgeschlossen. Gewährleistungsansprüche hinsichtlich der Gewinne sind gegenüber Microsoft Deutschland GmbH ausgeschlossen.  


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#InfoBites - Understanding Your Audience Can Help Improve Your Performance

Understanding the search behaviour of your audience can significantly improve your online advertising performance. To highlight and demonstrate some of the Bing Ads reporting capabilities currently at your disposal, we’ve taken a closer look at all audience behaviour (on PC, Tablet and Smartphones) in the UK market on Bing Ads from January to May (2015) to better establish when clicks are being generated, and when these clicks result in conversions.

How to read the graph: 15% of all clicks had taken place on a Monday, 14.5% on a Tuesday etc. 15.5% of all conversions had taken place on a Monday, 14.8% on a Tuesday etc.

Note the marginal lifts in both click and conversion activity from Sunday to Tuesday, and again on Thursday. But what if this reflected your audience? Your Return on Investment (ROI) could dramatically improve by increasing your bids on the days showing your marginal lifts, and you can find this out today. But first, let’s say you wanted to dig a little deeper and find out what devices are driving these trends.


PC clicks and conversions are higher during the working week, whereas Tablet clicks increase by 37% from Friday to Sunday with conversions increasing by 32% over the same period. Smartphones show a similar trend with clicks increasing by 19% from Friday to Sunday and conversions by 15%.


Additionally, you can identify the hours in which most of your ads have appeared, have been clicked and when your conversions had taken place. To demonstrate, we’ve again looked at all audience behaviour (on PC, Tablet and Smartphones) in the UK market on Bing Ads from January to May (2015), this time grouping into Weekdays and Weekends.

How to read the graph: Click % = The percentage of overall daily clicks per hour. Conversion % = The percentage of overall daily conversions per hour.

As previously stated, understanding your audience and knowing when to update your bids and budget during periods of increased activity can be a major contributor in maximising your ROI. For example, if your audience trends resembled the above two hourly graphs, you would note that on a weekday (first graph) although clicks start to fall in the evening, conversions rise, highlight the importance of having enough budget at the end of the day to benefit from these valuable conversions.

So how can you do this yourself?

1.   Open your Bing Ads Account and download a Performance Report with ‘Day of Week’ or ‘Hour of Day’ as the unit of time.


2.   From the output of your Performance Report, identify the days and times most suitable for bid boosting.


3.   Add bid adjustment in the Ad Schedule and monitor the progress.


Stay tuned for more insights in the #InfoBites Series.

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