Bing Ads and you: How to plan a successful PPC campaign

In the last post in the Bing Ads and You series, we went over collecting audience insights to anchor your marketing plan. Today, we will again leverage MaternaLIFT’s case study to illustrate how to plan a successful search engine marketing (SEM) campaign. Bing Ads teamed up with Kelly Malm, Digital Marketing Strategist and owner of Digital Conflux to develop a campaign proposal for MaternaLIFT. 

The following insights summarize what we've learned from Kelly while crafting the plan.

1. The ultimate goal of any marketing campaign is converting prospects into lifetime customers. Keep this top of mind then next time you create an SEM campaign proposal for your clients.  

To create a campaign proposal for MaternaLIFT, we studied the business’s web analytics data to assess our paid search channel’s contribution to its total visitor volume, estimate the additional paid search traffic generated by the campaign and what the long-term impact on other visitor channels may be as a result.

bing ads plan successful campaign

We also leveraged MaternaLIFT’s web analytics data to assess how visitors react to different landing pages and focused on those with the highest visitor engagement (lower bounce rate, higher pages/session and session duration) to craft our proposal.

bing ads plan successful campaign

2.  SEM is all about having a measurable outcome.  Don’t rush the process of carefully defining your goals and success metrics, a critical feature of a promising campaign proposal.

For MaternaLIFT, we took the following steps to create performance metrics:

1.       Identify web events contributing to MaternaLIFT’s business objectives and list conversion trackers we will deploy.

2.       Assign value to each type of conversions based upon MaternaLIFT’s input - different activities contribute different values to your business (e.g. scheduling an appointment has higher value than signing up for newsletter), assign proper value for each type of conversions enable business to properly measure return on ads spend.

3.       Specify the process to validate whether conversion trackers are work correctly to avoid looking a compass not pointing north   


3.  Study your client’s business structure to recommend the optimal campaign structure for that business in your proposal.  

Mirroring your SEM campaign structure with your client’s business structure will enable you to apply business information unique to that merchant into the SEM campaign, making it easier to coordinate online and offline marketing down the road. We leveraged the following charts to help MaternaLIFT’s understand a traditional SEM campaign structure and best practices before brainstorming on how we will reflect its business structure on its new SEM campaign.

bing ads plan successful campaign 

bing ads plan successful campaign

bing ads plan successful campaign

With your search engine marketing plan’s relatively short shelf life (given the accelerated pace of new products and a constantly changing marketplace dynamic), it’s more important than ever to regularly review and update that plan.

Through this project we've learned that there's a steep learning curve on how to grow a business and how to develop a campaign; this blog post series aims to help busy merchants like you learn more about the foundation of digital advertising.

Until next time,


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Updates on how we match keywords

Updates on How We Match Keywords

By: Matt Bisson

Understanding a searcher’s intent based on their search query is never a perfect science. Adding stop words, characters, symbols, etc... to a keyword or query can add ambiguity to the definition and the intent. Most of the time, the addition of these stop words, characters or symbols deliver the same intent.  For example, a user searching on the term “buy a car” vs. “buy car” have the same intent and interact with ads similarly.  However, in a few select instances these keywords may deliver different intent.  For example, a user searching on the term “the office” vs. “office” could be looking for different things (The TV show vs. Microsoft Office) and thus could engage with an ad differently based on their particular intent. Today in Bing Ads, we treat these terms as one through a process called normalization – the process by which extraneous characters, such as punctuation marks, special characters and stop words are removed from keywords in Bing Ads campaigns and then dynamically handled when ads are served against user queries in the auction.

While normalizing keywords provides you a better way to scale your keyword lists, we have received feedback that for some highly specific keywords this approach limits precision and control. That’s why starting May 21st we are making improvements in our matching technology.

Normalization Improvements for Better Control

You may recall our blog post last spring announcing relaxed constraints for uploading keywords containing stop words and characters. This relaxed constraint was in preparation for upcoming changes in our normalization process.  Starting in late May, we will begin incorporating this enhanced normalization logic into our auction process.  A description of the changes can be found in the table below along with examples of how raw user queries are normalized today on Bing Ads, and what the query will look like after the normalization change. 

As we transition to this new normalization process, we encourage you to review your keyword list and add any relevant characters or words into your account to ensure you maximize traffic from your ads. Moving forward to show on queries containing stop words you will need to bid on them directly in Bing Ads. A great way to learn what words to add is to opt into broad match and review search query term reports to understand what users are searching for.

Close Variants Changes

In addition to the normalization changes, we will be removing the opt-out functionality for close variants starting May 21st.  Advertisers today are already automatically opted into close variants, so most of you will see little to no impact.

Close variants help drive highly qualified and relevant click volume to your campaigns by maximizing your presence on queries that are the most relevant to your products and services.  Since testing close variants last August, on average we’ve seen ~2-3% growth in click volume while retaining existing ROI for advertisers.  With close variants, advertisers can scale their keywords without spending time building keyword lists of plurals, misspellings and other close variants that have similar intent.

For those who are concerned about matching to some of these variants, you can leverage negative keywords to help control your traffic and costs. The search query term report is great way to see what queries your keywords are matching to, how they perform and what negative keywords you may want to consider adding to your account.  Additionally, Bing Ads prefers to match queries to keywords that are identical so you can still add your own close variants, and adjust the bids based on performance, which becomes even more valuable with the enhanced normalization logic.

Negative Keyword Conflicts

Finally, we’re also making some small changes to how our negative keywords match. Negative keywords are intended to selectively suppress ads when your keywords are matching to queries that may not be relevant to your products or services.  Sometimes, however, negative keywords are added that completely block one or more of the keywords that you’ve intentionally bidded on. For example, if you have the keyword [discount shoes], adding the negative keyword “discount shoes” will cause [discount shoes] to never match.

Moving forward, we will honor your bidded keyword over your negative keyword where there is a complete conflict. In the examples provided below, you can see the scenarios where we will now serve your ad on the query discount shoes where there is a direct conflict.  Note that we will continue to honor your negative keyword on queries like discount shoes in seattle and find me discount shoes, unless those queries also have conflicting bidded keywords.  In addition, we will continue to honor your negative keywords in cases of partial conflict.  For example, the keyword “discount shoes” is in partial conflict with the negative keyword [discount shoes].  We are sensitive to the fact that this configuration of keywords is common and often intentional. 

The different kinds of conflicts are summarized in the following table, and case affected by the new changes are highlighted.


If you have keywords affected by this changes that you would prefer not to match, keep in mind that you can always use the negative keyword conflict report to discover these keywords and then either pause or remove them.

How to prepare for these upcoming changes

To prepare your campaigns for the upcoming changes, we encourage you to review your keyword lists and search query reports and add new keywords that will no longer be normalized.  To maximize your click volume, consider opting into broad match if you haven’t already. Additionally, you can leverage search query reports to consider any negative keywords you may want to add.

We often hear our customers asking for more efficiency and more volume from us and we believe these changes will help you better manage campaigns and achieve better performance.

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Bing Ads PPC goal series: Tips to help drive more conversions

bing ads conversionsYou’re here for a reason. If you’ve invested the time, effort and funds into advertising online, you want to make sure that those precious resources aren’t going to waste; you want a decent return on your investment. No doubt you’re keeping an eye on your clicks, but what about your conversions?

What is a conversion?

A conversion is the ultimate purpose of your campaign; it is as you define it. Do you want to make sales? Then, for you, a conversion would be a customer clicking on the “Submit order” button after following your online check out process. Are you trying to drive sign-ups for your newsletter? Then, for you, a conversion would be when a new reader clicks “Submit” after entering their email address to subscribe. No matter what you consider a conversion to be, it’s a crucial metric in any online advertising strategy.

Clicks vs. Conversions

Clicks tell you that your ad was compelling enough and your keywords relevant enough to entice a user to click through to visit your site. A conversion tells you that your web site content was relevant and compelling enough to earn that user’s attention, time or money. Clicks tell you that your ads are doing well, conversions tell you that your ability to “sell” your product on your web site is effective. The more conversions you earn, the better your return on your advertising investment will be.

Here are 3 tips for improving your campaigns’ conversions:

Focus on what works. If you have campaigns that are bringing in the results you want, allocate more of your budget to those campaigns and increase bids on your top-converting terms to ensure they stay competitive.

Implement/increase accelerated budgets. If you’re using the standard budget (default), your ads may be spread out evenly throughout the day, but you also might be missing out on searches happening when your ads aren’t showing. An accelerated budget shows your ad as many times as possible throughout the day for eligible searches, which is helpful when you’re talking about a campaign that’s converting really well.

Relevance is key. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and then take a look at every aspect of your website as it relates to your campaign. Do your chosen keywords and ads tightly align to the landing pages you’re sending users to? Are the terms you’ve chosen the industry standard descriptors that someone would most likely use to find your products/services? If you’re not sure where to start, try reviewing your Quality Score to see which areas are most in need of attention.

How do I track conversions with Bing Ads?

Glad you asked! You can track conversions in your Bing Ads campaigns by implementing Universal Event Tracking (UET). While I could go into the specifics on that here, to do so would really be re-inventing the wheel; everything you need to know about UET is right there on the page you'll land on after clicking that link. That said, if you haven't set up UET yet and you'd like to be able to start tracking your conversions, there are resources on that page that will explain what it is, how it works, what you can track with it and how to get started.

For more information and additional resource on improving your conversions, visit the Get more conversions page here on the Bing Ads site.

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App Extensions now available in Bing Ads

Appification is the new norm.

As consumers spend more time on mobile devices, advertisers are increasingly asking for ways to reach relevant customers and promote their apps. With millions of apps available across multiple platforms, app discoverability is the key challenge. Ads that help users discover apps account for 25 percent of all mobile ad investment.

We’re pleased to announce a solution for Bing Ads customers – App Extensions! This is a simple new way to reach relevant customers and promote installs for your apps using Bing Ads.

What’s New

Starting today, App Extensions will be available on mobile (Windows, iOS, Android), tablet and PC. 

Bing Ads app extensions

App Extensions allows you to promote apps to help increase downloads. App Extensions are optimized for app discovery and driving downloads using smart detection of operating systems and devices, connecting searchers with the apps in the appropriate app store. Given that all app stores now also support the ability to remotely install apps, searches can help promote apps for multiple platforms on PC desktops, allowing for greater reach. 


App Extensions work across devices including smartphone, tablet and PC. In addition, you'll also find...

•  Increased customer engagement. Promote app installs as a clear call-to-action within your ads to drive installs and engagement.
•  Detailed reporting. Track clicks and app installs as conversions alongside other performance metrics at the campaign and ad group level.
•  Usability. Manage extensions at the campaign or ad group level, plus automated metadata changes from the app store (icon, ratings, etc.).
•  Smart detection. App Extensions provide automatic detection of the user’s device and operating system and sends customers to the appropriate app store.

How to Use and Track

To set up a new App Extension, select it from the Ad Extensions tab, and then the Campaign or Ad Group you want to apply it to.

Bing Ads app extensions

You can then select an app or add a new one. Once you save your new app extension, it will go through the editorial review process to verify the app name and icon. 

Bing Ads app extensions

During the setup of new App Extensions, you also have the option to add a “Measurement URL”, which allows you to track app installs via a third party. Note that a goal will be automatically created in your library of Goals and Conversions so that you can begin tracking your conversions with the new feature. 

Bing ads app extensions

App Extensions’ performance will be reported alongside other extensions in Bing Ads, giving you the same great data you’re used to: Impressions, Clicks, CTR (%), Spend, Average CPC, Conversions (app installs measured using third party measurement support). This data can be pulled at the account, campaign or ad group level via Ad, Keyword or Ad Extensions reports.

Bing Ads app extensions

For a detailed step-by-step and guidance on how to add app install tracking, visit this Help page. You'll also find additional information on this new feature on the App Extensions page here on the Bing Ads site.

There's More to Come

App extensions are part of a package of extensions from Bing Ads designed to deliver relevant, high quality volume and help you reach more audience. This is just the first step of our journey to bring you solutions to promote your apps and re-engage app users with deep linking ads. As you read this the team is hard at work on the App Install and Engagement Ads. We would love to continue to hear from you and your thoughts. Questions, concerns and thoughts are candidly welcomed at

Pankesh Jhaveri

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