Agencies: Enter the Bing Ads Back-to-School Sweepstakes

If you saw Shelby Gagnon's post, 7 tips to rule Back-to-School, that went up earlier this week, you know that this is the second largest retail period following the winter holidays and represents a $75 billion opportunity with Back-to-College representing 65% of that spend.1 Back-to-School is not a last-minute shopping season; roughly two-thirds of people begin shopping at least three weeks or more before school starts.2 Electronics and computer-related equipment lead in spending with an average of $364 per shopper, followed by clothes, shoes and school supplies. On average, 57% of all parents now research online before purchasing in-store. 2

To prepare digital agencies for this year’s back-to-school season, we have put together some interesting insights, best practices for ad performance, heat maps of top word combinations per device type, some compelling facts about advertising with Bing Ads, and launched our first-ever “Back-to-School Sweepstakes” for agencies along with the official rules about the contest. You can find all of these resources on the Bing Ads Agency Hub.

bing ads back to school agency

We want to thank agencies for choosing Bing Ads, and to make our relationship more exciting, we are pleased to announce the agency “Back-to-School Sweepstakes.” Participation in the contest is voluntary, and there are two ways to participate:

1. Sign up new accounts in Bing Ads to earn one sweepstakes entry for every new account added. Simply set up the accounts with the support of a Bing Ads account manager.

2. Earn or renew credentials as a Bing Ads Accredited Professional to receive one additional sweepstakes entry. Online resources are available to help prepare for the accreditation exam.

bing ads back to school agencyEach eligible entry will be entered to win one of our exciting prizes, including a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (1), Xbox One with Kinect (5), or a $100 pre-paid Amex or Visa card (10). In addition, the agency with the most sweepstakes entries will be eligible to win a Surface Pro 3. These offers are only available from May 1 - June 15, 2015, so please notify us right away if you are able to take advantage of them.

As an extra incentive, we will give agents $100 in free ad credit for one new client account they add during the sweepstakes. Please email to get started, claim your coupon to enter for a chance to win some cool prizes.

Have fun and good luck!


1.  National Retail Federation 2014 Back-to-School Survey. 2. Deloitte. 2014 Back-to-School Survey Rising to the Head of the Class. 3. Monthly Consumer Survey, National Retail Federation, July 2014.



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Trademark escalations – How to get an ID link for an ad query

Following-on from an interesting article dedicated to detailing the nuances of trademark policy, today we’ll focus on R-Links and how this element is critical to the completion of the most detailed review of possible trademark infringements.

What is an R-Link?

The R-Link is nothing more than the link that helps us to identify in our internal system each specific ad that appears in Bing and Yahoo Search.

Why use an R-Link?

Like fingerprints to a detective, R-Links are vital for the editorial team to retrieve all the details of each reported ad which in turn allows us to perform a complete investigation of possible infringements of our intellectual property policy.

Therefore, when R-links are missing from a request, it becomes difficult for us to conduct an effective review of possible incorrect uses of trademark terms, even when other details relating to the potentially transgressing ad are provided.

Please remember to always include the R-link(s) of the ad(s) that you feel are not in accordance with our editorial guidelines into the dedicated space of our trademark escalation form. To reiterate the message of the blog linked above, the onus is on the trademark owner to resolve possible trademark issues directly with the advertiser they deem to be in the wrong following a review of our policy guidelines.

In order to retrieve the R-Link of an ad you can follow a series of quick and easy steps:

  • Right click on the ad
  • Select ‘copy shortcut’ from the cascading menu


Example 1

  • Paste the link into the dedicated space of our trademark submission form: 


example 2

Or alternatively:

  • Click on the comic cloud that appears on the right hand side of each ad
  • Copy the R-link from the dedicated space
  • Paste it into the dedicated space of our trademark submission form


Note: Usually R-Links are very long links, so make sure that you copy and paste the full link before submitting any escalation to our editorial team. They are usually formatted as follows:

You can also add multiple R-Links to your escalation, but please make sure to separate them by hitting the <Enter>/<Return> key before adding a different link.

After submitting the trademark escalation form, it can take up to 48 hours for the investigation to be completed and subsequent receipt of communication from the editorial team. This communication will explain whether the ad highlighted is using trademark inappropriately or if it is in compliance with our policies, thus confirming which decision has been taken.


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7 tips to rule Back-to-School

From a consumer's perspective, talking about Back-to-School (BTS) shopping before the kids are even out of school for the summer may seem a bit early. From an advertiser's perspective, however, knowing that many consumers start their BTS shopping mid-summer, it makes perfect sense.

Part of being successful with PPC advertising involves researching your audience and leveraging those insights to build campaigns that have the right combination of ad copy and keywords to drive a great return on investment. Given that BTS is the second-largest retail season -- worth $74.9 billion[1] -- any advertiser hoping to boost sales during it should start planning their campaigns now so that they'll be ready to go when consumers are ready to buy.  

This year will bring big changes in shopping behavior, with more use of mobile  for searching and spending, as well as some emerging trends.[2] Expect online shopping to continue to grow; last year, 45 percent of back-to-college buys and 38 percent of K-12 items sold online.[3] Online influences in-store shopping, as well. The majority of shoppers have researched online before heading out.[4]

Here's what you need to know to rate with back-to-school shoppers:

1. Electronics rule

As classrooms go digital, laptops and tablets are the major items accounting for the increased spending. The average shopper will spend $364 on electronics of all kinds, compared to $249 for clothing, the second-largest expenditure category.

2. Mom: Chief Mobile Officer

Busy, multitasking mothers are apt to rely on mobile devices to get stuff done no matter where they are – including handling back-to-school shopping. Almost half of all moms use mobile devices to look for coupons. Beyond that, their mobile behavior is different when they're at home, where they're more apt to compare prices, browse for items online and research items on store websites. Once they hit the mall, they're more likely to check their loyalty points or scan online reviews.[5]

Almost all mothers (89 percent) say that coupons and deals are important factors in back-to-school purchase decisions.[6] You'll get high marks from mobile moms when you add Sitelink ad extensions that send them straight to your coupons or offer pages.

3. Move to mobile

Moms are not the only ones relying more on mobile. Mobile commerce overall grew 42 percent in 2014, while last August, 4 out of 10 visits to top retail sites were mobile,[7] with 22 percent of back-to-college shoppers buying right from their phones.[8]

Mobile shoppers are really different: they spend half the time on websites than those using a PC do. Smartphone users are most likely to compare prices and redeem coupons[9]. To capture mobile dollars, don't forget those Sitelink ad extensions to quickly get shoppers to the right spot. TIP: Be sure to put your most important content in the middle of the screen for maximum engagement with mobile users.

4. Mix and match

Retailers that want to get an A for effort will let shoppers buy online and pick up or return items in the store. Extra credit goes to those who offer free shipping for Back-to-School.[10]   

5. Kids are flaunting it

Do you know about "haul" videos? Video bloggers love to show off purchases in these home-made videos – and haul videos strongly influence other kids. A full 80 percent of college students say that product review sites, blogs and video blogs influence back-to-school buys,[11] while 40 percent of those who watch haul videos will go to the stores that were mentioned in them.[12]

6. Need to know

Everyone's getting even more techie, as evidenced by some emerging search terms on the Yahoo Bing Network. The top searches for tech trends include note-taking apps and tools like Microsoft OneNote, followed by wearables devices, and text-to-speech tools.[13]

bing ads back to school

7. Time it right

The Back-to-School frenzy really heats up three weeks to a month before school starts, but 23 percent are early birds, hitting it more than two months before the first school bell rings.

Back-to-School searches on the Yahoo Bing Network begin to peak in mid-July, but click-through rates for the top search terms peak in different weeks from the beginning of June through the end of September. On mobile, click-through rates generally peak in mid-June.[14] Take advantage of high click-through rate weeks for your category this Back-to-School season.

 bing ads back to school

Interested in learning more? We've got even more data on search and shopping behavior in our Back-to-School presentation:

For more seasonal and vertical insights check out the Bing Ads Industry Insights Portal.

[1] Source: National Retail Federation 2014 Back-to-School Survey.

[2] Monthly Consumer Survey, National Retail Federation, July 2014.

[3] Natl Retail Federation op. cit.

[4] Source: Deloitte. 2014 Back-to-School Survey Rising to the Head of the Class.

[5] Punchtab Survey. Back-To-School Shopping & Decision-Making Moms, July 2014.

[6] Punchtab op. cit.

[7] Experian, Back-to-School Trends Marketers Must Know, August 2014.

[8] School and College Trends, August 2014

[9] Punchtab Survey. Back-To-School Shopping & Decision-Making Moms, July 2014.

[10] Source: Deloitte. 2014 Back-to-School Survey Rising to the Head of the Class.

[11] Fluent, Level of influence of select sources on back-to-school purchasing decisions, August 2014.

[12] eMarketer, “Haul Videos Haul in Back-to-School Shoppers,” September 2014.

[13] Microsoft internal query data on Owned & Operated, PC, Tablets. Data range: 5/31/2014 to 10/3/2014

[14] Ibid.

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Bing Ads Engineering is headed to Portland for #HEROConf

Our managers have decided it's time to untether us from our offices, cubicles and conference rooms and let us out into the sunlight where coders and program managers run free from time to time.  We're headed to Portland, OR for the PPC Hero Conference next week!

With the exception of Cork, we're a relatively new bunch when it comes to attending PPC conferences. Given the high concentration of SEM experts and power users who'll be in attendance, we're super excited about the prospect of picking some of your brains for feedback and new ideas on taking Bing Ads from Underdog to Wonderdog. Momentum is building, so we’re honing in on refining the user experience to help keep it going... we can’t wait to talk to you!

You'll find us at the Bar Takeover by Bing on Monday night from 8 to 10pm (shuttles leave the Hilton for the Leftbank Annex at 7:30pm) and at the Bing booth on Tuesday between 9:30 and 11:30am. If you've got a few minutes to spare either Monday night or Tuesday morning and care to share your thoughts with us, we'd love to hear from you. You can rest assured that any feedback will be shared broadly with our Engineering team to help inform product planning this summer.

bing ads engineering hero conference

bing ads engineering hero conference

bing ads engineering hero conference

bing ads engineering hero conference

bing ads engineering hero conference

bing ads engineering hero conference

bing ads engineering hero conference

Given how many of us are brand new to attending conferences, please do keep an eye out for us and say hello if possible. As much as we love our co-workers and will absolutely enjoy the time we get to spend with them in a setting outside the office, we're all really looking forward to meeting our customers and hearing about their experiences and perspectives on how we can make Bing Ads the platform you want it to be.

Safe travels to everyone heading to Portland, we can't wait to meet you!


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