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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Improve your online audience reach with Bing Solutions

With the holidays just around the corner, marketers everywhere are looking for ways they can stretch every dollar to ensure the best possible return on investment as the peak shopping season heats up.

Although you're most likely aware of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising as one option for increasing your exposure to online audiences, you may not know that there are several other options that Bing offers to help get your info in front of eyeballs who are searching for the products and services you provide.

For the sake of brevity and simplicity, let's take a look at those you'll find sharing web real estate with Bing Ads on the Bing Solutions page.

Bing Webmaster Tools

bing webmaster toolsWith Bing Webmaster Tools, you can...

  • Submit your site to Bing for inclusion in our organic search results
  • Generate reports that tell you where traffic is coming to your site from
  • Get recommendations on areas to improve on your site
  • Learn more about what people are searching for to help inform future updates


What's more, there's currently a promotion running through the end of next month for new users that includes an offer for $100 in USD credits for new Bing Ads advertisers*. Visit the Bing Webmaster Tools page for more information.

Bing Places for Business

You may already be showing up as a business listing on Bing, but with Bing Places for Business, you can claim that listing and add eye-catching information like photos, hours of operation, services offered and methods to contact you.

Bing Places for Business is a must for reaching mobile customers who are looking for what your business offers while on-the-go.

For more on both of these options, stop by the Bing Solutions page, where you'll also find resources related to apps & websites.

* Offer Details: Offer expires 9/30/2015 (midnight Pacific Time), and is available only to qualified advertisers who meet the following eligibility criteria: Open to new and verified Bing Webmaster Tools account holders who own their own Website and open a new Bing Ads account; a “new” account is one that has been open fewer than 30 days prior to the date of coupon redemption. Your account will be evaluated daily to verify you meet the eligibility criteria. When criteria is met, a Bing Ads coupon will be sent to each qualified advertiser by email in approximately 3 business days from date of verification. See full offer details here.

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Convert Product Ad Campaigns to Bing Shopping Campaigns

Ever since we launched Bing Shopping Campaigns (BSC) in July, we have been looking at how to make your transition from traditional Product Ads campaigns to BSC easier. As part of that effort, we are very excited to introduce a new tool: Convert Product Ad campaigns.

If you have been struggling to find time to upgrade to Shopping Campaigns, this tool is designed to make your life easier.  You’ll find this easy-to-use conversion tool under Tools, in the header at the top of Bing Ads:

bing shopping campaigns

In the Tools drop-down menu, click Convert Product Ad campaigns, where you’ll find a Status Page with the following information:

  • All your PA campaigns that are eligible for conversion to BSC
  • The corresponding status of each Campaign – “ready to be converted), or “in progress,” and whether it was then “Successful” or “Failed.”
  • A link to more details describing any error that may have prevented a successful migration
  • A list of all successfully converted campaigns


If you don’t see this right away - don’t worry!  The feature is simply on a rolling release, and will be accessible to all users over the next few days. 

Ready to begin? All you have to do is Check and Click and you’re done: 

1. Check the box next to the Product Ads campaign you want to convert, and

2. Click Convert Campaigns

By default, your newly-created shopping campaigns will be active immediately.

bing shopping campaigns

Key points to note:

  • Once you have converted your Product Ad campaign, you cannot convert the same campaign again.
  • Converting a Product Ad campaign will create a new Shopping campaign based on the existing data. It will not delete or pause the existing Product Ad campaign. NOTE: If you have both your PA and BSC campaigns running in parallel, please expect to see a split in volume across the campaigns.
  • You cannot edit your store ID after your Shopping campaign is created; prior to migration, ensure you have the correct Product Ad extension associated with your Product Ad campaign.
  • Not all information will be converted:

bing shopping campaigns

  • Some Product Ad attributes will be converted to new Shopping campaign attributes. So if your Product Targets are using any of the below, please ensure prior to the migration that you map these columns correctly in your feed and resubmit it, else the converted campaigns won’t match the right products causing issues with delivery.

bing shopping campaigns

  • You can start multiple conversions simultaneously or in a more staggered fashion. We will continue to run the conversion in the backend even after you log off.
  • Please remember to review your campaigns after conversion to ensure that the bids and targets created are in line with your expectations.


Connect with us

We're always looking for feedback on how we can improve Bing Shopping Campaigns to help you do more and work less. We invite you to ping us on Twitter, suggest a feature on the Bing Ads Feature Suggestion Forum, or send us an email with your thoughts to:

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Four tips to charge your new device campaigns

As summer fades to fall, consumers start anticipating the new smartphones, tablets, and wearables that will heat up the holidays, and the accessories that go with them. It’s also the time when device manufacturers often announce new products. For new device advertisers, September and the holidays are prime time for paid search campaigns.

With $10.9 billion in U.S. digital ad spending related to new devices, it’s important for advertisers to have their campaigns tailored and ready for the surge in searches (eMarketer, The U.S. Telecom and Computing and Consumer Electronics Industries 2015: Digital Ad Spending Forecast and Trends, May 2015). Below are four tips to help advertisers prepare for the peaks and connect with more customers.

1. Ready your campaigns for mobile

eMarketer estimates that 68% of American adults have smartphones, and that 9 in 10 smartphone owners use search (eMarketer, US Digital Users: Q1 2015 Complete Forecast, February 2015). What’s more, Bing Ads has found that smartphone users often turn to their phones when searching for their next device or accessory. For new device-related searches across Bing Ads, mobile search volume is on par with or higher than PC and tablet search volume (Microsoft internal analytics: Bing Ads, Owned & Operated, weekly data 5/31/2014-4/10/2015). For an 11-month period ending in April, mobile searches accounted for 49% of all Smartphone-related searches, 48% of all Tablet-related searches, and 41% of all Wearable-related searches. And Accessory advertisers – hold on to your hats! Mobile search volume for Accessories-related searches was more than double PC and tablet search volume – 70% versus 30%.

bing ads device campaigns

Given the size of this opportunity, advertisers need to make sure their campaigns and websites are mobile ready. To optimize their campaigns for mobile devices, advertisers should use Mobile Bid Modifiers to grab top positions and target this active audience.

2. Monitor and respond to product announcements

For Smartphone-, Tablet-, and Wearable-related searches, search volume spikes when new products are announced by the leading manufacturers. It’s important for advertisers to monitor the news and rumors around product launches, and to respond quickly to these traffic spikes. One way is to use Automated Rules to increase campaign budgets automatically when there are high click-through and conversion rates, and to raise keyword bids to keep up with the competition during the spike. This tactic is especially helpful for Smartphone advertisers, because click-through rates and cost-per-click can more than double around the spike in searches.

bing ads device campaigns

After a new product is released, advertisers can take advantage of the secondary market. Prepare for an increase in searches for the last model when consumers look to trade in their old devices or buy the last model at a discount. For example, searches for “iphone 5”, “iphone 5s”, and “iphone 5c” increased after the release of the Apple iPhone 6.

3. Plan for the holidays

Tablet-, Wearable-, and Accessories-related searches all peak during the holiday shopping season – Thanksgiving through New Year’s – when consumers shop for gifts for loved ones and themselves. To stand out from the competition, advertisers can use Product Ads to showcase their offerings or add Sitelink Extensions to highlight promotions. Closer to the holidays, advertisers can also add Location and Call Extensions to capture last-minute shoppers looking for nearby stores.

Wearable fitness trackers get an extra boost during this time as consumers start setting health and wellness goals for the New Year. Last year, “fitbit”-related searches led during the holiday season. This year, smartwatches with fitness-tracking capabilities, like the Apple Watch, may also experience a boost as consumers research new options.

bing ads device campaigns

bing ads device campaigns

4. Take advantage of high CTR and low CPC

Both Tablet and Wearables advertisers can take advantage of high click-through rates and low cost-per-click. Make sure you’re prepared for occasional search spikes by using Automated Rules to automatically adjust your keyword bids.

For Tablet-related searches on Bing Ads between June 2014 and April 2015, the average click-through rate stayed above 2%, while the average cost-per-click remained below $1.60. Unlike other categories, Tablet-related searches remained competitive after the holidays as search volume decreased and competition for “ipad”-related searches continued.

bing ads device campaigns

Because Wearables is an emerging category with high consumer interest, Wearable advertisers enjoy high click-through rates and low cost-per-click throughout the year. On Bing Ads between June 2014 and April 2015, the average click-through-rate stayed above 4%, while the average cost-per-click was below $0.60 most of the period.

bing ads device campaigns

Interested in learning more? We’ve got more search trends and shopper insights in our New Device Launch presentation:


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

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