ICYMI: January Feature Release Summary

Still rubbing the 2015 out of your eyes?  So was I, but then I remembered my new Guided Tours! And Favorites for Mobile! And Image Extensions!  It looks like I'm not alone in being excited about that one:

 

 bing ads image extensions

 

Right there with you, Emma! Take a peek at the summary below, and stay tuned here to the Bing Ads Blog for announcements about new features as they become available.

Keyword Planner v2

The Keyword Planner helps you create and expand search campaigns by providing a single tool for keyword, bid and budget planning. Now you can search for new keywords by landing page URL, get competition benchmarks for ad impression share, see the search volume for a specified time range, and set an individual bid for an ad group or keyword.

Bing AOL Partnership

Bing is now AOL’s Web search provider, providing ads and algorithmic search results to AOL’s properties worldwide that have the capability of Web search. Bing will power web search traffic across all devices for AOL – PC, tablet, and mobile – and on properties such as AOL.com, AOL Mail, AOL Desktop, Autoblog, MapQuest, and more.

All campaigns are automatically opted into AOL traffic, based on current network target settings, and updated reporting values will help you differentiate key data for AOL.

In general, you can anticipate an increase in click volume of 5 to 8 percent with additional AOL search traffic available through Bing Ads. Make sure your budget allows you to take advantage of growing volume availability.

For more details, check out Dalip Tyagi’s post “AOL web search powered by Bing.” To see what exactly will be changing in the Bing Ads interface, take a look at Prince Bajracharya’s post, “Details on Big Ads changes with AOL partnership.”

Improved Auto-Tagging

We said goodbye to manually tagging the destination URLs of your ads with UTM tags when we introduced auto-tagging in 2014. With improved auto-tagging, a UTM tag that identifies the ad group name will be added to existing destination URLs for better reporting.

Update to Ad Group Targeting Language

When importing a Google AdWords campaign that contains multiple target languages, Bing Ads will now select the campaign language with the largest market as your ad group target language. If none of your AdWords target languages are supported in Bing Ads, Bing Ads will flag the campaign as an error.

Stay Tuned

We appreciate your support and input – and most importantly, your partnership in shaping the tools you need to succeed in search advertising!  In case you missed it with the holiday rush, check out the Guided Tours of Remarketing and more, and the latest Opportunities available. 

Comments? Questions? Please visit our Feature Suggestion Forum, or reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook.

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Product Ads campaigns: Transition plan

With the release and success of Bing Shopping Campaigns — a new and optimal way to manage your Product Ads — the next few months will bring you a series of phased stages to help you transition away from the old method of managing Product Ads. We are excited to offer Bing Shopping Campaigns to help you make smarter connections to achieve more by saving you time and allocating your budgets more precisely with improved conveniences like enhanced reporting right down to the ID level.

Phase I

First week of February: All new campaigns for Product Ads will begin leveraging Bing Shopping Campaigns. At this time, you will not be able to create new legacy Product Ads campaigns, but you will continue to be able to manage your existing campaigns.

We recommend that if you have not yet transitioned to Bing Shopping Campaigns, start at your earliest convenience and do so before the start of Phase II in March. We’ll do our best to make sure the transition to Bing Shopping Campaigns goes as smoothly as possible. However, because we are not able to guarantee a lossless transition, it is advisable to move to Bing Shopping Campaigns manually and before the automated transition begins so that you have full control over the transition.

Learn more about the various options available in Bing Shopping Campaigns for a smooth manual transition that you can start implementing immediately. 

Phase II

First week of March: All existing active Product Ads campaigns will begin transitioning to Bing Shopping Campaigns. At this point, you will not be able to modify your existing Product Ads campaigns or create new product targets or extensions. You can pause them or delete them, but beyond that no other operations will be supported.

Please note:

  • We will only transition active Product Ads campaigns. If you have traditional Product Ads campaigns that are running with Bing Shopping Campaigns as well, we will still convert the existing Product Ads campaigns into new Bing Shopping Campaigns. In order to avoid duplication, please pause all your Product Ads campaigns that you have already transitioned to Bing Shopping Campaigns.

 

  • As part of the automatic transition, some Product Target/Campaign Filter attributes will be converted to new Bing Shopping Campaigns attributes.

bing ads product ads bing shopping campaigns

  • Also note that not all information will be converted:

bing ads product ads bing shopping campaigns

Transition checklist

Post migration, please make sure to check the below to ensure that your campaigns have successfully transitioned:

  • Based on the mapping done as mentioned above as part of the migration, please ensure that your feeds have the same mapping. For example, if you are using Bing Ads Labels in your product target, then these should be moved over to the “Custom Label 4” column in your feed.

 

  • Review your new Bing Shopping Campaigns product groups to make sure they are matching to offers. A quick way of doing this is in the Bing Ads UI as follows:

 

a.  Drill into your New Shopping Campaign -> Ad Group -> Product Group tab -> Expand the tree.

b.  Against each node in the Product Group you will three dots, click on that.

c.   A pop-up window will open to show you how many offers from your feed match that condition. You should validate these to make sure the setup is correct.

 bing ads product ads bing shopping campaigns

Phase III

First week of April: All active legacy Product Ads campaigns will be fully transitioned to Bing Shopping Campaigns and will no longer serve from the system , only the new Shopping Campaigns will serve. Don’t worry — you will still be able to retrieve the product target or the offer level reports for the old campaigns.

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: bingads-feedback@microsoft.com.

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The science of brand bidding: Follow-up and FAQs

The pros and cons of bidding on your own brand terms can keep you running in circles. On one hand, bidding on your own brand terms could be a waste of money if your organic results are showing up anyway. On the other, what do you lose (or, what’s the cost) when you don’t invest in bidding on your brand terms?

The data scientists at Bing Ads wanted answers on the brand-term bidding question, so they created tests, conducted the study and compiled the data. Led by Lars Hirsch, our Director of Advertiser Science at Bing Ads, we recently hosted a webinar that detailed the research results and explained the consequences to advertisers who choose to bid on their own brand terms – and likewise, the consequences if you do not. Not only that, we shared how you can run this test with your own data so you too can answer the bid or not to bid question.

Watch the webinar

Get the content

As promised, we’re answering questions we didn’t have time to get to during the webinar and including a quick recap of the most popular questions. If you’d like to share other thoughts or have more questions tell us in the comments or use #AskBingAds on social to join the conversation.

Right. Let's get to it.

Q. The SEO team discourages bidding on brand terms because they will negatively affect organic traffic for brand queries. How do I determine if paid brand keywords are cannibalizing organic traffic?

A.  When it comes to brand-term bidding, partnering with your SEO team is important. Your SEO team needs to know what keywords you’re bidding on and you need to know what terms they’re optimizing for. So this is a great time to work together. Start by sharing our research results and vertical data, found in the webinar content. Then set up your own test (instructions also in the presentation) and share the results. The data doesn’t lie; we suspect your gain in total clicks across organic and paid search as a result of bidding on your own brand terms will convince the SEO team that it’s a good strategy to try. If you don’t see significant increase in total clicks (across your organic and paid results), then brand-term bidding might not work well for you.

Q.  Wait. Are competitors allowed to bid on my business name?

A.  You bet they are. And you can bid on theirs. This policy varies a bit by market; take a closer look at our intellectual property policy and other editorial policies. Note that you can bid on their name with keywords; you cannot use competitor’s names in your ad copy (some rare exceptions can apply).

Q.  How is the brand ad data affected when there is a news story about the company brand?

A.  It depends on your brand and on how national the news story is. If you are testing brand ads by geography (rather than by day of week), and the news story is national, both your control and your test should be equally affected. If the news story is local (say, in Boston) and you’re running tests in Boston and Chicago, then the Boston news story will skew your results and you might want to exclude the results from both Boston and Chicago. If you’re testing brand terms by day of week, and a news story affects just one day disproportionately, you might want to exclude that day from the dataset.

Q.  I’d love to see how other industries/verticals fare in the brand bidding testing. Do you have any of these results available?

A.  To date we’ve published our research data in the financial services, retail and travel industries. If you have a Bing Ads account manager, ask to see our data for your specific vertical.

Q. What if there is nobody advertising for my brand terms?

A.  In this case, your risk from competitors is low, but the research shows that you’d still benefit from an increase in total clicks by running brand ads and bidding on your own brand terms. Take a look at the real data examples below: when the social network brand added a brand campaign the number of clicks increased even without the presence of a competitors ad.

 bing ads brand terms

Q.   Does it matter if your business is local and effectively targets customers within a five to ten-mile radius, such as gymnastics or martial art schools?

A.   With local businesses, running the tests based on geography doesn’t make sense, but testing on a day-of-week basis does. Set up and run the day of week test and then review your results. You may not be dealing with the competition that a bigger brand would, but you still have an opportunity to increase the totally number of clicks you receive, according to our research.

Q.  What if your brand is not in the top three in organic search? Does this still help?

A.   Yes. If you’re not showing on the first search results page organically, the only way you’re going to get clicks for your business is to do paid search. Paid search gives you the power to show up as high as your budget (and ad quality) allow. A paid campaign can help support the rank improvement of your organic listings as a result of adjustments you’ll have to make in order to have a high performing paid campaign: landing page optimization, keyword research, ad copy refinement and testing.

Q.  In your testing, did you look at exact match brand, or brand-broad and brand plus modifier?

A.   Our research looked at all ads aggregated across all match types.     

Q. To clarify, those competitor organic clicks had brand identification?

A. Yes they did.

Q. How did competitor's get 39% of the clicks in the travel example? Weren't the keywords trademarks so competitor's couldn't bid?

A. You cannot use trademarked terms in your ad copy, but you can bid on those keywords.

Q. What is an average impression share a brand receives when brand ads are not being displayed?

A. We only looked at click share, not impression share. The average click share is 75%, but it varies a lot by vertical and type of advertiser/product. For example, for some retail brands we have seen click share in the 35-40% range when the brand owner is not advertising.

Q. My company's brand name does not lend to recognition for our product line but in fact is competitive with a comedian who has an ongoing show in Las Vegas. What can we do to be competitive but not at a high CPC? Do you have any suggestions for testing keywords?

A. Your best bet is going to be using negative keywords, which will prevent your ad from showing on terms related to the comedian. For example, -LasVegas, -comedian and -show will go a long way to preventing your ad from showing on a search that's not yours. For keyword research and testing, give Bing Ads Intelligence a try.

What's next?

Check out the webinar if you missed it and get the content to help you set up and run your own brand bidding test. Once you have your results make sure to act on them and implement!

Watch the webinar

Brand Bidding content

Don’t miss out on our next Advertiser Science webinar! You can register now:

Register: The Kevin Bacon Approach to Keyword Attribution

Date: February 29, 2016

Time: 11:00am-12:00pm PST

We’re excited to share more research and insights from Bing Ads and to hear your thoughts in the comments and at #AskBingAds.

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Cheat sheet: Bing Ads extensions

Paid search advertisers are constantly in pursuit of new ways to make their ads more appealing to searchers. At this point, most have turned to ad extensions to boost their AdWords click-through rates – Google even uses the expected benefit of ad extensions as part of its Ad Rank formula – but far too few of you have applied the same strategy to your ads on Bing! In fact, many people don’t even realize that Bing offers extensions.

Indeed, there are a wide variety of ad extensions available in Bing Ads, some of which are similar to the ones you’ll find in AdWords and some of which are completely different. The good news is, they are just as easy to set up, are displayed at no additional charge and are just as likely to improve your ad performance.

If you’re ready to “bling out” your Bing ads, here’s a rundown of all of the ad extensions at your disposal:

Sitelink & Enhanced Sitelink Extensions

bing ad extensions

What are they?

Sitelink Extensions allow you to include links below your ads promoting various pages on your site. You can even elect to enhance your Sitelinks by adding two lines of descriptive text along with each link (desktop only).

Who should be using them?

Nearly all of you can benefit from these extensions. When Sitelinks are appended to an ad, its surface area practically doubles (or triples, in some instances), making it significantly more prominent than other, smaller ads on the SERP. As a result, these ads can yield up to a 30% higher click-through rate.

The key with Sitelinks is to ensure you’re only providing links to useful, relevant landing pages. Otherwise, they may distract searchers, derailing your efforts altogether. When setting up your extensions, be sure to consider your searchers’ context and include links that will enhance their experience. Get started by enabling Sitelink Extensions in Bing Ads now.

Call Extensions

bing ad extensions

What are they?

Call Extensions give you the opportunity to display your phone number, as well as a click-to-call button, within your ad copy. Bing Call Extensions come in two flavors:

  • Display on ALL devices: The main benefit with this option is that you can enable call tracking to attain in-depth data (call type, duration, etc.) for all PPC-generated phone calls. To do this, a dynamic forwarding number is created to appear in your ads.
  • Display on Smartphones only: With this option, your own phone number will appear in the click-to-call format. Clicks to this line will be reported, however no in-depth call details are tracked.

 

Who should be using them?

For the majority of businesses, phone calls yield more conversions than clicks through to a landing page because they cut out the “middle man” and give the caller direct access to the your sales team. Think about it this way: when you push a searcher to your landing page, you have to anticipate their needs and develop a landing page that matches them. Even with a great landing page, we can’t expect the majority of searchers to convert. On the flipside, a phone call allows the advertiser to connect with the searcher on a personal level. Through these conversations, the advertiser can assess the caller’s needs and recommend a solution, all while building a relationship with them. On average, these calls have proven to be three times more valuable than clicks through to landing pages.

Any advertiser who accepts phone calls should take advantage of call extensions, particularly when advertising to mobile devices. Follow these Call Extension instructions to add a clickable phone number to your ad.

Location Extensions

bing ad extensions

What are they?

Location Extensions allow you to include your business address, phone number and a link with directions to your storefront in your ad copy. When the searcher clicks on the link, it will bring them to a Bing Maps page where your address will be automatically populated.

Who should be using them?

If you want to drive searchers to a physical storefront, implementing Location Extensions is an absolute must. Not only do they help boost foot traffic to your stores, they also increase your ad real estate, making it stand out more prominently on the SERP. As a result, Bing reports that ads with these extensions generally produce 7% to 10% higher click-through rates than those without.

Businesses with multiple storefronts can set up a Location Extension for each of their addresses. Bing will take the searchers’ physical location into account and display links for the two stores closest to them.

Image Extensions

bing ad extensions

What are they?

With Image Extensions, you can upload an image to appear alongside your ad copy. You can upload up to six images (per campaign or ad group) to be used and a unique URL can be associated with each image, giving you the option to point searchers to various webpages. For the time being, these extensions only display on desktop and tablet devices. While ads will typically only show one image extension, Bing announced that they will be testing various formats in the coming months and even shared some of the potential options, which include multi-image carousels and combinations with description text alongside pictures.

Who should be using them?

You may be thinking, why bother using Image Extensions when you can use Product Ads instead? Of course, Product Ads are likely to yield better results (as they are hyper-specific to the search criteria), but the Image Extensions will still prove beneficial in cases where Product Ads are not served. They’re especially exciting for service-based businesses, like hotels, spas and restaurants, who are not eligible to show Product Ads. These companies can use Image Extensions to showcase their facilities or highlight their work.

Incorporating imagery in search ads is incredibly impactful. Not only will they make your ads “pop” on the SERP, they can also convey more details about your offering than a standard text ad. In cases where the product or service shown meets the searchers needs, click through rates are likely to increase. However, in instance where the product is not a good fit, the image may actually deter the searcher from clicking, preventing unqualified clicks. Ultimately, image extensions should make a positive impact on your bottom line!

App Extensions

bing ad extensions

What are they?

With App Extensions, you can include a link encouraging searchers to install your app directly within your ad text. When they click on the link, Bing recognizes the device and operating system that they’re using and sends them to the appropriate app store to complete the download.    

Who should be using them?

If your business has an app, chances are you’ve invested a significant amount of time and resources to build it—so you definitely want to ensure people are finding it and using it! App Extensions are one of the best ways to introduce people to your app and encourage them to download it. In fact, according to Think With Google, 1 in 4 app users discovers an app through search. Moreover, since apps are often newer and more sophisticated than most mobile websites, they tend to yield higher conversion rates. The bottom line here is, if you have an app that is performing well, don’t hesitate to promote it with extensions.

Review Extensions (Pilot)

bing ad extensions

What are they?

Review Extensions give you the opportunity to include a third-party endorsement of your business below your ad. The review must be from a reputable source, rather than a personal customer review and must be a reflection of the business as a whole.

Who should be using them?

If you have a slew of happy customers, might as well showcase their positive feedback in your ads! Review extensions are super valuable to newer or smaller businesses whose brands are not widely known. Even if these you have compelling ads, searchers are less likely to engage with them, as they don’t know whether they are a trustworthy company. Including a third party endorsement helps to build this sense of trust. The review is particularly powerful if it comes from a well-known brand or publication.

Callout Extensions (Pilot)

bing ad extensions

What are they?

Callout Extensions allow you to emphasize up to four of your products’ key selling points below the ad. Unlike Sitelinks, these snippets are not clickable links; they solely enable you to add more text to your ad copy.

Who should be using them?

If Bing gave you the option to throw in an extra 100 characters worth of text to your ad, would you take them up on it? Of course! Callout Extensions are likely the closest we’ll ever come to this opportunity. Regardless of your industry, these can work for you; all you need to do is identify your unique selling points, plug them in on the account, campaign or ad group level and voila! While these extensions are brand new to Bing, they’re essentially doppelgangers to AdWords’ callout extensions. So far, we’ve seen higher CTRs for ads with callouts in AdWords and expect similar a similar outcome in Bing.

Choosing your ad extensions

With so many options available, you may be struggling to choose which extensions to implement. According to Paul Apodaca, a principal Product Manager at Microsoft, Bing wants you to use as many extensions as possible, provided they are relevant to your business. He explained that Bing customizes the extensions served based on the context and behavior of that particular searcher.

My advice to you is to utilize every extension that you truly believe will enhance your searchers’ experience with your ads. Once they’ve been running for a while, you can dive into the data to understand which extensions users are engaging with.   

About the author

Erin Sagin is a PPC Evangelist and Community Manager at WordStream. She was recently named the 3rd Most Influential PPC Expert of 2015 by PPC Hero. When she’s able to take a break from paid search, you’ll find her practicing her hula-hooping skills or planning her next trip to Latin America. You can follow Erin on Twitter and Google+.

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