Marketers look to search for smart brand connections

In today’s world, the relationship between marketers and consumers resembles a high-speed freeway moving in the same direction – but only intersecting at distinct points. As technology continues to evolve toward seamless, intuitive experiences that are more pervasive in the day to day, consumer expectations are rising at an increasing rate. This challenge is very real and marketers are looking toward the proliferation of touch points for new opportunities to challenge themselves and the meaning of engagement for brands. This is clearly illustrated by the top marketing buzzwords searched on the Bing Network this past year (U.S. only, 2015).

bing ads 2016 predictions

As we move into 2016, this challenge isn’t going away. So, how do marketers get ahead of consumers and deliver what they want? First, you need to understand a consumer’s online journey and brand interactions across their favorite services and surface areas. Brands can gain a lot of valuable information from learning consumer behavior, which leads to making the right decisions in media buying and messages that meet the right consumer in the right context.  Getting this right and making advertising incremental to the online experience, means brand engagement is welcome. As has been proven by the Microsoft Consumer Value Exchange Study (2015) which surveyed over 7500 people, 60% people would share data for services that enable them to get things done, 90% would share data in exchange for significant discounts and in fact, 92% would prefer to have free online services in exchange for advertising.

As search becomes more universal across services and devices, it’ll continue to drive a massive shift in strategy and possibilities for brands.  Here are six predictions of what to expect in 2016 and where we see opportunities for brands:

1.  Search marketing will harness the majority of digital marketing spend: Search marketing will represent 45.4% of digital marketing spend in 2016 according to Forrester Research Digital Marketing Forecasts, 2014 to 2019 (US). Search marketing is also projected to continue to represent the majority of digital marketing spend through 2019 and beyond.  And let’s not forget that by the end of this decade, spending on digital advertising will surpass all tradition forms of advertising, including broadcast and cable TV.

2.  Search as critical to informed real-time business decisions: In 2016, we will continue to see marketers recognize the ubiquitous nature of search. Search will permeate more devices and services than ever before, becoming smarter and more important as a source of consumer understanding and real-time engagement. Future marketers will look to the intelligence of search to get smarter about their strategies as consumer audiences get smarter in their online interactions. Marketers will recognize search as a foundation stone for understanding audiences and formulating marketing business strategy.

3.  Search will drive marketer productivity and claim a bigger stake in the marketing mix: Search is no longer a purely pull mechanism, but through the wealth of insight generated across a multitude of people’s online interactions, is now able to understand intent and propose timely and richer ‘push’ brand experiences across a breadth of online environments. Trajectory marketing, for instance, will geo-target consumers based on the location they will be at for a particular activity, rather than where they currently are. And moving forward marketers will be able to leverage search insights to drive precision audience targeting, deliver content marketing in the context of search and customize mobile search brand engagement. It’s about leveraging intelligence to power efficient methods in order to seed the right message, to the right audience, at the right time. And it’s around the corner.

4.  Paid Search advertising strategy will go beyond the keyword to audience and action buying: Paid search will be a medium via which marketers can deliver unique ad formats across screens, devices and platforms to a defined and understood audience and drive actions (direct conversion). For example, a voice initiated search via a digital assistant on a mobile device for a restaurant would empower technology to book the restaurant either directly or via an app on behalf of the user – making life easier for the user and actioning purchase for the brand.

5.  Mobility is the realm of personalization: Consumers are on the move, through work and play, and expect more information at their fingertips. Mobile is becoming an extension of self, making the ability to inform in a personalized way much greater and easier. On average, businesses personalizing the customer experience report a 14% uplift in sales according to Econsultancy and Adobe’s Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing, January 2015. With search permeating the full set of mobile services, search will be the key informer of personalized marketing strategies in 2016.

6.  Voice search drives new behavior and understanding for marketers: The adoption of voice recognition and gesture control demonstrates that consumers today don’t want to rely on typing; they expect to interact with information in more natural ways. According to Atym’s Voice Assistants survey (October 2015), 36.5% of U.S. consumers have used a voice assistant.  As a result of increasing usage in this new interface, 2016 will see new search behaviors emerge, focused on the conversational nature that voice search supports.

7.   Using data to predict outcome: Search engines are the database of intent – which is being driven and dictated by consumers. And social networks are the depository of sentiments. Search engines have developed the ability to process, analyse and understand these two information sets together in order to predict outcomes of future events, such as when Bing predicted Rugby World Cup results with 87% accuracy. Think about that for a minute. Search has the ability to predict the future and to help marketers more accurately understand consumer behavior.

Questions? Comments?

Feel free to ping us on Twitter, visit us to ask questions at the Bing Ads Answers forum, submit and vote on your top-priority features at the Bing Ads Feature Suggestion forum, or send us your feedback directly at BingAds-Feedback@microsoft.com  

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AOL Web Search Powered by Bing

As Rik announced in a recent blog post, as of January 1, Bing now powers AOL web, mobile and tablet search, providing paid search ads and algorithmic organic search results to AOL properties worldwide and exclusively in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Most major Bing Ads products are enabled for AOL search traffic worldwide, providing our clients with additional high-quality volume and more ways to reach their desired audience.

Key takeaways for advertisers

  • Bing now powers web search traffic across all devices for AOL: mobile, tablet and PC.
  • Our partnership with AOL brings a greater market share to the Bing Network. Currently, one in five searches are powered by Bing. By integrating Bing with the number three and five top search providers in the U.S., Bing now serves nearly one-third of all PC web searches in the U.S.1
  • AOL has many established web properties, such as AOL.com, with strong brand names and an affinity among its user base who generate several billion search queries each year.
  • AOL’s high-quality audience is similar to the audience Bing and Yahoo offer today – both audiences have higher household incomes, the majority have attended college, they skew slightly female and the majority of users are ages 35+.2 Both audiences also spend more online than average Internet searcher.1
  • In general, we anticipate a 5-8% increase in click volume in the U.S. In order to optimize this expected increase in click volume, we recommend that advertisers consider increasing their budgets to take advantage of the incremental quality volume available.
  • Most current ad products will be enabled for AOL’s search traffic, such as:    
    • Ad extensions including Sitelink Extensions, Dynamic Sitelinks, Location Extensions and Call Extensions.
    • Annotations including Long Ad Titles, Bolding and Merchant Ratings; Customer Ratings will be in beta at the time of launch.
    • Product Ads will be in beta at the time of launch.

 

As Prince called out in this blog post, you’ll notice several changes within Bing Ads, including the Campaigns page, Reports page, the Google Import experience, and Keyword and Campaign Planners. We have also made changes in Reporting API. Read this blog post to find out more.

Call to action for advertisers

All existing campaigns are automatically opted-in to take advantage of additional volume available on the Bing Network. To ensure you are taking full advantage of this opportunity:

1. Increase your budgets. In general, you can anticipate an increase in click volume of 5-8% with additional AOL web search traffic available through the Bing Network. Make sure your budget allows you to take advantage of growing volume availability.

2. Monitor and adjust your bids, ads and keywords soon after Bing begins to power search traffic from AOL beginning January 1, 2016.

We believe that the extended reach combined with the controls within Bing Ads will give digital marketers additional opportunities to reach even more customers at the right ROI.

For further questions about the AOL partnership, please reach out to your account management team. 


1.      comScore qSearch Explicit Core Search, November 2015.

2.      comScore Plan Metrix, U.S., June 2015.

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Details on Bing Ads changes with AOL partnership

As Rik mentioned in his blog post this morning, we are excited to share that Bing now powers AOL’s web, mobile, and tablet search, providing paid search ads and algorithmic organic search results to AOL’s properties worldwide, and exclusively in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. With this partnership, we are rolling out several changes inside Bing Ads, including the Campaigns page, Reporting page, Google AdWords Import experience, and Keyword and Campaign Planners. This article provides details on what you’ll see.  

Bing Ads – Campaigns Page

Ad distribution setting is used to specify where you want your ads shown. This can be set during Campaign creation and Ad Group creation and updated at the Ad Group level. The options for search Ad distribution has changed to include AOL network as shown in the screenshots below.

Note: You don’t have to make any changes to your Ad distribution settings.  Your current settings will continue to be honored, with the addition of AOL properties in each of the three options. 

bing ads aol

bing ads aol

Bing Ads – Reports Page

1. Network Column

Currently, the ‘Network’ column in reports (e.g. Keyword performance report, Campaign performance report) has following possible values:

We have added a new value to the ‘Network’ column:

bing ads aol

bing ads aol

Note: The above addition will be applicable to reports run from Reporting API as well. Click here to learn more.

 

2. Top Vs. Other Column

Currently, the ‘Top Vs. Other’ column in reports (e.g. Keyword performance report, Campaign performance report) has following possible values:

bing ads aol

We have added new values to the ‘Top Vs. Other’ column:

bing ads aol

Note: The above additions will be applicable to reports run from Reporting API as well. Click here to learn more.

3. Website URL (Publisher) Report

Currently, in the ‘Website URL’ column of the ‘Website URL (Publisher)’ report, all Bing and Yahoo! owned & operated websites are consolidated under ‘Bing and Yahoo! Search Properties Only’. However, for AOL owned and operated websites, the actual website URLs will be displayed as separate line items and not consolidated.

4. Change History Report

If you have made changes to your network distribution prior to January 1st, 2016, your old values and new values in Change History will be updated to include the AOL network. However, please note that your ads have been served only on Bing and Yahoo properties before January 2016. This will also happen to the data in the Change History tab.

Bing Ads Editor

In Bing Ads Editor, Network distribution for ad groups can be changed from the Edit pane of the Ad Groups tab. The options for Network distribution has changed to include AOL network in all three options as shown in the screenshot below.

bing ads aol

Note: You don’t have to make any changes to your Ad distribution settings.  Your current settings will continue to be honored, with the addition of including AOL properties in each of the three options.

Google AdWords Import

Ad groups that are imported from Google AdWords have the default Ad distribution set to “All search networks” -- this is not changing. However, “All search networks” now includes AOL search beside just Bing and Yahoo owned & operated and syndicated search partners.

Bing Ads – Keyword Planner

In Keyword Planner, Network targeting for historical statistics and traffic estimates can be changed from the Targeting section. The options for Network targeting has changed to include AOL network in all three options as shown in the screenshot below.

bing ads aol

With the corresponding selection, both historical statistics - including avg. monthly searches, competition, and suggested bid - and traffic estimates take into account AOL traffic.

Bing Ads - Campaign Planner

Following the same definition of search network distribution across Bing Ads, Campaign Planner calculates AOL into corresponding slices of traffic as well.

You might see traffic volume trending up in vertical, product and keyword levels because of new added AOL properties.

bing ads aol

Questions? Comments?

Feel free to ping us on Twitter, visit us to ask questions at the Bing Ads Answers forum, submit and vote on your top-priority features at the Bing Ads Feature Suggestion forum, or send us your feedback directly at BingAds-feedback@microsoft.com.

Happy Advertising.

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Bing powers AOL search

Last June, we announced a long term search partnership with AOL. Today, I am excited to share that as of Jan. 1, Bing powers AOL’s web, mobile, and tablet search, providing paid search ads and algorithmic organic search results to AOL’s properties worldwide. All major Bing Ads ad products are enabled for AOL search traffic worldwide to provide marketers with additional high-quality volume and ways to reach their desired audience.

Our partnership with AOL brings additional scale and opportunity to advertisers and marketers. Today, 1 in 5 searches happen on Bing.com, and by providing Bing search results for the number 3 (Yahoo) and 5 (AOL) search providers in the US, Bing powers close to one-third of US PC web searches.1 Today’s announcement is testament to Microsoft’s ongoing focus on search and search advertising and our increasing scale that connects a marketer’s media buys to new publishers and audiences to help them achieve more impact for their business.

For marketers looking to drive connections for their brands with the right people at the right time, AOL’s high-quality audience is a valuable addition to the Bing network. AOL has many established sites with unique, loyal users who generate several billion search queries each year and spend more online than the average internet searcher.

“Partnering with Bing allows us to provide great search results and capabilities, across all screens, to our global audiences, as well as providing our brands valuable business insights and intelligence,” says Tim Lemmon, Head of AOL’s Search Business. “We’re looking forward to working together with the Bing team and bringing our audience to the Bing Network.”

Our growing reach, combined with the controls within Bing Ads, helps marketers connect with the right people, where and how they want to be reached. And for consumers, this partnership provides them with the exceptional quality of our results to get more done. We are excited about our partnership with AOL so that marketers worldwide can achieve more with their advertising spend on Bing Ads platform, every day.


1. comScore qSearch Explicit Core Search, November 2015.

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