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Dominate the Offense with Mainline Bids

In search advertising, having your ads in a top position is critical to success. If your ads are stuck on the sidelines, there are changes you can make to move them into better positions and get higher click-through rates. Our internal study shows that 90% of the clicks come from mainline ads. If you’re wondering how much of a bid increase you need for your ads to score more clicks, Bing Ads’ Opportunities page is here to help you achieve more with confidence.

How much should you bid to move the needle?

When you visit the Opportunities page (or click on the inline opportunities in the Campaign grid), you’ll see first page, mainline and best position bid recommendations specific to your campaigns. With a few clicks, you can view the suggestions and their impacts and update your bids.

Let’s take a look at how bidding on these positions will help you drive better performance and build smarter connections.

For a mere 5% bid adjustment, you can make an noticeable impact

Want to make a big impact with small bid adjustments? Look for opportunities to move your ads to the first page or mainline by increasing your bids by small amounts.

If your ads aren’t serving on the first page, first page opportunities can help you get better placement and more clicks. We found that advertisers can expect a 5.5% increase in click volume on average when they increase their bids by 5% to serve on the first page. 1 The expected click increase varies by industry, with Financial Services & Insurance on the low end with an expected 3.6% increase and with Retail on the high end with an expected 7.1% increase. Want to know what the expected click increase is for your industry for increasing your bids 5% to move your ads to the first page? Check out the chart below.

If your ads are showing on the first page sidebar, you’ll position your ads for more clicks by moving them to the mainline. If an advertiser increases their bids by 5% to serve on the mainline, we found an expected click increase of 5% to 8%, depending on the industry. While the average click increase is 6.7%, Retail shows an expected click increase of 8.5%. The chart below presents the expected click increases by industry for increasing your bids by 5% to show in the mainline.

Want even more clicks? Move your ads to the mainline 

Here is why. As mentioned, we found that 90% of clicks occur in the mainline and that mainline ads have a click-through rate (CTR) that’s 13 times higher than sidebar ads. If you have the budget, then you’ll maximize your click volume by serving your ads on the mainline.

The click volume and CTR of mainline ads vary by industry. We found that 96% of Travel clicks and 95% of Financial Services & Insurance clicks occur in the mainline, whereas the Mainline grabbed 88% of Retail clicks. What’s more mainline Travel ads have a CTR that’s 25 times higher than sidebar ads, showing how valuable the mainline positions are to Travel advertisers.

See our mainline bidding presentation below to get a breakdown of click volume and CTR by industry for Automotive, Career & Education, CPG, Financial Services & Insurance, Retail, Tech & Telco, and Travel advertisers.

Other considerations to help your ads be more visible

In addition to opportunities to increase keyword bids to move your ads to a better position, the Opportunities page can also help you:

  •        Lower your bids
  •        Add new keywords
  •        Add broad match versions
  •        Increase campaign budgets

We encourage you to check the Opportunities page often. There might be times when you don’t have any opportunities listed, but on your next visit you will have several. We are constantly analyzing your account performance and marketplace dynamics in order to identify new opportunities for you.

To learn more about Bing Ads Opportunities, visit the Help Center.

Connect with us

As always, Bing Ads cares about your ROI, instead of blindly asking you to spend more. We’re working hard to develop technologies to help you make the best use of your budget. Stay tuned.

We welcome your thoughts and feedback, please let us know what you think by pinging us on Twitter or by sharing your thoughts in our Feature Suggestion Forum.

Note: Your opportunities and performance estimation of those opportunities is refreshed based on your latest account performance. We will also be offering new types of opportunities in the future.


[1] Bing Ads Internal Analysis, Jan 2016, US only, All Devices. Industry categorization: based on internal Bing Ads account categorization.