AAG commits close to 40% of its paid search marketing budget to Bing Ads. “Our target demographic of 62-plus plays well with what you see on the Bing Network and Microsoft Edge,” confides Lawrence. “Many of our customers have recently retired and have practical needs such as a medical treatment or want to do something fun like travel to Europe. They’re looking at the loan with a sense of immediacy rather than using it as a tool for the next 10 years.”
Vivian Dang, director of marketing analytics at AAG, thinks the Bing Ads platform also offers visibility. “Bing Ads provides a less competitive landscape for us than other SEM platforms. Our cost per click (CPC) and cost per lead (CPL) rates are much more efficient with Bing Ads.”
AAG currently relies on Kenshoo, an elite partner within the Bing Partner Program, for bid reporting, management and optimization. “They offer us back-end performance visibility and comprehensive bidding strategies, which has helped us with our paid search strategies,” says Lawrence. Indeed, with the Kenshoo Portfolio Optimizer (KPO), AAG can combine various campaigns from different engines into one tool to create an unbiased performance-based portfolio optimization model. “It analyzes past performance and calculates where your next dollar of spend between channels, campaigns, keywords, devices and so on,” says Preston Walker, client success director at Kenshoo.
On a holistic level, KPO can also identify issues. When AAG started crunching numbers in 2016, it discovered something odd. With certain keywords, Bing Ads performance, while meeting set goals such as expected ROI, lagged behind some of the other search engine platforms. “When I pulled apart the data, I realized that our current bidding strategy allocated spend to the search engine or network that provided more conversion data,” recalls Dang. “With Google AdWords, you know you're going to get more leads because they have more volume, which leads to a higher click-through rate and conversion rate. If that’s your end goal, the tool offers a fantastic solution. But if it’s not, you need a way to adjust.”
AAG thought having more control over the allocation of budget to the different platforms would help correct the keyword issue. But how do you get that when the KPO comes with a built-in algorithm? With the combined help of the Bing Ads and Kenshoo account teams, AAG began optimizing a solution.