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Adobe and Microsoft: Two for the win

  Article , Tech and Telecom , Success stories

Getting the most bang for your search engine marketing bucks

Technology partners in marketing

What makes a successful partnership in search engine marketing (SEM)? Two companies joining forces to help customers provide a better and more relevant customer experience and grow their business. Many would say that epitomizes the relationship between Adobe and Bing Ads. The bond they’ve forged together in the SEM realm illustrates not only the huge opportunities within paid search, but also a roadmap for companies to enable and enhance the customer experience.

It’s the caliber of [the Bing Ads] team and the attention they pay to mine …

— Jay Middleton, director of global search marketing, Adobe

A long, long time ago …

Jay Middleton

Jay Middleton, director of global search marketing at Adobe

While most people know Adobe for its Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Acrobat products, those monumental achievements only tell a small part of the iconic brand’s story, a fact not lost on the people that work there. “Our number one mission statement is to delight our customers,” says Jay Middleton, director of global search marketing at Adobe. “It’s a broad initiative, and one that everyone marches towards here.”

Collaborating with Microsoft over the course of several decades has enabled Adobe to consistently deliver on that goal. That Bing Ads and Adobe Advertising Cloud have forged such a productive SEM partnership in recent years should come then as little surprise to anyone.

Fulfilling customer needs

Two technology powerhouses, with years of experience working together in paid search, bring a unique perspective to the industry — focusing on looking at life through the customer’s eyes. “What I love so much about Bing Ads and Adobe together is that we’re delivering answers to people’s questions,” says Chris Haleua, senior product marketing manager for Adobe Advertising Cloud. “We’re not interrupting. We’re facilitating the experience that they want in the first place.”

That both platforms also deliver the goods doesn’t hurt either. With Bing Ads, users can reach 137 million unique searchers on the Bing Network in the U.S. alone. The Bing Network also has 12 billion monthly searches worldwide. Furthermore, a large partner network provides additional high-value features that help increase traffic and conversions. Adobe (a Bing Elite Technology Partner), provides Adobe Advertising Cloud, a dynamic end-to-end platform for managing, optimizing, analyzing and reporting on advertising across digital formats. The platform serves as a prime example of Adobe’s expansion into analytics and intelligence within the digital marketing space. Together, Adobe and Bing Ads deliver a winning SEM platform and optimization tool.

Getting the most out of digital marketing

Daniel Ligh

Daniel Ligh, search marketing manager at Adobe

Successfully integrating platforms in search requires finding the right balance between all parties involved. Adobe Advertising Cloud on Bing Ads helps companies manage and maximize search marketing, display advertising and dynamic content in display ads. “We have combined the power of first-party data and the Bing Ads API to accomplish intelligent and automated testing daily. Instead of manually making dozens of optimizations every day, we’re able to automatically make hundreds, maximizing our return,” says Daniel Ligh, search marketing manager at Adobe. “It's very exciting to see how quickly we can make a significant impact on results.”

Adobe Advertising Cloud combines multiple digital marketing channels under one banner using an automated bidding algorithm to help customers with budget management and predictive modeling. “You can maximize bidding based on real data,” says Jeff Julian, senior group manager for search and customer acquisition at Adobe. “You can then figure out what to bid on and track conversions and success, in real-time, if you want.”

As a workflow, Adobe Advertising Cloud collects volumes of data on the front end. That information then gets funneled into Adobe Analytics, which helps with forecasting and establishing the parameters to incorporate back into the campaigns. Throughout the process, Dynamic Tag Management (DTM) helps with data validation. A powerful algorithm, underneath Adobe Advertising Cloud, then takes over, automatically maximizing bids on the back end based on analytics.

What I love so much about Bing Ads and Adobe together is that we’re delivering answers to people’s questions …

— Chris Haleua, senior product marketing manager for Adobe Advertising Cloud

A close partnership

For the people at Adobe, Bing Ads offers more than a solid foundation for its products and services. It provides a partner deeply invested in its success. “It’s the caliber of their team and the attention they pay to mine,” says Middleton. “They come out weekly to meet with us, prepared with specific feedback on ways we can improve our campaigns.”

Haleua likes the simple fact that the Bing Ads team listens. “Every time we come to the Bing Partner Summit, we leave impressed with how they focus on actually hearing us rather than just force-feeding us what they think. I think they've done a great job in helping us become successful.”

In particular, Haleua finds ad personalization with Bing Ads very powerful. “Universal Event Tracking [UET] tag and the Bing Ads platform itself enable us to show how much we know and respect the audience. Our customers can see that we remember and value previous interactions to help get them to whatever they really need.”

As further proof that Adobe leaders drink their own champagne, consider that they not only make Adobe Advertising Cloud available to customers, but also use the platform in-house with Bing Ads. A great example of this comes from the company’s successful rebranding of Adobe Sign.

Signed, sealed and delivered

Adobe Sign lets Adobe simultaneously look at both sides of the partner-customer equation. Originally known as EchoSign before it was acquired by Adobe in 2011, Adobe Sign automates signing and approval processes with legal e-signatures. Adobe’s Document Cloud emphasizes transforming clunky document processes into seamless digital ones. Within that cloud, Adobe Sign serves as the e-signing piece. “The purpose of Document Cloud is to make documents within businesses easier for people to use and share more quickly, securely and effectively,” says Julian. “As the leading document services provider, we needed to add e-signing to our portfolio.”

Adobe Sign presented Adobe with a unique challenge: rebranding an established product on its own and as part of a bigger umbrella of services. This made the path to success a little more complex. “We wanted to expand exposure for the new brand and the product in a very competitive space,” says Julian. “When we launch a brand, we want to capture people that are looking for us, but we also want to drive awareness of the brand itself.”

To increase brand exposure, Adobe opted to expand its use of Bing Ads. “We wanted to see how Bing Ads would do with non-brand terms in particular and what would happen if we spent more and put more effort into it,” recalls Julian. Bing Ads delivered big in both departments.

Adobe Sign datatable

Adobe Sign datatable

Optimizing results

As part of its solution, Adobe tested many different Bing Ads extensions, including ones in pilot mode. They all performed extremely well. For example, look at cost per action (CPA), year over year. Bing Ads without Adobe Advertising Cloud drove the price down an impressive 15%. However, when Adobe Sign used Adobe Advertising Cloud technology with Bing Ads, the CPA went down an amazing 63%.

Adobe Sign is currently using In-market Audiences to target users in specific categories, such as computers, software and consumer electronics. So far, it has seen a 19% reduction in CPA and an 83% increase in conversion rate when compared with the same campaigns with no In-market Audiences associated. “We got a lot more for our money,” says Daniel Ligh. “All the extra savings went back into investing more on the Bing Network. It ended up being phenomenally successful.”

With its success on the Bing Network, Adobe has increased its investment with Bing Ads to three times what it had been. At the same time, it has seen five times the improvement in performance while reducing the CPA by close to one-third. Such impressive stats merely scratch the surface.

So how does Adobe view the overall experience with Adobe Advertising Cloud and the Bing Ads platform? “I think one of the biggest mistakes search marketers can make today is to not give Bing Ads a chance, because they assume that the volume is too low,” says Haleua. “We find that Bing Ads always justifies the return on time spent.” Ligh puts it another way: “You have to be there [using Bing Ads]. It's just going to continue to get better and better from here.”

See a summary

Download an infographic and see how Adobe used its own products with Bing Ads to drive the cost per action (CPA) down 63%.

  Download the infographic