As a marketer, you have access to a popular search platform with desirable and high quality target demographics, accelerating growth rate and profitable long-tail search opportunities. No, we’re not talking about Google — we’re talking about Bing. It may be surprising, but Bing is a hugely overlooked opportunity for search engine marketers today. While Google has always held the lion’s share of the search market, Bing PPC opportunities continue to grow every year. The Bing platform processes more than 15 billion searches monthly, and boasted 142 million unique searchers in 2017.
So for advertisers who only focus on Google, failing to create a Bing PPC strategy represents a lot of missed opportunities.
Meanwhile, the demographic makeup of Bing users is also unique, providing a slew of compelling reasons for advertisers to place their PPC ad money there. Consider:
In short, Bing is a great platform to target bottom-of-the-funnel online shoppers who are willing to spend more than the average searcher.
Another major benefit of using Bing for SEM is lower competition. Fewer advertisers have Bing PPC strategies, making it easier to gain access to higher ad positions at a more affordable rate than with Google Ads.
So, if you’re ready to start incorporating Bing PPC into your search engine marketing mix, here are seven important secrets for success.
Back when Bing was in its infancy, Microsoft wanted to build a search and advertising experience that was vastly different than Google’s. Over time they came to the conclusion that making the platform dramatically different from Google's wasn’t the right way to compete with the search giant, so they changed their strategy. Now Bing and Google advertising are so similar, it’s possible to easily transfer your Google ad accounts to Bing using account syncing.
While importing is quite simple, there are a few key differences between Bing and Google advertising to keep in mind. Once you transfer accounts, you may want to make some changes to your campaigns to optimize on Bing’s platform.
Some of the key differences include:
Bing treats negative keywords differently
Both Bing and Google Ads allow you to include negative keywords at both the ad group and campaign levels. However, unlike Google Ads, Bing will not negate any keywords that are included as one of your target keywords. With Bing, you can still show ads for negative keywords that appear in a target keyword phrase. Google Ads, on the other hand, automatically blocks searches related to that negative keyword even if they’re relevant to your campaign. What’s more, if you have broad match negatives in your Google Ads account, Bing considers them phrase match when you transfer over.
Automated rules do not transfer
If your Google Ads campaigns include automated rules, you’ll need to recreate them after transferring your accounts to Bing as they won’t automatically transfer.
Create a Bing Merchant Center store for shopping campaigns
If you have Shopping campaigns, you’ll need to create a Bing Merchant Center store before importing from Google Ads to Bing Ads. The system will prompt you to link the campaign to your store before you can import it.
Bing’s language and location targeting differ
If you’re targeting more than one language with your Google Ads campaigns, it’s important to know that Bing doesn’t support as many languages as Google. If you import an account targeting languages that Bing doesn’t support, it will default to the parent language.
With Google Ads, it’s also possible to target more than one language within a campaign; Bing only allows you to target one language. So when you import multi-language-targeted accounts, Bing will select the highest ranked supported language and you’ll need to create new campaigns to target secondary languages. It’s also important to know that you cannot change your language or location targeting once you save a campaign.
Just because Bing makes it easy to sync with Google on its platform doesn’t mean they should always mirror each other. Optimizations you make to improve your Google Ads campaigns might not be relevant to your Bing audience. Or there might be a better way to optimize those campaigns. Bing has a unique audience — in fact, 27% of Bing clicks come from searches that are exclusive to the Bing Network.
So use account syncing initially to copy over your Google Ads campaigns. Then utilize Bing’s internal tools, analytics, and insights to drive unique optimization decisions. Using Bing’s analytics features or even its third-party bid management tools can help you discover optimization opportunities unique to the Bing PPC network and its audience.
Doing another set of analyses for a second search network is time-consuming, which makes it difficult to scale. But there are plenty of available automation technologies that can help you optimize both your Google and Bing PPC strategies by using unique datasets that require no extra time or effort for advertisers.
In mid November, Bing Ads fully rolled out the Competition Tab — a new analytics feature offering important insights and recommendations — that includes two sections: Audience Insights and Recommendations. Audience Insights allows you to see how your impression share is performing against the competition, incorporating important metrics like overlap rate, average position, position above rate, top of page rate, and outranking share.
Search advertisers can use these insights to understand what changes they can make to improve their ad performance against competitors. The Recommendations section can also help do this for you, using machine learning to suggest changes to improve performance, such as optimizing campaign device targets, location targets, and expanded keyword targeting among others.
About a year ago, Bing launched its own dynamic search ads similar to Google’s. In case you aren’t familiar with the technology, dynamic search ads automatically target relevant search queries based on your web content. Instead of creating your own ads one-by-one, Bing creates targeted and relevant ads for you by scanning your site content. Dynamic search ads are a great opportunity for businesses whose site content changes frequently due to the fact that there’s no need to create new and customized ad titles every time you have a new sale or special offer.
Bing’s dynamic search ads also save time, as you don’t need to maintain keyword lists or manage your own bids. And by streamlining your processes, dynamic search ads can also help you discover opportunities you might have overlooked to drive conversions.
Bing's search ads have some unique offerings that allow you to make better-targeted ads. Google Ads enables you to target a specific keyword, while Bing Ads sets extra parameters for reaching audiences by providing more specific information related to their search query.
Like Google Ads, Bing recently developed automated bidding strategies. By utilizing search patterns analysis, clicks, and conversions, Bing can automatically optimize your bids while simultaneously respecting your budget limit.
There are four main ways Bing can manage your bids for you:
1. Enhanced CPC
Enhanced CPC (cost per click) is the default bid strategy for all campaigns. It adjusts bids in real-time, increasing them on searches that are more likely to convert and decreasing them on searches that are less likely to convert. Enhanced CPC can increase your total number of conversions while reducing cost and staying within your budget limitations.
2. Maximize Clicks
Maximize clicks is available for search ad and Dynamic Search Ad campaigns. The goal of this strategy is to get as many clicks as possible within your budget. If you want to have greater control of your budgets, you can also set a maximum CPC to ensure Bing never pays more than a certain amount per click.
3. Maximize Conversions
Maximize Conversions is available for search ad campaigns and sets your bids in real-time to get as many conversions as possible. With this strategy, you don’t need to set your own ad group or keyword bids. Like with Maximize Clicks, you can also set a maximum CPC for more control of budget spend. In order to use Maximize Conversions, you need to set up conversion tracking and have at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days.
4. Target CPA
Target CPA (cost per acquisition) is available for search ad campaigns and you don’t need to set ad groups or keyword bids. Instead, you set your 30-day average CPA goal as well as your budget, and Bing PPC features will automatically align your bids to this average. How much you spend on individual conversions varies, but Bing PPC offerings ensure it’s in line with your average cost per conversion. For this strategy, you'll also need conversion tracking and have at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days.
Automated bidding is a great strategy for marketers who are new to PPC advertising and might not have the skills or resources to conduct optimizations on their own. More advanced marketers can use third-party bid management tools to scale their strategy and drive insights from a wider dataset of audience behavior, which provide additional features that more accurately reflect the unique, multifaceted SEM goals of individual organizations.
In addition, Bing’s advertiser training resources offer a useful chart to help you determine if you need conversion tracking and if it’s possible to use a third-party bid management tool based on your bid strategy.
Another unique new feature of Bing ads is LinkedIn Profile Targeting. Released as a beta feature in October 2018, it offers a powerful new targeting feature, especially for B2B marketers.
LinkedIn Profile Targeting, which is available for text ads, shopping campaigns, and dynamic search ads, allows you to target more than 575 million global LinkedIn members spanning 145 industries, 80,000 companies, and 26 job functions when you use its data for search campaigns.
Advertisers can apply LinkedIn Profile Targeting at the campaign or ad group level. You can set bid modifiers to better reach certain profile targets. For example, a 15% increase for profiles in the graphic design industry or information technology job function.
Bing’s in-market audiences are an advanced targeting feature that allow you to target people who have shown purchase intent in a relevant category, such as searches, clicks on Bing, and page views on Microsoft services. If someone searches for vintage car accessories on Bing, for example, they could end up in the “Auto Parts & Accessories” audience category.
Currently, there are 208 in-market audiences, including apparel, entertainment, business services, computers, and children’s products, among others.
In-market audiences are simple to set up and can drive conversions by reaching likely to convert audiences. You can associate in-market audience lists to ad groups and target and modify bids for these audiences. Advertisers can also set bid modifications for specific audiences, such as setting a 20 percent bid boost for in-market audiences.
When Bing piloted in-market audiences last year, they found it can improve conversion rates by 48% and click-through rates by 28%. This makes it a great way to target audiences that are ready to convert and even easier to target people at the bottom of the sales funnel.
Bing also makes it easy to monitor the impact of in-market audience targeting on overall campaign performance. Bing enables you to view reports using audience segmentation from the Accounts Summary page or the Campaigns, Ad Groups, Ads, Keywords, and Ad Extensions tabs.
They say never put all your eggs in one basket. That especially applies to your long-term PPC advertising strategy. Google may be the king of search and search engine marketing, but diversifying is always a smart option for advertisers. What’s more, by exploring options outside of Google, you have access to Bing’s unique audience, a wide array of advertising options, and targeting features — all of which have the potential to complement your Google strategy and drive even more conversions.
While Bing might still be an unknown, its growth, quality demographics, and PPC opportunities are all on a trajectory going up and to the right. But like anything else, you won’t truly realize its full potential for your PPC strategy until you start opening its doors and exploring your options.
Read even more Bing ad secrets here: 13 More Bing Ads Secrets to Broaden Your SEM Coverage