Apr 3 2019
Basis Technologies

Bing Shopping Ads Optimization: 9 Tips for Success


Most e-commerce advertisers failed to pay attention to Bing Shopping in the past, but things are quickly changing. Bing has made major alterations to their features and user interface to make it more appealing and worthwhile to businesses. Rather than trying to be different from Google Ads, Bing now embraces similarities. They make it easy for advertisers to import their campaigns from one platform to the other.

As an e-commerce business, you have a prime opportunity to reach new audiences with Bing Shopping. If you’re ready to expand your digital marketing strategy, here are nine tips for success with Bing Shopping ad optimization.

1. Take Full Advantage of Product Attributes

Product attributes are an important factor in Bing Shopping. There are a number of them that must be included for your ad to qualify for the Bing Network:

  • ID
  • Title
  • Link
  • Price
  • Description
  • Image link
  • Shipping
  • Product identifiers (GTIN, Brand, MPN, etc.)

There are also many optional attributes you can include. Some of these optional attributes have a direct impact on how Bing categorizes and displays your products. It’s good practice to optimize your Bing Shopping campaigns by including as many product attributes as possible. You should also consider including:

  • Color
  • Gender
  • Size
  • Size type
  • Size system
  • Product category
  • Material
  • Pattern
  • Condition

Implementing all the relevant product attributes can be time-consuming, but it’s advantageous to do so to give Bing the most pertinent information to categorize your products. For example, a shoe retailer that includes optional size and gender attributes - “women’s size 7 US boots” - can make their products much more relevant for queries.

2. Prioritize Campaigns

E-commerce advertisers promote a variety of products that drive revenue for their business. Marketers prioritize promoting high-margin products, and this should be reflected in Bing Shopping campaigns as well. Bing offers an opportunity to do this by allowing you to set priority levels for each campaign:

Bing Shopping optimization tip: set priority levels for each campaign

These settings override campaign bid settings. Utilize them the right way, and you can promote all of your products while still prioritizing those that are most valuable. Setting campaign priorities can also help you achieve other goals, such as clearing out excess stock. To maximize the benefits for your business, be sure to set campaign priorities strategically.

3. Consistently Review Your Search Terms Reports

Bing makes it easy to set up new shopping campaigns by importing your existing Google Shopping campaigns onto the platform. E-commerce advertisers spend a lot of time optimizing their target keywords in Google Ads while failing to realize that Bing Shopping is a completely separate landscape. You can import your campaigns, but then you must adjust targeting and negative keyword lists to optimize for a different audience.

As a best practice, you should regularly review your search terms in Bing. It can help you to identify important growth areas such as:

  • New irrelevant queries to add to your negatives
  • High spend queries that are well below your CPA or ROAS thresholds
  • Other optimization opportunities, such as products that can be moved into their own ad groups

Creating your keyword lists and ad groups are not simply tasks for the initial campaign setup. Engage in a constant process of auditing your search terms reports on Google and Bing to reveal opportunities to optimize in the long run.

4. Use Product Groups

Generally speaking, you want your ad groups to only include closely related products. Product groups allow you to select products from your Bing Merchant Center catalog to include in specific ad groups. You can organize products into groups using attributes from your catalog feed, namely:

  • Category
  • Brand
  • Condition
  • Item ID
  • Product type
  • Custom label

You can also assign multiple attributes to narrow down your group even further:

Bing Shopping optimization tip: use product groups and narrow then with attributes

For example, a children’s toy retailer could create a product group based on brand (Tailspin toys) and the custom label of age (1-5). Using product groups makes it possible to quickly create ad groups and optimize bids for products with certain characteristics.

5. Optimize Product Images

Your product images are arguably the most important aspect of Bing shopping optimization. Quality images of your product can help your Shopping ads stand out from the competition, improving clicks and conversions.

In April of last year, Bing made it possible for advertisers to add additional images to their product offer feeds. Instead of choosing one key image for your product, you can add up to 11 total images. Take advantage of this feature by showing your product from different angles or with different staging elements. Select one to serve as the featured image for the product and the rest will appear as thumbnails. Images must be bmp, gif, exif, jpg, png or tiff; the recommended minimum size is 220 pixels by 220 pixels.

6. Automatic Item Updates

The Automatic Item Updates feature ensures the availability and price information on your Bing Shopping campaigns always reflects your website. Online e-commerce stores can quickly run out of stock on an item, but still end up serving ads for it. This results in wasted clicks and ad spend.

Automatic Item Updates sync your website’s price and availability microdata with your Bing Merchant Center feed. This way, it automatically updates your inventory data throughout a business day without requiring action from your advertising manager. Employing an automation feature like this can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your advertising campaigns. Bing will never show ads for a product that is out of stock, and listed prices will always reflect real demand. Based on your needs and goals, you can set Automatic Item Updates to update price only, availability only, or both metrics.

7. Improve Targeting with Custom Labels

One of the most underused and valuable assets for Bing Shopping ad optimization is custom labels. Labels are attributes that let you organize campaigns, ad groups, ads, and keywords into groups that are important to you.

Bing Shopping optimization tip: use custom labels.

Custom labels have no effect on how Bing categorizes your products, which is why many advertisers ignore them. Custom labels, though, can help you gain insights and improve targeting in many ways:

Make quick changes

Using Bing’s shared labels library, it’s possible to create a single label and add it to different keywords, ads, ad groups, or campaigns. This allows you to create groups that are significant to you across assets, and easily access them using Advanced Search. For example, you could create a shared label called “Holiday promotion” and add it to campaigns relevant to seasonal promotions. Then, to increase the budget for all holiday promotion campaigns, you can filter products based on the label and make the changes.

Run custom analytics reports

When you create custom labels based on attributes it’s easy to derive performance insights from them. Say you labeled two different holiday campaigns “Holiday 2017” and “Holiday 2018”. You can run a report to compare the performance of the different campaigns or ad groups/ads associated with them. You can also use labels to tag your keywords as brand name vs generic, or other attributes, then run similar performance reports.

Create automated rules

It’s also possible to create automated rules based on your custom labels. If, for instance, you discover generic keywords perform better than brand name keywords from your analytics report, you can create an automated rule to change bids on keywords labeled “generic.” When used the right way, custom labels are a valuable tool to improve targeting and optimize your Bing Shopping campaigns.

8. Test Different Bid Adjustments

Optimizing ads on Bing is an art, especially when it comes to bidding. There are a number of minor changes you can make to your budget allocation that have a big impact on campaign performance. You can use bid adjustments to target specific audiences with your ads and prioritize certain keywords or demographics. Your options for bid adjustments include:

  • Time of day - Throttle bids during certain hours based on when your target audience likes to shop.
  • Day of week - Adjust bids on certain days of the week to improve performance.
  • Device type - Increase or decrease bids for mobile or desktop based on past performance.
  • Location - Target certain regions or neighborhoods for location-based businesses.
  • Demographics - Adjust bids based on the demographic makeup of your target audience.

Based on performance insights, you should experiment with different bidding strategies and see which help you reach your audience with relevant Shopping ads at the optimal time.

9. Drive Conversions With Merchant Promotions

If you’re advertising in the United States, then you can also take advantage of Merchant Promotions to create more effective Bing Shopping ads. Merchant Promotions are a way for advertisers to highlight special offers in their product ads. These ads have a “Special Offer” extension that display a promotional code.

Merchant Promotions can significantly improve your Bing Shopping optimization by creating a sense of urgency for people to act on the promotion. Special offers help your ads stand out from the competition.

Bing Shopping: Wrapping Up

E-commerce advertisers today have a big opportunity with Bing Shopping. If you create and optimize Bing Shopping ad campaigns, it’s possible to reach wealthy shoppers in a marketplace that is much less crowded. Optimizing ads on Bing can be a challenge, though, if you don't approach it strategically. Take full advantage of the strategies and technologies mentioned in this post to get the most out of your Bing campaigns.