What is Microsoft Advertising?
Microsoft Advertising (formally Bing Ads) is Bing and Outlook’s answer to Google Ads. It allows advertisers to connect with users while they are searching on Bing and using other Microsoft products, such as Outlook, Yahoo and Ask.com to name a few . Advertising is usually bought on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis and there are a variety of ad formats such as text, shopping and display.
But where do you even start with Microsoft Ads? Before you delve into Bing it’s essential to develop a suitable strategy that can produce effective results, that also doesn’t become incredibly resource- intensive.
Bing has a premium audience
While it’s easy to assume that matching keywords on Bing and Google will produce the same results, this is not necessarily the case. While the two search engines share many attributes and features, their users are completely different demographically.
Bing bowsers are typically an older audience, with the UK and USA having 45% and 44% of their search audience over the age of 45. The reason for Bing’s older demographic is not entirely clear, but one theory is that older audiences are less likely to change their default browser from Microsoft Edge (previously Internet Explorer) which uses Bing. As older audiences are likely to be more affluent and have more spending power, advertisers who are selling a premium product with an older audience can expect to see great results from Microsoft Advertising.
In advertising premium audiences usually come with a high price, but this is not the case with Microsoft Advertising. Due to less advertisers to compete with (which is a key factor in the auction process), the average CPC on Microsoft Advertising is lower than Google Ads.
Bing should be treated as a unique channel
While operationally Microsoft Advertising works in a similar way to Google Ads in terms of process and delivery of advertising, there are several factors that Bing advertisers should focus on that can set Bing apart:
Bid Strategies– it may sound obvious, but Bing’s demographical differences leads to different performance, so any optimisation or bid management software used by search advertisers should reflect this. Providing minimum learning thresholds have been met (often 30 conversions over a 30-day period) Microsoft Advertising activity should be split into its own bid strategies. While the Microsoft Advertising campaigns and their bid strategies may look very similar to their Google counterparts, performance targets should reflect how the activity performs. Splitting out Microsoft Advertising bid strategies will also ensure that optimisation doesn’t prioritise (sometimes) less efficient Google Ads campaigns due to their ability to drive volume.
Syncs – if you simply don’t have the time to treat Microsoft Advertising like a completely separate entity to Google, then there is a solution that requires some resource investment up-front but requires little maintenance. The sync feature allows advertisers to duplicate activity from Google Ads into Microsoft Advertising and there are various options for which elements of the campaigns are copied over (and how frequently they are updated). It is a simple way to ensure that new campaigns, ad copy and keywords are covered on Microsoft Advertising. I would recommend using a hybrid approach that treats Bing as a different entity but uses the sync feature to make sure that new or updated or amended campaigns, keywords and products don’t slip through the net.
LinkedIn targeting - while Microsoft Advertising offers the usual remarketing, in-market and similar audience features that Google does, they also have access to LinkedIn profile targeting. This feature is available in United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France and Germany. Advertising directly on LinkedIn can be very expensive with the minimum CPCs of $2 so targeting LinkedIn users through Microsoft Ads can provide a more cost-effective solution to targeting users based on their company, industry, or job function. While it is not possible to ‘target and bid’ users, bid modifiers can be used to increase the likelihood of traditional search ads being served to these audiences. Even if you are not selling a B2B product or service it is assumed by many that customers who are using LinkedIn are more likely to have disposable income than those who are not.
Your Bing content should reflect your audience and their interests
As previously mentioned, Bing, Outlook (which can also be targeted through Microsoft Advertising) and LinkedIn have different demographics and audiences to Google. If resource allows, advertisers should change their messaging and ad copy to reflect this. Reflecting the interests of the audiences and demographics that you are likely to be reaching on Microsoft Ads is essential to its success.
There are many tools and methods to identify the differences in interest that Bing audiences will have. The natural choice will be the Micosoft Advertising keyword planner, which you can use to identify keywords and get estimated monthly searches for keywords within your category of interest. You will need to have a Microsoft Advertising account to use this feature. When used comparatively to your Google Keyword planner results, you can start to form a picture of the differences in how browsers search in both search engines.
The Facebook Audience Insight tool is a great way to identify more about your audience’s demographic. You can use this demographical information to identify how closely matched it is to your industries audience on Bing here. When used in conjunction these keyword, demographical based insights about your target audience can and should be reflected in your keywords, ad copy and landing pages.
Advertisers ignore Bing at their peril!
Many advertisers see advertising on Microsoft Advertising as a bit of a chore and not worth their time due to Google Ads providing search marketers with a much higher volume of potential customers - Bing often only accounts for 5-15% of search marketers spend in the UK. Subsequently Bing gets overlooked and pushed to the bottom of search advertisers priority lists.
Even though Bing may account for a limited amount of paid search budget, it is still an important advertiser option and can generate impressive results if implemented in the right way.
Do you have any tips for using Microsoft Advertising?