Being British I love an underdog story. We do really love a “tryer”. It must be baked into our national psyche thanks to years of below-average performance at most sports. There’s also a suggestion that maybe Brits just hate successful people. It’ll then come as no surprise that as a result, I have a surprising affinity for Bing Ads over Google Adwords.
It’s not just that often the results are better, in terms of lower CPCs and improved CPAs. It’s not just that the market share is constantly increasing and is now up to 25% in the UK. It’s not even just that I look fabulous in teal:
Oh no. My love for Bing isn’t the result of them being the underdog in the paid search world. There’s actually a lot of things that Google could stand to learn from Bing and some of the things they do better. On some levels Google knows this and has copied a number of Bing-only features, such as Quality Score component reporting, demographic modifiers in search, reinstating tablet-specific bidding and adding support for PPC pros vis Twitter. They’ve also copied their amazing Campaign Planner features in the AdWords Keyword Planner – to the point where it’s essentially a duplicate with different branding.
What I want to do is flag-up some Bing Ads only exclusive features and tricks that you probably didn’t know existed – that can, in some cases, add value for your campaigns in Google AdWords as well as the activity you’re running in Bing Ads. Let’s start with features which focus around transparency.
Opt out of syndication traffic
It’s long been a point of irritation amongst PPC Pros that Google don’t allow you to view specific site performance when you target their Search Partner network. As a result, you’re unable to exclude specific partners that might deliver sub-par performance, in the way that you can for a site on the Google Display Network.
In Bing Ads, you can run a Website URL report which shows you the performance for websites on the main Bing network and also on the syndicated search partner sites (the same as Google’s Search Partners).
It’s quite straightforward to pull the report and start looking at the search partner sites which might be driving poor performance. For example, from the below, I might want to exclude savinginsight.com and alhea.com:
It’s also important to note that you can selectively exclude partner sites – you don’t have to exclude a site from your whole account because of poor performance in a single campaign or ad group. Within Settings, you can apply ad-group level exclusions that will take precedence over anything you apply at campaign level.
I love it!
Bing’s tool to let you import your campaigns from AdWords has been around for a while – first in the interface, and then via Bing Ads Editor – which is a great way to check campaigns and make any amends before putting things live. Hands-down, it’s the best way to manage a large scale import.
Once you’ve done that initial import though, it can be all too easy to miss updating Bing with the same changes that you make to Google – whether it’s introducing new keywords, writing new ads, or testing new landing pages.
The automated import function solves this problem – allowing you to import changes from your AdWords campaigns directly into Bing Ads. Simply navigate to Import Campaigns -> Import from Google Adwords and follow the prompts.
At the bottom, you’re given the option to schedule imports, on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. You can also get the system to email you the results; if there are changes, if there are errors, or every time it runs.
Once that’s done and if you want to ever view the schedule or see past imports, simply go to Import Campaigns -> Import Schedule & History and you’ll be able to see everything from the last 90 days – allowing you to review and fix any errors, if any were found during the import process.
Now there’s no excuse! 🙂
User Suggestion Forum
One of my favourite features is Bing Ads Feature Suggest Forum. I’ve been a member of this for years now and it’s where you can go to suggest new features that you’d like to have added to the Bing Ads platform. Other users can then vote up your ideas, comment on them and you can see feedback from the Bing Ads team.
I’ve suggested a couple of ideas that have been started by the Bing Ads team – it’s thrilling to make a suggestion and then be able to discuss it with one of the engineers, before it then becomes an actual part of the platform.
Between the forum and the great support you get on Twitter, I feel quite listened to as a customer. You could argue that it’s a great point of differentiation for Bing given their smaller market share, but I believe it’s representative of a desire for collaboration and partnership with their customers which can be a nice contrast compared to the Big G.
Ad Extension Scheduling
This feature is great if you run campaigns that operate in multiple countries or timezones. This is a feature that’s available for the following extensions:
- App Extension
- Sitelink Extension
- Callout Extension
- Call Extension
- Review Extension
- Location Extension
- Structured Snippet Extension
What is it? Well in AdWords, all scheduling of ads and extensions is specific to the timezone of the account when it was created. So if you’re based in the UK and run campaigns for the UK and USA from a single account, if you schedule an ad extension to appear from 09:00 – 17:00 GMT, on the east coast of the US it would show from 04:00 – 12:00 and on the west coast from 01:00 – 09:00 – useless if you’re trying to target business hours.
This can easily be solved by creating separate campaigns with different ad schedules, but if you’re targeting the US, this would mean you’d need a duplicated campaign for every timezone – not exactly convenient.
Enter ad extension scheduling.
When you create your extension, at the bottom you have the option of scheduling the ad extension by either:
• The location of your account (this is the standard bit)
• The location of the person viewing your ad (this is the game-changing bit!)
With this one radio button, you ensure that your ad extension will only be shown to customers when that timezone is specific to them – alleviating the issue of needing to duplicate campaigns to gain control of schedules.
It’s such a simple thing, but of all of the things I’m covering off in this article, possibly the most impactful.
Bing Ads Intelligence
Last, but by no means least, Bing Ads Intelligence. This Excel plug-in has been around for a while (five years, I think?) but is still chronically underused by almost everybody. It’s capable of so much, so I’m not going to run through an exhaustive list of what it can do – rather, I’m going to single out a couple of key things that could add value to your everyday workflow. (If you do want an overview of everything the plug-in can do, check out this post here and watch this webcast.)
Layer Features On Top Of Each Other
Using the online keyword planners is fine, but if you want to take the data and manipulate it further (e.g. get keyword suggestions and then see detailed performance data for each of those suggestions), then it can be cumbersome. With using the Excel plug-in, you never have to do more than copy and paste – usually, you just have to click a few things.
In this theoretical example, I’m looking to build out a campaign around digital DSLR cameras, but I want to understand what searches my competitors are bidding on as I’m looking to gain market share. If I select my root keywords and go to “Associated Keywords”, I’ll be given a list of related keywords that are currently being bid on by other advertisers:
So these are great, but how do I know if any of them have volume or are worth bidding on? Well, if I highlight my list of search terms and click the “Traffic” button, I can get the keyword search volume broken down by time (day, week, month) and device:
Once the report runs, in a new tab I can begin to filter keywords by device, or sort by traffic levels. This is a great way to start understanding the seasonal trends behind keywords as well as which devices drive the volume – super helpful for forecasting/budget planning (thanks to Sam Noble for this great tip):
So that’s traffic. But once I’ve found these top volume keywords, how do I start estimating how much budget I might need, or what location or demographic bid modifier might be best? Through a combination of the Keyword Performance, Search-User Location and Age Group & Gender reports, I can get all this. If I want, I can layer it all into a single sheet. The Keyword Performance report is particularly powerful and lets me breakdown the devices, match types and ad position (specific top vs sides positions) if I so wish. Here’s super detailed data for just a single keyword:
But let’s briefly dive back to analysing location and demographic modifiers. There’s around 30 countries now included, so you can dig into city, state and region data for most countries you may manage:
With the Age Group and Gender insights, you get things split out in groups similar to what you see in GA:
Easy! If you want some help with putting together new campaigns, or want to understand what sorts of keywords your competitors might be bidding on, the plug-in is invaluable – particularly if you’re working with smaller budgets and you perhaps want to find the more niche, long-tail opportunities to help maximise your budget. And we build all that out from 3 keywords with a few clicks of the mouse.
Some of the Keyword Templates are only specific to the US market, but there are some amazing templates that can help with detailed research and analysis, or campaign build out.
My favourite is the Search Query Insights Dashboard. You enter a query, market, date range and device and it spits out useful trend analysis, demographic insights, rising queries and more. Here’s some feedback on the query “strictly come dancing” – which started again in the UK this week:
Pretty nifty, right?
Landing Page Quality Score
Finally, my favourite tip. This is a fantastic use of the tool suggested by Melissa Mackey of Beyond The Paid. (You can also follow her on Twitter here.) If you’re looking to improve the Landing Page Relevancy element of your Quality Score, this is the best way to go about it – regardless if you’re trying to do this for your Adwords or Bing campaigns.
Let’s say I’m working for a holiday brand, trying to improve the Quality Score for my keyword [holiday deals]. I’m currently sending the traffic to a “Package Holidays” page because there’s no dedicated “Holiday Deals” landing page (maybe there should be, but we’ll come on to that!).
I’ve identified a couple of other suitable pages, but how do I know which one to try? Well, by using the Webpage Keywords option, I’m able to get a sense of which pages might be considered highly relevant for certain terms.
I simply include the URLs I wish to test and run the report on each URL.
What do we find?
Well, on the page that we’re currently sending the traffic to, the relevancy score for “holiday deals” is quite low – 0.4 point something out of 1.0 – which probably explains why our Quality Score is suffering in this area.
It looks like the “All Inclusive” page isn’t any better:
But, the “Last Minute” page could be a viable candidate, at least until a dedicated “holiday deals” page is up and running:
Of course once the new “holiday deals” page is there, using this technique is a great way to check that the content on the page meets your relevancy needs. You can also do this for your competitor’s pages – to help reverse engineer what might be making certain pages work effectively for them. Pretty awesome, right?
There we have it! Some things that I reckon you probably didn’t know you could do in Bing Ads that will both improve your campaign performance and enhance your general workflow – particularly if you start using the Intelligence Excel Plug-In.
Do you have any other favourite tips and tricks on Bing that I’ve left off this list? Let me know in the comments!