For the past decade, Bing has been Microsoft’s flagship web search engine platform, succeeding their previous attempts in MSN Search and Windows Live Search. Today, Bing has established itself as one of the key players in the advertising game.
Although Bing still trails Google by a wide margin regarding market cap (4.5% to 78.3% market share, respectively), Bing still packs a big punch for its size. When considering the US alone, Bing is a more dominant force, consuming one-third of the market and generates 5 billion searches annually.
Bing is no longer a sideline player—they’re right there in the action alongside Google. And, if you want to reap the full potential of your business’s outreach strategy, you need to include Bing Ads as a key marketing channel.
To help you make the most out of your Bing Ads experience, we put together this quick guide to unpack everything you need to know about this growing pay-per-click (PPC) ad platform. We’ll take you from end-to-end so you can get started running Bing advertisements with confidence.
Table of Contents
- Why Bing?
- Advertising on Bing Ads: An Introduction
- Importing Google Ads to Microsoft Advertising
- Starting a Campaign From Scratch
- Setting Your Budget
- Setting Your Location and Tax Information
- Navigating The Dashboard
- Bing Ads (Microsoft Advertising) vs. Google AdWords
- Are Bing Ads Worth It?
With Google having dominated the search engine market for over two decades, it might seem a bit redundant to invest in its little brother, Bing. However, there’s a lot going on under the surface that most casual Bing users (or non-users) don’t know about.
Take, for instance, the fact that Bing Ads allows you to import your Google AdWords campaigns and settings over to the Microsoft platform. This way, you can pick up exactly where you left off with AdWords, only on an all-new PPC ad channel. Talk about customer service!
Although it’s been long typecasted as the runt of the pack, Bing no longer lingers in Google’s shadow. This is largely the result of a 2009, decade-long merger signed between Microsoft and Yahoo that was extended in January 2019 to include Verizon Media and AOL.
Today, all Yahoo search data flows through the Bing Ads platform, with none going to Google. The same is true of other leading search inventories that are Verizon-owned properties, such as:
- AOL Mail
- Yahoo Mail
The new partnership between Bing and Verizon Media will increase clicks for Yahoo and Bing Ads customers by between 10 and 15 percent in the US. For this reason, Bing Ads has uniquely positioned itself as the only competitor in the game when it comes to standing up to Google.
Advertising on Bing Ads: An Introduction
To get started running advertisements on Bing, you can begin by creating a free Microsoft Advertising account. From there, you will be tasked with filling out a standard sign-up form that should be straightforward if you’ve ever made a Google AdWords account—it’s, for the most part, the same information.
It’s important to note that, as of April 2019, Bing Ads is now officially known as Microsoft Advertising. For this reason, we will use both titles interchangeably throughout the remainder of this article.
Importing Google Ads to Microsoft Advertising
You can shave a lot of time off the Bing Ads startup process by importing your existing Google Ads campaigns directly into the Microsoft platform. To do this as efficiently as possible, follow these simple steps to take your ad data from Google to Microsoft Advertising:
- Follow the on-screen prompt to import existing campaigns from Google after creating your Microsoft Advertising account
- Sign in to your Google Ads account and choose the ad campaigns you want to import
- Select “Schedule Imports” to create a recurring, automated import schedule every day, week, or month
- Allow the files to download and, once complete, you will receive an information summary regarding your campaign, including whatever data is skipped or missing
- Load billing information to your Microsoft Advertising profile and start using paid search functions
Starting A Campaign from Scratch
To get started designing your first Microsoft Advertising campaign using your newly created Bind Ads account, select the “Create a new campaign” button at the top of the screen. Remember, you will only want to choose this option if you weren’t already a Google AdWords user.
From there, you will be asked to fill name the campaign, provide the location boundaries where your ads will appear, the targeted demographic groups you want your ad exposed to, and the languages you want your ads to appear in.
Step 1: Fill out location and company-related information.
After you’ve completed the first step, you can proceed to the fun part—actually designing your first Microsoft ad. Under the “Ads & keywords” heading, you will be tasked with creating a group name for your ads as well as keywords relevant to your product or service (e.g., Sunglasses, sunglass, shades, eyewear).
If you run into any trouble with setting up keywords, use the “Get keyword suggestions” tool at the right-hand side of the page to assist with finding the correct terms. These keywords are a crucial ingredient to the success of your ad since they will determine which Bing search terms generate leads to your campaign. When inputting keywords into the submission box, use the following guide to differentiate between word match types:
- Keyword = Broad match keyword
- “Keyword” = Phrase match keyword
- [Keyword] = Exact match keyword
After your keywords are selected and separated by commas, and the campaign has been assigned a name, you can proceed to the next step by clicking “Create Ad” link.
Creating Your Microsoft Ad
Your next task is to input the Final URL into the top field of the form you will be directed to. This is the link that your audience will be asked to click to. Usually, this is your business’s landing page or a sales page where they can make a purchase or learn more about the company.
For the sake of this example, we’re going to be selling sunglasses. Therefore, we filled out our Title Part 1 and Title Part 2 field entries with information relating to an imaginary sunglasses store. On the right-hand side, you can see in real-time how your Microsoft ad campaign is affected by the entries in the form.
Step 2: Create your Microsoft Advertising campaign by filling out the form above.
Once the form is completed, click “Save” at the bottom of the page to proceed to the next part of the set-up process, where you will determine your spending limits.
Setting Your Budget
There are few aspects of a digital advertising campaign that are more important than setting an appropriate budget. As a pay-per-click campaign, it’s critical that your Microsoft Advertising budget establishes a strict maximum cost-per-click as well as an overall campaign budget.
In other words, these parameters determine the maximum amount that you want to pay each time a viewer clicks on your ad. Additionally, you have the chance here to set the maximum amount you’re comfortable with spending on a daily basis.
It can be a challenge finding the right amount to spend on your Bing Ad campaign. It’s important to know, though, that you only pay every time a viewer clicks on your ad—much like how Google AdWords works.
Therefore, a good starting point is to ask yourself: How many clicks am I hoping to receive each day? The answer to this question will depend on how much each click is worth to you. If you want to receive 100 clicks per day, and that each cost per click (CPC) is worth $.80, then you should multiply 100 by $.80 to receive a total budget of $80.
There’s more to it than that, though. Microsoft Advertising offers two budget types that suit different ad campaign designs.
- Daily (Standard): Ad impressions are distributed across the entire month, with your ad being shown evenly on each day. This is the recommended starting campaign budget style as it allows you to monitor your daily ad performance and make adjustments on an as-needed basis.
- Daily (Accelerated): Ad impressions are distributed across the entire month, with your ad being shown as many times as possible until your daily budget is exhausted. This campaign budget style is recommended for those already experienced with Microsoft Advertising who want to display their ads in the morning and earlier in the day.
Monthly Performance Estimates
Let’s go ahead and assume that we want to run a daily $250 Microsoft Advertising campaign on the Bing platform at a CPC of $0.75 under the Daily (Standard) budget model. With these budget options, Microsoft offers the following performance estimates:
- Estimated Monthly Clicks: 5,011
- Estimate Monthly Impressions: 60,589
- Estimated Monthly Spend: $1,750
- Estimate Avg. SERP Position: 4.97
As one of the most critical aspects of your campaign, you need to ascertain the click volume that you will be satisfied with. Whether that’s 1,000 monthly clicks or 100,000, your total click volume should serve as the baseline around which the rest of your budget is constructed.
Setting Up Your Location and Tax Information
Now that we have an ad campaign for a burgeoning sunglasses store, we can move onto the next step by selecting “Save” at the bottom of the screen. Then, you will be sent to the final step in the campaign creation process—adding a form of payment and including your relevant tax information. In other words, all the fun stuff.
The first of the two steps, entering your business location and address, is straightforward. Select the relevant information from the drop-down list provided or input your address and location information in the field entries below. You will then be prompted to click “Verify” on the prompt screen, which confirms your business’s address.
Next, you can input any promotional offer you might have. Microsoft regularly provides limited-time offers and deals to new customers so that they can “test run” Microsoft Advertising before committing to a large campaign every month. These codes appear in the form of coupons that, once redeemed, have 90 days to be used before they expire.
Step 3: Input promo codes and billing information in the fields above.
Microsoft Advertising offers two types of payment methods: prepay and postpay. Below, we’ve listed the various options you have to fulfill payments using either system.
- Postpay: Credit or Debit Card
- Prepay: Credit or Debit Card, PayPal, Check, Bank Transfer
If flexibility is what you’re after, you’re better off choosing the latter option. Prepaying for your Bing Ad campaign affords you a greater number of options and can be redeemed faster thanks to the speed of leading payment processors such as PayPal.
Like most applicants, you will likely opt to pay via credit card or debit card. To do this, input your credit card or personal banking information into Bing’s secure payment portal. To authorize a debit card, Microsoft will verify your card by issuing a small authorization charge to your account, which will be removed at a later date.
Navigating The Dashboard
Once you’ve set up your primary payment method, you will be forwarded to the Microsoft Advertising dashboard. Here, you can manage your Bing Ad campaigns, review performance targets, save campaign reports, adjust settings, and much more.
Step 4: Use the Microsoft Advertising dashboard to adjust settings and manage your campaigns.
Perhaps the most commonly used tab in the dashboard is the “Reports” page, which can be accessed from the toolbar at the top of the screen. Here, you can perform the following functions:
- Create a report
- Create a custom report (i.e. select filters, targeting, etc.)
- Set up a regularly scheduled report
- Cancel a scheduled report
Under the “Ads” tab on the top toolbar, you can view your clicks-per-day data and make any adjustments necessary to optimize your campaign. On this page, you will notice that hour-by-hour data is provided to give you a better idea as to when your audience is viewing your ad and when they are tuning out.
Targeting Options When Using Bing Ads
Like Google AdWords, Bing Ads offers a host of targeting options designed to make your advertising experience as cost-effective as possible by ensuring that only your target demographic views your ad. At present, Microsoft allows the following data to provide personalized audience targeting at the group level:
- Geographic location
- Gender and age
- Device type
- Day of the week
- Time of the day
Bing Ads (Microsoft Advertising) vs. Google AdWords
After years of market monopolization from search giant Google, Microsoft has officially made PPC advertising a two-horse race with the introduction of the latest version of Bing Ads under the “Microsoft Advertising” moniker. Below, we’ve broken down some of the main differentiating factors between these two PPC marketing platforms.
Google users are highly diverse, and proportionately represent many segments of the population. Bing, on the other hand, skews older and largely misses out on the 18-34 age bracket. According to Microsoft, about 40% of the Bing network is between 35-53 years old, making it a key resource for targeting older audiences.
The click-through rate (CTR) for Bing Ads tend to have the leg up in certain search verticals compared to Google AdWords. This is due to Bing’s superior demographic targeting algorithms, which zero-in on highly-interested audiences that are more likely to convert.
Microsoft Advertising now consists of over one-third of all US desktop searches. This equates to roughly 5.4 billion search queries every month, and over 135 million unique searchers on the Bing network that aren’t using Google. While Google has the advantage in sheer reach numbers, Bing Ads can help get your message across to countless new search users.
Ultimately, the choice between Bing or Google shouldn’t be binary. Rather, the savvy marketer should realize that the two options complement each other and should be used in conjunction with one another to maximize your outreach.
Are Bing Ads Worth It?
In recent years, Bing has grown to take up over one-fifth of the US search market share while Google’s share continues to fall. While this phenomenon can be attributed to a host of reasons on Bing’s side and Google’s, it ultimately comes down to the following principles:
- Bing Ads have cheaper CPCs (avg. 33.5% cheaper on Bing)
- More granular control settings on Bing campaigns
- Superior device targeting features on Bing
- Improved social extensions (i.e. Twitter follower count integration)
- Users have greater search partner targeting (Bing, Yahoo, or both)
Small and medium-sized business owners have a lot to gain from incorporating Bing and Microsoft Advertising into their PPC marketing strategy. For superior demographic targeting at a more affordable CPC, Bing Ads cost considerably less than Google with less competition on the network to get in the way of you and your audience.
Google AdWords, while still the top dog in the PPC game, isn’t the only option anymore. Although the Google AdWords platform should be the backbone of your PPC strategy, savvy marketers and business owners should make use of Bing Ads on the Microsoft Advertising platform to help take their PPC strategy to the next level.