A Walkthrough of Microsoft Advertising

Bing may be the underdog when it comes to search engine traffic, as Google has continued to dominate online search for many years, but this does not mean digital marketers can’t find great opportunities to advertise on Bing. Recently, Microsoft rebranded the Bing AdCenter to Microsoft Advertising. While Google may be your primary focus when it comes to paid advertising, don’t overlook the potential Bing might offer your brand.

Many of the tools and features available through Microsoft Advertising should feel familiar, but it’s important to have some idea of what to expect before you get started with your Bing pay-per-click (PPC) campaign.

Why Advertise on Bing?

Google still holds the title as the champion of online search, but Bing has steadily gained more traction over the years and now holds sway over about a quarter of all online search traffic. If you’re dedicating all of your digital marketing budget and assets to Google, you’re potentially missing out on 25% of the available opportunities for increasing your brand awareness to a wider audience.

Bing presents search engine result pages (SERPs) in roughly the same format as Google, with sponsored ads on the top, side, and bottom of each page. While Google has recently done away with the sidebar for sponsored links, Bing still uses this configuration for desktop displays. On mobile platforms, the two platforms’ SERPs are remarkably similar.

Microsoft Advertising serves the same function for Bing as Google AdWords does for Google Search. The basic mechanics of Microsoft Advertising are almost identical to AdWords. You must specify keywords for your content and bid on them. When a user searches using one of your designated keywords, Bing runs an algorithm to determine which bidding ads take the top places on the SERP. Just like a PPC campaign on Google, you must pay a set amount every time a user successfully clicks on your ads using Microsoft Advertising. Higher bids will increase the likelihood of your ads appearing, but they will also cost more if more users decide to click on them.

If you already advertise on Google, you don’t need to worry too much about managing an entirely separate PPC admin platform; Microsoft Advertising allows users to import their keyword configurations directly from Google AdWords, and you can also configure Microsoft Advertising to update with your AdWords on a set schedule. Ultimately, you might discover that advertising on Bing offers a higher overall return on investment than advertising on Google thanks to the lighter competition and lower cost of PPC ads, despite the overall lower search volume.

Best Practices for Using Microsoft Advertising

One of the most crucial factors to consider during any marketing campaign is the potential return on your investment. Since Google draws more search traffic than Bing, you essentially have less competition when advertising on Bing, and your PPC ads will cost a fraction of what they would cost on Google. PPC ads cost roughly 30% to 40% less on Bing than they do on Google, potentially saving you tremendous amounts of marketing budget cash per click while still capturing a desirable number of conversions thanks to the less competitive environment.

Just like advertising using AdWords, keywords are your chief concern when it comes to building your Microsoft Advertising campaign. Keep a few basic best practices in mind, and you’ll quickly discover that Microsoft Advertising is intuitive, familiar, and more valuable than you may have expected:

  • Develop a thorough list of keywords, including singular/plural variations and long-form keyword phrases.
  • Be sure to designate negative keywords in case you know of search terms you do not want associated with your website.
  • Designate your geographical preferences, if applicable. If you plan to advertise to a specific geographical location, Microsoft Advertising allows you to target your ideal market area with high precision.
  • Experiment and perform some competitive analysis to find out how your competitors are using Microsoft Advertising. If you notice a certain competitor’s ads on Google fairly often but rarely or ever on Bing, this presents a unique opportunity.
  • Segment your bids carefully. Bid the highest on the keywords that resonate most strongly with your web content. Split testing can help you determine which keywords offer the best return on your marketing investment.
  • Target your ads by device type. Remember, more people than ever before are using mobile devices to browse the web and shop online, and your Bing PPC ads should capture the mobile search market.

Ultimately, you should apply the same best practices to your Microsoft Advertising campaign that you use for your Google AdWords campaign. Don’t feel stressed about splitting your attention to a second search engine; managing your Microsoft Advertising platform is easier than you might think. It can also offer a fantastic return on investment despite the lower search volume on Bing. Over time, Bing may continue to steal search engine traffic from Google, so developing a strong Microsoft Advertising campaign now can set you up for tremendous success in the future.