How to Improve the Quality of Your CPC with Bing

Article by | May 17, 2018 SEO

Bing?! Everyone Googles, Right?

Microsoft was a leader in many categories when it came to technology and applications. From word processing with Microsoft Word and gaming with the Xbox, to a number of digital enterprise solutions such as Microsoft Azure. However, when it comes to search and the new mobile landscape, Microsoft Bing has lagged far behind Google. As such, Bing’s search features, setup, and result page often mirrors that of Google. It is accepted in the search industry and SEO circles that optimizing for Google, optimizes for Bing because the algorithm seems fairly comparable.

Leveraging this understanding, many digital marketers anticipated the recent change to Bing’s search engine result page or SERP. In 2016, with mobile use on the Google platform approaching 60% globally, Google removed the right sidebar ads.

Leap forward to this year, and we received news that Bing has followed suite with a removal of the right side ads on their SERP. Bing’s removal of the ads from the sidebar and adding 3-4 to the end of the results, aligns the desktop layout to that of the mobile format and increases the relevancy of the SERP content to the user’s query, both organically and for paid search—just as it did for Google.

What Does this Mean for B2B Marketing?

For both search engines, these right sidebar ads accounted for 8-10 of the 12-16 ads that appeared on the SERP. With their removal, the ad inventory on any given result page drops to 6-8. This change increased the cost-per-click across several industries, reduced the impressions on ads, but increased the click through rates on ads placing high in the pay-per-click auctions.

Although Bing powers Yahoo, and controls around 20-30% of the search engine share in total, Google owns 91% of all mobile searches according to the latest StatCounter data. For advertisers running ads in Bing, this change will likely reduce the US impressions while forcing higher CPCs as the available spaces on viable searches is reduced by this change.

As was seen in 2016 with Google, this change to Bing will improve the quality of the clicks for advertisers willing to pay the higher CPCs. These types of changes help eliminate low-level competitors and low-quality ad content from the search results—which is always a win for the users, but even more so for the B2B buyer. When targeting B2B users, campaigns need to be extremely well-optimized to minimize cost while maximizing ad rank. These optimizations involve:

  • Aligning the ads with the ideal user searches based on your persona research
  • Maximize the use of advanced ad tactics (e.g. match types, extensions, conversion optimizations)
  • Negative keywords
  • Hyper-focused ad groups (these are ad groups limited to 12-18 search terms that are phrases, 3 to 4 words per phrase.)

These are just a few of the general ways we’ve been able optimize campaigns regardless of platform. However, knowing that Bing is natively installed on many corporate machines and a choice for C-Suiters…

How Can You Truly Optimize and Reduce your CPC on Bing?

1. Dynamic Text Insertion

This tactic allows for the paid term in your account that matches the user’s search query to be inserted into your ad. Make use of this dynamic function by using {KeyWord:Default Text} in one of the headlines of the ads. This works in both Bing and Google, and is great for making your ad hyper relevant. Combined with the ad group tactic above, you’ll gain relevancy—reducing your costs. Caution—because the search term is used in the ad, the rest of your ad must make sense when the term is inserted, so having well-defined ad groups with closely related themes is necessary.

2. Ad Scheduling with Bid Adjustments

Do you really need your ads running 24 hours a day?! If so, ignore this CPC optimization, but most likely, no you don’t. Ad Scheduling allows you to first, designate when your ads run and second, is a lead into bid adjustments. If you know your target demographic seems to be much more active from 2pm to 6pm (a peak period for our clients), adding both the scheduling and bid adjustment will maximize your spend—while simultaneously increasing ROI because you’ll only pay when you get the clicks but may get more impressions; an added brand awareness opportunity during peak search activity for your key audience.

3. Only Go After “Searched” Terms

Similar to Google, Bing has a quality score that impacts CPC. With >30% of search share, you don’t need to have every keyword in your menagerie in your BingAd account. Pursuing search terms with low volume or poor engagement will cost you money and quality score points; this will drag your other campaigns down as well as diminish your account quality. Focus only on terms you know get searched or terms relevant to you conversion funnels. If you’re using UTM strings, a CRM like HubSpot, and tracking conversions in your analytics, these valuable terms should be top of mind and supported with data.

Bing Ads Microsoft Stats
With a reduction of ad inventory, these optimizations will help ensure you aren’t negatively impacted and see the ROI you’re needing in the niche B2B industry space. If you’ve already seen a dip in your ad position or impressions on Bing and Google, try implementing a few of optimizations focused on quality to lift your ad rank.

Not sure how to do that? Give us a call or send us an email. We can help!

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