My Two Big Problems With Bing Ads

Blog Categories:  PPC  

Bing claims many advantages over Google in online advertising campaign management including but not limited to higher conversion efficiency numbers and lower costs per click. In addition to their confident claims, the Yahoo/Bing network accounts for 29 percent of the search marketplace. With advanced reporting/targeting options, great customer service and less competition what’s not to like? I can think of a couple things:

1. Exclusion of the Bing Ads Editor Tool for Mac OS X Users

What it is:
Bing Ads Editor claims to have multiple advantages for managers, including the following, taken straight from Bing’s website:

  • “Work faster: Sync your campaigns and accounts, make changes or additions offline, and then upload your revisions with one click.
  • “Easily make edits: The familiar Office user interface makes navigation simple. Directly edit ads, ad groups and thousands of keywords at once.
  • “Create and import campaigns with ease: Swiftly create text ads, define an ad group, select keywords and preview final ad copy. You can even import your account data from other search engines directly into Bing Ads Editor.
  • “Research new keywords: Discover new keywords and add them to your account using the keyword research tools.”

Personal Experience:

  • OS X powers my entire office, and we’re obviously not the only ones.
  • While most changes can be made directly through the Bing Ads interface, this can be a grueling process for certain actions such as destination URL updates, targeting preferences (or anything where a simple find/replace or copy is considerably more time efficient than downloading and uploading changes to the interface directly). In fact, I requested our IT department set me up with a Virtual Box so I can run Bing Ads Editor through a remote windows operating system. This works well, but not everyone has such conveniences and expertise at their disposal.
  • Every week I lose valuable management/optimization time at the expense of this exclusion.

How has Bing responded? “Make Bing Ads Editor Mac Compatible” was entered in the Bing Ads Feature Suggestion Forum in October 2012 and has since accrued more than DOUBLE the votes of any other issue entered at 2517 votes. The issue has been obvious for some time:

2. Bing SP Network Quality Control

Anyone who has worked with Bing Ads should be very familiar with syndicated search partner (SP) networks. Checking the box under ‘Ad Distribution’ allows your ads the freedom to run across a variety of properties owned and operated by Bing/Yahoo’s syndicated search partners.

Traffic quality has been a well-documented concern while running on the SP network, leading to Bing’s introduction of certain tools to emphasize transparency of SP data and more control over SP properties in campaigns. Specifically they now give campaign managers the ability to sort URLs and exclude SP publisher websites with minimal conversion return.

Bing’s Claim:

The Reality:

Case in Point:
I had several SP campaigns that by all conversion metrics, appeared to vastly outperform their non-SP companion campaigns. Naturally, more budget was allocated to these campaigns and cumulative cost-per-lead was cut IN HALF in just one month.

Then the calls from the client came. They were pleased with the numbers, but the quality concerned them. They were receiving forms filled with junk data, specifically from Bing SP campaigns.

I went back to some of the URLs responsible for providing a large portion of these leads and realized many of them were hosted by a single domain provider ( incentivizing users to convert with fake information. We contacted Bing Ads, which helped us identify several bad publisher website URLs which were subsequently excluded.

After a few days, we noticed conversions were starting to ramp up again in the SP campaigns with similar efficiency. In checking which URLs were driving these new conversions, we identified an entire slew of new URLs using the same domain provider. We went back to Bing and got a similar response — exclude the bad URLs. We went through the contact Bing, exclude URLs, check lead URLs cycle several times. Bing support maintained there was nothing more that could be done to stop the onslaught of junk websites other than continually excluding them as they appeared in our reports.

Since then, SP campaigns have been paused and the client has acknowledged a large increase in lead quality, despite a drop in volume.

Unfortunately this was not the only case of bad lead quality with Bing SP, and I would advise anyone utilizing the Bing SP network to remain skeptical and check URLs to ensure an endless stream of similar template websites are pushing users to not only click on your ads, but also to convert.

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