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5 Microsoft Advertising Features You Might Not Know About

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With Google’s dominance of the search market, PPC advertisers can easily forget to focus on Microsoft Advertising.

Too often, campaigns are simply copied over from Google Ads with no further thought going into unique configuration for Microsoft Advertising.

The search marketers who win are the ones who put the extra thought into tailoring campaigns for each platform.

Every ad platform has tools that set it apart from others, and users behave differently on each service as well.

In this article, I’ll cover five features you might not know about in Microsoft Advertising, some of which are entirely unique to this platform.

1. Action Extensions

Unique to Microsoft Advertising, action extensions add a call-to-action button beside your ad in search results, linking to the landing page of your choice.

These extensions help your ads stand out and provide additional incentive for the user to click.

Bing Action Extension

To set up action extensions in your account, go to the Ad Extensions tab and choose Action Extensions from the dropdown.

You can now choose to set up extensions at the account, campaign, or ad group level.

Create Action Extension

While you can’t completely customize the copy, Microsoft offers many pre-established text options.

You can also change the language to suit your target audience.

If you want users to try software, you could use “Free Trial.”

If you’re offering a discount, you could use “Coupon.”

To drive people to a physical store location, use “Directions.”

View Action Extensions

Ideally, test multiple extension variants against each other to see what performs best.

Only one will show at a time, and you can review the data on the Ad Extensions tab.

2. Review Extensions

You may recall that Google Ads sunsetted review extensions at the beginning of 2018. Well, these extensions are still alive and well in Microsoft Advertising!

Bing Review Extension

Review extensions allow you feature brand mentions from third-party sites, helping to establish credibility via outside sources.

However, note that you can’t just grab a quote from a review aggregator site like Yelp.

According to Microsoft’s guidelines, “individual consumer reviews” are not allowed, and “reviews may only come from reliable, well-established and trusted sources.”

For instance, say you sell toothbrushes. An article from a dental association site, ranking your toothbrush brand as the top choice for removing plaque, would be a potential fit for a review extension.

To set up a review extension, go to the Extensions tab and select Review Extensions from the dropdown.

You can then create a review extension at account, campaign, or ad group level.

Now, define the text, select whether it’s an exact quote or paraphrase, add the source, and include the source URL.

Note that the review text and source name combined must not exceed 67 characters.

Finally, once you’ve added the extension, keep checking in to make sure it got approved.

The Microsoft team is fairly selective about approving extensions, so you may need to check with support for clarity if it’s disapproved.

After a review extension is active, you’ll see performance stats appear on this tab.

You can run multiple extensions against each other to compare data here.

3. LinkedIn Profile Targeting

Trying to target B2B professionals?

Test LinkedIn targeting within Microsoft Advertising to help zero in on the right audience.

To add LinkedIn audiences, go to the Demographics tab.

Right above the graph, you’ll see Company, Industry, and Job Function options.

LinkedIn Bing Targeting

You can now select your desired parameters to add at the campaign level.

LinkedIn audiences function strictly as Bid Only for search campaigns.

The campaign will continue to reach anyone searching your targeted keywords, but you can view data for the LinkedIn audiences and add positive or negative bid adjustments based on performance.

However, when using the Microsoft Audience Network, you can choose between Target and Bid (solely targeting the LinkedIn audiences) or Bid Only.

This choice allows the potential for a display campaign reaching people with a select job function and industry.

4. Competition Tab

Want to keep an eye on how aggressive your competitors are in search?

Often, the landscape in Bing can differ significantly from that on Google, and you should pay attention to the competitive space in both platforms.

Microsoft’s Competition tab offers detailed insight into your top search competitors.

Microsoft Advertising Competition Tab

First, you can see a breakdown of metrics demonstrating how your visibility compared to competitors who showed up for the same search queries.

You can see

  • Impression share: Percentage of available impressions each brand received.
  • Avg. position: Average position of ads in search results (lower numbers are higher positions.
  • Overlap rate: Percentage of times your brand overlapped with competitors in the SERP.
  • Position above rate: Percentage of times a competitor’s ad showed up above yours.
  • Top of page rate: Percentage of times an ad showed above organic search results.
  • Outranking share: Percentage of times your ad showed higher than a competitor’s ad.

Next, you can see historical data in the graph at the top.

Set the date range back to gauge how aggressively competitors have been bidding over time.

You can also flag date ranges where they stopped bidding, as well as identifying seasonal trends.

In this example, we can see a peak in bidding around January, likely capitalizing on an influx of research for the new year.

5. Experiments

Experiments allow you to test performance between two campaign variants.

While Google Ads has offered Experiments for many years, this feature is new to Microsoft Advertising.

For instance, you may want to test if Target CPA bidding can outperform Manual CPC, so you could keep your original campaign on manual bidding and set the experiment campaign to use Target CPA.

Or you may want to test if limiting ad scheduling to weekdays 9-5 drives a better CPA than keeping the campaign active all the time.

To access this feature, select the Experiments tab within your account and click “Create Experiment” to start defining your parameters.

First, select the campaign you wish to use as the control.

Microsoft Advertising Experiments

Next, name the experiment and set what percentage of traffic goes to the experiment version.

You can also choose to either define an end date, or let the experiment run indefinitely until you’re ready to stop it.

Once the experiment becomes active, you can review see performance data on this same tab.

Dive Into Your Microsoft Advertising Account!

If you haven’t used these features, take the time to think about how you can implement them in your account.

Test an action extension to promote an offer. Find a quote to feature in a review extension. Both of these extensions don’t appear to be used by the majority of advertisers and can help your brand stand out.

Identify LinkedIn audiences relevant to your brand. At the very least, layer them on as bid-only to gain future data for bid adjustments.

Take a look at the competition tab; you might be surprised what brands are bidding aggressively for Bing vs. Google. Finally, think of a test for which you can use Experiments to compare performance.

In short, as digital marketers, we need to take the time to learn the nuances of each platform.

Blindly carrying over campaigns from one platform to another won’t help you stand out from those who are taking the time to customize campaigns.

Become familiar with unique features, and test them for your business or clients!

More Resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, August 2019



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Want to speak at SMX West? Here’s how

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Want to showcase your knowledge of search marketing to our SMX West attendees? We’d love to hear from you, and if you wow us with your proposal we’ll invite you to speak at the conference. To increase the odds of being selected, be sure to read the agenda. Understand what the sessions are about. Ensure that your pitch is on target to the show’s audience and the session. Please also be very specific about what you intend to cover. Also, if you do not see a particular session listed, this is because there are no openings for that session. Use this form to submit your request.

PLEASE NOTE: We have changed the pitch process. We’ve put together session titles that we plan to run at the show, and we’re looking for you to tell us what key learning objectives and takeaways you’ll offer to attendees. Detailed instructions are on the pitch form.

As you might guess, interest is high in speaking at SMX conferences. We literally sift through hundreds of submissions to select speakers for the show. Here are some tips that will increase your chances of being selected.

Pitch early: Submitting your pitch early gives you a better chance of being selected. Coordinators accept speakers as soon as they identify a pitch that they think best fits the session, just like colleges that use a rolling admissions policy. So pitching early increases the likelihood you’ll be chosen.

Use the form: The speaker pitch form (http://marketinglandevents.com/speaker-form/) is the way to ask to speak. There’s helpful information there about how your pitch should be written and what it should contain.

Write it yourself and be specific: Lots of pitches come in that are not specific to the session. This is the most effective ways to ensure that your pitch is ignored. And this year, we’re no longer accepting pitches written by anyone other than a proposed speaker. If you’re a thought leader, write the pitch yourself… and make certain that it is 100% focused on the session topic.

“Throw your best pitch:” We’re limiting the number of pitches to three per person, so please pitch for the session(s) where you really feel you’ll offer SMX attendees your best.

NEW: SMX Insights Sessions. What are they? 8-10 minute solo sessions that pack a punch and wow attendees with content they can’t and won’t see anywhere else. Tactical. Specific. Actionable. Speakers are challenged to deliver the goods in a limited amount of time: one must-try tactic, one nugget of sage advice, or one takeaway that makes you more productive. Have a gem to share with your colleagues? Pitch your idea and you may make it to the SMX stage!

You’ll be notified: Everyone who pitches to speak will be notified by email whether you are accepted or not.

And don’t delay—the pitch forms for each session will close as sessions are filled, with everything closing Friday, November 29.


About The Author



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Video: Danny Sullivan, Google Public Liaison of Search, on his transition from Search Engine Land to Google

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We have a special video interview for you all at Search Engine Land. We interviewed Danny Sullivan, the founder of Search Engine Land and the search community, in a two-part series.

In part one, we asked Danny about his early days in the industry to him ultimately deciding to retire from his role at Search Engine Land / Third Door Media. Then accepting a job a few months later to work with the Google Search team as the Google Public Liaison of Search.

Part two is more about what it is like to work at Google and how he sees things differently as a Googler than when he was working on search from outside of Google.

Here is part one:

I started this vlog series recently, and if you want to sign up to be interviewed, you can fill out this form on Search Engine Roundtable. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel by clicking here.


About The Author

Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land’s News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on SEM topics.



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Google Ads Editor update includes support for Discovery campaigns

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Yes, the editing pane is still awkwardly placed to take up a giant chunk of the right side of the screen, but Google Ads Editor’s latest version does offer some handy updates.

Edit pane. Speaking of that edit pane, now you can at least condense some fields to hide them so there’s a bit less scrolling. (That doesn’t mean irrelevant sections no longer show, however. You’re still going to have to scroll past a grayed-out “Shopping settings” when you’re in a Search campaign, for example.)

Shared negative keyword lists. If you’ve built out broadly applicable negative keyword lists, you can now share those across accounts in the Shared Library in Editor. (Shared Library is located under “Account-level” in the left navigation pane.)

Search for errors. You can search for similar errors across your campaigns or accounts. In the search bar, type “rule” or “violation” and you’ll see a list of options. Similarly, when you find an error or warning, you can click on the “Show violations” link at the bottom of the screen to see them all.

New campaign support. If you are running App campaigns for engagement or have access to Discovery campaigns in beta, you can now create and edit them in Editor.

Why we should care. These changes are relatively minor, but may save you some campaign management time, particularly if you’re using the newly supported campaign types. It’s also a pretty good sign that the Discovery campaigns beta is coming along. At the very least, it’s a good reminder to check how and if you’ve applied your negative keyword lists.


About The Author

Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, running the day to day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin writes about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.



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