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Bing Shopping & PPC Ads

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past 2 weeks, you’re well aware of MSN’s move to Bing.com, and the full force advertising campaign that has followed. Bing’s homepage seems to highlight additional search options outside of “web”, such as “images”, “video” and “shopping”. Exploring the “shopping” section, I noticed that they seem to suggest a number of topical/seasonal ideas and products.

On the Shopping homepage, what happens when someone clicks on the link for “Beautiful bathing suits” under “Plus size summer fashion”? Answer – A Bing Shopping search is performed for the search query: “women’s plus size swimwear”.

Notice that MSN adCenter PPC ads are now visible, even though the user never queried that particular phrase.

As an advertiser, do I like the fact that my ads are appearing or not? On one hand, I’m almost guaranteed to receive more impressions, and likely clicks, since users don’t have to type any query into a search box in order to see my ad. Instead, the user is prompted to shop for the category/product by Bing Shopping homepage suggestions. This however, could also be the very reason that I dislike these listings. If users were not actively searching for the category/product, one could argue that they may be less likely to convert. We’d possibly encounter increased traffic volume on lower quality buyers.

In general, I don’t think the extra traffic will cause headaches from a PPC perspective. Most of the traffic should be relevant, and should hopefully increase the sales volume at the same ROI. However, I’d pay close attention to any general phrases, though, as they have the greatest danger for buyers who are early on in their purchasing decision. (ex. Under “Father’s Day electronics” one of the results is “laptops”)

Something to be mindful of!

  • Matthew Mierzejewski
    Matthew Mierzejewski is EVP of SEO at RKG.
  • Comments
    6 Responses to “Bing Shopping & PPC Ads”
    1. Great spot Matt, this does feel like an attempt by Microsoft to increase the number of “relevant” impressions received by advertisers and in their mind give the consumer more choice. From a PPC perspective, as you do mention, advertisers will definitely need to build an extensive negative keyword list fairly quickly so as not to generate loads of impressions/clicks for small returns.

    2. Elizabeth says:

      I went through a Bing demo at SMX and was wondering what might the implications be on their constantly populating the search field and basically running a search for you with things like links and related content. While AdCenter most certainly needs the volume, I’m not confident in MSN’s ability to set Bing up to appropriately show ads efficiently or with the relevancy with this kind of traffic.

    3. Michael says:

      Wow. Great find. I think this is akin to Yahoo overstepping bounds on advanced match and Google’s push of extended broad match. Do advertisers really want to allow the search engines to decide what keywords are best? They need to be very careful here as only a very high ROI will make advertising with Bing compelling. Until they are competitive with search volume, I think they should focus on delivering the highest ROAS and the best user experience (relevance) possible.

    4. Francis says:

      I had this same problem with MSN before Bing was released. They would have “A-List” searches, or this tactic on their shopping pages. Once a user clicks the link, a query would be entered. Seemed shady to me. Sometimes I received an increased in conversions, other (most) times it would just spend all day.

    5. Matthew Mierzejewski Matthew says:

      Francis, We’ve likewise seen the “A-List” phenomenon in the past. Perhaps with Bing.com, there won’t be anymore of these listings? (Outside of the Shopping Ads that we’ve discussed in this post) Perhaps then, the new Bing Shopping listings will be more likely to convert than the “A-List” queries, since users are presumably shoppers.

      Michael, I think this is Bing’s attempt to be focused, and serve qualified ads in the hope of strong ROI, but I agree that many of these listings are often of lower quality when compared to core search results.

      As I mentioned, be most mindful of any pricey (high CPC) general search phrases that could be subject to these listings. One day’s worth of 1000%+ increase in clicks can be very costly!

    6. Dani says:

      This has been terrible for some of my search campaigns especially ones with general broad based keywords that have worked well in the past. In my opinion, the placement of the ads are less qualified and not targeted like a PPC campaign should be. This has led to much lower CTR and increased costs. The worst thing they do is post links on other websites of theirs such as MSN.com If you scroll down to the “shopping” section on the bottom right, they will have a link that will automatically query your keywords when clicked. This is when you get significant spikes. MSN.com gets millions of unique users per month, so this added unqualified traffic can serve as a major detriment to your campaign.