The Yahoo! Bing Network is often thought of like its Google’s little brother. While Google does own 80% of the U.S. paid search market, it is still imperative to pay attention to that other 20% that the Yahoo! Bing Network controls.
To bring in a basketball reference, if a coach spends his time working to improve only four out of the five ballplayers, the team will suffer as it will ultimately play down to its weakest link. In the same way, making sure that we allocate enough time each week to optimizing and improving our Bing Ads accounts remains important to our paid search program's overall health.
As RKG noted in the Q2 2013 DMR that was released earlier this month, we are seeing traffic on the Yahoo! Bing Network increase at historically high levels. RKG saw Q2 spend increase 58% year over year on a 41% increase in clicks. What’s more is that we are seeing this surge in additional clicks come with almost no decline in their value.
If you were lucky enough to be at the RKG Summit in late May, you heard Stacey Helman speak on all the new products and tools that are available to advertisers on Microsoft currently. She also made note that the increases that many of us are seeing in the industry are in fact due to changes that Microsoft’s engineering team is making to their algorithm. The engineering team has increased their broad matching ability, which is the main reason for the higher traffic in 2013.
Don't Overlook Paid Search Best Practices on Bing
So with the Yahoo! Bing Network seemingly handing us more traffic on a silver platter, what can you do to take advantage of all that new traffic coming to your website?
- Keyword Coverage: First and foremost, you want to make sure that you have equal keyword coverage in your Bing Ads account that you do in Google. Some may get in the habit of loading new keywords to Google and forgetting about Bing Ads; but this is a very simple, yet fundamental step to take to ensure that your Bing Ads account is up to par. Bing Ads has some great tools to help make this process easier for you all too.
- Test: Run some tests! I’d be willing to bet that the last three tests you ran on your paid search program were all on Google – and taking the results from your Google test and applying them to your Bing Ads account doesn’t count. While you can glean a lot of valuable information by looking at both engines together, they may perform vastly different from each other in certain areas and should be analyzed separately.
- Ad Extensions: Ensure that some of the ad extensions that are active in your Google account are also live in Bing Ads; these include Sitelink Extensions, Location Extensions & Call Extensions. These all have been shown to have a positive impact on performance, thus making them quick wins in your Bing Ads account.
Bing and Yahoo! Exclusives
In addition to the three ideas above there are a few other key options to consider utilizing when you're looking to optimize your Bing Ads account. What's special about these products is that you won’t find them anywhere in the Opportunities Tab in the Google UI!
1. Search Partner Exclusions: While this feature has been around for a quite some time on Bing Ads, Google does not provide this feature for their paid search campaigns, so it is easy to overlook. Bing Ads gives advertisers the ability to exclude search partner sites that have poor performance – which can lead to a significantly higher overall efficiency. More info can be found here.
2. Rich Ads in Search (RAIS): For those unfamiliar with RAIS, they are similar to Sitelink Extensions however they are only eligible to serve for brand ads and are accompanied by a branded logo or video. You can find more info here. RAIS have been proven to improve click through rates and drive more traffic as well.
3. Yahoo! Stream Ads: Recently released, these are ads that will show on Yahoo!’s homepage and Yahoo! News (along with more properties soon!) within the content below their main news banner. While very new, this is still another opportunity to try to enhance your advertising ROI with Yahoo!
Often considered an afterthought in the past, Bing Ads is becoming a significantly bigger player in the space. With that in mind, we need to ensure that we allocate enough resources to make sure that our Bing Ads program is optimized on a continuous basis.