What is Microsoft Advertising
Microsoft Advertising, formally Bing Ads, is a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform whereby you bid in an auction based on how much you are willing to pay for each click on your ad. The ads you create are to sell products or promote your business, to reach customers that are actively searching on Microsoft Bing, MSN, Yahoo, and more.
Essentially, Microsoft Advertising is Microsoft’s version of Google Ads. It is the same principle but where Google ads allows you to run ads on the Google search network and Google’s partner networks, Microsoft Advertising allows you to run ads on both the Bing search network and it’s partner networks. It works in a similar way with typical ad formats such as text and shopping ads, displayed at top, bottom or side of the search engine results page (SERP).
The Microsoft Networks
You may see the Microsoft network as just Microsoft Bing (formally Bing) but the Microsoft network and partner networks cover much more. It includes Syndication search Partners such as Forbes, Wall Street Journey and Ecosia. They also have Owned and operated sites O&O such as Yahoo, AOL and Linked-in. Then the Bing umbrella includes Skype, Cortana, Internet Explorer and more.
You may not know you are using the Microsoft network but you are likely using it in your daily activities. If you updated your Windows computer with the free Windows 10 update and use the Cortana search bar, you're using the Microsoft network. If you search on the site of the Wall Street Journal, or if you use Ecosia to help plant trees, or if you're searching on a Xbox you're using the Microsoft Network.
Many B2B companies and organisations use Internet Explorer, including the NHS. Many of their web based applications require the use of it meaning there is a huge potential reach with opportunity for demographic targeting.
Microsoft reportedly has a 21.3% share of the UK’s desktop search market, with 441 million monthly searches, and a 14% share of the world desktop search market with 14.6 billion monthly searches and 699 unique searches. This allows you to go global or stay local when reaching audiences in specific cities, counties or areas within a certain distance from your business.
As many as 41% of people using the Microsoft Bing search engine first discover businesses and brands this way. Of these users 34% have graduated from college, 35% have an income in the top 25%, and against popular belief not all the users are above 45 who don’t know how to change their search engine to Google, with 73% being under 45. Meaning many of the users on the microsoft network are brand focused, educated and have disposable incomes - so why wouldn’t you target them and add another string to your digital marketing bow?
Within Microsoft Advertising there are many different features and solutions that can drive and enhance your results. Automated bidding helps to manage your bids for each and every auction allowing you to become increasingly competitive and dynamic helping you achieve your advertising goals.
Combining automation with Microsoft's audience network, allows you to choose from multiple dimensions to target your ideal customer with increased accuracy. There are many others such as audience ads, demographic targeting, shopping campaigns, dynamic search, a range of extensions and LinkedIn targeting.
In 2016 Microsoft acquired LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network with 756 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Microsoft has been able to merge the data from LinkedIn with Microsoft Advertising allowing you to create targeted highly relevant audiences with the use of LinkedIn profile information.
This allows you to serve ads to users based on their company, job function and industry and is the perfect complement to other audience targeting solutions exclusive to Microsoft.
In Analytics, conversions and ecommerce transactions are credited to the last campaign, source or ad that referred the user when it converts. But do you also need to decide what role the prior referrals & sources play in that conversion? How much time passed between the user's initial interest in their purchase? If it was a game of football would you want a full team of strikers only targeting the end goal or would you want people to play different roles to collectively have the best outcome.?
Multi-Channel funnels answer these questions and others by showing how your marketing channels (i.e. sources of traffic to your website) work together to create sales and conversions.
For example, many people may purchase on your site after searching for your brand organically on Google. However, they may have been introduced to your brand via a blog (referral) or whilst searching for specific products and services (via a paid search). The Multi-Channel Funnels reports show how previous referrals and searches contributed to your sales.
The more sources you have working together the better chance you have of introducing your company, funneling traffic and intercepting a sale, demonstrating the usefulness of making Microsoft Advertising apart of your marketing mix.
The Multi-Channel funnels often form multiple conversion paths or channels as users have the ability to shop around and won’t click on the first thing they see then buy it. Conversion path data include interactions with virtually all digital channels. These channels include, but are not limited to:
- Paid (Microsoft Advertising and Google ads to name a couple)
- Organic search (on all search engines such as Microsoft Bing along with the specific keywords searched)
- Referral sites
- Social networks (Facebook, Instagram)
- Email newsletters
- Custom campaigns that you've created (including offline campaigns that send traffic to vanity URLs)
By creating multiple funnels from different sources you can funnel a wide range of users to the path of purchase, intercept users from competitors, gain brand recognition across a range of platforms and learn how users often purchase on your own site. You can also dig deep and analyse the additional benefits to find the individual source mediums and attribute additional credit, conversions or revenue as part of the path to purchase.
Easy to set up & import
If you are unsure on Microsoft Advertising but use the Google Ads platform don’t let the difference scare you off as they can work together. Microsoft has the option to import and sync your Google ads structure with Microsoft Advertising meaning you can expand your marketing reach in no time at all. If you already are using Google Ads to advertise, you can import your campaigns into Microsoft Advertising so that you can run the same ads on Microsoft Bing.
Keep in mind, though, that not all information will be imported, but that doesn't mean that it's not supported in Microsoft Advertising. After you import, review your campaign and add any missing information.
Copy over your Google Ads campaigns to Microsoft Advertising using the Import tool. When you create your Microsoft Advertising account, you’ll be prompted to import your existing campaigns from Google (make sure you have the Microsoft UET (Universal Event Tracking) tag in place). If you already have an account created you can select “Import” at the top right then “Import from Google Ads” and follow the steps.
Once the initial download is complete, you'll receive a summary of your campaign information. Microsoft Advertising will alert you about the imported Google Ads data, including what was skipped, modified or needs addressing during import.
You can then set a schedule to automatically import daily, weekly, or monthly, in "Schedule Imports." When importing your campaigns, many different pieces of information are included, such as your campaigns, ad groups and keywords. However, there are additional details within a campaign as well, including exciting features like locations, after you are ready to manage your Microsoft Advertising campaign.
It does require separate management as you will receive different search results as they can be from different users driving different clicks from your Google ads clicks. This means the costs and the resulting outcomes will also be individual to each platform and as a result requires separate management.
Promote your business to reach customers that are searching on Bing, MSN, Yahoo, and more with the uses of Microsoft Advertising, get started today and start growing your business!