There’s no doubt about it, Bing Ads and AdWords have a tenuous relationship. In some ways, they’re competitors, vying for marketers to pour more advertising dollars into their respective networks. Yet, they’re also partners of sorts, working together to shape the future of digital advertising.
Lucky for SEMs, these ad management platforms have become increasingly similar throughout the past few years, making it easier for us to serve ads through both. In fact, they’re so closely aligned that many advertisers execute the same strategies on both networks. Some even duplicate their AdWords campaigns and upload them directly into the Bing Ads interface.
Of course, when either of these platforms launches a major change, this symbiotic relationship is at risk. Just last month at the #GoogleSummit, AdWords execs announced several enormous changes coming to the AdWords interface. Will the release of expanded text ads, new bidding structures, demographics for search ads, Google Maps local search ads and more throw a wrench into our current, seamless systems for advertising easily on both Google and Bing? Will we be forced to, gulp…deal with both platforms individually?!
Don’t panic. We can rest assured that the crew at Bing is on their A-game and ready to respond to the announcement. In fact, for a few of these new features, they may just beat Google to the punch.
Expanded Text Ads
Google’s new, expanded text ads are like standard ads on steroids—they’re enormous. They actually offer double the number of characters that advertisers can use to promote their products on the SERP, a godsend for those of us who have desperately struggled to fit our messaging into that tricky, 130-character limit for years.
Google’s bigger (better?) Expanded Text Ads
As we hurriedly re-build our ads in preparation for Google’s upcoming release, a stress-inducing thought comes to mind—if Bing doesn’t follow suit with expanded copy, will we be stuck building two sets of ads for every new ad group that we build? What happens when we transfer account structures from AdWords to Bing Ads? Will the system go beserk? Will we be forced to create our Bing campaigns from scratch?
Bing Ads addressed these concerns in an announcement on their blog this Tuesday. Their team is promising full support of expanded text ads by the end of the summer and, according to the mock-up on their website, their creation process closely mimics that in AdWords.
Even better, they confirmed that that they’ll be updating the functionality to import from AdWords to support bigger ads, too. Crisis averted!
Demographics for Search Ads
Eagerly waiting for Google’s newly unveiled Demographics for Search Ads to be available in the AdWords interface? Stop twiddling your thumbs and give it a whirl in Bing Ads.
Yep, Bing totally beat Google to the punch on this one. They’ve offered this functionality for years now, giving advertisers the opportunity to adjust their bids by gender and age. This has been a game-changer for many marketers. They can set negative bids for particular groups, whom they deem unlikely to purchase their product or service, so the majority of their budget is allocated to highly-qualified searchers. Or, they can use these levers to segment their ad groups and serve customized ad copy to these target groups. Aside from remarketing (and Customer Match on Google), this is the closest any major search engine has come to providing identity-based targeting on the search network.
When Google shared that they were adding this new feature, many industry vets were skeptical of the accuracy of Google’s demographic data. With Bing, we’re a little more confident. Thanks to Windows 10, Bing reports that its demographic information is highly accurate and based on real information from logged-in user sessions.
If you haven’t played with this tool in Bing Ads yet, you’re missing out. Here at WordStream it’s helped us to make the most of our clients’ budgets and yield higher click-through and conversion rates from our ad copy. We can’t wait to give it a shot with our AdWords campaigns.
Device-Based Bidding Capabilities
The team at Bing Ads overhauled most of their platform to keep up with AdWords when they shifted to Enhanced Campaigns. Yet, the one, major update that Bing held their ground on was control over device-specific bids.
While AdWords looped desktop and tablets together, citing similar user behavior as their reasoning, Bing gave advertisers the option to set separate smartphone and tablet bid adjustments.
For the past three years, PPC advertisers have been griping about Google’s frustrating bid management settings. The search giant is finally taking a step back and giving in; in the coming months advertisers will have the flexibility to set a campaign base device and then create bid modifiers for the other two devices. For example, you will be able to create campaigns where the standard bid is for mobile devices, with modifiers for desktops and tablet devices.
Will this have any impact on how we manage our Bing Ads accounts? Probably not. If there’s one thing that advertisers don’t keep consistent across networks, it’s bids (since CPCs are drastically different for each engine). That said, it will certainly make it easier to mirror device-specific strategies across networks.
About the Author
Erin Sagin is a PPC Evangelist and Community Manager at WordStream. She was named the 3rd Most Influential PPC Expert of 2015 by PPC Hero. When she’s able to take a break from paid search, you’ll find her practicing her hula-hooping skills or planning her next trip to Latin America. You can follow Erin on Twitter and Google+.
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