Microsoft Advertising: what it is and how it works in 4 Steps

Microsoft Advertising, formerly Bing Ads, is the world’s second paid search advertising platform built to satisfy users’ buying intent. In practice, if you have a website and you want to increase the return on investment (ROI) obtained from the sale of products or services with Google-sponsored campaigns alone, you can evaluate the possibility of trying it. Diversifying your Search Marketing strategy allows you to be present among the sponsored results and the best positions in the SERP of the various search engines.

In the United States and the United Kingdom, the new Bing Search platform is very popular, occupying 33% and 23% of the market shares respectively. It covers only 8% of the search engine systems market and is constantly growing. This makes it particularly advantageous for websites and e-commerce sites that have customers in the US and the UK and aim to reach a wider audience. For companies that cater to a client, on the other hand, it can prove to be an excellent alternative to differentiate their return on investment and expand their market share.

Microsoft Advertising is still little used and it is good that I tell you everything you need to know to make the most of its potential for your online business:

  • what is Microsoft Advertising;
  • how Microsoft Bing Advertising works in a few simple steps;
  • how to import your advertising campaigns from Google Ads to the Microsoft Advertising platform.

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What is Microsoft Advertising

Microsoft Advertising is an advertising platform that allows the management of Bing advertising campaigns. Initially known as Bing Ads, it underwent a rebranding operation, made official on April 29, 2019, which involved paid search ads strategies and all Microsoft advertising solutions, including Microsoft Audience Network Audience.

Its success is mostly given by its ability to be inspired and adapt to one of the most used operating systems in the world: Microsoft Windows for which, over the years, several compatible products have been implemented, including Bing itself. Sponsored Ads may also appear in Yahoo! search results. Bing Network, of the homonymous search engine Yahoo! and on the search engine network that hosts Bing advertising on:

  • DuckDuckGo: a search engine based on crowdsourcing information provided by other sites and total user privacy since it does not store search information;
  • AOL and WebSearch – two search engines used predominantly in the United States;
  • Qwant: the only browser created in Europe that does not carry out user profiling activities or use filter bubbles for the presentation of search results;
  • Ecosia: the search engine that donates most of the profits for reforestation activities.

Microsoft has also recently acquired the management of LinkedIn Ads campaigns, the social network dedicated to the world of companies and professionals looking for work.

what is microsoft advertising

Screenshot from: www.theedigital.com

Microsoft Bing Ads thus confirms itself among the main platforms for advertising products and services capable of reaching a very large pool of potential customers: a distribution of ads that is not possible if you only use Google Advertising campaigns. The planning of Search Engine Marketing and Affiliate Marketing campaigns on which it is based offers advertisers the possibility of:

  • specify each day how much you intend to spend on your advertising campaign;
  • pay only when a potential customer clicks on the sponsored ad;
  • take advantage of the best-guaranteed return on investment.

In addition, it provides them with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools functional for optimizing sponsored ads in search engines that will appear among the first at the top of the SERP, thus attracting the attention of the most suitable target of users while browsing on the web looking for information, products or services. Furthermore, the cost per click, the click-through rate, and many other metrics regarding the performance of each campaign can be analyzed thanks to the forms that are made available to advertisers to verify their effectiveness. Microsoft Ads offers additional benefits to its advertisers:

  • targeted advertising campaigns thanks to the data acquired on users through the devices used for online navigation;
  • a lower cost per click guaranteed by a lower volume of competition;
  • the possibility of reserving a specific advertising campaign to a specific research partner excluding the others, and vice versa;
  • analyze the path of potential customers who have clicked on the sponsored ad, thus knowing their behavior based on which to optimize their campaigns.

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How Microsoft Bing Advertising works in 4 steps

Microsoft Bing Ads makes use of functions very similar to those available for Google Ads campaigns to satisfy the need of companies to use an online advertising platform capable of attracting users by converting them into potential customers interested in purchasing products or services. This allows them simply and effectively:

  • carry out your search online by typing the desired keyword into one of the Bing group search engines;
  • choose from the sponsored ads present in the first search results;
  • be redirected to the website of the advertisement where they can purchase products, services or get information, subscribe to newsletters, etc.

The advertiser, on the other hand, can:

  • sign up for free and quickly create your advertising campaigns;
  • bid on specific keywords, chosen based on traffic volume, to make your sponsored ad visible in search engines of the Microsoft group;
  • pay Microsoft Bing’s cost per click only when the user clicks on the ad.

Microsoft Advertising has tools for building cost-effective keyword reserved lists, so advertisers don’t have to invest in ads that won’t be viewable. Added to this are the targeting filters for settings such as language, location, device type, search engine, demographic data, purchase intentions, and of course keywords: this offers a significant advantage in terms of flexibility and effectiveness in campaign management.

how microsoft bing advertising works

Screenshot from: ads.microsoft.com

Create account

How do I create a Microsoft Advertising account? To start you must know that registration is free and you can do it at any time by opening the home page of the platform’s official page. Register your account using the email address you already have to access one of the services offered by Outlook, Gmail, or Yahoo. Alternatively, you can also use one from Microsoft products like Skype or Xbox LIVE. If you don’t have them, you can create a Microsoft account by registering with a new email and specifying some company details. Here’s how to proceed:

  • click on the “Create one” button next to “Don’t have an account?”. By clicking on the “Next” button, proceed with the registration;
  • confirm the creation of a new account with the chosen email address and create your password;
  • enter Name and Surname;
  • enter the verification code that in the meantime was sent to the e-mail address specified during account registration;
  • specify the company name, telephone number, location, type of currency used, reference time zone, and if you are using the account to promote a company or an advertising agency;
  • read and accept the Microsoft Advertising terms and conditions of service;
  • complete the operation by clicking on the button provided for the creation of the account.

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Ad campaign management

Microsoft Ads campaign management allows you to create new advertising campaigns starting first of all from some fundamental aspects:

  • the name of the campaign;
  • the location, being careful to add or remove countries, regions, and postal codes;
  • the definition of the language, which must comply with the website to which the campaign is linked;
  • setting the keywords that will allow users to view your ad;
  • the definition of the budget, entering the maximum amount for the single click and the daily budget available.

There are several types of campaigns available to advertisers, with ad groups and related content forming the basis for them:

  • Search ad campaigns: They are of paramount importance for online advertising. These ads appear in the SERP of Bing search pages when users enter keywords set by the advertiser;
  • Dynamic search ad campaigns: these are automatic search ads, so called because they automatically associate the data contained in the Bing index with each user query;
  • Target group campaigns: Developed especially for native advertising, they are part of Microsoft Audience Ads. This feature relies on artificial intelligence programmed to deliver additional high-quality traffic through non-search locations;
  • Microsoft Shopping campaigns – Product ads use images and data from the Microsoft Merchant Center store feed, displaying them directly on search results pages.

To make sure everything in your account is working to display your ads properly, check that your ad group campaigns, each ad, and your keywords are set to Enabled and that your contact details are eligible.

Microsoft Advertising’s pay-per-click advertising requires constant monitoring of the campaign and continuous modifications to improve it, such as:

  • constant keyword research and input of significant negative keywords;
  • a careful selection of the target for each ad group;
  • enhancing ads using dynamic text;
  • the regular use of the analysis sheets made available by Bing.

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Monitor campaign performance

Microsoft advertising offers its advertisers the possibility of constantly checking the performance of each online advertising campaign thanks to the boxes inserted in the section concerning the general information through which you can monitor, for example:

  • the name of the campaign;
  • it’s status (campaign enabled or suspended);
  • the preview of the ads that make up the campaign.

In the section reserved for the details of the campaign, or in that of the name of the announcement, you can keep an eye on the performance and change its status based on the progress, modifying or suspending it. What you cannot change, once set, is the campaign objective. The number of clicks your ads get is shown in the performance graph which shows:

  • the level of satisfaction of the people who view the ad;
  • the amount spent determined by potential customers’ clicks on the ad;
  • the number of impressions that the ads in the campaign have obtained over time thanks to the visibility given by the budget, the target, and the products and services offered.

The keywords that allow users to view the ad are shown in a snapshot of the section dedicated to their management: here you can suspend those that are not performing for your Search Ads strategy. If you want to expand the list, you can expand the products and services offered. The verification of the progress of the campaign also includes a section reserved for the details of the clicks deriving from different devices and the details of the location of the target, with the possibility of modifying them.

If your campaign goal is to get more inbound phone calls to your business, a performance graph will show you the total number of calls your ads generated. Other sections are dedicated to the company category of products and services offered to users thanks to the campaign created and the budget set, both editable.

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Payment methods

How much does Microsoft Advertising cost? As I explained earlier, signing up is free while you pay for clicks on your ads. To do this, Microsoft Advertising offers several forms of payment for click charges, including credit and debit cards, PayPal, wire transfers, and checks. Choosing how to pay for your campaign may depend on your account currency, country of residence address, billing region, and the payment type set up by your account:

  • postpay accounts: you can only set up a primary payment method of your choice between credit or debit card, useful for paying advertising charges when you reach your billing threshold or monthly billing date. If you have problems with the primary payment method, you can use the one set in backup which prevents the interruption of the campaign due to non-payment;
  • Prepay accounts: Only convert to your primary payment method if you make frequent automatic payments or use a promotional offer. This will help prevent your account from unexpectedly running out of funds, causing your campaigns to be suspended. A tip for those who decide to use automatic top-up: set up a backup payment method to avoid problems with the primary payment method;
  • monthly invoice – you can pay by bank transfer, check, or ACH with your unique SAP ID billing number. In this case, advertisers must have their credit reviewed and meet the spending criteria to receive the SAP ID from Bing’s support team, the Microsoft Advertising help center.

How to import other campaigns into Microsoft Advertising

Already have a Google Ads account? Microsoft Advertising allows you to further expand the range of your online advertising by importing the campaign you have running on Google into the platform: you can recreate the same ads in the Bing search engine, saving time.

How to import Google Ads ads to Microsoft Advertising? Select the “Import” item at the top of the global menu, clicking to start the import process from Google Ads, as follows:

  • select the Google login and follow the instructions to obtain the necessary permissions to import campaigns from your Google Ads account;
  • choose the account you want to import from Google Ads: if the operation is performed for one account at a time, select “Import from Google Ads”. To import more than one at the same time, select “Import multiple accounts from Google Ads” instead. You can import up to a maximum of 10 and associate them with the destination ones as you wish;
  • customize the import to choose items, edit offers and related strategies, budgets, associate UET tags, etc. Then select the campaigns and ad groups to import, paying attention to the text box to show suspended ads and import them together with those already active. Choose the items you want to import and customize;
  • you can align the currencies set for the Google Ads account with that of Microsoft Ads, if they do not match;
  • if you don’t want to customize the campaign, enter a name for the import, set the schedule, and start the import to complete the configuration. Scheduling will be automated to optimize campaigns in Microsoft Advertising.

You can import most Google Ads items, except:

  • items that can be re-created using Microsoft Advertising;
  • account-level app extensions;
  • ad group-level app extensions;
  • automatic rules;
  • IP exclusions.
import campaigns into microsoft ads

Screenshot from: ads.microsoft.com

Verify that the following items were configured correctly during the import:

  • ad distribution: defines where to display the group of imported ads if the network is Search and Display Network or Google Search Network, setting the item “Search”;
  • Age and gender targeting: Age and gender targets match most Google Ads targets except, for example, the 45-54 age group;
  • target group selection of recipients: they are groups of potential customers that can be selected as targets that can improve the performance of the campaign by reaching the people who view the website through Bing;
  • Language targeting: During an import, campaign languages default to the Google Ads target languages by automatically setting the ad group languages;
  • Location targeting: Imported location targets are automatically matched with the same location targets in Microsoft Advertising. However, it is possible that certain location targets may not be supported and automatically extended to a nearby location based on Google Ads geographic data.
  • offers and budgets: the user can check his spending daily. However, to allow for a faster import of all data, the number of bids and budgets that are too low are increased by default to meet their requirements;
  • Targeting Options: Each platform has its options for targeting, location targeting, and time of day. Therefore it is good to check these elements because, in general, the settings used in one product may not be appropriate for the other;
  • negative keywords: another element that may differ between the two platforms is the analysis of the quality score established to establish any optimizations and used to establish the performance of keywords and ads;
  • shopping campaigns – create a Microsoft Merchant Center store before importing shopping campaigns and link it to the shopping campaign you are about to import, checking that the Google catalog includes the accurate data in the “Country/region of sale” field;
  • URL tracking: used to check how users reach the website through Microsoft Advertising’s monitoring parameters, tools, or services. Make sure your reports are accurate by checking tracking templates, custom parameters, final URL suffix, utm_source, and other settings.

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Conclusions and strategic advice

This article, which as a guide has introduced you to the world of the Microsoft Advertising platform, comes to an end. If you are interested in learning more about how to use Search Marketing strategies to channel within your website as many users as possible are interested in the content you offer while browsing search engines, I give you one last tip to help you to better face the new corporate business 4.0: knowledge is power. Training and study are the springboard towards the best strategy to grow your business thanks to digital marketing tools and strategies.

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