I’m throwing it back this Thursday for #throwbackthursdays or #TBT, depending on your preference, to our recent visit to Bing Ads Connect in Chicago. Yes, I know it’s not that far of a throwback, but since it’s top of mind, I’d thought I’d share some key takeaways and highlights of the event.
Bing Improvements, Search Strategy & Resources
Slowly, but surely, it’s getting better…
Whelp, we’ve spoken and it looks like Bing has listened. So far, there have been 90-plus feature updates. While their interface and editor may not be Google Adwords worthy… They are still vastly better than before.
Bing has heavily invested in new consumer experiences across devices and services, thinking outside the traditional Search box. Some of these differentiations on how Bing is powering search engines outside their .com, include Windows 8 (Smart Search), Windows Phone, Xbox, Office 365, Apple Products, Facebook, etc. They are also expanding their reach globally to include 32 countries – 28 added since 2012. By the end of 2014, they state that advertisers will have the ability to target some 52 countries.
All of these improvements and scalability have provided Bing its continued growth of reaching 29% or 5.3 billion total searches (158 million unique searches) in just the United States (comScore Explicit Core Search (custom), December 2013. The Yahoo! Bing Network includes Microsoft and Yahoo! Core Search sites in the U.S)
Also, 12 million searches that are not reached on Google for the Automotive Vertical, are on Bing/Yahoo! (Audience data represents US Bing and Yahoo! Web Search from comScore qSearch (custom), US, September 2013. Industry categories based on comScore classifications)
The most compelling takeaway during this section of the event given by John Gagnon a Bing Ads Evangelist (@jmgagnon) was the Buying Power Index for Bing searchers.
Holy Cow! I knew that Bing had the ability to be more efficient in some respects, but the fact that their users having more buying power? Insane! This is just one more reason why advertisers or agencies can’t miss the boat when planning or launching a PPC Campaign. Not only does Bing/Yahoo! Cover 29% of the Market Share, but a Bing/Yahoo! Searcher spends 23% more than the average internet searcher and 4.3% more than Google Searchers.
Agency & Partner Support
When asked if everyone in the room knew that Bing had an Agency Hub only a select few raised their hands. This blame lies on Bing, as they are slowly working on their Agency Partner relationships and resources. What we did walk away with was a solid understanding of the resources only Partners can get access to:
- Audience insights
- Bing Ads tools
- Marketing tools
- Latest features
- Social media – channels for connection
Also, they did give us some inside news that the Portal we access will soon mimic a MCC and that billing/invoicing will get much, much better. They hope to roll out these changes within the year.
2014: The Year of Mobile. Again?
Woo, it’s the third annual Year of Mobile! Yes, year-over-year since 2012 Mobile has been a hot-button topic for advertisers and clients. When it was first discussed, it was a foreign land. How do marketers tap into this new dynamic? More importantly, how do we measure, track and optimize the data? Well, this year seems to be the year where advertisers truly understand the value of Mobile and implement it into their marketing strategies. It makes sense. Mobile device usage is ever-present.
As the new CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, moves into his new position (former head of Bing) he states that, “Microsoft is a Mobile-first, cloud-first Company”. This was a big topic at the event as Microsoft’s Anna Hughes presented us some new compelling stats of Mobile usage.
For the first time ever, consumers are spending more time on their Mobile devices than TV. (Millward Brown, Ad Reaction Study, March 2014)
Not only are they spending more time on their Mobile device, but 53% of searches have been on a Mobile device with local intent. (Marin Software “Mobile Search Advertising Around the Globe: 2014 Annual Report”)
With this increase in usage, Mobile is changing the customer journey. It’s a channel to utilize along the purchasing path of consumers and should be a layer within the targeting of a campaign. Mobile searches on-the-go, at home and at work attribute for 70% of mobile conversions (phone calls, store visit, purchase) within five hours of an initial search (Microsoft Research, Telmetrics Mobile Path to Purchase). For car dealers, consumers aren’t going to, nor have the ability to purchase a vehicle online via their mobile device. However, they may look up a dealer after seeing a TV Ad.
The big Mobile Takeaway: Extend Campaigns to Smartphones. Adopt new optimization techniques such as Call Extensions and expanding keyword lists. And optimize towards the best performing target (PC, mobile, etc.).
Big Data and Excel
For me personally, this was the highlight of the day. My mind was blown…
Through predictive marketing and big data, we can utilize outside data sets strategically. This wasn’t a foreign concept for me, but the prediction methods I saw in the presentation were.
Through Bing Maps and Excel charts in the Cloud using Microsoft’s Power BI, we can integrate all our data sources and turn them into rich information and visual dashboards. Not only is all the Campaign data for an account (Google, Bing, etc.) in one dashboard but we can call on Queries to get instant charts such as “keyword performance data by month” or “campaign performance data by month”. This allows our Analysts the ability to quickly visualize and call on data without having to do manual pivots in Excel. It now gives us the ability to understand our opportunities even faster and more efficiently than before. We can also share this dashboard across our Team.
What is even cooler for an Excel and Data geek like me is the geospatial data with Power Map. This is a 3D data visualization tool for Excel that provides a powerful way for us to look at our Campaign data in new ways. It also allows the ability to layer on different data such as Car Sales data from our Clients. We can plot the data visually, analyze it on a 3D globe and over time, create visual tours.
Examples of geospatial data mapping: Geospatial Data Mapping
All in all, the event was great. Bing is clearly making efforts to improve our experience to better serve our clients. The team enjoyed insights and strategy provided by some of Microsoft and Bing’s hotshots, while also networking with others in the industry.
If you are an advertiser, agency or car dealer, I highly encourage you to integrate Bing and Mobile into your existing strategy. It’s obvious that both of these are growing and we need to tap into this so there is no missed opportunity. It’s just one more layer into the overall strategy for a sound campaign.