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What Merchants Should Know about Bing Ads Update

Microsoft’s Dare Obsanjo brought out the promised update to the Bing Ads interface, with promises of rolling out the new look and feel to Bing advertisers over the next few weeks. Bing’s service places ads on Microsoft sites as well as on Yahoo properties via the Yahoo Bing Network.

Bing Ads made a number of changes in response to requests from their users. Gone are the columns of text from places like Bing’s campaign summary or their ad opportunities pages.

The company replaced those plain but functional displays with more visually appealing elements. Graphs took the focal point in the campaign summary section, a simple change that makes it obvious whether a given campaign may be trending up or down.

The charts showing campaign performance depending on particular metrics also received some adjustments. “We will be introducing the ability to compare up to six different metrics in the Trend Charts across Bing Ads,” Obsanjo said.

Bing’s most visual revision shows up in their Ads Opportunities pages. Again, the utilitarian concept of columns of text has yielded to a simplified, graphical approach; perhaps Obsanjo and company have rediscovered Edward Tufte’s essential work, Visual Display of Quantitative Information.

Here’s what Bing Ads had to say about the new Opportunities page, shown above:

With this new view it’s clear where you have opportunities to improve a campaign and what we think the improvement will be if you accept our suggestions. Along with greatly improving the usefulness of the Opportunities tab, we have also elevated it to a top-level link to provide easier access to optimizing campaigns and keywords, resulting in higher ROI for customers. There’s more to come in the near future on the great improvements to this feature.

Suggested actions and potential outcomes are displayed in a more readable fashion, ie, adding 19 new keywords to 11 ad groups could result in 11,560 more impressions and 561 more clicks each week in Bing’s sample display.

Though ecommerce pros receive regular reinforcement of where everyone else stands in relation to Google’s place atop the search ad world, Bing does have its place as well. June 2014 comScore rankings found searches on Microsoft and Yahoo sites accounted for 29 percent of what comScore calls “explicit core search share.”

While it’s not Google’s seemingly endless hold on 67 percent of that search market, there may be sufficient traffic and value in Bing that makes its recent updates another reason to do some ad testing there ahead of the 2014 holiday shopping season.

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David A Utter
David A Utter
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.