Gwendolyn Kestrel


Bing Ads Insiders Podcast: Your Mobile Opportunity this Holiday Season

"But if you ask people what the three most important things that they carry are -- across cultures and across gender and across contexts -- most people will say keys, money and, if they own one, a mobile phone."

Jan Chipchase: The anthropology of mobile phones TED Talk

Jan Chipchase made this observation in his 2007 TED Talk -- it’s even more true now. You and most of your friends and coworkers likely have mobile smart phones. Your customers do, too, and rely on them to help shop for everything from cars to dinner reservations.

In this podcast, Allen Klein, Sharon Hunter, and I share some insights into mobile marketing and promote the benefits of mobile advertising though a series of skits.

If you’re not advertising on mobile this holiday season, you’re likely losing business. We discuss why an advertiser should care about mobile advertising and how consumers use their mobile devices as part of their holiday shopping.

Wonder where we got the numbers we're using in this podcast, we’ve referenced some data that comes from:

In addition to the podcast, here are some helpful links that will direct you to further resources around this important topic.

Additional Resources

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.



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Tips for Spicing Up Your Keyword Relevance Score

Excellent keyword relevance is critical for a high Quality Score --a better Quality Score means increased chances to serve and sometimes even lower cost-to-serve!

For example, consider the Contoso Spice Company. Their recipe for success includes marketing and selling a wide selection of culinary herbs, seeds, and spices from around the world to a variety of sellers, restaurants, and spice-loving individuals in the US market. Because they sell to both trained culinary professionals and knowledgeable spice enthusiasts, they want to make sure the keywords they bid on will appeal to the greatest number of their target audience.

So far, their keyword list consists of the following terms:

  • Spice
  • Pickle Mix
  • Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
  • Gourmet gifts
  • McCormick
  • Apple Pie Spice Mix

As a well-seasoned PPC guru, I can immediately notice a number of missing ingredients, as well as numerous opportunities to enhance the flavor of the bidded keyword list. After all, not only is this list too narrow, but it doesn’t even come close to representing the variety in their inventory. That might seem obvious in this context; however, it’s not uncommon for advertisers to think, “Sure, that’s a fine list of keywords — they’re all related to the company or products in some way, so they’re relevant.”

But, there’s more to it than that.

Because Bing Ads employs the help of several crawlers (aka bots) to help determine keyword relevance, I try to think logically, both in terms of the computer application that crawls each site, as well as the intent behind what the the average consumer may be trying to find when they type words into the Bing search engine.

Logic, Intent & Recommendations

“Spice” seems like a good keyword for the company, however, it’s ambiguous. For instance, what user intent is conveyed by the keyword? Is the user looking to purchase flavorings for their Beef Brisket recipe or for those gelatinous, sugar-coated candy drops? Perhaps the user is looking for info on the band The Spice Girls or may even be seeking the adult Spice Network.

My recommendation: Here’s where negative keywords make a huge difference. To make sure Contoso is getting the correct traffic, their negative keyword list for this term should include terms like marijuana, girls, network, etc.

“Pickle Mix” is better, but also ambiguous, since the company sells the seasonings, but not pickles in jars.

My recommendation: Contoso would benefit from expanding this term using Broad Match modifiers. For example: “pickle mix +canning,” “pickle mix +recipe,” or “pickle mix +herbs.”

“Pink Himalayan Sea Salt” is very good. This keyword phrase is a straightforward term as an Exact Match or a Phrase Match.

My recommendation: If it’s a broad match term, it’ll try each of the terms and may match into queries for the Himalayan Mountains or Sea Salt facial scrubs.

“Gourmet Gifts” sounds like a good fit for the company, as long as the landing page contains these words and has good content about them.

My recommendation: While a human may view a landing page with assorted boxed collections of barbecuing spices a great Father’s Day gift, the relevance crawlers can’t always make that connection. It’s smart to have the words on the landing page, so label your “gift ideas” and pepper in a few mentions of the gourmet recipes that feature your products.

“McCormick” is a competitor spice company. Our policies do allow you to bid on these keywords, although most markets prohibiting their use in ad text. But relevance is the main concern here.

My recommendation: A term like this is not likely to have a high keyword relevancy score unless you have substantial, relevant content about it on your landing page. If you feature comparisons of where Contoso and McCormick such as where you source your products, reviews from a reputable third part, etc. it should perform well. Without good content, keywords are not likely to be identified by the system as relevant.

“Apple Pie Spice Mix” is an excellent Exact or Phrase match term.

My recommendation: This keyword can also be used for Broad Match; however, a robust list of negative keywords will be needed to get good traffic.

There are some common tactics that can help you maintain strong keyword relevancy scores, such as landing page content, negative keywords, and using broad match modifiers. Experimenting with the different match types can also make a big difference – in fact, Exact Match naturally trends to higher keyword relevancy and Quality Score. And finally, with well-thought-out negative keywords, the use of Phrase Match and Broad Match can help your keywords perform well, but will rarely equal Exact Match’s score.

Using the right ingredients with your Bing Ads campaigns can – just like cooking – improve the results. With the right tools and a little creativity, though, I’m sure you’ll find your own secret recipe for success.

For more information on your Keyword Relevance Score and how to improve it, be sure to check out these other resources here on the Bing Ads site:

Video: About Broad Match Modifiers

Bing Ads Editor: About the Keyword Relevance Score

What is my Quality Score and Why Does it Matter?

How to Improve Your Bing Ads Quality Score

Questions? Comments? Leave them below, or ping us on Twitter.

NOTE: The information contained in this blog post is intended for agencies and advertisers that are self-managed or supported by Microsoft.  If you are an agency or advertiser managed by Yahoo, the details therein may not be applicable, and you are encouraged to contact your Account Representative for more information.

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Bing Ads Insider's Podcast: Tips for Going Global with Bing Ads

Today, we’re covering some options you, as a Bing Ads advertiser, have in the Global Bing marketplace.

If you're considering expanding your advertising to other countries, or if you selected “Worldwide” as your target, this post will provide you with some insights on the intricacies and complexities of global commerce that can help you identify opportunities and avoid pitfalls.

Successfully leveraging the expanded targeting options offered by Bing requires making deliberate choices about the best way to enter a new market. In this podcast, Sharon Hunter, Diego Arrioja, and I consider the most important aspects of going global in online advertising.

Sit back, listen, and enjoy!

Listen here: Going Global Podcast

In addition to the podcast, here are some helpful links and points to keep in mind:

  • If you need to select your target market(s): Where is Bing Ads Available?
  • Is your product or service legal for this country's marketplace? Check the Bing Ads Editorial Guidelines
  • Is your product or service culturally appropriate for this marketplace?
  • Do you have your landing pages, ads, and keywords set up in this country's dominant language(s)?
  • Here’s a handy list of English-language markets and targeting (as of today's publish date) and which targeting will feature in which country:
    • United States
    • Canada
    • United Kingdom
    • Ireland
    • Australia
    • New Zealand
    • India
    • Singapore
    • Thailand
    • Vietnam
    • Malaysia
    • Philippines
    • Indonesia
  • How to Request an Exception to An Editorial Disapproval
  • Tailor your special offers (like free shipping) to your markets and their holidays
  • Localize currency
  • Consider methods of payment popular in marketplace (like Boletos in Brazil)
  • Localize phone numbers


NOTE: The information contained in this blog post is intended for agencies and advertisers that are self-managed or supported by Microsoft.  If you are an agency or advertiser managed by Yahoo, the details therein may not be applicable, and you are encouraged to contact your Account Representative for more information.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to leave a comment below or ping us on Twitter.

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Bing Ads Insiders Podcast: What You Need to Know About Your Quality Score

Quality Score – few things ring louder in the ears of search marketers.

What does quality score mean on Bing Ads? How is it different than AdWords? Well, there are more than just a couple of differences. So, sit back and listen as Gwen and Allen break down what you need to know about your Quality Score in Bing Ads.

In this podcast, you’ll learn...

1. How Quality Score differs between Bing Ads and AdWords.

2. How Quality Score is calculated.

3. Why Quality Score is important.

4. How you can monitor your Quality Score to improve your performance on Bing Ads.

In addition to this podcast, here are some helpful links that will direct you to further resources around this important topic.

Sit back, listen, and enjoy!

Additional Quality Score resources:

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Bing Ads Extreme Makeover: Four Worst Ad Copy Practices To Avoid

My last post here on the Bing Ads Blog focused on best practices to make your ad copy both eye-catching and effective. Now, we get to have a little fun with some of the worst-of-the-worst experiences. Note: "Contoso" is a fictional brand. While based on true stories, no advertisers were harmed during writing of this article.

Number 4: Placeholder

Writers always have moments when they can’t think of the perfect phrase and we need to move on, keep writing, and let inspiration come to us. Everyone has their own placeholder, “XXX,” “placeholder,” “asdf,” or whatever. Sometimes it’s for the right word, sometimes it’s for something you need to look up (do I use curly brackets for insertions?) Use it, but remember to search for it before sending your campaigns live.


Placeholder Ad Title

We have the best deals on Placeholder this holiday season!

I've seen many ads that look like this:

Test Account 1

Test account 1 for Black Friday sale.

Folks often put (or some other url) as a temporary measure that winds up getting pushed through for publication because they don't come back to fill in the placeholders before submitting them.

You don't want to waste time with editorial rejections, or worse, potentially money if your placeholders are relevant enough to your landing pages and the ads clear the editorial checks.  This mistake is eminently avoidable, so be vigilant to make sure you don't fall victim to it.

Number 3: Insert What Where?

Keyword or param insertions can create some undesired (and often funny) results. Maybe you sell posters and you’ve broadened out your keywords to include folks looking for free prints.

     Free Art Posters

     Looking for Free Art Posters? Save 30% today.

What is 30% off Free? Um, free? Or does the buyer get paid money?

Bing Ads offers many tools and options, including using dynamic text to change many ads simultaneously. Powerful, and with a little care, it can be used to great effect. On the other hand, a simple, take List A and pair it with List B can get odd ad text such as this List A of Departure Cites to List B of Arrival Cities:

     Fly Seattle to Seattle

     Cheapest air fares. Flights start at $59 each way.

What’s the travel time? I’ve always wondered.


And there are the very unfortunate insertions where folks have such a wide variety of products that they can (almost) load a phrase dictionary and have something to offer.

     Buy Illegal Items

     Get the best deal on Illegal Items. Free expedited shipping!


     Buy Flu Symptoms

     Up to 50% off. Best quality flu symptoms available.

In my 5 years with Microsoft Search Advertising, I have rejected ads for many inappropriate or illegal products or services. Some were funny, some puzzling, but the thing they all had in common was non-existent potential for a user to click-through.


Number 2: Who Are You? URL Clutter

Good ad copy has a simple, easily understood display URL that clearly shows your business name... and very little else:

     Omega-3 Eggs for Health

     Buy our eggs from happy chickens who live free-range lives.

More isn’t always better. Don’t confuse your reader.

“But,” you say, “My URL! I know Bing has rules about having an accurate Display URL!”

You’re right. Our policies require an accurate display URL, but we permit a shortened version as long as it shows the proper root and website destination. If the principal domain is, for example, “,” consider the following valid display URL options:

“” is much simpler and better.

“” shines the focus on your brand and is the best way to promote your identity along with the product.


Number 1: Free Means Lots of Terms and Conditions


I search for “Free Coffee” and find…

     Island Coconut Flavored Coffee

     Get a free 30-day supply of rich, flavorful coffee. You’ll love it!

Very cool, you have a great product and you’re offering a free trial. Better than I hoped! I click through, and…

  • You want me to complete 10 offers: 5 bronze, 3 silver, and 2 gold? I’m completing surveys, signing up for free trials, and buying junk I don’t need to get your free gizmo? I’m paying an awful lot for that free coffee.

Bing Policy: Not allowed. Because the ad says “Free” but, before I can qualify for my “free” product, I am required to perform a number of tasks, this is considered misleading and a poor user experience.

  • You make me pay $18.95 shipping and handling for a 1-pound trial bag? Hmmm, what’s the normal price for a pound of coffee?


  • I must buy a pound of coffee and my second pound is free.

If the ad copy states that a product is free, and does not disclose that there are other charges required, then it is considered misleading and not allowed.

  • I must download a toolbar, give you my email address, and then you send me a jpg image of a cup of coffee every day for 30 days.

Really? How could I have expected this from the ad? In the example above, the ad copy leads users to expect a physical product. There might be a market for people who want a virtual cup of coffee every day, but if that’s really what is being offered, then the above ad text is misleading.

It’s pretty simple: Free Means Free.


Ad Copy as a Promise

We think of the keywords that users enter into Bing as expressions of their desire, or intent, or a question that they want answered. Good ad copy tells the user how your company can fulfill their need. It’s a promise, a social contract. “Come visit our website and we will give you what you’re seeking.”

Questions? Comments? Leave them below!




Additional Resources:

Ad Content and Style Guidelines

Relevance and Quality Guidelines

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Bing Ads Extreme Makeover: Ad Copy Best Practices Edition

Writing superb ad copy is a blend of art and science. Here I’ll share a number of tips and tricks to help you craft ads using both aspects.

Your ad needs to be attractive, be clear about what you’re offering, as well as bridge the experience between the keyword that expresses user intent and the landing page that offers your product or clip_image002service.


It is best to use a regular pattern of capitalization for words so that your ad is aesthetically pleasing.  Below you will find the standard formatting for a search ad:

Ad Title

Ad copy that sells your product and calls your reader to action.

Using initial caps for the Ad Title and Ad copy or Capitalizing All First Letters In All Ad Copy is much prettier and compliant with policy than using ALL CAPs or the very ugly OdD CaPitalIZation SCHeme which are both ugly and against policy.

Capitalization also matters when it comes to the display url.

For example, isn’t as friendly and easy to read as  You can ditch the starting “www”— it’s just extra noise that detracts from your message. You want your text to be crisp and focused.



Good writing is a refined art; use active verbs, vibrant adjectives, and good grammar.  You’ve likely already spent the time on having crisp descriptions and convincing sales text on your website. You’ve polished text on your landing page that you’ve labored on and are proud of.  Reuse it!

Not only does it make writing the ad copy easier for you, but it has the more science-based potential to improve your Quality Score because of the clear connection between the ad and the landing page.

Include a call to action in your ad.  Do you want folks to meet now, sign up for your newsletter, download your white paper, talk to your experts, get a quote today, compare the best companies, shop your close-outs, find the ultimate birthday gift, or see your selection?   Intrigue them beyond your text, invite them to your site, and motivate them!


Motivation is more about a clear call to action than exclamation points.  Don’t overuse exclamation points!!!!!!  It’s a waste of your character count for your ad and against policy.  Include one now and then, but don’t rely on them.

You’ve got lots of other options.  Ask a question: Looking for [your product]?

The semicolon is your friend; one character can take the place of five when you replace a semicolon for the word “and” (count them: comma, space, “a,” “n,” “d”).  Make sure each side of the semi-colon is a full sentence.  Take a look at the examples below:

Visit our site for the best selection, and we offer no-interest financing for 1 year.


Visit our site for the best selection; we offer no-interest financing for 1 year.

My favorite is the dash—again you should use sparingly:

Visit our site for the best selection—no-interest financing for 1 year.

Keyword Insertion

People love to see their own text.  Having an ad title or part of your text that includes the keyword the user typed in has a very positive effect on click through rate.  But keep the art aspect in mind.  Don’t just do a plain keyword or param insert.  Instead, incorporate a Proper Case version of the keyword that will keep the aesthetics of your ad intact. The platform provides an easy option when it comes to keyword insertion and capitalization. Details are available here.

Keyword Insertion (Advanced)

Some savvy advertisers willing to spend a bit more time with their ads use the param 2 field instead, incorporating a Proper Case, edited version of the keyword. When you’re bidding on phrases including misspelled words, especially brand terms, it’s an opportunity to polish the ad a bit more and ensure you’ve specific, focused insertions that flow beautifully in the ad title and copy.

Focused on Quality Score?

Following the above advice will enhance your Quality Score.  If an improved Quality Score is your primary goal, be sure to include the keyword in your ad.   Feature phrases from the landing page in your ad text.  Make sure your display and destination URLs match.

Be on the lookout for more optimal Ad Copy advice in our 3rdinstallment of Bing Ads Extreme Makeover coming soon on what you should avoid. 

As always, feel free to check out our Editorial Insights Page.  Once you’ve incorporated these suggestions into your next campaign, I’d love to hear from you!


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