Tina Kelleher

Bing Ads Content Marketing & Social Media (US)
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Bing Ads API v.10 details now available on MSDN

Did you know that there’s a Bing Ads API Blog on MSDN? If this is the first you’re hearing about it, now’s a great time to head over there to check it out. Viswa Rathinavelu just posted a detailed walk-through of everything that’s new in Bing Ads API v.10 that will help developers increase productivity and improve performance.

Here’s a quick overview to give you a preview of Viswa’s post:

More efficient API Operations

Support for streamlined and consistent behavior in both Campaign and Ad Group entity operations, similar to Ad and Keyword entities. With partial success in the API response for these entities, managing Campaign and Ad Group entities is now easier and more efficient.

Faster and easier URL management and tracking

Support for Upgraded URLs only available with API v.10 with benefits that include efficient URL updates, hassle free tracking, more tracking insights and increased URL flexibility.

Improved overall API performance

Bug fixes and clean-up of deprecated APIs and properties as well as a new bulk file format with updated column names and support for new features.

Streamlined Ad Insight service

Ad Intelligence and optimizer service are combined into a single service.

Updated Bulk Service

Now supporting all new features and updates including GZip compression type in our bulk download operations.

Updated client libraries with new features supported

Full SDK fidelity (for all client libraries including C#, Java and Python) including workflow support for Reporting services to simplify the coding effort required to request, poll download and parse the reports.

For more information, check out the full post on the Bing Ads API blog.

Questions? Comments?

Feel free to ping us on Twitter, but if it's specific to the Bing Ads API, check out the API forum on MSDN.

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Reach local customers with Bing Places for Business

When it comes to gaining exposure for your business online, you want to make sure you're leaving no stone unturned. Now that reaching mobile customers has become more important than ever, having a strong online presence is especially true for businesses with a physical location that could benefit from being visible to those who're looking for what you have to offer while on-the-go.

You've got your PPC campaign up and running with your most relevant keywords and most eye-catching copy, but have you claimed your Bing Places for Business listing yet?

If you're not familiar with Bing Places for Business is, it's a free service that helps connect businesses with their local customers. For example, as I mentioned in my last blog post, my husband and I are in the midst of summer vacation planning.  Given that our usual dog sitter isn't going to be in town when we're going to be away, one of the loose ends we need to tie up is to locate a dog boarding facility close to home.

To keep my search local, I enter the query, "dog boarding redmond wa"... this is what I see:

bing places for business

Many local businesses will show up regardless of whether the business owner has claimed the listing or not -- not all will, in some cases, you may have to add your business. Those that claim their listings can include helpful information like hours of operation, photos, services offered and more. Because Bing Places for Business is free, there's no reason not to tell the best possible story about your business when it shows up in local results like these. For example, without even clicking on any of these listings to see which ones have more info and which don't, I can already tell that Canine Behavior Center is worth looking at just based on the number of Yelp reviews alone, better yet that the majority of them are positive.

It's small details like that that can make or break a sale, so if you haven't already claimed your Bing Places for Business listing, there's no time like the present!

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Questions about our partnership with Yahoo? #AskBingAds

ask bing adsIf you’ve been paying attention to the latest developments in search industry news, you probably heard that some updates have been made to the way Microsoft and Yahoo work together to provide relevant search results to users, as well as high quality traffic to advertisers.

Although there’s been quite a bit of advertising industry coverage on this topic, you may feel as though you have some questions that are still unanswered. If that’s the case, we'd like to help bridge that gap by inviting you to send us your questions about our partnership with Yahoo via Twitter with the hash tag, #AskBingAds. As always, we're happy to take questions on other topics too, but with this hash tag, we're particularly interested in getting a pulse on what aspects of the updates to our partnership with Yahoo might need some clarity for you, our advertisers.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

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Bing Ads PPC goal series: Increasing phone calls

bing ads phone callsHow many times have you been shopping online and got to the point where you were almost ready to make a purchase, but you just had a few questions that could be easily answered with a quick phone call? After picking up the phone, how many of those calls resulted in your being able to chat directly with an actual human being, as opposed to pushing buttons through layers and layers of automated menus? If you had to navigate through those menus, how many times did you actually wind up making a purchase from that particular merchant?

Although it may seem ideal to run as much of your business online as possible as a cost-saving measure, if you're not making yourself available to speak directly to your potential customers when they have questions, you could be missing out on sales opportunities. Below are a few quick tips to help drive phone calls to your business from your Bing Ads campaigns.

1.) Add a clickable phone number to your ad. This tactic is especially important for capturing traffic within the growing mobile market. People on-the-go may not have the time or opportunity to poke around your web site; they may simply search to find the business that has what they're looking for and then make a quick phone call to confirm details like a specific brand, price range or even store location and hours. Learn more about call extensions.

2.) Include a strong call-to-action in your ad copy. The reason why services like Groupon and Amazon Local are so successful is because they offer limited-time only discounts; that sense of urgency created by a quickly approaching expiration date motivates people to act in order to take advantage of the offer. You can create that same sense of urgency in your ad copy by including a short-term promotional offer, e.g. "20% off Memorial Day weekend. Call now to make your reservation."

3.) Increase bids during business hours. Under "Advanced targeting options" on the campaign level of your Bing Ads campaign, you can increase your bids by using day-of-week and time-of-day targeting to ensure that your ads (with your phone number displayed) are showing most prominently during the times when there is someone at your business to accept calls from potential customers.

4.) Analyze your call data. For advertisers in the US and UK who have access to a desktop PC or tablet, you can review your campaign's performance by pulling a "Call Details" report.

For more information on increasing calls to your business via your Bing Ads campaigns, visit the Get more phone calls page here on the Bing Ads site.

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Bing Ads PPC goal series: Tips to help drive more conversions

bing ads conversionsYou’re here for a reason. If you’ve invested the time, effort and funds into advertising online, you want to make sure that those precious resources aren’t going to waste; you want a decent return on your investment. No doubt you’re keeping an eye on your clicks, but what about your conversions?

What is a conversion?

A conversion is the ultimate purpose of your campaign; it is as you define it. Do you want to make sales? Then, for you, a conversion would be a customer clicking on the “Submit order” button after following your online check out process. Are you trying to drive sign-ups for your newsletter? Then, for you, a conversion would be when a new reader clicks “Submit” after entering their email address to subscribe. No matter what you consider a conversion to be, it’s a crucial metric in any online advertising strategy.

Clicks vs. Conversions

Clicks tell you that your ad was compelling enough and your keywords relevant enough to entice a user to click through to visit your site. A conversion tells you that your web site content was relevant and compelling enough to earn that user’s attention, time or money. Clicks tell you that your ads are doing well, conversions tell you that your ability to “sell” your product on your web site is effective. The more conversions you earn, the better your return on your advertising investment will be.

Here are 3 tips for improving your campaigns’ conversions:

Focus on what works. If you have campaigns that are bringing in the results you want, allocate more of your budget to those campaigns and increase bids on your top-converting terms to ensure they stay competitive.

Implement/increase accelerated budgets. If you’re using the standard budget (default), your ads may be spread out evenly throughout the day, but you also might be missing out on searches happening when your ads aren’t showing. An accelerated budget shows your ad as many times as possible throughout the day for eligible searches, which is helpful when you’re talking about a campaign that’s converting really well.

Relevance is key. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and then take a look at every aspect of your website as it relates to your campaign. Do your chosen keywords and ads tightly align to the landing pages you’re sending users to? Are the terms you’ve chosen the industry standard descriptors that someone would most likely use to find your products/services? If you’re not sure where to start, try reviewing your Quality Score to see which areas are most in need of attention.

How do I track conversions with Bing Ads?

Glad you asked! You can track conversions in your Bing Ads campaigns by implementing Universal Event Tracking (UET). While I could go into the specifics on that here, to do so would really be re-inventing the wheel; everything you need to know about UET is right there on the page you'll land on after clicking that link. That said, if you haven't set up UET yet and you'd like to be able to start tracking your conversions, there are resources on that page that will explain what it is, how it works, what you can track with it and how to get started.

For more information and additional resource on improving your conversions, visit the Get more conversions page here on the Bing Ads site.

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Bing Ads PPC goal series: Tips to help drive more traffic to your web site

bing ads trafficRegardless of whether your ultimate PPC goal is to rack up clicks on your web site’s “Submit Order” button, to have your phone ringing with customers ready to place orders or to have new customers walking through the door of your store, you need to make sure that your campaigns are both effective and efficient at getting customers to visit your web site.

In my last post on this series, I covered some tips on lowering your advertising costs.  The reason I chose that as my first topic is because it’s quite common for PPC newbies to figure out what works and what doesn’t through trial and error. Once you’ve got the basics down on keeping your costs within the range that works for your budget, you can shift your focus to getting your campaigns ramped up to their full potential in terms of bringing in web traffic.

The quick wins

Ad position. When thinking about increasing traffic, typically one of the first actions advertisers take is to evaluate their ads’ positions and make adjustments accordingly. If your ad is not showing up within the top 3 positions and you’re not hitting your daily budget targets, consider increasing your bids to achieve a more prominent placing. If increasing bids to make it into the top 3 is not an option for your budget, then at least try to make sure you’re showing up as high as possible on the first page of Bing search results.

Targeting. Depending on your business and the areas you’re able to provide service to, you might consider broadening your audience.  For example, let’s say you sell sporting goods in an area known for mountain recreation and you initially set your campaign up to only target the immediate area near your store with the intention of driving walk-in sales. While that would seem to make sense if walk-in sales are your goal, you might consider opening up that target to include areas a bit further away, e.g. where a lot of the tourists who visit your store come from when they’re on vacation.

Keywords. Even if you think your keyword list is complete and absolutely perfect, chances are, your competition can prove you wrong. Popular words and phrases are constantly shifting as interests, news and pop culture bring some to the surface and shove others away from the spotlight, so be sure to keep your keyword lists fresh and updated. Don’t forget about those less common words, which can also help keep your return on investment right where you want it – less common means less competition. If you haven’t yet, check out the Bing Ads Power Tools series post on the Campaign Planner for more on this topic.

Broad match. If you’re taking a conservative approach with your match types by focusing only on phrase and exact, adding broad match can help cast a wider net to capture more web traffic. Just be sure to keep an eye on your reports and monitor them to ensure your return on investment is within the range you want it to be.

Sitelink Extensions. Enabling Sitelink Extensions can help drive more traffic to your web site because it provides your potential customers with links to specific pages within your site, which helps them locate the information they’re after faster and more efficiently. Because they’re able to see that your site offers the level of detail they’re looking for, they’re more confident in clicking through to learn more.

The more labor intensive wins

Ad copy. Ad copy is one of the most important aspects of a PPC campaign, but sometimes it will take a certain degree of trial and error before you find a winning combination of words that makes your ads irresistible to customers. Try experimenting with different versions of ads that highlight different benefits to customers, different solutions to the problems your product will help solve for them.

Mobile friendliness. This one has less to do with your PPC campaigns and more to do with your web site. As mobile devices become more ubiquitous, more and more people are using them to find the things they’re looking for while on the go. If you’re not optimized for mobile, you could be losing customers to your competitors who are.

More resources

For more information on how to increase web traffic to your site, be sure to visit the “Increase your website traffic” page here on the Bing Ads site. If you have other goals in mind, keep an eye here on the blog for the next installment in this series, or you can visit the "Solutions" page.

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