Ask and You Shall Receive: The Humanization of Search

In a world where we’re almost always connected to technology and devices, we have instant access to information wherever we are—causing a transformation to the search experience. Whether people realize it or not, search is embedded in their daily activities; it’s on their mobile devices, cloud-connected game consoles and increasingly, on smart devices throughout their homes. This transformation is changing how we interact with search as it becomes an intelligence platform powering devices and technology—making it become more human.

As search becomes more ubiquitous, people expect an experience that goes beyond search and understands them in a more personal, intimate way. And search is evolving to do just that.


Our Changing Relationship With Search

As consumers interact with technology in new, deeper ways, like through personal assistants, search is quickly adapting. Voice-powered search is a big reason why.

Unlike keyword-based searches, voice search lets us express ourselves naturally, using conversational phrasing that matches human speech patterns. Spoken language connects people to what they're searching for with an immediacy, convenience and intimacy that text-only search just can’t provide. Because of this intimacy, search can discern what information the user is seeking with far greater precision.

Search isn’t just becoming more human; it’s becoming interwoven into the fabric of our everyday lives. With a growing technology ecosystem of phones, tablets, and smart home gadgets, search is the intelligent fabric that delivers the most relevant information when and where it’s needed.

Our internal research at Microsoft shows that, consumers search consistently—all day and well into the night. Increasingly, those search results are being delivered through a speaker by a synthetic-but-friendly voice, or presented as a short list within a phone app.


Search Gets Smarter

Search is getting better at understanding consumer intent and delivering actionable results. Why? With search becoming more embedded into our lives, an unprecedented amount of information about the people who are searching begins to add up.

This knowledge helps move the search experience from one that provides straight forward answers to search queries to one that mimics human thinking, providing better results based on our intent and preferences. Not only do we know more about users—location, past search activity, purchasing habits, likes and dislikes—but we also have access to data sources that provide facts about people, places and entities the user may be searching for.

Tapping into this treasure trove of information gives us a good idea what the consumer is likely to be seeking when performing a search. This, in turn, lets us give the consumer what he or she wants without explicitly asking. The result: a higher-value experience that gets the searcher that much closer to taking an action.


Marketers Must Evolve, Too

As technology and search continues to evolve at a break-neck pace, so do consumer expectations. The search industry, with its billions of human interactions per day, is uniquely qualified to offer a personalized experience to consumers.

The ability to instantly surmise consumer intent offers the chance to target highly personalized brand messages and content wherever the consumer might be. This means harnessing the conversational language of search and evaluating marketing strategies across the board—from keyword targeting to content creation to investment allocation.

As the number of search-powered devices in the marketplace multiplies –marketers will need to harness the potential of the massive amounts of data generated by an interconnected web of devices – including future technologies like virtual reality headsets.

In this new era of marketing, it’s going to be possible to see where users are interacting with offline messaging, when and where they are at in a retail store, which device they're using, and whether they're even in front of a traditional screen. Most important, marketers will be able to tie that information back to online user behavior, and respond accordingly.  

For brands, opportunities to reach consumers with personalized messaging and content have never been greater. The combination of a more human search experience, more places and ways that search is integrated into technology and better data insights will help brand stakeholders find the most efficient methods for bringing consumers closer to taking action.

It’s not just about gaining more business or even creating new audiences – it’s about harnessing the promise of the future.



To learn more, download The Humanization of Search[DT1]



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Microsoft is “all-in” with search advertising

For an inside look at the people and ideas behind Microsoft Search Advertising, we give you the Microsoft Search Advertising All-In Video.

In this video, Microsoft Search Advertising Corporate Vice President, Rik van der Kooi, talks to Danielle McMeekin, Regional VP of Sales, about what excites him about Bing Ads and how Microsoft is committed to growing Bing to meet the needs of current and future Bing Ads clients.

Viewing options

If you're pressed for time, or if you're only interested in specific topics, we divided the full-length interview into six “bite-sized” episodes, each lasting no more than 2.5 minutes. You'll find links to each one below the full-length video.



Microsoft Search Advertising “All-In” video episodes

Episode 1: Empowering Customers (01:20)

Episode 2: Bing’s Value to Advertisers (01:35)

Episode 3: Growing Scale for Advertisers (01:43)

Episode 4: Audience Matters (01:15)

Episode 5: It’s a Mobile World (02:30)

Episode 6: We’re all in! (01:16)

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Pet insurance agency finds Bing Ads to be top dog

We love our pets. They’re family members, companions and best friends. If they ever get hurt or sick, we vow to do whatever it takes to help them get better. That is until the first bill trickles in, followed by another and another. Thousands of dollars later, with your bank account resembling a ghost town, a sinking feeling starts to build in the pit of your stomach. A decision looms ahead: broken heart or empty wallet?

Nick Braun thinks that’s a choice no pet owner should ever have to make. That’s why his company,, grew to become a leading independent licensed pet insurance agency in the United States, brokering policies to help pet owners focus on quality-of-life care.

Choosing Bing Ads delivers strong ROI

To jump-start business, Braun figured there were two paths to follow; one was free organic searches, the second option was to use paid search ad channels. This was an entirely new realm for him. As the owner of a small business with a limited marketing budget, Braun didn’t have the money to waste investing in ineffective channels. He decided the best way to get the biggest return was to do a trial run with multiple companies and then invest in the one that performed best.

Diving in head first, he did buys with Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter and general ad networks. Within weeks, he had settled on paid search with Bing Ads.

bing ads pet insurance quotes

“The cost per acquisition was much lower with Bing than the other channels,” said Braun. “I'm a financial person, so it's all about the return and getting the best use of my money and time.”

Read the full story to find out how this agency used Bing Ads to improve its ROI.

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Optimize your mobile campaigns with bid modifiers

For every year I’ve been in PPC, each has been called the “Year of Mobile”. This year, I can say with confidence that it’s actually true. We’re seeing explosive growth across smartphones and tablets, and if you’re still not optimizing for these users, then you’re in severe danger of missing out.

That being said, optimizing for mobile traffic can be a difficult task, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with the reporting interface. With that in mind, I’m here to show you a few ways you can analyze your mobile advertising efforts, starting with the campaign-level bid modifier.

As of right now, the number one place for all of your mobile needs is the Bing Ads Reports center, located in the top row of the Bing Ads UI. 

bing ads bid modifier

If you haven’t already taken a look in there, it’s basically a one-stop shop for every single reporting metric you need to analyze a Bing Ads Account. For mobile, it means you can select device types and operating system segments for just about every single report in there.

If you want to use this post as a walk-through on how to analyze your performance, I’d recommend downloading a Campaign report for the last 30 days, looking at a summary view of your data.

Pull your campaign report

bing ads bid modifier

For your columns, I recommend choosing Device Type under the Attributes tab, and some of your Impression share metrics in the Performance statistics tab. In particular, you’ll want to focus on Impression share lost due to bid (%) and Impression share lost due to rank (%). I tend to choose these myself because the mobile bid modifier can help you rectify any problems with these two columns.

bing ads bid modifier

bing ads bid modifier

If you have conversion tracking enabled, I highly recommend you also include your conversion metrics; the Device Type Attributes column will help give you some insight in to your mobile return on investment (ROI). With all of these options selected, download your report in to Excel.

Filter and review your data

Once you have your report open in Excel, filter your reports for Device Type: Smartphone, Tablet. 

bing ads modifier

With this filter in place, we’re now focused on *only* our Smartphone and Tablet performance, now segmented by campaign.  

bing ads bid modifier

We can use a few more Excel filters to drill down in to our top bid modifier opportunities by looking for the following red flags:

  • Average Position greater than 1.5
  • Lost impression share due to bid (%) greater than 0
  • Lost impression share due to rank (%) greater than 0

bing ads modifier

In addition, if you also included your conversion metrics, I recommend filtering for mobile bid opportunities by looking at your cost per conversion on each device. If you have some low-CPA campaigns, it’s a quick-win opportunity to be even more aggressive with your bid modifiers than you might be otherwise.

Analyze and optimize

So, why these filters? Well, it’s a well-established fact that mobile click-through rate falls off much faster than it does on desktops. If you have mobile campaigns that are not close to position 1, you’re facing severely reduced click-through rates.

With these filters in place, we have some clear suggestions for positive Campaign-level device bid modifiers -- both on tablets and on smartphones.

bing ads bid modifier

If we take our analysis one step further and utilize CPA as another guide, there are three campaigns from the report pictured above in which we *absolutely* need to increase our bids: 

bing ads bid modifier

With this data in hand, we can cross-reference these campaigns with their tablet and smartphone bid modifiers, either in the Bing Ads interface or in the Bing Ads Editor. You can make edits to your campaigns in either of those spots, or you can make use of the bulksheet functionality to do them quickly. Regardless of how you do it, this kind of analysis is the first step towards making the most of an increasingly mobile search advertising marketplace.

Questions? Comments?

Feel free to ping us on Twitter, or register for an upcoming Bing Ads Connect. For additional optimization tips and opportunities, be sure to check out the Marketplace Trends page here on the Bing Ads site.

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