Kate Newton


Marketplace Insights: UK Retail Insights for Easter 2016

Make like an Easter bunny and spring into action with these egg-cellent top tips and audience insights from the Bing Network.

Read about the latest UK Easter trends we have seen (23 Feb – 13 Apr, 2015), and how these tips can assist with the planning of your Easter Bing Ads Retail campaigns. Find key insights on consumer behaviour around this seasonal event from who’s shopping, when shopping peaks occur, what people are buying, and what devices they’re shopping on.

  • Don’t forget that Easter falls Sunday 27 March 2016
  • Easter is the second largest spending annual holiday event for UK consumers; second only to Christmas


You can download our Easter insights here


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UK Valentine’s Day 2016 Tips: Love is All you Need… and a Little Insight

“Love, love, love… love it all you need” The Beatles sang about it back in 1967 and they were very wise and indeed fab; but they had that statement only partly true. Love is all you need and also some UK Valentine’s Day tips and audience Insights from the Bing Ads team. Why? Because “(We) love you Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!”

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Marketplace Insights: UK Retail Insights for 2015 Black Friday, Christmas and Beyond!

Yes. It’s that time of year again to talk about the ‘most wonderful time of the year’: Christmas

Here at Bing Ads, we have been preparing our own perfectly formed gift to you, our valued Retail customers. By boxing up the numbers of the Yahoo Bing Network UK Retail marketplace results from Christmas 2014; perusing the latest market research for clues, so you don’t have to tie yourself up in knots and festive bows. We can now share some of the key insights we’ve seen to give Bing Ads UK retailers the competitive edge this festive season.

UK consumers & retailers have appropriated the US concept of Black Friday

Five years ago If you asked a member of the UK general public what Black Friday was, you would have probably got a blank look of confusion. Today if you were to ask the same question you would receive knowing enthusiastic nods of acknowledgement. Only since Christmas 2013 when ASDA owned Walmart and experimented with their first Black Friday deals two years ago, has the concept of Black Friday taken root in UK shopping culture.


Black friday pic


According to Capgemini, the week of Black Friday last year made up 17% of the total Christmas Sales in the UK. This fact only is an indicator of how important it is to take advantage of the timing and prepare ahead for any upswing in retail activity.  November will play a big part of the holiday season this year, so make sure you don’t miss out. IMRG reported that Black Friday exceeded Cyber Monday in terms of retail spend and sites visited. A whopping £810m was spent online during Black Friday last year vs. £720m on Cyber Monday.

A curious fact; Brits are still suspicious of delivery reliability, as 56% of online orders from Black Friday were collected in the shop rather than having them delivered directly to the home. However, despite Black Friday leading the trends in retail sites visited and online sales, it’s important to note that both days represent increased mobile activity: 45% of online sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday were driven by Mobile commerce.

Bing Ads advice is to prepare for those early mobile shoppers and take advantage of the flurry of sales at the end of November, particularly for Black Friday. Remember, Black Friday this year takes place on the 27th November and Cyber Monday takes place on the 30th November.

Retail Xmas insights pic 2

The above chart gives us an analysis of the overall retail searches indexed to the average daily volume in Sept 2014 for all retail queries, including all retail sub categories. 

  • Search queries start to peak at 17% in the first week of October, however retail really starts to kick off during the months of November and December as the number of queries increases 45% for the final two months of the year. Make sure you prepare your retail campaigns early on for this expected increase.


  • We see an uplift 2 times the relative average in Sept during the week of Black Friday and Cyber Monday – the biggest peak of the season in the UK so watch out for thee big days!


  • Black Friday is a big day for mobile users with peaks up to 6 times the mobile average in September


  • We see a slight dip during the week of Christmas, however, searches spike right back up again on Boxing day. Boxing day sees the 2nd highest peak for all devices as all up retail queries nearly doubles the average September levels.


  • The first week of January also sees an uplift of nearly 25% in terms of retail queries, perhaps due to the sales in the new year

Retail xmas insights pic 3

Do people search differently on Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Here we have the hourly view of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which displays the search volume of retail intent queries relative to the average hourly volume in Sept 2015.

It’s clear that people start searching early in the morning on Friday—even as early as 5am! A majority of the search activity on Cyber Monday tends to take place in the afternoon and continues to increase in the evening. Whilst Black Friday is about getting in there first, Cyber Monday is about getting the most out of the last deals available.

  • Mobile searches are up x9 the night before Black Friday, with the biggest uplift at 7am on Black Friday
  • Tablet searches are evening based with searches peaking to nearly 5x the average at 7-8pm on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
  • Desktop searching occurs the most in the morning of Black Friday from 7am – 11am, peaking an average of x4 


As a caveat, last year we saw an average increase of 31% in automated paused campaigns during the week of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, due to automated daily budget capping. Manage your budget caps carefully during the last week of November and ensure that you don’t exhaust your budget before the end of the day when many conversions take place.  The new automated rules functionality within Bing Ads should prevent campaigns unnecessarily going offline, you can now auto manage your budgets and bids whilst remaining competitive in a much more efficient and scalable way.

Don’t forget Shopping Ads…

If you are an online retailer and you want to get maximum exposure for your entire catalogue during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Boxing Day and beyond; then why not try the newly launched Bing Ads Shopping Campaigns.

Thank you for reading, we hope you found the insights and strategies helpful. The above tips are top-level tasters of what you may expect in the UK retail Marketplace this festive season.

For a deeper insight into ad copy analysis, optimization tactics and in-depth retail trends for your campaign, download our Christmas insights deck.


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Marketplace Insights: Top 6 Summer Tips and Golden Strategies for UK Travel Advertisers

It’s more than just the sun that is heating things up this June, the UK travel industry is set for another ‘golden’ year of bumper deals that will satisfy jetsetters from all demographic and socioeconomic groups. Indeed the travel industry have never had it so good! Thanks in part to the recovering UK economy, advances in website technology, and the proliferation and mass adoption of mobile devices. It has never been easier, quicker or more convenient to book travel online.

#1: Brits spend more on online travel than any other European nation

According to eMarketer, digital sales within travel are looking to be significant in 2015, with an industry worth $510 billion worldwide – The UK will look to contribute $37 billion (7%) to these online travel sales this year.

 This year, consumers are spending significantly on digital travel sales


UK travelers spent £19.6 billion a year on overseas trips to just Europe alone last year. And according to TNS Omnibus survey, more than one in three Brits this year expect to take a holiday abroad, and anticipate spending more than the previous year.

#2: Brits are upwardly mobile when booking travel on mobiles

A study by comScore in Jan 2014, found that mobile traffic represented an increasingly important share of travel sites’ total traffic among UK internet sources; with airlines, hotels, OTAs claiming one quarter or more of traffic come from mobile only sources. Therefore it wouldn’t be unexpected if we start to see more consumer mobile activity this year.

 Which device do we use for travel queries?


  1. The Italians top the list of most mobile travel searches, with nearly half of all travel queries in Italy being made on a mobile or tablet device; mostly from smartphones.
  2. The Brits also search while on the go with 39% of travel queries being made on mobile devices, however tablets play a greater role in the UK than other countries as it holds the highest percentage with 17% of travel queries.
  3. In the UK, the year over year share of travel queries on mobile devices (mobile + tablet) has grown +3pts. With cruises and flight searches seeing the highest growth on smartphones, whilst lodging and holiday related queries have seen greater tablet growth.


As mobile starts to play a bigger role in the world of travel, advertisers should not forget to target mobile searchers who are particularly active in the Italian & UK markets. Make sure to take advantage of device level bid modifier within Bing Ads so you can continue to tune your bids for optimum ROI.

 Share of travel queries on a mobile device has grown YoY in the UK

 #3: Brits prefer a mix of long and short haul city break destinations

So what are the top travel flight destination queries across Europe? (Stack ranked by search volume, on all devices across Bing & Yahoo sites):

 Top travel flight destinations by country


  • Destinations such as Barcelona, New York and Dubai are favourites amongst all the European countries
  • Flight destination searches for Italy tend to be short haul focused within the EU, whereas the Dutch tend to search for more long haul destinations
  • Five out of the top ten searched destinations in France are also French speaking countries, which plays an important role on deciding where to go abroad


#4: British women typically take the lead on family travel plans

Which demographic travels the most?


  • Nearly 60% % of all travel related search queries on the Yahoo Bing Network come from women in the UK.  Those aged 35-65 are also searching for travel queries the most (interestingly an age  who are more likely to have a higher income)
  • In the UK, the 65+ age group tend to search for travel related queries, more so than any other country. Whereas in Italy and France, those aged 25-34 also tend to search more travel related queries when compared to the other countries. This may be useful when thinking about choosing specific target audiences across countries for multi-market campaigns


5# Greater value CPCs for travel advertisers with Bing Ads

According to Marin’s Global Advertising Benchmark, if we compare CPCs within travel on the Yahoo Bing Network to those from Google Adwords, the Yahoo Bing Network continues to be more cost effective. With the UK being -43% cheaper on Yahoo Bing Network to Adwords, and even -55% cheaper overall in the Eurozone.

 For Travel, the Yahoo Bing Network continues to be more cost effective than Google AdWords

6#: Specific and to the point offers makes Bing Ads copy more clickable

Make your ads stand out from the crowd with the following Bing Ads creative ad copy tips. We’ve categorised the top keywords and tokens into token categories and analysed which sub-categories are the best and most effective differentiators for your holiday, flights and lodging campaigns.

 Travel ad copy analysis - high level observations for the UK

  1. If writing  holiday specific campaigns, try including decision drivers in your ad copy  so that the consumer knows exactly what type of holiday offering they are clicking on.
  2. Demonstrating the range of products and services are good tactics to help make your ad stand out for your holidays, flights and lodging campaigns.
  3.  For your flight ad copies, be sure to include clear delivery actions and you’re your lodging related campaigns stand out by including brand endorsements.
  4.  We highly recommend building and testing different ad copy combinations to find the strongest performing ad for your brand and product.


Thank you for reading, we hope you found the insights and strategies helpful! The above six tips are top-level tasters of what you may expect in the UK travel marketplace this summer season.

For a deeper insight into ad copy analysis, optimization tactics and in-depth travel trends for your campaign, download our slideshare deck.  You can also find more hints and tips on our travel infographic here.

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Get engaged with Valentine’s Day in the UK with your Bing Ads PPC campaign

It may be the shortest month of the year, but February sure is the most loved up in the annual calendar.

At Bing Ads we are all about sharing the love especially when it comes to understanding the latest customer and seasonal trends. That’s why we’ve put together an utterly gorgeous UK Yahoo Bing Network Valentine’s Day Infographic for you.

We *heart* you lovely, lovely people.

Download or share the Yahoo Bing Network Valentine’s Day infographic from SlideShare
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Marketplace Insights: Top 4 New Year’s Tips for UK Finance & Insurance Marketers on Yahoo Bing Network in 2015

The festive break is just around the corner and whilst shoppers are busy hunting for the perfect present purchase, we have had our eye on what happens once the shopping is done, the bubbly is open, and 2015 rolls in!

Whilst the everyday consumer may have got their shopping mojo back this festive period, their thoughts do not stray far from the realisation that, sooner rather than later, they will have to settle their holiday season bill. Thoughts of turkey, presents and Father Christmas turn to budgeting, loans, credit cards, and insurance.

At Bing Ads, we are here to help finance and Insurance marketers in the UK get their finance campaigns in tip-top condition before the nation’s collective finance hangover kicks in. Below are four of our top tips.

#1: Take advantage of lower prices for finance clicks on Yahoo Bing Network

Yes, I am going to say it, I can’t keep this secret much longer: Bing Ads finance keywords are cheaper than Google AdWords!

Don’t just take my word for it, the cross-channel performance advertising platform Marin Software has provided vertical benchmarking data. This study shows average click-through rates (CTR) and cost per click (CPC) across a sample of Marin Software’s customers buying in GBP in Q2 2014, as compared to the same customers’ experience in the same period on Google.

The data shows that whilst CTR for finance is typically slightly lower on the Yahoo Bing Network - at 14% lower than Google AdWords - the prices are significantly cheaper. Average CPC was -32% vs. Google AdWords in finance, demonstrating a more efficient use of budget and the clear cost advantage of using Yahoo Bing Network.




2#: Understanding the seasonality - are you ready for the finance product peaks?

There are many sub-verticals within finance, and often marketers canstart to feel a bit like a juggler under the pressure of not dropping the ball when it comes to seasonality. This is especially true if you are a brand or marketer who covers many different financial products and services.

As expected, financial queries trend up in the January period, but we thought it would be of interest to provide an annual perspective on query trends for all the finance sub-categories, so that you can plan for the upticks outside of January.

The data below shows the top query % increases for the core finance sub-categories on the Yahoo Bing Network across the year, shown vs. the annual average.


Top observations for each finance sub-category from July 2013-2014:

• January holds the biggest uplifts for all categories, particularly for tax, credit card, investments and insurance - all up over 20% in search queries, compared to the annual average

• Credits cards also see an uplift in search queries earlier, in November, which may indicate that consumers are seeking credit for the festive period, ahead of anticipated spending

• We also see an uptick of 9% for insurance during October, with people showing interest in renewing their current premiums in the autumn

Overall, we see increased search activity during January for all sub categories – so it is most definitely a period that UK brands and advertisers should focus on looking to optimise their finance accounts!


3#: Showing up and being present - are you ready to do business across Mobile & Tablet as well as PC/Laptop?

According to Mintel, the percentage of the UK population who own a smartphone has increased from 56% in Jan 2012 to 72% in April 2014.

TGI have also looked into daily habits across Mobile. As you might expect, the majority of sites used are Search Engines, Social Networking, Email, Weather and News. If you delve deeper into those that require transactions, it’s revealed that 12.5% of Mobile use involves finances, with a further 2% being research into finance/business. Mobiles are becoming much more prominent in how we search and purchase.

The TGI and Mintel study findings tally nicely with what we are seeing across the Yahoo Bing Network, measuring September 2014 vs. 2013. Overall, on Yahoo Bing Network the UK we’re seeing very healthy growth:

  • Finance clicks overall have grown +10%
  • Tablet clicks are +51% and Mobile clicks +72%, year over year*.
  • At the same time we’re seeing some competition, with CPCs up slightly higher at +14%; although not significant, we do recommend taking time to optimise bids during the finance season.

As Mobile becomes more influential in the way consumers purchase, the sub-categories within Finance and the relative share of queries for Tablet and Mobile, using September 2014 as an example:

  • Around a quarter of finance queries are on a mobile device (including both Tablet/Mobile)
  • Mobile is still higher than tablet, but interestingly both loans and tax are the most mobile categories in terms of queries
  • Insurance and loans tie for the highest share of tablet searches


But what about when users use their devices to search for financial products? The below chart shows how the usage of each device evolves from November through to New Year and beyond, shown indexed to November. On the right-hand side, you can see a quick reminder of the device and percentage share of those search queries by each device.

What is interesting is that finance queries on mobile start to climb in late December and peak at +30% (vs. November levels) during the very first week of January, before the traditional break is even over. This then continues to steadily grow into February.

However, finance-related queries on PC reach +10% but slightly later than mobile in the second week in January. Tablets follow a similar pattern to mobile, but see a similar 10% peak, only right at the end of the month.

The key take away here is to make sure that you don’t forget to target mobile searchers starting in mid-December and continuing throughout January, particularly if your campaigns are loans, tax or credit card related. It’s also good to ensure that budgets are set to last throughout the January period, when tablet and PC searches remain strong.



4#: Talk the talk - communicate product offerings in a way that resonates with your target customer, and makes your ad stand out

To ascertain how, we looked at ad copy running in December 2013, and have identified a number of ad copy tactics typically used to optimise ads in the finance vertical. We looked at whether including these tactics improved the ad quality, and differentiated the ad.

To make it easy to understand, we’ve rolled all of the individual keywords and tokens into token categories and analysed which sub-categories are the best and most effective differentiators for Insurance, credit cards and loans.

These tactics include (with some examples):

  • Addressing user needs: over 65, new driver, landlords, poor credit, platinum
  • Using dynamic inserts: 
  • Including unique selling points: cashback, points, no fees, approval in minutes
  • Including calls to action: pick, apply, call, try, view, check, speed
  • Including cost or pricing information: APRs, interest-free, 0%, Save, low rates, affordable
  • Including brand names or endorsements: official, award-winning, ©, ™


Here are some tips to drive the best performing top ad copy tactics on the Yahoo Bing Network for finance:

  • If focusing on Insurance campaigns and writing ad copy for a particular campaign, try recognising the user needs in your ad copy to make it stand out so that the consumer knows exactly what the insurance offering they are clicking on is designed for
  • Dynamic text insertion and including unique selling points are good tactics to help make your ad stand out for both Insurance and credit cards

We highly recommend building and testing different ad copy combinations to find the strongest performing ad for your brand and product.

We’ve also created ‘ad creative heat maps’ for the top sub-categories, to help you zone in on the best language and tokens to use when writing ads. Below is an example of how to read the heat maps, but also the heat map for the Insurance sub-category:



To review the heat maps for Credit Cards and Loans, check out the deck on SlideShare, here.

That’s a wrap! UK Finance essential ‘go-dos’ for the New Year:

  1. Ensure that you are set up to capitalise on mobile searches from mid-December throughout January, particularly if your campaigns are Loans related. Participate in mobile if you have a mobile-ready website. Also via the new Tablet bid modifier within Bing Ads you can continue to tune your bids for optimum ROI (-20% to +300%). Make sure budgets are set to last throughout January and February.
  1. Try testing different ad copy strategies in December, and run with the best performing ads in January. Remember to test the recommended tokens for each finance category to help make your ads stand out.
  1. Finally maximise your presence. Consider Bing Ads ad formats such as Sitelink Extensions and Call Extensions, as they act as a great signpost to get potential customers to the products they care about quickly whilst making your ads larger and richer. Based on testing, Sitelink Extensions increases CTR by +16% on average, and they are now available on Mobile!

Thank you for reading, we hope you found these finance and Insurance Insights helpful! The above four tips are top-level tasters of what you may expect in the UK finance and Insurance marketplace this New Year. For more hints and tips you can review our complete findings by reading the deck hosted on SlideShare.



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