Adrian Borelli


Tips from the Bing Ads Editorial Team: Spelling, Punctuation and Disallowed Characters | #ppc #sem #advertising

"The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter--it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.". – Mark Twain


Your product or service is amazing; you can’t wait to pull back the curtain for your prospective audience and watch as the clicks accumulate and the sales come in. You’ve spent untold hours tweaking your website to captivate your audience with creative and relevant content and memorable images. Since everything has been planned with meticulous care throughout your campaign, make sure that your ad title and ad copy are the lightning bolt, not the lightning bug. It is the initial contact point for users that will cause them to click on your ad or pass it by, so make a stellar first impression by using proper grammar.

One of the common stumbling blocks that advertisers face is the use of disallowed characters in the ad copy or title. The use of symbols and special characters is sometimes appropriate, but make sure that they aren’t being used simply to draw attention to your ad. The examples below highlight the use of special characters. Ad A shows improper use of exclamation points in the title and asterisks around the keyword ‘widgets’, and Ad B shows proper use of the percent and dollar signs, with one exclamation point at the end of a sentence:

Ad A

A broad selection of *widgets* for all tastes.
Save 10% on orders over $50!!!

Ad B
A broad selection of widgets for all tastes.
Save 10% on orders over $50!

Ad B is an example of a clear, concise ad that uses special characters to let users know about an offer on the site, providing a positive experience through the use of proper language and grammar rules. Avoid ads that show special characters in lieu of letters, use repetition of punctuation such as exclamation points, and generally have an insincere or illegitimate feel to them. An exception to this is the use of model or part numbers, which can be useful to users searching on specific products or services that you may offer. Use correct punctuation such as periods at the ends of sentences, no excessive exclamation points in the ad copy, and none in the ad title.

Nothing will turn off your targeted customers more than misspellings in your ad copy. With this being said, always double check your ads for spelling. If you are bidding on misspelled keywords, make sure that you are not using dynamic text insertions that param the misspelled keyword into the ad. This does not apply if the misspelled word is part of the branding of your business or offering. Keeping in mind the brief moment in which users view your ad, the idea is to present a professional, authoritative front through the use of correct spelling.

One more point to bring home is the use of capitalization. Be judicious in your use of capitalized words; product names that are normally capitalized are fine, but using multiple capitalized words or random capitalization throughout words is prohibited. Make sure the hard work you’ve put into your campaign reflects in your ads. In return, this will create a clear message that will generate the click-through you desire and hopefully result in a higher conversation rate.

As prospective clients search Bing and view your ads, take advantage of every opportunity to present your product, service, or organization in the most professional and engaging way possible. Make sure that your ads capture the lightning, not the lightning bug.

For an in-depth review of punctuation, capitalization, and disallowed special characters in ad copy, consult the Ad Content and Style Guidelines.

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