Matt Bisson

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Updates on how we match keywords

Update 7/2: We’re happy to announce that the normalization and close variant changes have ramped for our English markets (US, UK, CA, and AUS).  Please make sure to review the changes and recommendations below to ensure you are maximizing your volume.

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Update 5/21: In order to ensure a smooth transition, we’ll be ramping the normalization and close variant changes on small amounts of traffic over the next few weeks to better assess the impact. We also want to give you more time to add any stop words and special characters to your accounts to prepare for this change. 

As for the negative keywords section, based on feedback from you, we’ll revisit the functionality and work on a solution that more effectively avoids at the source.

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Understanding a searcher’s intent based on their search query is never a perfect science. Adding stop words, characters, symbols, etc... to a keyword or query can add ambiguity to the definition and the intent. Most of the time, the addition of these stop words, characters or symbols deliver the same intent.  For example, a user searching on the term “buy a car” vs. “buy car” have the same intent and interact with ads similarly.  However, in a few select instances these keywords may deliver different intent.  For example, a user searching on the term “the office” vs. “office” could be looking for different things (The TV show vs. Microsoft Office) and thus could engage with an ad differently based on their particular intent. Today in Bing Ads, we treat these terms as one through a process called normalization – the process by which extraneous characters, such as punctuation marks, special characters and stop words are removed from keywords in Bing Ads campaigns and then dynamically handled when ads are served against user queries in the auction.

While normalizing keywords provides you a better way to scale your keyword lists, we have received feedback that for some highly specific keywords this approach limits precision and control. That’s why starting May 21st we are making improvements in our matching technology.

Normalization Improvements for Better Control

You may recall our blog post last spring announcing relaxed constraints for uploading keywords containing stop words and characters. This relaxed constraint was in preparation for upcoming changes in our normalization process.  Starting in late May, we will begin incorporating this enhanced normalization logic into our auction process.  A description of the changes can be found in the table below along with examples of how raw user queries are normalized today on Bing Ads, and what the query will look like after the normalization change. 

bing ads normalization

As we transition to this new normalization process, we encourage you to review your keyword list and add any relevant characters or words into your account to ensure you maximize traffic from your ads. Moving forward to show on queries containing stop words you will need to bid on them directly in Bing Ads. A great way to learn what words to add is to opt into broad match and review search query term reports to understand what users are searching for.

Close Variants Changes

In addition to the normalization changes, we will be removing the opt-out functionality for close variants starting May 21st.  Advertisers today are already automatically opted into close variants, so most of you will see little to no impact.

Close variants help drive highly qualified and relevant click volume to your campaigns by maximizing your presence on queries that are the most relevant to your products and services.  Since testing close variants last August, on average we’ve seen ~2-3% growth in click volume while retaining existing ROI for advertisers.  With close variants, advertisers can scale their keywords without spending time building keyword lists of plurals, misspellings and other close variants that have similar intent.

For those who are concerned about matching to some of these variants, you can leverage negative keywords to help control your traffic and costs. The search query term report is great way to see what queries your keywords are matching to, how they perform and what negative keywords you may want to consider adding to your account.  Additionally, Bing Ads prefers to match queries to keywords that are identical so you can still add your own close variants, and adjust the bids based on performance, which becomes even more valuable with the enhanced normalization logic.

How to prepare for these upcoming changes

To prepare your campaigns for the upcoming changes, we encourage you to review your keyword lists and search query reports and add new keywords that will no longer be normalized.  To maximize your click volume, consider opting into broad match if you haven’t already. Additionally, you can leverage search query reports to consider any negative keywords you may want to add.

We often hear our customers asking for more efficiency and more volume from us and we believe these changes will help you better manage campaigns and achieve better performance.

UPDATE: With the 5/21 release date, we will be launching these changes to all major English speaking markets across all devices (US, AUS, UK, and CA_EN), while we take the next 12 months to ramp globally.

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Close Variants are Coming to Bing Ads Phrase Match (US Only)

Back in September, we announced the release of Close Variants in Exact Match and Close Variants in Broad Match Modifier, which resulted in the inclusion of minor grammatical variations, such as plurals, abbreviations, acronyms, spacing and misspellings on your exact matches.  Starting this week, Bing Ads will roll-out the inclusion of close variants in phrase match for the US market.  

Given the success this technology has had on driving quality click volume to our customers for their exact and Broad Match Modifier matches, we’ve been testing this feature on phrase match as well.  We found that adding close variants to phrase match improves click volume for our customers -upwards of 5% overall - by better matching the searcher intent with advertisers.

The close variants feature is designed to help optimize for you and simplify your keyword matching, ensuring that your ad shows when the query varies only slightly from the keywords you have already selected.

This will be limited to the US market for now.  Below is a snapshot of examples:

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

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Bing Ads is Launching Close Variants in Exact Match (US Only)

Starting this week, Bing Ads will roll-out the inclusion of close variants in exact match in the US market. Exact match will now permanently include minor grammatical variations, such as plurals, abbreviations, acronyms, spacing and misspellings.

Based on our prior testing, we found that exact match close variants helped to drive more highly qualified click volume to your campaigns, improving your presence on the queries that were the most relevant to your products and services. In aggregate, tests resulted in a 2-3% increase in exact match clicks without impacting your ROI[1].

Exact match close variants has been designed to match your ad to queries that represent exactly the same intent to those you are already using. The close variants feature does the work to optimize for you, ensuring that your ad shows when the query varies only slightly from the keywords you have already selected.

In the United States only, this change covers the below close variant types:

We will continue to provide the tools to control your participation across the Bing Ads UI, in Bing Ads Editor and the API. To indicate your preference for this feature, go to "Advanced Settings", and then choose your preference in the "Keyword Matching Options" section.

Thank you for your continued support.

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

[1] Internal Microsoft data, August – September 2014

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New in Bing Ads: Dynamic Sitelinks Can Help Improve Relevance and Click-Through Rates for SMB Advertisers

When customers are actively searching for products or services that interest them, the more relevant and specific the information they find is, the more likely they are to go from inquiry to conversion. With that in mind, the Bing Ads teams have been hard at work developing Dynamic Sitelinks, a new feature designed to help small-to-medium businesses by enhancing your ads’ relevance via surfacing useful and related sitelink information.

Like Ad Extensions, Dynamic Sitelinks is another way to help your potential customers evaluate what your web site has to offer prior to clicking through, which saves them time and provides you more relevant customer opportunities. However, Dynamic Sitelinks is an ‘annotation’, which means that Bing Ads dynamically creates the content for you from content already on your page.

Introducing Dynamic Sitelinks

Dynamic Sitelinks are clickable text additions to your ad that help enrich and enhance the information you’ve already supplied through your headline and ad copy. While you would pay for a click on your ad’s headline, as this is dynamically created for you any clicks that occur on the Dynamic Sitelinks appearing within your ad are at no cost to you whatsoever (for more information, review the FAQ below).

 

 

How Dynamic Sitelinks Work

If your display URL domain has deep links information available, then you may be a candidate for Dynamic Sitelinks.

Content that’s highly relevant to a user’s search query is pulled from your ads’ landing pages through the Bing algorithm as a means of providing your potential customers with a sneak peek at some of the more specific information that they’ll find, should they click through to your site. This supplementary information can help attract more clicks and increase user confidence in the relevancy of your ads at no cost to you, the advertiser.

Based on internal data collection in the US, Bing advertisers whose ads feature Dynamic Sitelinks can not only increase the size of their mainline ads, but could also see an increase in click through rates of up to 14%[1], all with no extra work on your part to set anything up.

Dynamic Sitelinks will start to roll out to US advertisers this week, completing sometime before the holidays. In the meantime, be sure to check out Location Extensions and Call Extensions to add more relevance and specificity to your ads, if you don’t already have them enabled in your campaigns.

NOTE: Dynamic Sitelinks will not appear in your ad if you have enabled Sitelink Extensions – a superior version of Dynamic Sitelinks that allows for greater control in that you can customize which links appear in your ad (more on this below). Advertisers who have enabled Sitelink Extensions often better rates of performance when compared to Dynamic Sitelinks.

No doubt, you’ll have some questions about Dynamic Sitelinks. To that end, we’ve assembled this FAQ to help answer some of them, but feel free to leave a comment below if there’s anything you’re wondering that we haven’t addressed here:

Frequently Asked Questions about Dynamic Sitelinks

Q: How are Dynamic Sitelinks created?
A:
The Bing algorithm matches your Display URL domain, e.g. “Microsoft.com,” with available deep links information. Sitelinks are pulled from Bing’s knowledge base automatically, requiring no additional effort. This feature automatically appears at the time the ad is delivered. 

Q: Is there anything advertisers can do to adjust the Dynamic Sitelinks text?
A:
As this is a dynamic feature, there is no way to adjust text within the annotation itself.

However, if you’d like to further tailor the message, you may choose to create Sitelinks via the Ad Extension tab in the UI (Sitelink Extensions are also available in the API and Bing Ads Editor). Use of this extension will allow you to customize:

Messages – You can include multiple specific calls to action like, “Sign up for daily deals” (which is not available in the annotation)

Data – You can direct potential customers to specific web pages you wish to promote

Targeting – The Site Link extension allows geo-targeting based on you goals

You may also opt out of Dynamic Sitelinks at any time by contacting Support, or if you have one, your Account Manager.

Q: How will this affect any A/B testing an advertiser is running with ad creative?
A:
 Dynamic Sitelinks will not impact ad rotation, and should allow you to continue to test creative. However, at this time, campaign analytics reporting will not account for any ads impacted by this annotation.

If you have any concerns regarding A/B testing, it is recommended that you either create your own Sitelink Extensions and track performance in the UI or API, or opt out of Dynamic Sitelinks.

Q: Is there the potential for marketing messages to be mixed with Dynamic Sitelinks content?
A:
 The Dynamic Sitelinks algorithm will continue to be fine-tuned, however, you can choose and edit your ad’s site links by creating Sitelink Extensions.

Comments? Questions? 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. 


[1] Internal Microsoft data, August 2014

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Bing Ads Now Includes Close Variants in Broad Match Modifier (US Only)

Broad match modifier is a feature which helps you narrow down your broad match, to ensure that you can better control the intent of the users seeing your ads, but still benefit from the additional volume that broad match offers. However, to date, you may have been missing out on keywords with the very intent you are looking for, which are misspelled, abbreviated or written using different grammar.

To ensure that you maximize impressions that are relevant to your modifiers, Bing Ads is launching close variants for broad match modifier. This means that your ad will now also show when the user types queries which contain minor grammatical variations of your modifiers, including plurals, abbreviations, acronyms, spacing, misspellings, accents, punctuation, and equivalent expressions.

The following examples show what’s changing:

We are confident that this feature will help to drive more highly qualified click volume to your campaigns. In testing, we have seen some promising results, with click-through rates increasing on average 3%* for ads using broad match modifier with close variants applied, at no impact to average cost-per-click.   

We are rolling out the feature initially in the US market, ramping in early September. Close variants for exact match for international Bing Ads markets is in testing stage, and we will notify customers who advertise in these markets as it becomes ready for launch.  

At Bing Ads, we are passionate about listening to your feedback. Please share your thoughts on our User Voice forum here.

Comments? Questions? Feel free to leave them below, or ping us on Twitter.

*Internal Microsoft data, US, July 2014

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Bing Ads is Testing Close Variant Matching (US Only)

Starting this week, Bing Ads will start testing the inclusion of close variants in exact match in the US market for a portion of queries. During this test, exact match will include minor grammatical variations, such as plurals, abbreviations, acronyms, spacing and misspellings.

Exact match close variants will help drive more highly qualified click volume to your campaigns, maximizing your presence on the queries that are the most relevant to your products and services. Ultimately, this feature will be designed to match your ad to queries that represent exactly the same intent to those you are already using. The close variants feature does the work to optimize for you, ensuring that your ad shows when the query varies only slightly from the keywords you have already selected.

In the United States only, we expect this test to cover the below close variant types:

The Bing Ads close variants test will be subject to extremely high relevancy thresholds, and close variants are mined from a number of highly qualified sources.

NOTE: We understand and respect that some advertisers would like to maintain precise control over their keyword choice during this test, and that’s why we have provided the tools to control your participation in Bing Ads, in Bing Ads Editor and the API. To indicate your preference for this feature, go to "Advanced Settings", and then choose your preference in the "Keyword Matching Options" section.

Thank you for your continued support.

Comments? Questions? Feel free to leave them below, or ping us on Twitter.

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