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Keyword Normalization Updates are Now Complete Across All Bing Ads Tools

A couple of months ago, we relaxed the normalization constraints for keywords added through Bing Ads Bulk API and the Desktop Editor.  Today, we’d like to announce that we've rolled out the final phase of relaxing this constraint to our Web user interface (UI), soap API and within the AdWords Import function.

As explained in the first phase of this release announcement, Keyword Normalization is the process by which extraneous characters, such as punctuation marks and accents, are removed from keywords and customer queries. Keywords are normalized when you add them to an ad group to avoid duplicates of keywords that normalize into the same form. For example: “bike-repair”, “bike repair” and Café and Cafe. We normalized punctuation characters (!, -, ? etc.), accents and decorated letters (+, ‘, @, /, ^, #, $, % etc.).

Here is a brief background on how this worked before in Bing Ads and how it will work now.

Up until now:

1. We normalize and reject as duplicates certain variations of a keyword after one version of a keyword has already been entered into our system.

  • Example:  If “café” was already added as a keyword, we would reject “cafe” as duplicate and if “bike-repair” was already in our system, we would reject “bike repair” as a duplicate keyword. Note that the context is within an ad group.

2.  Whichever keyword was accepted will match against all versions of the search term that normalize to the same version. So, searches for “café” and “cafe” will show ads even though only one version of that keyword was accepted.

This led to some advertiser challenges as you needed to handle keywords being rejected and have to resort to workarounds to enter these keywords that you can enter in competing platforms.  If you were one of the advertisers effected, here’s what you may recall seeing in the Web UI as a result:

Beginning now:

1. Our Bing Ads Web user interface and soap API client will start accepting all versions of a keyword as listings, e.g. both "café", "cafe" and "bike-repair", "bike repair" will be accepted.

2.  Both listings will match normalized versions of the search term. So, "café" and "cafe" bidded keywords will match “café” or “cafe” depending on various auction factors and signals like probability of click, etc.

We are working on additional changes in the Bing Ads marketplace over the next year, which will evolve how traffic is delivered to these new variations. Please look out for additional announcements on the progress of this work.

You will no longer see the “Keyword text and match type combination already exists” error message when you add such keywords from the Web UI, nor when you import your AdWords campaigns into Bing Ads. 

TIP: Building Keyword Lists in Bing Ads

Here’s a screen shot of the sample set of keywords being accepted in the Web UI:

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them in the comments section below, or reach out to us on Twitter, the Forums, Facebook, or UserVoice.

As always, we’d love to hear from you. 

Viswa Rathinavelu

Senior Program Manager, Bing Ads Applications and Developer Platform

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Relaxing Constraints Around Keyword Normalization in Bing Ads Editor

Keyword normalization is the process by which extraneous characters, such as punctuation marks, are removed from both keywords added to Bing Ads campaigns and customer queries entered when searching with Bing. When it comes to setting up your Bing Ads campaigns, keywords are normalized when you add them to an ad group. If you add both "bike repair" and "bike-repair" as keywords, our editorial review process will return a duplicate keywords error because after the normalization process takes place -- they hyphen between the words would be removed -- these keywords are identical.

Keywords are also normalized for Bing searches to allow more user queries to match your keywords, thus potentially increasing ad coverage. Knowing which characters are removed can help you make your keywords more effective. For example, suppose you bid on the keyword "bike repair." If someone searches for "bike-repair", the hyphen is removed and because it matches your keyword, your ads may serve.

Based on advertiser feedback, we are taking a phased approach to relaxing constraints around normalization when adding keywords to your Bing Ads campaigns. There will be no change to how keyword normalization will work when matching keywords to user queries.

Here’s a brief background on what it looks like today and how it will work in the future...

Up until now:

1. We normalize and reject certain variations of a keyword after one version of a keyword has already been entered into our system, e.g. if “café” was already added as a keyword, we would reject “cafe” as duplicate and if “house-boat” was already in our system, we would reject “house boat” as a duplicate keyword. Note that the context here is within an ad group.

2. Whichever keyword was accepted will match against all versions of the search term that normalizes to the same version. So, searches for “café” and “cafe” will show ads for your keyword even though only one version of that keyword was accepted.

This led to some challenges for advertisers as you need to handle keywords being rejected and have to resort to workarounds to enter these keywords that you can enter in competing platforms.

Here’s the screen shot of the error message you would see in Bing Ads Editor up until this change.

Normalization_Error message screenshot

Beginning now:

1. Both Bing Ads Editor and the Bing Ads Bulk Upload API will start accepting all versions of a keyword as listings. I.e. both “café”, “cafe" and “bike repair”, “bike-repair” will be accepted.

2. Both listings will match normalized versions of the search term. So "café" and "cafe" bidded keyword will match queries for “café” or “cafe” depending on various auction factors and signals like probability of click etc.,

Here’s a screen shot of the sample set of keywords being accepted in Bing Ads editor, which uses our Bulk API.

Normalization_Sample keywords screenshot

Bing Ads web interface:

At this point, this new behavior is supported only in Bing Ads Editor client and Bulk APIs. You will not be able to add both keywords “bike repair” and “bike-repair” that normalize to same form through the Bing Ads web user interface (UI). This limitation is only for the addition of keywords to ad groups. You will, however, be able to modify the bid and match types of these keywords from the web UI once they are added through Bing Ads Editor.

We do have plans to relax normalization constraints in our Bing Ads Web UI in the very near future, so please stay tuned for more details.

Thanks!

Viswanathan

Program Manager, Bing Ads Platform

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