Still neglecting the Microsoft Advertising platform and Bing? Here’s why you may want to rethink that.

Here you’ll find:

  • Unique benefits of display ads on Bing
  • Benefits of Microsoft Advertising campaigns  
  • Display ad campaign creation steps 
  • Best practices for helping your ads succeed on this platform

It may not be as heated a debate as Android vs. iPhone, but plenty of people are shocked to discover that Bing users exist — more than 1 billion, in fact.

Even so, most businesses don’t take Microsoft Advertising (formally Bing Ads) seriously because Google dominates the market. 

However, leveraging Microsoft Ads and Bing could be far more beneficial than many realize.

Despite some sources reporting their market share as low as 7.6% in January of 2022, once you add up their network’s combined reach, it becomes clear that Microsoft Advertising is woefully underrated. 

Microsoft extends its reach through its wide range of products. They also work with a massive network of prominent partners, including Amazon, Skype, Verizon, and more. 

bing display ads

Display ads familiarize people with your brand. (Image: Unsplash)

Microsoft Advertising facts & statistics

Without fully understanding what Microsoft Advertising is and how it works, people are quick to dismiss it. If only they knew that:

The value of Bing display ad campaigns

One thing Microsoft Advertising and display ads have in common is that their campaigns can be surprisingly successful. 

Since display ads have a lower conversion rate, people often assume they don’t carry much weight. But immediate conversion isn’t the only metric of success.  

Display ads vs. search ads

Whether on Google or Bing, ads on the search network generally convert better because they’re shown to people actively shopping or seeking information. 

Conversely, display ads are often shown to more passive consumers. But that doesn’t mean they’re less useful — they just serve a different purpose.

Use search ads when:

  • Your goal is immediate conversion
  • Your business is location-specific (storefront)
  • You provide emergency services (plumber, dentist, handyman)

Use display ads when:

  • Your goal is brand awareness or lead generation
  • The product or service isn’t geographically constrained (digital products, e-commerce, services that are accessible worldwide)
  • Your offer has an extended sales cycle (automotive, software)

Pro tip: Display ads familiarize people with your brand. This can help increase search ad conversion and lead to more organic traffic later.  

How to create display ads for Microsoft Advertising

Once you sign up for a Microsoft Advertising account, creating ads is pretty straightforward. There are two ways to get started: you can import ads from Google or create campaigns from scratch.

How to import from Google Ads to Microsoft Advertising

Steps to import one Google Ads account:

  1. To import a single Google Ads account, click on “Import” in the top menu, then “Import from Google Ads.”
  2. Sign in to Google Ads and follow prompts to give Microsoft Advertising permission to import your campaigns.
  3. Select the account you want to import under “Choose accounts,” then click “Next.”
  4. To import without changes, click “Start import.” Your imported Google Ads will be set to the closest Microsoft equivalent settings. 
  5. If you want to specify certain items to be imported or customize bids, budgets, etc., select the “Advanced import” option, choose your import specifications, and/or make the required changes.

Steps to import multiple (up to 10) Google Ads accounts:

  1. To import more than one Google Ads account, go to your manager account from the global menu and click on “Import” in the top menu, then “Import from Google Ads.”
  2. Choose your preferred Microsoft Advertising account to receive the imports and sign in to Google Ads. Follow prompts to give Microsoft Advertising permission to import your campaigns.
  3. Use the “Google Ads account name” and “Microsoft Advertising account name” options to select the accounts your imports will move between, and click “Continue” to see the options.
  4. Advanced import” is also where you set up future imports to run on a schedule. Alternatively, set up automatic imports by selecting “Auto” to have Microsoft Advertising optimize your upload schedule. That way you don’t have to repeat the manual import process every time you create new ads and campaigns or make changes. You can go to the page labeled “Import schedule & history” found on the “Import” page to manually run an import or change the schedule at any time.

Pro Tip: Always check to ensure there are no problems with your campaigns and everything is imported properly, as some settings don’t have a direct match. Microsoft Advertising recommends checking your bids, budgets, targeting options, negative keywords, and Quality Score.

group of coworkers collaborating

Microsoft Advertising has announced a ton of new features, improvements, expansions, and updates for the Audience Network in just the last year alone. (Image: Rawpixel)

How to create a Microsoft Advertising display campaign

  1. Go to the left-hand collapsible menu and click “All campaigns,” then “Campaigns” and “Create campaign,” where you’ll set the campaign goal.
  2. Select Audience Ads (Microsoft’s Audience Network is their Google Display Network equivalent). This includes display ads for Bing, AOL, Yahoo!, Xbox, MSN, and more. The campaign creation wizard will walk you through the steps.
  3. The wizard will take you through the campaign settings like detailing your maximum daily budget, creating an ad group, audience settings, and other details. (Ads will be responsive, so the preview won’t be what the audience always sees exactly, but it should be more or less the same.)
  4. When you’re done adding all the necessary details, create another ad or click “Save & go to the next step” to finish. Once you save, (barring any errors) your ad will appear on the Microsoft Audience Network.

Microsoft Advertising best practices

  • Familiarize yourself with the latest text and ad style guidelines to avoid problems and get the best results.
  • When picking an audience, pay attention to the estimated reach displayed so you don’t make your audience too small. Try to stay above 10,000.
  • Microsoft’s AI will be observing and adapting to the data generated by your campaign to optimize it, but this takes time. That’s why it’s wise to let your campaign run for at least a week or two before making any changes.
  • Ensure you’re tracking properly, analyze often, and adjust your campaigns as needed. 

Helpful recent updates

Microsoft Advertising has announced a ton of new features, improvements, expansions, and updates for the Audience Network in just the last year alone. 

Here are some of the top highlights.

  • Integral Ad Science: Thanks to a partnership with Integral Ad Science, your brand is safer than ever from landing on a page that could negatively affect your brand’s perception.
  • Dynamic remarketing: Using data about what products customers have interacted with, dynamic retargeting ads will be more effective.
  • In-market audience data improvement: They’ve refined the data available on in-market audiences you’ve targeted to provide specific insights.
  • Automated bidding: Automated bidding is finally coming to the Audience Network. Previously available exclusively to search ads, the feature finally expanded.
  • Automatic opt-in for campaign recommendations: Recommendations to improve ad campaigns will be automatically applied. While this won’t increase your budget, it will make changes. Search Engine Land covered ways to monitor the changes and opt out if you want.
  • View-through conversions: Get more accurate conversion data with the ability to track users who account for an ad impression and convert sometime down the line.
  • Market Expansions: The audience network now stretches across 25 countries with more on the way.
  • Similar Audiences: The U.S. now has access to similar audiences to target likely customers based on their similarities to existing ones.

The takeaway

The name change from Bing Ads to Microsoft Advertising represented the brand’s shift from search ads to so much more. 

Between the often-lower cost per click and the purchasing power of this demographic, the Bing display ads audience is an opportunity that’s at least worth exploring for nearly all businesses. 

This article has been updated and was originally published in March 2021.

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