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Taking Advantage of Enhanced Device Targeting Features in Bing Ads

Shortly after Google moved to Enhanced Campaigns, Bing Ads released several new features aimed at helping advertisers optimize performance by device, including its own version of device bid modifiers. While advertisers may sometimes overlook Bing, choosing instead to focus optimization efforts on volume-heavy Google, RKG clients have seen great results by implementing Bing’s new device-specific features. The Yahoo Bing Network is Gaining Traffic Share In terms of volume, Google continues to dwarf the Yahoo Bing Network (YBN). However, ad spend on Bing Ads grew by an average of 47% throughout 2013, while ROI was consistent and CPCs were flat year-over-year. Non-brand click traffic grew by an average of 46% for the year, fueled largely by a change in Bing's matching algorithm. Recent ComScore data shows that the Bing network also gained search traffic share at a steady rate throughout 2013, culminating in over 18% share at the end of the year. Combined with Yahoo sites, the YBN comprises almost 30% of the total search market. Google’s Enhanced Campaigns Introduced a New Approach to Device Segmentation With the advent of Enhanced Campaigns midway through 2013, Google changed the way advertisers approach device segmentation. Advertisers no longer have to split campaigns out by device; instead, they have the opportunity to assign a mobile bid modifier down to the ad group level. However, Google’s new campaign structure also combined desktops and tablets into one device type, thereby preventing advertisers from adjusting bids between these segments. Enhanced_Campaigns While smartphone performance has improved as a result of Enhanced Campaigns, advertisers could better optimize their accounts if they had the ability to set separate bids for tablets.  Bing noticed advertisers' disappointment and quickly worked to release its own notion of device bid modifiers, with one important enhancement – Bing currently allows separate device bid modifiers to be set for both smartphones and tablets. Bing’s Device Segmentation Capabilities Have Yielded Strong Results With this in mind, RKG tested Bing’s new device features and set separate bid modifiers for desktops, tablets, and smartphones. To set the initial modifiers for each campaign, we compared the sales per click for each device to the overall sales per click for that campaign, and set each device bid modifier to be the percentage difference between the two. The results have proved quite promising. For one RKG client, for the three months before adding the device bid modifiers, non-brand YoY growth was 78%. In the three months since adding the modifiers, YoY growth has increased to 167%.  More specifically, click through rate and sales between the two weeks before implementation and the two weeks after increased 44% and 162%, respectively.  For this particular client, data suggested that tablets had a 70% higher SPC than computers, and the ability to bid higher on this device segment resulted in increased overall account sales at an improved ROI.

Performance Results

Bing Offers Additional Device Controls In addition to device bid modifiers, Bing now provides the ability to use device-specific ad copy, allowing us to tailor copy messaging to users depending on their device. More targeted ad copy results in a higher CTR, as seen by RKG clients utilizing this feature. Bing also supports the use of {ifmobile} parameters in URLs, which allow advertisers to set a different destination URL for mobile devices. If you do not have a responsive mobile site, or if certain category pages are not built out on your mobile site, this feature will give you the ability to control a visitor’s user experience while maintaining one campaign for all devices. Implementing Bing’s Device Features Is Straightforward Bing makes implementation of these features fairly easy. Advertisers can append a dynamic {device} parameter to URLs, through which Bing passes the specific user device group. Using this data, advertisers can calculate the value associated with each device group and adjust modifiers accordingly. Bing allows settings to be adjusted at the adgroup-level, so if advertisers see device performance vary by category or other segment, different modifiers can be set. Advertisers should also update their bid modifiers regularly, as performance can change over time. Within a given ad group or campaign, the option to adjust device modifiers lives in the user interface under Settings -> Advanced Targeting Options -> Device.  Not only can advertisers increase or decrease bids per device by certain percentages, but they can also apply these changes to specific operating systems.  

ui screenshot

These options are also available in AdWords Editor under Data -> Device.  

AdWords Editor

Conclusion Given the potential for high returns along with the relative ease in setup, setting device bid modifiers should be a priority for anyone looking to further develop and enrich their Bing Ads program. And although a portion of Bing Ads mobile traffic will move to Yahoo Gemini, Yahoo plans to provide the same mobile features that we currently see on Bing. Recent data published in RKG’s Q1 DMR shows that over one-third of all paid search click traffic is now coming from smartphones and tablets, which highlights the growing importance of optimizing programs by device. Bing’s recent growth trends should give advertisers cause to invest more time in their Bing programs, especially if Bing continues to go a step beyond Google in terms of providing “enhanced” device targeting features.
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