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Your campaign is now up and running, and you are ready to make adjustments as necessary to improve its performance. This fine-tuning process is called campaign optimisation.

After reading this Study Guide, you will understand the basics of how to:

  • Optimise PPC campaigns with keyword research, use of negative keywords and segmentation into ad groups.
  • Use ad extensions and adhere to ad writing best practices.
  • Take advantage of audience targeting and dynamic search ads.
  • Utilise the Microsoft Audience Network for search.
  • Optimise for business success using Universal Event Tracking and conversion goals.

Keyword optimisation

Keywords are single words or phrases that are used to target user search queries on search engines like Bing. When a customer’s search query matches your keyword, this triggers your ads to be displayed. The most important tool at your disposal for building a quality keyword list is brainstorming. Who knows your business better than you? Start with what you know:

  • Your brand.
  • Your products.
  • Your services.
  • Review your competitors’ websites.
From here, shift your brainstorming to questions like these:
  • Why do consumers need your products and services?
  • Why would a consumer choose you over your competitors?
  • What types of questions might a consumer ask to find your products and services?

The end result of this brainstorming exercise should be a seed keyword list. These seed keywords will help you plug into actual tools to take your keyword research to the next level.

Learn more about keyword optimisation.

Ad optimisation

Writing effective ads is one of the fundamental tasks of creating your online ad presence. It’s critical to learn about the general ad structure and Microsoft Advertising policies so you can write advertising copy that will compel people to click.

Tips and techniques

First, always make sure your ads are relevant. One way to improve relevance is to use your customers' most popular search query keywords in your ad titles and text. A great strategy for effective advertising is to include a strong keyword in the first line of your ad or title.

Use compelling action words that encourage customers to click your ad right now. Offer a specific call to action in your description, such as encouraging customers to request a brochure or consultation, download a free e-book, subscribe to a newsletter or take advantage of a limited-time discount. You can test different ones out to see which work best.

Highlight your company's products and benefits rather than using excessive promotional language and superlatives. Describe a unique feature, product or service that you offer.

  • Create multiple ads in an ad group. Each ad group can contain as many as 100 ads, which Microsoft Advertising displays in an even rotation.
  • Describe what sets your product apart.
  • Use your customers' language. Research the age group and gender of your typical audience, and then use that insight to write your ads.
  • Address your customers directly. Use the words 'you' or 'your' in your ads so that you are speaking directly to them.
  • Pre-qualify your visitors. Use words in your ads that help attract true potential customers. For example, if you offer only high-end products, stay away from words like discount, bargain and cheap.
  • Be specific. The clearer and more specific your offering, the better. For example, rather than 'big discounts', specify an exact percentage, such as '50% off'.
  • Include a call to action. Give customers a reason to click your ad right now.
  • List the price of your product or service.
Ask yourself:
  • Is the content on the page relevant to the ad?
  • Have I set up Expanded Text Ads and Ad Extensions?
  • Will my customers understand the page right away?
  • Have I used a message that targets them directly?
  • Does the landing page prominently display the offer mentioned in the ad?
  • Is your brand clearly represented on the page?

Remember, always test your ads before running them. Learn more about ad optimisation.

Targeting optimisation

Targeting optimisation is all about targeting audiences based on their behaviours, demographics, device usage and shopping habits.

Each audience segment is at different places along the buying-decision journey resulting in different purchase intent and conversion value.

Demographic: age and gender

Some ages or genders have stronger affinities to certain product categories. With Microsoft Advertising, you can engage audiences across specific age brackets and one gender or another. You can tailor your ad copy for each audience and connect with each audience exclusively or incrementally. Bidding up or down allows you to connect with audiences more or less often. You can use demographics at the ad group or campaign level.

Behaviour

When people look for products and services online, they rarely convert on their first visit. Instead, people visit a site, then they check out competitors, they price compare and sometimes they just get distracted (in no particular order). About 96% of visitors leave websites without converting.

For a first-time visitor, an average website has a bounce rate of over 60% and a shopping basket abandonment rate of over 70%. That`s where remarketing comes in. With remarketing, advertisers are able to:

  • Appeal to all or a subset of visitors who did not convert and stay top of mind
  • Exclude, upsell or cross-sell to existing customers
  • Drive higher ROI (return on investment)

Remarketing lets you improve your return on investment by optimising your campaigns for specific audiences, which are the people who have visited your website before.  First, you create a remarketing list to define the audience based on actions people take on your website, and then you create an association between the remarketing list and an ad group.

Context and device

You can optimise your audience targeting using four audience variables: Location, Time, Date and Device type. You can use these individually or in combination.
Remember, a bid on a keyword can increase your ad’s exposure to potential customers who meet the specific audience target. A bid adjustment is a percentage of your keyword bid – an addition to your original keyword bid.

As your campaign progresses, you may find that your click-through rate and conversion rate are highest during certain times, for example, weeknights. This might be a perfect opportunity to use bid adjustments to improve your chances of displaying your ad from Monday to Friday from 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM.

As for determining if your ads are eligible to show to a particular search user, Microsoft Advertising first determines if your ad language allows your ad to show in a particular country, then considers the location target (and other target) settings you have configured. If the criteria are met and the ad language is available in the country, then the ad is eligible to display.

These are the steps you will take to determine where your ads show:

  • Set ad language.
  • Select location target settings
  • Select advanced location targeting options.

Learn more about how to configure targeting options related to context and device.

In-market Audiences and Custom Audiences

In-market Audiences are curated lists of customers who have shown purchase intent signals within a particular category, including searches and clicks on Bing and page views on Microsoft services.

Microsoft Advertising supplies the curated list of potential customers, unlike remarketing in paid search, where the advertiser creates the list. You can target and modify bids for these audiences by associating in-market audience lists to ad groups, similar to what you do with remarketing lists.

In-Market Audiences are simple to set up and do not require UET tags. You can set up your ad group to be exclusive to an audience with an in-market audience or available to everyone, but with a bid adjustment for your targeted audience.

A custom audience is a type of remarketing list generated by using your own first-party customer data to create richer user segments. You can use custom audiences in conjunction with your remarketing lists, usually through your data management provider (DMP).

You can use custom audiences separately from remarketing, with no Universal Event Tracking required. Custom audiences can be associated to ad groups as target and bid, bid only, or as an exclusion.

Custom Audiences will appear in the Audiences section of the Shared Library in Microsoft Advertising once your software integration is complete. (This might take 48 hours.)

Shopping Campaigns

Shopping Campaigns are a simple way for you to organise, manage, bid and report on Product Ads. Bing Shopping supports the use of Google data feeds for Catalogue feed files. This way merchants won’t have to redo the work already done for Google’s Product Listing Ads.

If you are already using Google Ads’ Shopping Campaigns, you can import these campaigns into Microsoft Advertising. This is an easy way to expand your online advertising reach.

Dynamic search ads

Dynamic search ads automatically target relevant search queries based on the content of your website and are created to respond to these search queries. Using them, there is no need to maintain keyword lists, manage bids, or update and customise ad titles. You can reduce your workload and adapt to new queries to drive additional conversions.

Dynamic search ads are most appropriate for two types of advertisers: 

  • Advertisers who have a large catalogue of web pages and a constantly changing mix of products, making it difficult to manage search ads for each product.
  • Advertisers who are not familiar with search advertising, but who want to quickly and easily try it out.

Microsoft Audience Network

Microsoft Audience Ads are part of the Microsoft Audience Network, informed by the Microsoft Graph and powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to guide audience segmentation, engagement prediction, personalised offer selection and ROI management.

The Microsoft Audience Network supports two responsive ad formats: image-based ads and feed-based ads. These responsive ad types automatically adjust to various sizes and shapes of native ad formats.

There are two convenient ways to run Microsoft Audience Ads that offer different levels of control: 

  • Search campaigns extended to native
  • Separate audience campaigns

Consistency in optimisation

You can use Microsoft Advertising Opportunities for ideas to improve and optimise your campaign. On the Opportunities page, you will see several suggestions for improving the performance of your campaign.

You can click any of the View Opportunities buttons to see suggestions that can include some from this list and more:

  • Add new keywords
  • Add broad match to your existing keywords
  • Add broad match modifier keywords
  • Increase your bids to move your ads to mainline
  • Increase your bids to move your ads to best position
  • Increase your bids to move your ads to first page
  • Increase your bids to show your ads more often than other advertisers' ads
  • Lower your bids to increase clicks
  • Increase your budget

Once you have adhered to suggestions for optimisation, you can use the search advertising reporting capabilities in Microsoft Advertising to measure campaign performance. With Microsoft Advertising reports, you can track statistics about your campaigns using selected metrics that matter to you. Running performance reports gained from tracking statistics will help you make informed choices about advertising budget and spend, ad and keyword performance.

The dimensions tab on the campaigns page gives you customised details about certain aspects (or dimensions) of your campaigns in easy-to-read tables and graphs. For example, you can see search terms or top mover data.

Each dimension on the tab has a corresponding report on the Reports page. If you are working with campaigns that have a very large amount of performance data, consider running the full reports. As always, it is particularly important to regularly check on account performance.

Summary

PPC campaign optimisation is an important piece of your overall advertising strategy. Microsoft Advertising provides you with different ways to boost performance, including tools to determine negative keywords, targeting the right audience and using dynamic text. Reporting tools help you review your performance, and other tools help you improve upon what you have learnt from reports.

In subsequent trainings, we will cover each topic in more detail.

Thanks for reading this Study Guide, Introduction to Campaign Optimisation. Continue studying or take the Microsoft Advertising Certified Professional exam to become certified.

Please note all features in this Study Guide may not be available in your market.