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Retail Bing Boost - July 2018

On 12th July we welcomed over 60 search experts to our July Bing Boost Retail training session, focused to help our clients ramp up for the upcoming festive period.
According to eMarketer, global retail sales reached an estimated $22.64 Trillion in 2017, of which Ecommerce accounted for 10.3% of the total1.  With this in mind, the goal of the session was to support our clients with their search advertising investment and utilise key Bing Ads products ready for planning to help them reap the benefits from retail at this busy time.  

Insights: Disruption in the Age of Retail

Kate Newton, Retail & CPG Analytics Lead, kicked off the day by framing how as humans we naturally step up to the challenge of adversity and disruption. Did we in the UK know what Black Friday was back in 2008 at the peak of the Global Economic Crisis?

No, yet in the face of challenge people naturally respond to the new reality and opportunities created, and the consumer landscape is disrupted. Since 2014 Black Friday has become the established #1 Retail day across UK and EMEA markets; it’s a key date for retailers seasonal buying cycles and is a cornerstone of consumers’ festive purchase plans.

  • Remain vigilant to evolving seasonality and new cultural norms driven by globalisation and cross-border. Singles Day, 11 November has been billed as the ‘highest shopping day that no one had ever heard of’. $25BN was spent in 2017 across China and SE Asian markets.

  • Get ahead and be prepared - be aware of trending Retail topics and products that are piquing consumers interests.  In 2017, on Bing we saw the largest year-on-year increases throughout the festive season on Clothing and Apparel. Product sub-categories we saw Rings (+47%), Swimwear (+42%), Casual Shoes (+22%), and Earrings (+17%)2.

Defining your Audience

Samia Kesseiri, UK Account Director shared some insight about the art and science of audience targeting.  Remarketing has helped us move from a keyword centric approach to a people centric approach. Samia went through 6 steps of how to make powerful remarketing campaigns:

  • Segmentation - Who you want to reach, how you want to reach them and with what message.  Segment your audience and how you want to apply them across your campaigns.
  • Optimisation -Test and learn using bid only settings before advancing to target and bid settings with bespoke remarketing ad copyAdd bid modifiers by location, device, time of the day, etc. Also apply negative audiences and negative keywords in order refine further how to reach your customers.
  • Expansion - Add more keywords, messages, additional new landing pages, check that you are taking consumers to the right landing page.
  • Audit - To make sure that everything works correctly, ensure you are auditing your settings and audience’s hierarchy.  Ideally this should be done on a monthly basis.
  • Automation – this is not necessarily applicable to all advertisers and agencies since it requires some form of technology to automate your processes and optimisation. However, think about how to use count down ads, Dynamic Search Ads to keep the keywords flowing or enhanced CPC.
  • Life Time Value - think about the entire life time value of your campaign and how to move different audiences further down the funnel distributing your value across the entire process.

Samia also shared our latest news around the Microsoft Audience Network. Using the Microsoft Graph (including LinkedIn data) and artificial intelligence, we can deliver an audience marketing solution through the Bing Ads platform. Placements are cross-device and include premium sites like MSN,, Microsoft Edge and other partners, with more to come.   Microsoft Audience Network is an extension of your search advertising campaigns.

Bing Shopping

Next up we heard from John Bodkin and Kaitlin Kuolt, Account Managers who went deep into Bing Shopping Ads. Our goal at Bing is to enable our partners to maximise coverage and drive optimal ROAS during peak retail periods by looking at four key pillars – feed optimisation, bid strategy, leveraging reporting functions and creating unique and personalised user experiences for prospecting customers through product ad delivery.  To that end, we are investing in our shopping strategy to help search experts get the most from their shopping campaigns and over the last 12 months we have made several significant improvements to make Bing Shopping better.

  • Launched shopping ads on Yahoo and AOL in the UK, two of our largest and most significant syndication partners, which has brought additional volume and more consistency to the Bing Network. 
  • Launched BSC on mobile to bring device diversity and extra reach to the product.
  • Shopping campaigns were introduced to the mainline, not just restricting them to sidebar ads. This puts the highly visual ads in the most prominent place on the SERP and improved click through rates.
  • We have improved our matching algorithms to ensure product ads are triggering on the correct queries and displaying relevant products to consumers; and
  • A multi ad shopping carousel for high value queries was also launched, increasing the number of ads shown on the mainline from 5 to 8 products and making them scrollable in a carousel format to give more opportunities for impressions and clicks and give consumers more choice for the products they were searching for.

Campaign Management and driving personalised experiences

Getting cut through is done through personalised experiences.  Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) should be considered when you have large websites with new inventory and gives you new ways to find and create opportunities.  Dynamic Search Ads are a great example of a practical application of machine learning. The DSA algorithm then analyses the client’s target against the content of website pages which results in matches to Bing Network search queries. You can then analyse the resulting performance data, add negative keywords, and target exclusions. All this input allows the DSA algorithm to adapt and find more relevant search queries. This won’t happen overnight, however investing time and energy into this will help you maximise your investment in the long term.
To top off the Bing Boost event, Kane Firek - Account Manager shared some advice on key reporting tools that the audience should be using: 

  • Share of Voice: to showcase your click share at keyword level 

  • Disapproved Ads - Ensure your ads aren’t breaking our editorial rules

  • Keyword Conflict - Watch out for negatives blocking your keywords 

Finally, he also shared some great tips any search manager must do to ensure they looked good in front of his or her manager.  Handy automated rules ensures your account is fully looked after and including campaigns capped by budget and impression checker – ensuring your ads don’t go offline and that it appears on the 1st page bid. 

At the end of the day, the Bing Ads team took to the stage to open a Q&A from the audience to ask all their burning questions to ensure they are all set up to smash it out of the park for the up and coming festive period.
For more Bing Boost trainings, please contact your Bing Ads account team.

1eMarketer: ‘WORLDWIDE RETAIL AND ECOMMERCE SALES - Updated Forecast and New. 

2Microsoft internal, year-over-year click growth by Apparel sub-category queries, United Kingdom, Bing & Yahoo websites, November 1st to December 31st 2017 vs 2016.