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The Science of Data Feed Optimization for Bing Ads Shopping Campaigns

Does the image URL name matter when you’re putting together your data feed? What are the most important elements in the feed? Does it matter if you use the optional attributes? We get it – you’ve got questions about how to optimize your data feed for Shopping Campaigns.
There are two areas to examine when you’re thinking about optimizing your data feed for Shopping Campaigns: one is best practices when entering data into the required and recommended fields. This means making sure you’re doing the things that will enable your ad to show up properly. The second area to consider is optimization – things you can do that will make your ad stand out and get more clicks. In this recent webcast, we dig into both areas to make sure you’re using Shopping Campaigns to the max.

Hosted by MJ DePalma - SEM Pro Channel Manager at Microsoft, the webcast was rounded out by Cady Condyles -  Product Marketing Manager,  Richard Park -  Program Manager and
Dan Croop - Senior Shopping & Feed Manager at Elite SEM.
Today we’re answering the questions we got during the webcast, but didn’t have time to answer. We’re also including our most frequently asked questions about data feeds for Shopping Campaigns. If you have new questions that aren’t answered here, ask in the comments below or take it social with #AskBingAds.
 
Watch the webcast here
Register here for the 8/16 webcast: Bing Ads Holiday Insights for your Campaign Planning
Register here for the 8/18 webcast: How to Launch a Bing Shopping Campaign for the Holidays
 
Q. Would you recommend using Shopping Campaigns for a subscription-based delivery service such as a grocery delivery business?
A. Absolutely. This is one of the ways Bing Shopping Campaigns are different from Google Shopping Campaigns. We allow subscription-based products and services.
 
Q. Are Shopping Campaigns good for B2B?
A. You bet. Think about how business decision-makers find what they need. Most likely they begin at a search engine. If you can get the visual representation for your product prominently displayed with Product Ads, you can gain an edge over your competition who is not taking advantage of Bing Shopping Campaigns.
 
Q. Can our Google Shopping Campaigns be imported into Bing with no changes?
A. Yes. Hallelujah. See how here.
 
Q. Are there character limits for titles and descriptions?
A.  Yes. Title limit is 150 characters; description limit is 10,000 characters.
 
Q. Is there a best time of day to run Product Ads if you don’t want them to run continuously, due to budget constraints?
A. You can try testing out day parting, but generally there is no bad time to run your product ads. This is win-win, friend.

Q. Would you please talk about the redirect field? What should the redirect link look like?
A. Bing Ads Redirect is the attribute in the field where you want to place your product link that has any tracking parameters.  The redirect attribute is used just in case your site redirects and cuts off any 3rd party tracking. 
 
Q. Is it a best practice to use all the character limits in the title and description?
A. No. The best practice with title and description is to make sure you are including all the relevant keywords for your product, regardless of maxing out the character limits.
 
Q. How does Bing weight the title, description and other elements when it crawls the data and determines relevance to the search query?
A. We cannot share all of the secret sauce, but we can say that all of the elements of the feed are used to a very great extent in matching relevance to queries. Otherwise we wouldn’t call them “Required Fields.” ;) It’s in the advertiser’s best interest to always keep the elements of the feed up to date and relevant to the actual product being advertised.
 
Q. Does Bing crawl the image name for keywords?
A. The image URL is not crawled for keyword matching in a query, but we do crawl it to pull the image for your ad.
 
Q. If a product has changed packaging, how do we let Bing know to re-crawl the image?
A. The re-crawl is automatic if you update your image in your Bing Shopping Campaign. There can be as much as a 48-hour lag time, so make sure your new image matches your landing page image to avoid any further delays.
 
Q. How important is the structure of image URL for relevance? For example, store.com/brooks-jacket-lg.jpg.
A. Smart question. But this is not important to relevance, since we don’t crawl the image URL for matching to keywords. We only crawl the image to pull it into your ad.
 
Q. For apparel, what if the model is wearing a product we’re selling, but also other clothing that we’re not. Would that image be banned?
A. The important thing about your images is that they be relevant. If you’re advertising a shirt, for example, your image should show the shirt on the model – not a full-length shot including feet. If the intent of the image is unclear, Bing will not allow it.
 
Q. Do Google and Bing share the same categories for Shopping Campaigns?
A. Yes. Bing Shopping Campaigns accept the same categories and IDs as Google Shopping Campaigns.
 
Q. Where can I find information about which products are getting impressions and clicks?
A. You can find this information in the Product Dimension report under the reporting tab or the dimension tab in the Bing ads campaign UI.
 
Q. With lag time for new offers, what happens with offers whose availability changes frequently? Could they run the risk of not being shown? Or being shown while out of stock?
A. Our lag time for a status change from being “in stock” to being “out of stock” is 6 hours, so there is lower risk of out-of-stock items being shown. But if an out of stock item is again added to the inventory, the lag time is 48-72 hours, so there could be a period when your in-stock items aren’t showing yet.
 
Q. Is there a time limit for “sale price effective” date? And is this a required field if you’re using the “sale price” attribute?
A. If you supply the effective date you must also supply the end date.  However, you can just use the “sale price” attribute without providing either the effective date or the end date.
 
Q. We are having a lot of difficulty getting volume. Some highly commercial searches are not triggering any ads from us or competitors. Anything we can do to trigger more?
A.  Utilize the product dimension report and add in the Share of Voice (SOV) features:

  • Impression Share lost to Budget (%)
  • Impression Share lost to Rank (%)
  • Benchmark Bid
  • Benchmark CTR (%)
  • Impression Share (%)
This will show you where you’re missing the mark. You can then create a plan to address each area that’s coming up short, and trigger more ads.
Q. What is the difference between the product type and the product category?
A. Product type is the advertisers own categories – basically whatever value you decide to add/utilize for your own categories.  Product category is the Bing’s set taxonomy, that you must use match your products to.
 
Q. Should size, color, etc. not be in the title, because they are variables?
A. We recommend adding that relevant information to the title and/or description since it will help with matching. If more product variance information is available (such as in the title and description) to Bing to match to, then Bing will absolutely use that data to get a tighter match to a search.
 
Q. Is it mandatory for the checkout page to be SSL (https) secured?
A. Yes!
 
Q. How can I test how my products ads are displaying?
A. You can do a search based on the title from the feed, which may trigger your product ad. But if your concern is whether or not your ads are appearing, rely on your KPIs – impressions and clicks to see if that’s the case.
 
Q. Is there a risk for being flagged if you optimize your title too much? Meaning that if a title on the landing page says only, “Men’s Jackets” but then the optimized title in the feed is “Adidas Men’s Down Jacket Blue Size L.”
A. There’s no risk of being flagged for uber-optimization. But we highly recommend the title on the landing page to reflect the title in the feed as part of that optimization game.
 
Q. Can I use a Google sheet as a feed source?
A. Yes, you can use that as the originating source of your data. But it will need to be converted to formats that are supported by Bing (.txt or .xml).
 
Q. Does the title in the feed need to match the title of the product on the product landing page?
A. Yes. Most of the title in the feed should match the title on the landing page.
 
Q. Do you have recommendations for how to a/b test feed optimizations?
A. We recommend testing images and titles.  To get accurate data from your testing, you would need to let the test run separately for 2-3 weeks so you have enough data to make a decision on which yielded the best results.
 
Q. Is a product with image name “blue_shows.jpg” more likely to be show than one with an image named “randomg_blah_blah.jpg?”
A. Image URL name does not play a role in relevance matching.
 
Q. How can you require a GTIN and/or UPC code when some manufacturers don’t have them?
A. If they do not have GTIN or UPC, it will be fine as long as you have the MPN and Brand.
 
Q. Feed relevance (title and description) vs. landing page relevance vs. max bid: How do these factors weigh on how the system will show my product vs. a competitor showing the same product?
A. Bid and title relevance are most important factors.  First make sure your titles are as relevant as possible – meaning all the keywords are present (pull up a search term report) and then test your bids using the Product Dimension report. 
 
FAQ’s on Shopping Campaigns
Q. What should I be testing within the feeds on a regular basis?
A. The only testing we encourage is on the title, description and image. But unless there is a clear business need, we don’t recommend too much testing because every time you change an element, a re-crawl is triggered. The crawl can take up to 48 hours – time that your ads aren’t showing.
If you choose to do some testing, consider the title: Switch around top search terms for your product and use those terms in the first 35 characters of your title.
To test the image, consider trying photos with and without a white background, with your product used in context, on/with a model or from different angles.
 
Q. What tactics could we deploy to drive more efficient CPCs?
A. Add the recommended attributes such as Category, Product Type and Custom Labels 0 – 4. These attributes allow you to create custom targets with specific bids, which means you can sharpen and narrow your target much more.
 
Q. What are the main differences between Google and Bing’s Shopping Campaign feeds?
A. Bing will accept Google’s feed at a 1:1 level. All of Google’s required fields and most of their recommended fields transfer directly to your Bing campaign. The only difference is that Google required the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) and we don’t yet. But we’re exploring new features where it may be required.
 
Q. How should I go about making bulk changes to the feed efficiently? If all the titles need to be updated, for example, do I need to change each on manually or is there a tip or trick that will help me be more efficient?
A. If you work with a feed provider tool (such as ProductsUp or GoDataFeed), making bulk changes is a cinch. If you don’t have access to a feed provider tool, we recommend using Excel and a combination of “find and replace” functions along with “if then” formulas.
 
Q. Do I have time to manage Shopping Campaigns on both platforms? I have to catch up on Game of Thrones.
A. Google Shopping Campaigns are easily imported into your Bing Ads account. Once set up, Bing Shopping Campaigns are simple and efficient to manage, as the structure and capabilities are consistent across ad platforms. Leaving plenty of time for Jon Snow.
 
Q. How do I track conversions for my product ads?
A. Conversions via product ad are tracked the same way you track conversions via text ads – with Bing Ads’ Universal Even Tracking tags, or your third-party tracking solution.
 
Q. What are the requirements for running Shopping Campaigns?
A. It’s not too complicated.
1. Be a retailer or e-commerce company
2. Claim your domain in Bing webmaster tools
3. Create a store in Bing Merchant Center
4. Upload your product feed to Bing Merchant Center
5. Create your Shopping Campaign in Bing Ads UI
 
Thank you to our attendees for submitting questions. We appreciate your engagement and your interest in sharpening your Shopping Campaign brain.
 
Watch the webcast here
Register here for the 8/16 webcast: Bing Ads Holiday Insights for your Campaign Planning
Register here for the 8/18 webcast: How to Launch a Bing Shopping Campaign for the Holidays
 

 [MD1]Product Marketing Manager
 [MD2]Program Manager
 [MD3]“, along with the most frequently asked questions.