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Getting noticed this tax return season

The tax season will be here before we know it. For many of us, the time can bring up feelings of dread and frustration. However, for tax software and services digital marketers, it’s a time filled with opportunity, clicks and returns.
With the IRS receiving more than 130 million individual tax returns during the tax season, potential customers abound for tax software and service providers.1 A little planning and preparation will help digital marketers get out in front of searchers before your competitors.
To get noticed in the upcoming tax season, here are a few learnings from the Bing Network team. Leverage them to connect with a high-quality audience, enhance your campaigns, and achieve more with confidence.

1. Tap into 50% of tax paid clicks

To make the most of your tax season campaigns, get to know the Bing Ads audience. With the Bing Network, you’ll get access to half the tax paid clicks and a pool of educated affluent taxpayers.2,3

You’ll be able to connect with the 5.2 million people who used the Bing Network for some 12 million tax-related searches.That includes 4.7 million tax searchers not reached on Google. Also, compared to Google, the Bing Network audience is 18% more likely to have bought personal finance/tax software online in the last 6 months.5 This is an audience you won’t want to miss out on.
For more insights on our audience, visit the Audience Insights page.

2. Grow your business with our growing tax volume and clicks

On the Bing Network, tax season search volume grew 11% and click volume grew 10% from 2015 to 2016.6 In comparison, the IRS saw a 1.5% increase in filing volume over the same period.7 Take advantage of this growth by investing your digital marketing budget in the Bing Network.

Have your campaigns ready before the new year. You can use the first two weeks of January to optimize your campaigns before the individual filing period opens. This will help you get in front of the first peak that runs from mid-January through mid-February. Be prepared to revise and optimize your campaigns throughout the tax season and leading up to the second peak which runs the week before and the day of the filing deadline.

3. Get ahead of your competitors

To help you get more ROI from your search campaigns, check out our ten approaches for the upcoming tax season.
  1. Plan your campaigns for the whole filing period. Searches and filings peak at the beginning and end of the season.8,9 Your budget should last until the end of the season to capture the last-minute filers.
  2. Budget primarily for PC/tablet traffic. From searches for filing help to refund status, PC/tablet searches account for more than 90% of tax searches and clicks on the Bing Network.
  3. Focus your mobile campaigns on the first half of the filing period. Mobile has a strong peak in early February, but doesn’t experience a last-minute peak in April.
  4. Plan your budget for periods of high CPC. Make sure you have enough budget to cover your campaigns when CPC starts to rise in the second half of the filing season.
  5. Bid on brand terms – your own and your competitors. People are more likely to click when searching for brand queries than for non-brand queries. In fact, brand searches account for 47% of paid clicks related to Tax Services.
    1. Bid on the Mainline position whenever possible. Mainline ads grab 98% of Tax Products & Services clicks. Mainline ads (especially Mainline 1 ads) are more efficient at a marginally higher cost.10
  6. Go beyond the brand name. For the top 3 tax service providers, people often search for their websites, login pages, current (and free) editions, and tax calculators.
  7. Seize the opportunity—the IRS doesn’t advertise, but you do. IRS related terms drive non-brand search traffic. Bid on IRS related keywords to reach out to searchers looking for help.
  8. Optimize your keywords. Early-bird filers want to know their refund status, while later filers seek extensions. Update your keyword lists as necessary to stay on top of seasonal changes and new trends.
  9. Don’t forget about business tax customers. Individual tax returns are due in April, but business taxes and payments are due throughout the year. Invest in business tax campaigns which have high clicks all year long.
  10. Find the words that work. For great ads, the key is to test, revise, and test again. It’ll help you figure out what combinations of ad titles and descriptions resonate best with your potential customers.
Want to see these approaches in a quick checklist? Check out the tax season campaign checklist.

4. Achieve your marketing goals with confidence

To make the most of your tax season campaigns, take advantage of some of the tools, extensions and features to reach your target audience and grow your business.
  • Use Remarketing in Paid Search together with Universal Event Tracking (UET) to target your existing customers and searchers who have previously visited your website. With Remarketing in Paid Search, you can tailor your ads based on their actions and remind them about your offerings.
  • Get more conversions with the Enhanced CPC bid strategy. Drawing on the conversion tracking available with UET, Enhanced CPC enables Bing Ads to automatically adjust your bids in real time so that you bid up to 30% higher on users that are more likely to convert and bid up to 100% less on users less likely to convert.
  • Save time and improve the performance of your campaigns with Bing Ads Editor – available for Mac and Windows – an intuitive and simple desktop application that streamlines your search campaign management.
  • To highlight key information in your products or site, check out Sitelink and Enhanced Sitelink extensions. These additional links in your ads take people to specific pages on your website and can boost CTR by up to 13% over standard text ads.
  • To promote downloads of your tax-related app, enable App extensions to add an app download link to your ads. App Extensions help you meet two goals at once – boosting traffic and app installs – and work across devices including smartphone, tablet and PC.
Interested in learning more? We’ve got more search trends and tax filing insights in our tax season presentation below.

Tax season insights for digital marketers from Bing Ads

For more seasonal and vertical insights, check out the Bing Ads Insights Portal.
[2] comScore qSearch (custom), US, March 2016; industry categories based on comScore classifications.
[3] comScore Plan Metrix, US, January 2016, custom measure created using comScore indices and duplication.
[4] comScore qSearch (custom), US, March 2016; industry categories based on comScore classifications.
[5] comScore Plan Metrix, US, March 2016, custom measure created using comScore indices and duplication. March was used to reflect the month before tax filings are due.
[6] Microsoft internal data, Jan 1–Apr 22, 2015; Jan 1–Apr 22, 2016.
[7] Data analysis on IRS Weekly Filing Season Statistics, May 15, 2015 and May 13, 2016.
[8] Microsoft internal data, Jan 1–Apr 22, 2016.
[9] Data analysis on IRS Weekly Filing Season Statistics, 2016.
[10] Microsoft Internal data (O&O and Partner Network), Jan 2016 – March 2016, US only, All Devices. Vertical Categorization: based on internal Bing Ads account categorization.