Skip to main content

Experience new growth possibilities with Microsoft Advertising today >

Turning data into dollars with the Microsoft Audience Network

  Article , Retail , Success stories

BuyerZone boosted revenue and cut click costs with Microsoft Advertising

Image of the BuyerZone logo showing the name BuyerZone spelled out in white capital letters. The “O’ of the word “BuyerZone” is shown half in white and half in blue.

Connecting buyers and sellers

Your digital copier is on the fritz. Your phone system predates the internet. Your warehouse forklift needs an upgrade. These are the types of situations BuyerZone, a service of, thrives on, helping businesses find the products they need to succeed.

BuyerZone provides a platform for connecting businesses that are interested in purchasing office wares with hand-selected sellers. “We're like the middle man,” says Alan Barish, senior online marketing analyst at BuyerZone. “We connect buyers with sellers at the time they're ready to do business.”

Although BuyerZone doesn’t openly cater to one business size, it does tend to focus on small and midsize businesses. Buyers visit BuyerZone’s website and select one of the listed product categories. Some of these product types only offer a few sellers, while the most popular ones, such as business phone systems and digital copiers, can have hundreds. It’s all about supply and demand.

Bing helps us reach a great business-to-business audience. A lot more business people search there.

Alan Barish, senior online marketing analyst, BuyerZone

Optimize, rinse, repeat

Barish’s day-to-day focus is optimization and testing. “We're primarily pushing for conversions that monetize to leads that we can then send to a seller,” says Barish. “We also analyze trends to see where we can push for more volume or pull back on certain keywords depending on their profitability.”

Like most people in his line of work, Barish feels that diversification is vital to paid search success. That’s why he relies on Microsoft Advertising as a key part of his search engine marketing (SEM) strategy.

“Bing helps us reach a great business-to-business audience,” says Barish. “A lot more business people search there.” Barish also likes the return on investment (ROI) of the Microsoft Search Network, spending less while making his actual spend more profitable.

Focus on target audiences

One of the things Barish loves most about paid search is the potential for instant gratification. “You get to see your results quickly, and you have a lot of control over what happens,” shares Barish. “You can do a lot of testing with different variations.”

To that end, Barish likes to try new features from Microsoft Advertising. BuyerZone became one of the earliest adopters of the Microsoft Audience Network, first testing it as a closed beta participant. “We always want to see where we can push more volume,” says Barish. “The Microsoft Audience Network was something we were definitely interested in.”

The Microsoft Audience Network is a marketing solution powered by the Microsoft Graph, which maps audience data to spot trends and uncover insights. It also uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to guide ad selection and relevancy matching.

Barish likes the idea of targeted advertising being based on In-market Audiences and profile segments. In-market Audiences are curated lists of users who have been found to be in-market for a certain purchase category. “We can really focus in on the right audience that we're looking for. Not everyone searching for one of our products owns a business,” he says. “We can now get someone when we know the market they're in and what they're looking for, and then pinpoint them at that point of the click.”

Broaden reach

The Microsoft Audience Network supports Microsoft Audience Ads. These ads, which are available as image-based or feed-based ads, reach hundreds of millions of unique monthly users in the United States. Barish uses image ads for the visual power they provide.

“They have a really good look and feel to them and stand out a bit more,” says Barish. “If customers see the image, they might stop and look at the ad for the second it takes for them to click. I think they look really good. The way they're performing seems to back that up.”

Using data already on hand, Barish quickly and smoothly launched Microsoft Audience Ads without snags. “We kind of picked up on it right away,” remembers Barish. “With search traffic, everyone thinks you need a two-week window to review the data, but this one kicked off with conversions right out of the gate.”

Barish targets audiences on the network with In-market audiences. Barish was interested in determining which In-market audiences segments worked best, so he tested them all for a short period to evaluate performance. Then he looked at the data to see which segments were driving leads for each category. Barish employed a little trial and error to figure out how to best use this information. “It helped us see which areas we really wanted to bid on and which ones we wanted to fade away from,” says Barish.

Our main goal and key performance indicator is to drive as many conversions as possible into leads and monetize them. From what I've seen, almost every single conversion we've gotten from the Microsoft Audience Network has converted into a lead, which is amazing.

Alan Barish, senior online marketing analyst, BuyerZone

An evolving network

With Microsoft Audience Ads, BuyerZone achieved:20% profit increase on top of traditional search; 75 to 80% decrease in CPCs; 1,700% increase in impressions.

BuyerZone decreased its CPCs and increased its profits.

The results to date with Microsoft Audience Network have been very impressive. For example, one of the early categories that BuyerZone chose to test was business phones. According to Barish, they tend to have a higher cost per click (CPC) than other categories because of the competition involved. With Microsoft Audience Network, the company saw a 75 to 80% decrease in CPCs. “We’re getting much cheaper clicks, and a lot more reach,” says Barish.

BuyerZone has seen a 1,700% increase in impressions with Microsoft Audience Network over traditional search. And the conversion numbers speak for themselves. “Our main goal and key performance indicator is to drive as many conversions as possible into leads and monetize them,” reveals Barish. “From what I've seen, almost every single conversion we've gotten from the Microsoft Audience Network has converted into a lead, which is amazing. So, there’s definitely a lot more qualified traffic coming through the network.”

As for revenue, Microsoft Audience Network brought in upwards of 20% profit on top of what the company’s search campaign is already earning. “That’s good for the business phones category, which is a little bit tougher,” says Barish. 

Barish really likes the ability to track revenue from Microsoft Audience Network. “We can actually track and analyze which traffic is monetized,” says Barish. “We can look at the segments where the traffic is coming from, and since it's such a high monetization rate, we can make adjustments from there.”

For those on the fence about trying out Microsoft Audience Network, Barish thinks it’s worth a try. “It’s a lot more In-market audiences segmented. It’s about targeting audiences. If you want to get a little bit of extra boost in revenue and quick volume in leads, you should go for it."

See a summary

View or save the infographic to see how In-market Audiences and the Microsoft Audience Network helped BuyerZone improve conversions while spending less per click.

  Download the infographic