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Across the Internet, businesses are realizing the benefits of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Microsoft Advertising can help you reach a new group of high-quality customers and increase your return on advertising spend (ROAS). In addition, clients with Microsoft Advertising campaigns often have lower costs-per-click (CPC) and costs-per acquisition (CPA) than with comparable Google Ads campaigns.

This overview explains how Microsoft Advertising works to help you execute marketing strategies that get better results.

After reading this Study guide, you will understand what Microsoft Advertising is, and how to:

  • Reach new, high-quality customers in specific audience segments.
  • Import established campaigns to Microsoft Advertising.
  • Take advantage of specific targeting methods.
  • Improve campaign performance using relevant keywords.
  • Optimize keywords with keyword bids.

What is an ad?

An ad is an advertisement displayed to a potential customer. You'll often see ads referred to in the context of an ad group or a campaign. An ad group contains one or more ads and keywords, while a campaign contains one or more ad groups.

What is Microsoft Advertising?

Every day, millions of people type keywords into search engines, looking for products and services. With search advertising, you create ads and bid on keywords. One of the locations your ad may appear is the “Ads” section of search results pages. Whether customers want to purchase a product, request a service or sign up for information, your goal is to get customers to see your ad and go to your website, call your store, or download your app. You can accomplish this by having your ad appear at the top of the search results page, in the “Ads” sections.

Here's an example of a basic Microsoft Advertising ad:

An example of an Expanded Text Ad.

Here’s an example of an “Ads” section of the search results page:

Search results page


When customers view and click your ad, they are sent to your website. Either they make a purchase, request your service, sign up for more information or download your app. These customer actions are called “conversions.” Think of “conversions” as turning a potential customer into an actual customer. Think of making a “conversion” as a better ROI.

Screenshot of a travel website landing page.

Targeting Options

With Microsoft Advertising and the Microsoft Search Network, you can reach 167 million unique users. These users spend 26% more online than the average internet searcher. Leveraging the powerful targeting features of Microsoft Advertising, you can reach this engaged audience and connect with high-quality customers.

To get your ads in front of your ideal audience, you need to build campaigns that take advantage of these precise and flexible targeting features:

Keywords: You can bid on keywords and make them adjustable based on peak or low traffic volumes.

Location: You can show a store address in your search ad. You can also specify a radius within a city or U.S. ZIP code. This means you can show your ads only, or more often, to search users who live within a short distance to your local stores.

Language: You can set one or all applicable languages for your campaigns. The language you set in your campaign correlates to the language of the end-user’s web browser settings.

Scheduling: You can pinpoint the scheduling of your ads to 15-minute increments throughout the day. You can also adjust your campaign settings to serve your ads during days of the week or hours of the day that your local stores are open for business.

Device type: You can connect with customers on a mobile device, tablet device or PC device.

Time of Day and Day of the week: You can target by time and use the searcher’s local time zone.

Audience targeting: You can target for demographics (age and gender) to connect with customers who are part of a unique segment.

Shopping: You can target purchase intent with Shopping Campaigns for e-commerce. This unique ad experience displays a product image and price in the search results instead of a traditional text ad.

Google Import: Google Import makes copying campaigns from Google Ads easy, helping you reach more customers instantly. The import process is easy: simply sign in to Microsoft Advertising, click Import from Google Ads, and follow the steps to import your campaigns.

Exploring keywords and keyword bids

Keywords are the words or phrases searched on when looking for a product or service. When creating your PPC ad campaign, choose keywords relating to your business that match your customers' needs. For example, Paul is the owner of Contoso Bistro. Since he wants to increase his lunch take-out business, he uses “lunch take-out” as a keyword for his ad. When someone searches for “lunch take-out” his ad will show on the Microsoft Advertising search results page.

You can create your own keyword lists or use the Microsoft Advertising keyword research tools to identify effective keywords and keyword bids. Creating an effective keyword list is important. You may have a great targeting strategy, but without a great keyword list, customers may never see your ads. Microsoft Advertising tools help to get suggestions for more keywords you might not have thought of.

  • Identify the right keywords.
  • Choose optimal keyword bids.
  • Analyze performance & optimize.
  • Improve campaign performance.

Keyword planner


If your ultimate goal is to get a conversion and better overall ROI, you want to drive relevant traffic to your website. Identifying the right keywords is step one. Optimizing your keywords to make it attractive to search engines is step two. The steps to optimization include choosing the best amount to pay (keyword bid) for each keyword, then keeping track of how well each keyword performs by using Microsoft Advertising reporting tools to review, study and adjust your keywords and keyword bid accordingly. Running reports and refining your keywords and ads is how you will continually improve your paid search ad performance, increase your conversions and grow your business.

As you build that perfect list of keywords, keep in mind Microsoft Advertising policies and the ad and keyword review process. Following these policies will help your keywords and ads go live as soon as possible. Later, you will learn how to fix keywords with a Disapproved or Approved Limited status.

This overview has provided an introduction to the benefits of Microsoft Advertising, including:

  • Audience targeting, location/time, and demographics specific targeting.
  • Keyword research tools.
  • Optimizing your keywords

As you become an expert user of Microsoft Advertising, you will learn how to reach new, high-quality customers. This will help you increase your campaign’s performance and get more value from your advertising dollar.

For in-depth information about Microsoft Advertising, review the Help files, and continue reading the free trainings to become a Microsoft Advertising Certified Professional.

Thanks for reading this Study guide. 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.