How to Audit Your Bing Ads Account

Posted by on Oct 30, 2013 in Guides | 12 Comments
How to Audit Your Bing Ads Account





Let’s be honest. Your Bing Ads account doesn’t get as much love and attention as your Google AdWords account. And your Bing account likely started out as a carbon copy of your AdWords account, imported once and left relatively unchanged. I understand. But just because Bing has less search volume than Google and represents a smaller portion of your overall ad spend doesn’t mean it should be covered in dust. Bing is a great source of low cost search clicks and you want to make sure you’re making the most of your investment. In this guide, I’ll walk you through a comprehensive account audit to identify opportunities to improve your Bing Ads account.

Here are the main sections I’ll cover:

  1. Account Organization
  2. Keywords
  3. Negative Keywords
  4. Ads
  5. Landing Pages
  6. Extensions

As you go through the guide, feel free to check each section off. Now let’s get started!

Account Organization Audit

The following steps will help you make sure your overall Bing Ads account is in good shape.

Structure - Is there a clear structure to the account’s campaigns and ad groups? A well-structured campaign helps prevent problems like missing or overlapping keywords and helps you spot opportunities in your reports. It also makes it easier for colleagues to help manage your campaigns if your team grows. For help, read How To Structure & Setup PPC Campaigns.

Conversion Tracking - Is conversion tracking set up? Is it working? Are the right conversions being tracked? With conversion tracking, you can optimize every aspect of your campaigns to maximize profit and eliminate wasted spend by measuring the impact ads have on your bottom line. Make sure you’re tracking the most important actions a visitor could take (e.g., shopping cart checkouts).

Brand & Nonbrand Split - Are brand and nonbrand campaigns split out into separate campaigns? All keywords that contain your brand name should live in their own campaign because branded keywords perform differently than nonbrand keywords: CTR is higher, Quality Score is higher, search intent is different, ad copy is different, cost per conversion is different. Keep brand and nonbrand separate so you can optimize accordingly.

Ad Group Focus - Are there any ad groups with far more than 10 keywords? Having too many keywords in a single ad group makes it very difficult to create focused and relevant ads. Split out keywords into new ad groups based on the main word and theme and drop in a custom ad that someone searching those keywords would want to see. For help writing focused ads, read 5 Tips For Creating Effective PPC Ads.

Approval Issues - Are there any keywords or ads that are marked as disapproved? Approval issues keep your ads from running but can be fixed quickly. If you find any, make the required change and set a reminder for yourself to check back in a few days to make sure the issue has been resolved.

Disapproved keyword in Bing

Campaign Setting Audit

Now that we’ve made sure your Bing Ads account is in good shape, let’s take a look at each campaign to make sure they’re set up optimally.

bing ads settings tab

Ad Rotation - Are the ads set to “optimize for clicks?” While “rotate ads more evenly” is great for split testing multiple ads, it requires you to manually monitor the test for a winner. Failing to pause ads that underperform will mean the losing ads keep serving. A great alternative is to set the ads to “optimize for clicks.” Unlike Google, ad rotation settings are found and set at the ad group level. With this setting, Bing Ads will test your ads on its own and serve the winners more quickly than if you were to do it manually.

Bing ads ad rotation

Set your ads to optimize for clicks

Budget - Is the daily budget adequate? Is the campaign consistently depleting its budget? Review your spend and budget to make sure your best-performing campaigns have a high enough budget to handle the volume. If the budget is maxed out, consider lowering your bids in order to reduce your cost per click– you just might get more clicks for your money.

Budget Delivery - Is the campaign budget set to “accelerated” delivery? If it isn’t and you’d like to get more clicks from your campaign, you may want to test it. Standard delivery distributes your budget throughout the day and helps you avoid running out of budget early in the day. Accelerated delivery shows your ads as soon as reasonably possible which means your ads could stop serving if you don’t raise the budget enough to capture the increase in traffic.

Bing ads budget delivery

Set your budget delivery to accelerated to capture more clicks

Location & Language - Are location and language targeting settings appropriate? Make sure your campaign and ad groups are targeting only the locations your business serves. And if your budget is limited, consider only targeting your most profitable locations for now.

Keyword Audit

Next, let’s take care of the keywords and make sure there are no issues or missed optimization opportunities.

Search Queries - Review the search query report and look for new keyword opportunities that stand out. Knowing which search queries triggered your ads and how they performed makes it easy for you to optimize your search campaign and save money by adding new exact match keywords. For help accessing and taking action on your search query report, read How to Use The Search Query Report.

Bing Ads Opportunities Tab

Review the Bing Ads opportunities tab

Opportunities Tab - Review the Bing Ads Opportunities tab. There may be good keyword recommendations for the campaign that you can take add in order to reach new customers. Make sure you add new keywords in relevant ad groups so your ads can be relevant as well.

Broad Match Modifier - Does the campaign have Broad Match Modifier keywords? Should any new BMM keywords be added? These broad match keywords contain a + before one or more words that are required to show up for searches. This keywords don’t have the high risk of irrelevance that comes with standard broad match keywords. For help with BMM, read our guide to keyword match types.

Missing Bids - If the campaign is using manual bidding, are there any keywords that don’t have a Max CPC bid set? If the bid is blank, the default ad group bid will be used, which isn’t optimal. Instead, set a bid based on that keyword’s value to your business.

Duplicate Keywords - Are there any duplicate keywords? Two identical keywords with the same match type shouldn’t exist in your account. While they won’t drive up your CPCs, they will compete and make it difficult to both optimize and control which one serves.

Bids by Match Type - Are bids set properly for each match type? If a keyword is present with multiple match types, each keyword should have a tiered bid to ensure the most appropriate match type is served. Set your exact match highest, then phrase, then broad match modifier, and finally broad with the lowest.

Low Quality Score - Are there any keywords with low quality scores? If the Quality Score is under 4 and the keyword is served regularly, you’ll want to take steps to optimize it. Move the keyword into its own ad group and give it a more relevant ad and landing page. This can improve your quality score and get you more clicks and more sales.

Negative Keyword Audit

On the other side of keyword optimization is the negative keyword list. Let’s make sure each campaign has an adequate negative keyword list so we can prevent your ads from showing up for clearly irrelevant queries.

Missing Negatives - Are there any campaigns that don’t have negative keywords? Negative keywords keep you from wasting money on vague or irrelevant searches. Check out the starter lists in the following guide to help you get started: How to Find and Use Negative Keywords.

Search Query Report Negatives - Review the search query report for negative keyword opportunities that stand out. Adding negatives based on performance data in the SQR will boost your CTR and Quality Score, as well as make your spend more efficient. Look through the report for irrelevant queries that you want to avoid and add them as negatives.

Bing ads negative keyword conflict report

Review Bing’s Negative Keyword Conflict report

Negative Keyword Conflicts - Are there any negative keyword conflicts that are blocking keywords in your campaign? Are there any that could be blocking relevant searches? Review Bing’s negative keyword conflicts report and removing conflicting negatives, or change them to negative exact match to limit the scope of their impact. Learn how to use the negative keyword conflict report.

Ad Audit

Now it’s time to address the part of your campaign potential customers see. Your ads are what you’re paying to promote, after all, so let’s make sure they’re strong.

Typos - Are there any typos or spelling issues in the ads? Typos reflect poorly on your business and obscure the message of your ad so address any issues.

Calls to Action - Does each ad have a call to action? Tell your customers what the next step they should take is and you’ll see an increase in the number of them that actually follow through.  For help writing ads, read 5 Tips For Creating Effective PPC Ads.

Include a call to action

Add a call to action

Ad Quantity - Does the campaign have two active ads in each ad group? Keeping two ad variations in an ad group makes it easy to test them both to find a winner. It also protects you from sudden disapprovals that could pause an ad without you knowing. But Bing doesn’t handle having multiple ads gracefully like Google, so you want to limit the number of ads in each ad group to two, or at most three.

Custom Display URLs - Do any ads have custom display URL subdirectories (the part after “.com/”) for the ad group? The display URL is a great place to tailor your ad to show relevance to the ad group. For example, an ad group about “Red Widget Prices” could feature the Display URL “www.widgets.com/red-widget-prices”. It’s possible that that display URL outperforms the real URL so you should test it. Just make sure you have redirects set up for these made-up URLs in case someone copies and pastes the link.

Landing Page Audit

404 page example

Make sure landing pages work

Landing Page Errors - Are any ads pointing to error ”out of stock” pages? Landing page problems break your ads, frustrate potential customers and are a complete waste of money. Update the destination URLs of ads with broken landing pages and pause ads for products that are out of stock to make sure your money goes towards ads that can actually lead to conversions.

Landing Page Quality - Are you sending traffic to the right pages of your website? If a customer is searching for a specific product, don’t send them to your homepage and make them search– take them straight to that product so they can make a decision to buy. Review the ads of each ad group to make sure the most relevant page is being used in the Destination URL.

Landing Page Optimization - Are the landing pages optimized for conversions? You’re going through a great deal of effort to bring customers to your website; is there anything you can do to make the most of the visitors you already have? Consider removing distractions from the landing page, adding a clear call to action, testing headlines, etc. Tools like Unbounce can make this easy and the performance boost can make a huge difference.

Editorial Compliance - Does every landing page have the proper privacy policy & terms? Missing these could result in approval issues at best, and legal issues at worst. Make sure your landing pages have all the fine print your main pages have.

Extension Audit

Bing Ads Sitelinks

Configure sitelinks in your top campaigns

Sitelinks - Does the campaign have sitelink extensions configured? With sitelinks, you can include quick links to your top pages to segment your audience, list your benefits and win the click. There’s no extra cost to sitelinks and they will dramatically boost your CTR so make sure to add them, at least to your top campaigns. For help, read How to Use Sitelinks.

Other Extensions - Are all other appropriate extensions being used? Brick & mortar businesses should set up Location Extensions and businesses that handle inbound leads over the phone should set up Call Extensions. Extensions enhance your ads and can dramatically improve performance so test each extension that makes sense for your business.

Sam Mazaheri

Sam is the Director of Marketing at AdStage. Previously, he was part of the AdWords product team at Google, serving as the in-house AdWords expert and advisor to product management, engineering, and UX. Prior to that, he personally managed and grew in-house digital marketing programs with over $300,000 in monthly ad spend.


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