When it comes to marketing for small businesses, PPC is among the most leveraged and most profitable marketing channels out there. With smart PPC insights and some time spent on ongoing optimization, PPC can drive a ton of valuable leads and sales!
Unfortunately, that’s also the challenge. With so many new PPC features being released every week and a general lack of time among small business operators and marketers, advertisers often get tripped up and make all sorts of rookie mistakes. As a result, small businesses often fail to realize the full potential of paid search engine marketing.
I’ve been particularly keen on learning more about the recently announced Bing Ads Express offering for small businesses — a new product offering that lets advertisers put all aspects of their PPC campaign management on auto-pilot, which seems like a great solution for SMBs that are short on time and PPC management expertise. (Google offers a similar product called AdWords Express.)
Recently, I had a chance to chat with Ginny Sandhu, the Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft responsible for the new Bing Ads Express product, to learn more about who should use it, how it works, the future of PPC campaign management and more. Read on for the details!
Who is the target market for Bing Ads Express? What was the impetus for creating it?
Bing Ads Express is for all small businesses interested in promoting their business to local customers searching online across the Yahoo Bing Network.
Small businesses are like consumers and regularly search online for daily tasks. So businesses understand the importance of having an online presence and the need to actively promote their products and services. However, the lack of time and the complexity involved in running a search engine marketing campaign has proved a high barrier to cross for most.
With Bing Ads Express, we attempt to lower that bar to where a business — by investing a few minutes of their time, one time — is able to claim their business listing on Bing and also start promoting their products and services to millions in customers.
Are there particular verticals that you might view as a great fit for Bing Ads Express?
Businesses across a vast spectrum of services can leverage Bing Ads Express to their advantage, with the common theme being their desire to drive foot and call traffic to their business from local customers.
The typical verticals that come to mind are both those with a retail store (e.g., restaurants, auto repair shops, dentists) and also those that provide services across an area (e.g., plumbers, roofing contractors and home appraisers).
What types of automated optimization does Bing Ads Express do for an account?
The great thing about Bing Ads Express is that not only does it create the campaign complete with ad groups, ads, keywords and bids, it also manages the campaign on a daily basis so the business is receiving the right kind of customer engagement.
Managing bids at the keyword level, monitoring keywords for removal if they are under performing, leveraging insights from the Bing Ads platform to add the right kind of keywords when required, and ensuring the campaign spend is within the parameters outlined by the business are some of the optimizations that the Bing Ads Express algorithms do.
Can you share any performance benchmarks of Bing Ads Express vs. The typical small business advertiser?
With Bing Ads Express, we want to deliver results to our advertisers which are on par with what they can achieve using Bing Ads. There are two key parts: automation and performance. For performance, we benchmark the Bing Ads Express campaigns against the results that similar campaigns receive in Bing Ads for the same category. This ensures that advertisers are getting the comparable ROI on their advertising spend with minimal effort.
How does one get started using Bing Ads Express? Can you walk us through the steps?
Getting started with Bing Ads Express is really easy, and the one-time set-up can be completed in just a few minutes.
Step 1: Provide business details like name, address, category and URL. Additional rich data like store hours, images, video and payment methods are optional fields, which if provided can be displayed in the organic results on Bing.
Step 2: Once the business information is complete, users create a text ad outlining the product or service they would like to promote as part of their search engine marketing campaign. Once the ad is complete, just select the radius and budget, and hit save.
Step 3: Final step is inputting the payment information and any promotional coupons the user might have. That completes the set up, and within a matter of few hours, the campaign is live across Bing, Yahoo and their partner sites.
What about agencies managing multiple businesses, would they also use the same method?
For partners managing online presence for multiple businesses, we have a very simple yet scalable solution in place. Using just a spreadsheet, agencies can manage the online presence for thousands of businesses. So it doesn’t matter whether an agency is managing 10 businesses or 10,000, simply add the basic business info, category and monthly budget in the spreadsheet and upload it to the Bing Ads Express platform.
Using that information, we simultaneously both claim and verify each individual business’ Bing Places business listing and also create the search engine marketing campaign. Agency partners can now manage both the organic presence on Bing for their customers as well as their promotional budget across the Yahoo Bing Network with minimal effort and resources.
Is the future of Paid Search Marketing going to be more about intelligent automation like Bing Ads Express, or more sophisticated, manual advanced features?
We believe there is a huge demand for both solutions, and we see them coexisting. There is the segment of advertisers who have the time, expertise and/or resources to manage their search advertising very efficiently, and solutions like Bing Ads will keep evolving to provide them with more insights and tools to run their campaigns better and deliver the best possible ROI.
At the same time, we have this large segment of small businesses that lack the resources and expertise to run a search campaign themselves, and that’s why they still have not made the transition to online search advertising. These businesses are looking for “do it for me” solutions, and an automated option like Bing Ads Express is the right fit for them.