What’s Up With Bing Ads in 2013?

One of the most-viewed posts on this blog is one I wrote in September 2012 called What’s Up With Bing Ads? In that post, I commented on their constant rebranding, interface and editor issues, and support challenges. That post is consistently in the top 10 most-viewed posts on my blog.

Let’s fast forward 13 months and see what’s changed. I just got back from Bing Ads Next, an exclusive event held at Microsoft’s Redmond, WA campus. About 20 of the biggest names in PPC were there, and we spent a day seeing Bing Ads’ version of the future of search.

The highlights of the event have already been covered elsewhere, so I won’t rehash them here.  Instead, let’s review what’s changed with Bing Ads over the past year or so.

Online UI and Editor improvements.

In my 2012 post, I complained about issues with the online UI: it timed out too fast and, despite its overhaul, was still clunky to navigate.

In my opinion, most of the interface issues have since been fixed. It no longer times out after 15 minutes – I’ve been able to stay logged in most of the workday. The import function from Google seems to work well (more on this in a minute). The reporting interface is very fast, and in some ways is better than Google’s.

All that said, there are still niggling things missing from the Bing Ads online UI. During the Bing Ads Next feedback session, Matt Van Wagner said what we were all thinking: Why doesn’t the online UI show conversion rate? It’s 2013, for crying out loud – this is a must-have metric and why it’s not available in Bing Ads can only be a gross oversight.

I won’t even get into the login and account creation issues. The Bing Ads team has heard the PPC community loud and clear on this one. Let’s hope there’s a fix in place before this becomes mandatory in 2014.

Let’s talk about Bing Ads Editor for a second. I use Editor all the time, and it’s improved a lot over the past year, too. The import from Google function is nearly flawless. Editor stayed on par with Google’s move to Enhanced Campaigns – and I can only imagine what a curve ball that was to the Bing Ads development team. The fact that they were able to offer the same features as Google, with the same timing, is a Herculean feat of engineering.

But Bing Ads Editor continues to have silly bugs in it, too. The most recent one is that changes you’ve posted still show bolded in Editor, as if they didn’t post. And, only some of them show up this way. So it’s not clear whether all of your changes posted or not – you’ll have to go look them up in the online UI to be sure.

Bing Ads Support.

Here’s where Bing Ads really shines – far outshines Google and their joke that passes as support. When was the last time Google invited a bunch of PPC influencers to the GooglePlex to talk about Adwords? Anyone? Bueller?

My Bing Ads rep was at all the social functions held during Bing Ads Next. He’s a true partner in helping us succeed, and is knowledgeable and responsive. The weird support issues that I outlined in my 2012 post have, thankfully, gone away. Bing Ads Next attendees universally praised Bing Ads support, both their assigned reps and those who man the Bing Ads Twitter account.

So What’s Really Next for Bing Ads?

Only time will tell. I liked a lot of the new things we saw at the event. I love the fact that Bing Ads is listening to us.

But one comment I heard this week is that there was a little too much talking and not enough listening at the event. Bing, if you’ve brought in what amounts to the best minds and biggest influencers in search, ask them questions! Spend twice as much time listening as you do talking! Learn from them! Don’t lecture them about stuff that they already know. Show them more new concepts and ask them what they think!

Amid rumors that Yahoo wants out of the Bing Ads deal, I don’t think any of us truly knows what’s next for Bing Ads. At its core, Microsoft is a software developer, not a search innovator. Their pace is too slow and their products too bloated to keep up with Google. But I love that they’re trying. With advertiser support that’s far superior to Google, and with better ROI nearly across the board, I still think they have a chance.

What do you think? Is Bing Ads going in the right direction, or are they doomed? Share in the comments!

 

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Comments

  1. Why doesn’t the online UI show Revenue?? I found forums dated as far back as 2011 with requests for a revenue column. Conversion rate? The conversions and clicks are there. You do the math.
    Show me the revenue!

    • Melissa Mackey says:

      Good question. Revenue should be an option too. As for conversion rate, we can do the math, but why should we have to? Give us the numbers!

  2. Good to know someone’s having positive experiences with Bing, because after reading this I feel as though I’m trying to use a completely different platform. I find the Bing Editor to be unbearably sluggish and limited compared to the Google counterpart. I have also encountered numerous problems trying to import using both the editor and Bing’s web interface, which, by the way, is also sluggish and missing features. Then there are the things that are just weird, like pegging time of day targeting to the user’s time zone rather than the accounts, making it harder to predict when exactly ads are going to show for a given campaign.

    None of this would be as much a problem, of course, if Bing had crack support, but again I have never found that to be the case. Possibly this come from not having a dedicated rep for our small agency, so a typical Bing ads support issue will involve calling/chatting their support, being repeatedly ask to verify that I have access to the customer’s account (one recent chat asked for SIX different means of authentication), being given boilerplate answers that don’t address the problem until they finally refer the issue to a specialist–not directly contactable, of course– who will call back within 48 hours, which in real life translates to 72 hours IF at all. When the specialist doesn’t call it’s time to start all over. Google’s definitely not perfect but I’ve found their front-level techs to be much more knowledgable, and most of the time their specialists actually DO call back.

    Of course, I won’t say your experiences aren’t true or valid, just that they don’t match mine by a long shot!

    • Melissa Mackey says:

      Interesting experience – thanks for sharing. Sounds like you’re talking about Google’s customer service – that’s the kind of experience I have when I call their general support. :) I guess as with everything PPC, it depends!

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