What is Microsoft Ads?
Microsoft Ads is a network of Microsoft ad services. It includes Bing and other sites like Yahoo and AOL. Basically, they run a similar service to Google Ads and sell pay-per-click (PPC) ads across their network.
Google is the king of search ad services. However, Microsoft Ads — which was formerly known as Bing Ads — takes the second spot. It might come as a surprise, but Bing has over 1 billion monthly global users.
OK, that’s not as much as the Google network, which has about 4.5 billion. But it’s still a significant amount of people. And because most marketing teams are obsessed with Google and Facebook ads, it means there is potential to reach untapped markets, often at lower cost-per-click.
Benefits of using Microsoft Ads
We’re not advocating that you turn your back on Google ads and go full tilt into Microsoft Ads. But we are saying that if you ignore Microsoft Ads, you’re probably missing out on a chunk of your effective audience.
Let’s explore some of the many benefits of using Microsoft Ads.
Bing and Yahoo account for almost 10% of search engine inquiries. However, that only tells part of the story. Bing accounts for nearly 40% of internet searches by console users.
The Microsoft Xbox has always had Bing. But it launched a dedicated Bing App in 2020. It’s an incredibly popular gaming console, and it offers businesses a path to a youthful audience.
While Microsoft doesn’t release exact figures, a leaked document from 2017 suggests Xbox users are predominantly in the 25 to 34 age range, with over 40% earning between $50k to $100k per annum.
Google dominates web traffic. But that also means ad bidding on keywords and phrases is more competitive. Customer acquisition costs (CAC) have been rising steadily over recent years, with some businesses struggling to justify ad spend.
While figures vary depending on product or industry, the average cost-per-click on Microsoft Ads is $1.54. By comparison, it’s about $2.69 on Google Ads. For businesses with fine margins, those differences could be hard to ignore.
More than 70% of Bing users are 35+. Additionally, nearly 40% of users make in excess of 100k per year. For specific companies or products, this demographic will be very attractive.
Good ad targeting
Microsoft Ads offers excellent ad targeting. It uses an AI and ML-powered audience targeting solution that delivers relevant, personalized, and engaging ads to its users.
Additionally, their ad solution draws data from other Microsoft properties, including Outlook, LinkedIn, and Skype, to deliver more accurate ads.
How to create a campaign on Microsoft Ads
If you’re familiar with Google Ads, you’ll be able to navigate the Microsoft Ads platform pretty easily.
However, here’s a step-by-step guide to getting your first Microsoft Ad campaign up and running.
STEP 1: Set up a Microsoft Ads account
Go to the Microsoft Ads homepage.
If you already have a Microsoft account, you can sign in with your existing details.
If not, the process is straightforward. You just need to provide some details and agree to terms and conditions.
STEP 2: Create a campaign
Once you’re logged in, select “Create a New Campaign.”
STEP 3: Choose a goal
Next up, you need to define the goal for your new campaign. Microsoft lets you choose things like:
- Web traffic
- Online sales
- Business calls
- Increased physical locations foot traffic
Just choose your relevant goal from the options.
STEP 4: Select keywords
If it’s your first campaign, Microsoft will open its Keyword Planner. Enter your relevant keywords and observe the data. You can see which keywords are competitive or find some decent opportunities.
Play around with this for a while to optimize your keywords to maximize or target specific types of traffic.
STEP 5: Ad type and targeting
Microsoft will present you with two types of ads:
- Audience Ads
- Search Ads
Audience ads appear in places like Microsoft Edge, Outlook, and MSN.
Search ads appear along the top of search engine result pages (SERP).
Generally, search ads are a bit easier to manage. So, if you’re new to Microsoft Ads, start with Search Ads and see how you go.
STEP 6: Build your ad
Once you’ve chosen what type of ad you want to run, you can move on to building your ad.
You’ll need to add some details like:
- Your business name
- An ad image (you can choose up to six)
- A long headline (up to 90 characters)
- A short headline (up to 30 characters)
- Ad copy (up to 90 characters)
- URLs for web and mobile
Once you’ve added your copy and creatives, you can press Save.
STEP 7: Bids and budgets
Now, to the exciting part.
Enter the max cost per click you want to pay.
Then, you need to set your daily budget. As you may have guessed, this is the amount of money you will spend on your ads each day.
Microsoft offers performance estimates for these categories, so you’ll have an idea of how many impressions or clicks you’ll get.
It’s best to monitor your ads regularly. You can automate them, but you’ll want to keep some control over your budget if you’re just starting out with the ad platform.
STEP 8: Enter payment details
You have to spend money to make money. Microsoft Ads offers two payment options:
a) pre-pay for your monthly ad spend
b) pay later for your ad spend.
This pay-later model only works with a credit or debit card. So, only choose it if that’s your preferred method.
STEP 8: Press launch
It’s time to go live. Press launch and your ads will be shown on Bing, Yahoo, AOL, MSN, Outlook, etc.
Keep an eye on your ad performance and make adjustments along the way. Well-performing ads should get more budget, and poor-performing ads should get less. You know the drill.
Google is the undisputed king of search. Everyone understands this, and so it gets the majority of ad revenue.
However, Microsoft Ads is underrated, and it offers businesses a chance to capture sales, leads, and traffic at a comparatively cheap rate. With less competition for keywords, your ads can actually have a lower CPC alongside better conversions.
Microsoft Ads won’t work for everyone. But the platform has a youthful audience, with many high earners. At a minimum, you should consider making it a part of your overall sales and marketing strategy.
We are currently developing support for our Amanda AI to run ads on Bing. Very exciting indeed!