Sweet Leads: Microsoft Bing Ads Guide

Have you ever tried paid advertising in search engines?

It’s a difficult one and comes with a lot of learning curves. Maybe you’re here as you wanted help with advertising on Bing and to get a better understanding of how to go about it? Or maybe you’ve had a terrible experience and didn’t make any money?

This is essentially a starter Bing Ads course. I’m often asked to run workshops and Bing Ads training to help companies make the most of PPC.

This is a cut down and generic version of some of that content. If you want to take it a step further, either get your account loaded up with pennies and start a campaign or get in touch with the contact form at the end of this article!

To support what we’ve said in this guide, we built a test campaign for an e-commerce company and this is the graph of results. It was 3 days with a budget of £10 per day but only ended up spending £8.45 due to a delay with approval.The outcome was 8 clicks, 2 sales, which made a profit so over the coming weeks, we’ll turn up the heat on this campaign and likely see great success.

Bing Vs Google Ads

You see that kind of thinking won’t get you anywhere with anything, let alone PPC. It’s not about Bing Vs Google Ads but about finding a strategy that works for your business. There’s a very high chance you’ll be able to drive business with either search engine advertising service, provided that your campaigns are set up correctly and the pages on your website convert visitors to leads or sales. That’s that answered, there are however, pros and cons that come with each service:

Pros and Cons of using Bing advertising:

  • Lower cost per click in general
  • Less competitive
  • Slightly higher conversion rate
  • Lower market share so less potential traffic

Pros and Cons of Adwords:

  • Can be very competitive as some businesses use Adwords as their primary platform for inbound leads
  • Expect calls from the Google team advising you to add in 100s of pointless search terms
  • Larger market share so more potential traffic
  • Slightly more expensive per click

Bing Ads Best Practices

So you’ve created an ad that tells the world you’re fantastic, it links through to your home page and you’ve carelessly selected a list of 400 related search terms, with a broad match, stuck in a 5p bid for each of them and haven’t seen a single click.

I’m glad you’re here because you’ve broken every rule in the book and are receiving as much traffic as you deserve: a big fat ZERO.

If you attended a marketing event would you sit at an empty table, with no marketing materials and spend the afternoon looking at your phone, ignoring potential customers? Well you’ve just done the PPC equivalent. What’s the plural of Faux Pas? Faux pases?

TRUE STORY: I was hired to work with an information security company in Brighton. The owner of the company had set up a campaign and set the daily budget to 10p per day, he did the same with Adwords too and said it was ‘just in case they’d get a lead through.’ 

Like if you were dialling out for a cold call and hung up after the first ring, that lead never happened.

I looked at their competitors and they were spending roughly £4,000 per month, £15 for some keywords and generating substantial traffic with well considered ads. 

Can you see why search engine advertising was successful for the competitor but not the company in Brighton?

The trick is to take it SERIOUSLY. What could you possibly expect for 10p per day? 

Consider the following for best practice:

  • Appropriate, targeted keywords and match types
  • Purpose built landing pages
  • Customer-centric ad copy
  • Reasonable bids that result in clicks
  • Putting in effort to analyse and improve result week after week. 

Using Bing Ads Conversion Tracking

You’ll need make use of something called ‘universal event tracking’ or UET in order to track conversions. It really depends on how your website is set up and what content management system you’re using as to how you would implement it.

If you are using WordPress, this plug in can help make it a little easier to manage and set up. Either way, it’s wise to involve a competent webmaster/developer to make sure it’s set up correctly as it can be a little tricky. 

It means that you can set goals for campaigns and track them to identify which ones are successful and how successful they are. 

An example of a conversion could be that a person clicks on your ad, reads through your page and fills out a contact form. 

To find the conversion tracking section, simply log in to your account and it should be on the left hand sidebar, like in the image. This is where you can create goals and UET tags.

Choosing Keywords for PPC

This is an art form in itself and I promise I’ll cover it in more detail in another article, maybe I’ll write a book that you can post all over social media to pat me on the head like a needy puppy dog? 

To choose the best search terms, you need to understand how competitive they are and how many searches take place per month, as well as the intention behind them. 

There are many tools you can use, the Bing Ads keyword research tool is a good starting point as it is specific to the platform. Other tools such as Ubersuggest or SERanking can help you with keyword research but the numbers are generalised i.e. the numbers won’t be accurate for specific search engines.

Take a look below to see what information Ubersuggest can give you on a keyword.

The Types of Search Term

It’s very important to choose search terms and keywords based on user intent. If you’re already thinking on this level, chances are you’re my kind of marketer and understand why this is important too? 

Exactly, I knew you were a genius, it’s because it gives you an idea about the KIND of landing page to direct them to. Take a look at the types of search terms below and we’ll come back to landing pages in a bit.


They are searching for information. This could be the answer to a simple question, a tutorial or article like the one you’re reading. These terms can be very effective for positioning your business as a leader in your industry but I’d usually use them as part of an SEO strategy rather than paid search. They range from very broad terms like ‘dinosaurs,’ to incredibly precise keywords like ‘species of raptor.’ You have no idea how much I want to rank for both of those terms…


They are trying to find a specific page on a particular website. If your navigation sucks and it’s hard to find pages then you may one day have these too. They usually come in the following form: ‘Paypal login.’ There’s no point in using them in PPC and if you’re ever in a position to have them, you’ll never need to compete against competitors as search engines will know there’s only 1 thing they’re looking for.


They are looking to buy stuff. I know, you’re a bit less bored of all this educational stuff now that we’re talking money. Transactional terms are the golden eggs you’ll want to target with your PPC campaigns. 

Imagine what a person is looking for when they search ‘buy Rolex watches to pose with on Instagram.’ Exactly, they’re looking to purchase a fancy watch. You’ll want to direct them to your product or category page so they can choose one and add it to their basket. What if they search for ’embroidery services?’ Yep, the ad that triggers needs to link through to a landing page that covers those specific services and how to get started.

I can’t underestimate how important this is. It’s the difference between throwing a £1,000 a week down the drain and leaving the office to pick up your new Bentley. 

Bing Ads Keyword Match Types

There are a variety of Bing Ads keyword match types, that you can apply to your keywords. They range from very broad, non targeted matches to exact matches. With Bing Ads you get 3 main options:

Broad Match:

This means that your ad will be triggered when people search for the keyword, related keywords, vaguely related keywords, synonyms, plurals and occasionally terms that aren’t related at all.

There’s another feature called the ‘broad match modifier’ which allows you to be a little more specific to narrow down the audience. See the table below for more detail. 

You’d usually be best using broad match for very wide categories of services with a lot of potential customers. The pros includes an increase of traffic but the biggest drawback is that the visitors to your website become less targeted and your ad will be triggered by searches that aren’t necessarily a good fit for your business. I’d always opt to focus my ad campaigns on conversions rather than using them for brand awareness as that’s never made sense to me…

Possible Broad Matches for ‘West Sussex Builders’

West Sussex building companies 

Chichester builder

West Sussex Electricians

Chichester construction college

Arundel Construction companies


Broad Match Modifier searches for West Sussex + Builders

Builders in West Sussex

West Sussex builders

Chichester builders

Best builder in West Sussex

Recommended West Sussex Builders


As you can see, the broad match modifier makes the ad appear for related locations and search terms whereas the broad match search allows more variations. There are obvious uses for both but I would ALWAYS recommend targeting as tightly as possible. It’s worth noting that both singular and plural search terms will also be triggered in both broad and broad modifier matches as will searches with a similar search intent.

Phrase Match

The default match type is broad, so you’ll have to click the dropdown button in the image to get a better match type for conversions. This is the best match to use if you want a particular product to appear in search engines to a more targeted audience

Phrase match will trigger your ad when a search query closely matches your target keyword. This can include the words in the search phrase in the order it’s written in, in a different order and with close variations of the search term. If you imagine broad match as a motorway allowing all traffic and vehicles through, phrase match is more like a cycle path, only intended for specific users. 

Exact Match

This is exactly what it sounds like, your ad is triggered when an exact keyword is type into a search engine. Sometimes it will appear for slight variations but they’re always very close to the initial search term.

Another analogy…I’m really sorry, I promise I won’t do any more…broad match is like a gate that opens for all animals, phrase match is similar but only lets specific animals through and exact match, only bunnies of a certain size or species are getting though

Using Negative Keywords

Bing Ads and negative keywords can be the difference between success and failure – positivity is overrated anyway. If you’re selling winter holidays in the Caribbean then you can use a negative keyword to exclude certain phrases to narrow the audience down. In this instance, you’d probably want to use ‘Santa,’ or ‘Skiing,’ so you don’t appear for winter holidays to Lapland or the Swiss Alps.  

They can be VERY useful in blocking searches that don’t apply to your product or service but make sure you choose them carefully. Another example is if you’re an IT security company, you could have a broad match on ‘IT Security Companies’ but use negative keywords like ‘bouncers,’ ‘personal protection,’ and ‘CCTV’ to ensure you don’t appear for those other kinds of security services. 

In the example below, we’re targeting ‘pick n mix’ related keywords and excluding nuts and seeds from the searches as apparently that’s what a modern pick n mix is? What happened to the world?

Your Bing Bid Strategy

Now you have your keywords, you’re going to need to set your bids. The single most important consideration in your Bing Ads strategy is that it’s suitable for your business, generating the return that you need. It’s very easy to burn through ad budgets with nothing to show and never return to search engine advertising again. In order to make the most of Bing Advertising, you need to have a reasonable budget and realistic expectations. I’d always recommend having at least £20 per day to play with.

Then you’ll have to look at keywords specifically, what cost of click works for you and your business?

Work backwards using the following formula:

Customer lifetime value(CTV) = (Average Order Value(AOV) – Associated Costs(ACo)) x Average orders per year(AOY)  x Average Customer Lifespan(ACL)


This gives you your customer lifetime value(CLTV) in terms of gross profit and a clue at just how much you could spend on acquiring that customer and while remaining profitable. Draw your red lines now with a 5% buffer to cover unexpected costs. If there’s only £5 worth of breathing room, this might not be a good strategy for you.

If you’ve spent £3,000 and acquired 2 customers in the form of 3 year contracts worth £12,000 gross profit each year, is that giving you a good return? It sounds good but how does that compare to your other marketing strategies?

Keep in mind that these strategies ALWAYS need to be considered as part of your wider strategy.

Common Problems with Bing Advertising

Your Ad isn’t Showing

The most annoying problem is when your ad isn’t showing and the troubleshooting tool won’t tell you EXACTLY what you need to do to make it happen. The most common reason is because your bids are set too low and daily budgets are too low or lower than the key word bids. Your daily campaign budget is set to 10p and the bids on your search terms are 15p…you do the maths, it isn’t going to happen.

Your Ad is Receiving No Impressions

This could be because the search terms you’ve selected don’t have enough monthly searches. If they only have 10 searches a month then I’d be surprised to get more than 1 click and 10 impressions over that whole month and that’s provided the bids are set competitively and your ads are both enabled and eligible. 

Costs are Getting Out of Control

Maybe you’ve chosen some bad keywords? If you’re going over budget and not seeing a return, keep an eye on which keywords are expensive and not producing results. This is all visible inside your account but there’s a high chance that you’re not targeting relevant transactional search terms or there’s something wrong with your landing pages.

Optimising Bing Ads

Bing Ads Optimization is an ongoing process. The way I always approach it is starting with a good set of transactional terms, analysing which pages and search terms are converting profitably and removing any that are costing more than you can afford.

This is why we drew red lines in the previous exercise, it underpins your entire PPC strategy.

As time goes on, the Bing service will suggest keywords that it sees as opportunities. It can be worth a quick sense check to see if the suggestions are good but more often than not they’re pretty low quality. I can think of 1 time I spotted a good one that I added to my campaigns.

Aiming high with your Bing Ads Quality Score:

When you set up an ad, Bing takes a close look at how the selected keywords pair with your landing pages and how visitors interact with your website once they click through. It’s easy to assume that because you offer smart evening wear, you could target every related keyword to get an extreme amount of traffic. Don’t do it.. 

This isn’t the case. To make the most of your Bing Ads Quality Score, I’d recommend setting up many ads rather than a generic one. It’s laborious, it’s difficult and time consuming but it also gets results and you’ll have a much better chance of having a high quality score and a good amount of conversions.

To find your quality score, take a look at one of your keywords, navigate to the ‘Delivery’ tab and click the 3 dots as displayed in the image. As you’ll see, this search term has a quality score of 8/10, so it’s good but there’s room for improvement and I’d take a guess and say the landing page might need tweaking.

In the example of ‘Smart Evening Wear’ I’d recommend you create a landing page for that entire category. This page can then link to other products like ties, pocket squares, smart shoes and create an ad to target ‘Smart Evening Wear’ specifically, with very few but well chosen search terms. 

So what about the smart ties you offer? Well for that you’re going to make another ad, with another set of search terms. You’ll be wise to do the same for the smart shoes and dinner jackets too. You may end up with a long list of ad groups and ads but you’ll also end up with higher quality score and conversions. 

You can get results from PPC, probably better results than with most of your other marketing strategies. It’s an alien concept but once you’re over the first hurdle, experimenting and getting results, you’ll have a lot to show for it and you’ll learn very quickly too.

If you want to get straight down to business, contact us about search engine marketing with the form below. I’m happy to deliver workshops to help you get to grips with it but I’m also happy to manage the full service for you to, whatever works best for you.

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