Web App Development

Lessons learned from running Bing Ads

Since Bing Ads provides £50 of free advertising for new users I decided to run some ads for my project Report Bundle.

The ads ran from the December 27 to January 8, for &pound40.04. In total I got 5 free trial signups - all of them in the first two days.

Bing Ads is less user friendly than Adwords

The Bing Ads web interface is very slow and this makes it cumbersome to manage your campaigns.

I also had trouble setting up conversion tracking - it’s harder since Bing doesn’t come with an analytics product like Google Analytics. This means the tracking setup is less feature rich and you can’t see what events that are being logged.

As a result I wasn’t able to make conversion tracking work and have little data about where the initial conversions came from. Setting up conversion tracking would probably have been easy if I redirected the user to a new page after signup instead of triggering an event in JavaScript.

Focus on quality instead of bidding low

Since I just launched Report Bundle I tried to focus on getting people on the site to see how they interact with it, rather than focussing on quality traffic. To do that I set the maximum cost per click to 40p and the average ended up being around 13p.

Here are the basic campaign stats:

Search Ads
Impressions: 4,510
Clicks: 23
CPC: £0.07

Content Network Ads
Impressions: 139,730
Clicks: 292
CPC: £0.14

The low cost per click meant that most of the Content Network money was spent on low quality traffic from filesharing or clickbait news websites:

Publishers for Bing Ads

Additionally the vast majority of the ads were shown on non-English websites. I thought I had configured the campaign to be English-only, but most clicks were from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philipines.

This resulted in low quality traffic that was difficult to learn from as most visitors weren’t interested in the product.

Avoid broad match

Broad match is the default keyword match option. It’s very broad: my ads showed for “how to make your twitter private” despite only sharing a few words with “what makes a good website”.

There are other match types that lie between exact match and broad match: broad match modifier and phrase match. These would work much better and prevent a low click rate due to the ad being shown on irrelevant searches.

Broad match search terms

Disable automatic optimization early on

The first two days I was happy with the conversions I was getting. After that I got no conversions at all.

My current hypothesis of what happened is that Bing Ads optimized what ads are shown and for what keywords, and that was different from what converted. Initially the ads didn’t show up on the Content Network either and the low-quality websites that the ads were shown on could also be a contributing factor.

Continuity from the between the keyword, the ad and the landing page

Continuity means using the same phrases in all copy the user encounters.

For example, someone searching for “website review” should see and ad titled something like “Free Website Review”, repeating the terms they searched for back to them. After clicking on the ad the landing page h1 should be “Free Website Review” as well.

During this campaign I only used one landing page, which meant that the ad title and the title on the landing page were sometimes very different.


Don’t use broad match, target specific countries and make conversion tracking work.

Follow me on Twitter