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Small business owners have busy lives. One day you’re taking inventory, the next you’re focusing on customer service and then – when you have time – you’re putting together a solid marketing strategy on a tight budget.

Luckily, paid search advertising can be one of the most valuable digital marketing solutions.  While many large companies leverage the power of paid search, here’s something you should know: you can too.

Unlike other traditional forms of advertising, paid search works its wonders on any size budget, no matter how big or small.

Paid search, like Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads), helps you quickly attract new customers online. It places your business in front of the right audiences at the right time and on the right device, while continually engaging with existing customers, turning them into loyal advocates.

Many of you may already be well versed in PPC (pay per click) or paid search advertising, and have many active campaigns rolling on Google Ads. But, did you know that by leveraging both Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising, you can take your brand awareness, customer reach and profitability to a whole new level?  

Advertising on the Microsoft Search Network connects you with a largely untapped customer base, including 60 million desktop searchers not reached on Google.

With 6 billion monthly searches in the U.S, the Microsoft Search Network has 34.7 percent market share with 137 million unique searchersi (nearly half the U.S. population) – that kind of reach is hard to ignore.

Statistics are just numbers, and sometimes it’s hard to translate numbers into action. That’s why we turned to a few paid search experts and picked their brain regarding best practices with Microsoft Advertising and why they make it an essential part of the digital marketing strategy for their small business clients.

Why Should Small Businesses Pay Attention to Microsoft Advertising?

For gyro, they find that advertisers often see better performance from Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads) than from Google. “We often see a higher conversion rate and lower cost per conversion on Bing,” says Melissa Mackey, PPC expert. “We also see lower competition on Bing compared to Google – which means lower CPCs and more visibility of our client’s ads.”

Kirk Williams, PPC extraordinaire at ZATO Marketing, thinks Bing’s search market share is something worth considering. “Depending on the type of industry our client is in, they can see a 10-20% paid search traffic bump simply by giving Bing a test drive,” says Kirk. “It’s an excellent way to experiment in a new channel with little setup costs and lots of value.”

Top 3 Tips to Maximize Your Time & Investment on Microsoft Advertising

1. Track, Measure, Repeat

PPC is a cost-effective way to reach the people searching for a product and service just like yours, especially because you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad. But regardless of the budget-friendly platform, you still need to make sure you’re getting results.

“Track conversions, always,” says Melissa Mackey, “even if you are not directly selling something online, track micro-conversions such as newsletter signups and contact us form completions. Tracking results will show the value of Microsoft Advertising and any PPC strategy, helping you compare these to other marketing efforts.”

2. Take Advantage of Microsoft Advertising and Unique PPC Features

Microsoft offers a number of unique features that you may not realize exist but could easily integrate. The LinkedIn integration, for example,  lets you target your users by attributes like job function, company, etc.

“Take advantage of the fact that you can create separate campaigns for search partners in Microsoft Advertising,” says Robert Brady of Righteous Marketing. “That allows for optimization of bids, ad copy, etc., instead of the take-it-or-leave-it approach that Google imposes.”

3. Utilize Their Stellar Support Team

Be sure to use all the tools Microsoft Advertising has to offer, such as Google Ads imports, Microsoft Advertising Editor, and Microsoft Advertising Intelligence, and if you’re ever unsure of how to use a feature, the Microsoft Advertising support team is all about making life easier for advertisers.

“My favorite element for efficiency is hands-down the most valuable, and a way in which Microsoft Advertising completely dominates Google... and that is in the helpfulness of its support staff,” says Kirk Williams. “Microsoft has gone all in to ensure we can get helpful responses and even bulk update assistance from our reps. They’re around when we need them, and they're interested in helping us accomplish our goals, not simply pushing their quarterly objectives on our client accounts.”

Your PPC Strategy Needs Google & Microsoft

If you already have campaigns in other online advertising platforms, you can import them into Microsoft Advertising, saving you the trouble of setting them up from scratch. You can even import directly from your Google Ads account.

“My top tip is to make sure that you're transferring findings from Google Ads to Microsoft Advertising,” says Robert Brady. “Since Google is probably driving more volume, things like negative keywords will crop up more quickly there and those findings should be able to benefit both accounts with very little additional time spent.”

Kirk Williams agrees, “Importing entities from Google to Microsoft has never been easier. Shared budgets, campaigns, bulk bid adjustments during the process, and even a Google Merchant Center feed can now be imported and integrated seamlessly into Microsoft Advertising. Because of this, the barrier to entry is low, and testing Microsoft Advertising out doesn't require a lot of time or energy on the setup process.”

If you’ve already invested in Google Ads, transitioning to Microsoft Advertising will be a simple process with a large ROI. Including both PPC platforms in your digital marketing strategy can help you maximize your customer reach and success with paid search advertising.

Expand Your Reach

In short, don’t miss out on any potential impressions and clicks by not using Microsoft Advertising. Diversifying your PPC portfolio to include Microsoft Advertising is as simple as importing campaigns and making a few small adjustments. Regardless of which platform you’re using, make sure you’re tracking and reporting on important metrics to get the most out of your campaigns. Be sure to test out new features, and if you’re ever stuck, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Microsoft Advertising support team.  

I comScore qSearch, Explicit Core Search (custom), September 2019. Microsoft Search Network includes Microsoft Sites Core Search Explicit, Yahoo Sites Core Search Explicit (searches powered by Bing) and AOL inc. Core Search Explicit in the United States.

About the Author(s)

Kenneth Andrew

Kenneth Andrew is the General Manager of SMB Strategy and Sales at Microsoft Advertising, working globally to help SMB customers. In July 2014, he was awarded the prestigious Bill Gates Founder Award from Microsoft in recognition of outstanding financial results and leadership.

General Manager of SMB Strategy and Sales, Microsoft Advertising
PPC paid search advertising