Anne Hathaway experienced a bit of a backlash last year leading up to and after her Oscar win. She wasn’t exactly America’s Sweetheart beforehand, but she was liked and had what I would say was a mostly positive perception by the public. However, last year while the Internet raved about everyone’s favorite girl-next-door Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway spawned a lot of hate and annoyance from the same audience. Bing Ads is slowly becoming the Anne Hathaway of my digital marketing world, though I do think I have a bit more reasoning behind my growing frustrations with the ad platform than the mystery of the Internet deciding what is annoying and what is awesome.
In the past, I’ve written about Bing Ads in a positive light (much like Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries – have you seen it? It’s movie magic by teenage girl standards). I still believe Bing Ads is an important pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform that is often under-utilized and should have a portion of your digital marketing budget, if it makes sense for your products and services. However, much like the Anne Hathaways and Justin Biebers of the pop culture world know, you never know when your audience will turn on you – and you should be doing what you can to make sure it doesn’t happen. Here are some of my suggestions on how Bing Ads can stop itself from becoming the next Anne Hathaway.
The Bing Ads interface is not the most user-friendly platform out there, and in my opinion, is lacking in functionality for a variety of different reasons (thank you to my co-workers Nicole Bandy and Matt Weltz for contributing to this section and providing some of their own Bing pet peeves).
Display: The interface only allows so many keywords to be displayed at a time. If you have too many keywords in an account or a campaign, then you can’t view all keywords at once, which is very limiting. The only solutions are to choose more narrow data (which is not always ideal, especially during analysis), run a report, or utilize Bing Ads Editor just to look at all of the keywords in a single campaign.
Personalizing Your View: When applying filters or making small changes to your view within the interface, if you change anything else on the page you are viewing such as the date range, your view is not saved and you have to re-apply the adjusted settings all over again.
Load Time: Oftentimes when looking at an account, a user will switch back and forth between different campaigns, ad groups, settings, etc. With Bing Ads, there is often a delay when loading new data or switching between screens within the interface; so something that should be relatively easy and straightforward takes up more time than it should just to load a new screen.
Reporting: The reporting in Bing Ads is not always the most straightforward or consistent. While the type of report can be chosen at a granular level, the available data columns, date ranges, and units of time are inconsistent and vary depending on the reporting type, which limits how a user can view their own data.
Reporting is also made more difficult because of it being housed on a separate tab from Campaigns. For example, running a search query report does not allow for new keywords or negative keywords to be added easily, and extra steps are needed to do so.
Bing Ads Editor is my personal paradox in some ways. It often doesn’t do what I ask of it, and I can never predict what it’s going to do next. There are a lot of areas in Bing Ads Editor that are great, such as being able to update targeting settings and the “Errors” showing possible discrepancies between your Bing Ads Editor downloaded account and your Bing Ads interface account. However, it is not easy to navigate and definitely harder to use than Google’s AdWords Editor. The interface of Bing Ads Editor doesn’t flow like a platform should and there seems to be a lot of bugs that can crop up at any time. For inexperienced users, the Ads Editor seems to offer more opportunities to make a mistake than to make the job easier. Hopefully the newest version will help with some of these issues.
The final update that Bing needs to make is to allow ad scheduling to be turned off or on for all hours of the day. The current settings only allow targeting during certain time periods, and it is very frustrating, especially when you incorporate separate time zones and how that affects when your ads will show to users. While certain settings like age groups make sense to group together, time of day does not work the same way. Advertisers should be able to adjust their ad scheduling exactly how they would like it to be, based on what their data tells them.
I realize some of these items may seem trivial – but when you are working in Bing Ads often and optimizing an account on a daily basis, these types of functionality and setting issues can make even simple tasks more exasperating and time-consuming then they need to be. With a few well-planned updates and adjustments, Bing Ads can steer itself away from becoming the Anne Hathaway of digital marketing, and make its current and future advertisers much happier.