Microsoft Fine-Tunes Bing Ads Toward Real-Time Reporting, PLA Services

Microsoft within the coming months will release reporting speeds that enable marketers to receive feedback from campaigns in 30 minutes rather than four hours. The goal is to reduce latency as much as possible within the 2015 fiscal year, which began July 1, 2014. The reports provide performance data and marketplace data such as trends that will help marketers make smarter decisions within the platform.

Marketers will have the ability to manage many more keywords in the Bing Ads user interface. The platform can handle 100,000 keywords, but will scale up to manage 1 million keywords per campaign by the end of 2014. Other improvements include digitally creating and managing insertion orders and enhanced ad formats with more precise targeting capabilities, including building on recent Sitelink Extensions to offer day, time and ZIP code targeting to help advertisers reach more specific audiences.

David Pann, Microsoft GM, search advertising, told Search Marketing Daily that in the coming months Bing will pilot services in social, image extensions, enhanced Sitelinks. Not all will make it into production. "We'll go heavily into retail product ads in the U.S., and then during the second half of the year the services will move into international markets," he said.

When asked about service-based shopping ads, Pann said Bing has been working with a provider that allows consumers to set appointments for certain services. "We've been trying it on mobile," he said, explaining the service as a scheduling tool similar to a product listing ad (PLA).

Similar to improvements in Bing Ads, Microsoft will roll out products that build on Bing as a "decision engine" through an integration with Cortana, Microsoft's personal assistant for Windows. The new capability -- which Pann, who is also Bing Ads GM, refers to as "interests" -- enables Bing to identify needs and serve content through Cortana, such as personalized news, weather, flights, stocks, and more directly on the Bing home page to improve on the next step in search.

The services are made possible by Microsoft's commitment to the open Web, as well as partnerships with Foursquare, Yelp, Trip Advisor, OpenTable, Netflix, Facebook, and others. Apple's decision to incorporate Bing into its products demonstrates the future of the technology, per Pann.

Knowledge gained from building a "great" consumer experience that fosters adoption rates will lead Microsoft to build out marketing and advertising services. "Your mind explodes with the opportunities and you just have to dial yourself back," Pann said.

Pann also touted recent Bing improvements including a 30% uptick in clicks in the past year. Mobile clicks rose 133%. Sitelink and Location Extensions also continue to drive higher click volume for advertisers across more global markets.

Bing has expanded coverage to 35 countries, with the launch in Hong Kong and Taiwan last winter, expanding the footprint on five continents. More interestingly, Bing has seen an increase of cross-border campaigns for English-speaking markets.

Bing delivered more than 100 new features across all markets in the past year -- with emphasis on mobile, as well as cross-device capabilities like the update of Call Extensions. Double-digit improvements drove revenue-per-search growth during the past year, as Bing secures its commitment to its partnership with Yahoo.

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