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In Part I of this series, we went over several key Search Engine Marketing (SEM) tools to help you effectively launch campaigns and quickly reach cruising altitude. In this post, we will review additional tools you need to win the competition, by referencing some century-old dogfight tactics mastered by most flying aces.

1. Try to secure an upper hand before attacking.

In a battle, the fighter in a higher position has the advantage when initiating attacks. In search engine marketing, ads in a higher position have the advantage of getting clicks. (Check out the study here.) Use newly released Bing Ads bid management tools to get your ad to the top of the search results page, where 87% of clicks take place in the first-page position.

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2. Follow through with an attack you’ve already started.

In air combat, many pilots might start a fight, but instinct or fear would convince them to break it off. In the same way, some SEM managers might pause their campaigns instantly if things don’t work out the way they planned. Instead of being deterred, you should find out why your plan is not working by referencing the Share of Voice (SOV) report, and then regroup.

 

Here are some checkpoints to verify with your SOV report:

 

  • Verify whether your campaign is at its optimal performance by checking the impression share, which reports the percentage of time an eligible keyword or ad won an auction and was delivered in search results.
  • Verify the nature of your losing auctions with the following two SOV KPIs:
  1. Impression Share Lost to Budget – The percentage of time an eligible keyword/ad failed to be delivered because of budget limit.
  2. Impression Share Lost to Rank – The percentage of time an eligible keyword/ad failed to be delivered because of a lower rank. Rank is measured by keyword, ad, and landing page relevance and bid.
  • Verify campaign quality improvement opportunities with the following two SOV KPIs:
  1. Impression Share Lost to Keyword Relevance – The percentage of time an eligible keyword/ad failed to be delivered because of a lower-than-expected CTR, which is based on the relevance of a search query and your keyword, match type, ad copy, and landing page.
  2. Impression Share Lost to Landing Page Relevance – The percentage of time an eligible keyword/ad failed to be delivered because of a lower landing page relevance, which is calculated based on the search query and your landing page content.

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3. Open fire only at close range, and only when the target is squarely in sight.

A fighter pilot can choose to blast away at the first sight of a target, even if there’s a small chance of hitting it. When it comes to search query targeting, SEM managers should know that broad match keywords are good for exploring targets, while exact match keywords get you more “wins,” because they let you bid more aggressively, create more appealing ad text, and push your pursuits to specific channels on your website.  Here are the steps for using the Search Query Report to hone in on your targets and preserve your ammunition:

image0074. Always keep your eye on your opponent, and never assume you know where your opponent is or will be.

Studying the opponents’ tactics and keeping a close eye on them is important for both fighter pilots and SEM campaign managers. Find out who is fighting for the same traffic and study their strengths and weaknesses by analyzing Auction Insights. You can access Auction Insights through the Bing Ads Web UI or by using the Bing Ads Intelligence tool in Excel. The tool’s KPIs include:

 

  • Impression share: Driven by sufficient budget, campaign quality, and bid. Your Auction Insights impression share is calculated based on your own data. Competitors’ Auction Insights impression share is calculated based on the time they enter the same auctions as you.
  • Average position: Your average ad rank. Having a higher ad rank doesn’t guarantee top-of-page (or mainline) ad position; reference the top-of-page rate to better understand this data.
  • Overlap rate: Tells you who you are competing against; it has a very high correlation with impression share rate.
  • Position above rate: Ads in a higher position have an absolute advantage over those in a lower position.

 

 

 

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5. It’s better to attack in groups of four or six.  Avoid having two aircrafts attacking the same opponent.

In air combat, it’s better to attack in a group to increase coverage and avoid two aircrafts attacking the same opponent to avoid crossfire. In search engine marketing, it’s better to start with four or six ad copy versions to identify performing selling points, and to use the Bing Ads Ad Preview and Diagnostics Tool to make sure the right keyword is engaging with the targeted search term.

 image013image015The sky’s the limit! I hope this series of posts helps you establish air superiority for your own campaigns. Happy advertising!

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Ping Jen, a Product Manager in the Microsoft Bing Ads Product Team, has a passion for driving improvements into Bing Ads that help advertisers optimize their campaigns that increase relevancy and competitiveness in the marketplace. Prior to joining Microsoft in 2009, Ping worked as a Sr. Business Administrator at University of Cincinnati Department of Neurosurgery. Ping holds a MBA degree from the University of Notre Dame and he is a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD).