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With many of our clients at 3Q Digital, third-party platforms are used for conversion tracking and attribution beyond the features provided in Google AdWords. One of the features that Google AdWords provided in ad creation that Bing Ads has historically lacked is a tracking template field, which allows for a separate tracking template to be created and edited independent of the landing page for any given ad.

That’s recently changed for the better; Bing’s upgraded URLs now allow for use of a tracking template, along with a few semantic changes that makes creating ads based on Google AdWords much more simple. Tracking templates makes for much easier advertiser management in making changes to multiple ads without accidentally breaking a link or triggering an extra review of the ads every time the template changes.

Good stuff, right? Let’s talk implementation.

In order to take advantage of upgraded URLs for your existing ads, the first step is to download an Ad Report of all ads through the Bing Ads UI. In your ad report, ensure that you have “Ad ID” selected as one of your columns.

ad id bing

Maintaining the Ad ID column is critical to ensuring that your ad performance data will be kept; without the Ad ID field, Bing creates new ads instead of editing your existing ads.

Once you download your ad report and open it in Excel, remove the brackets surrounding the Ad ID, and ensure that the Ad ID column is set to “Number” with zero decimal places (you can get to the below window by right-clicking the column and selecting “Format Cells”). Occasionally, Excel will attempt to convert the Ad IDs into scientific notation, which prevents the ID from being recognized by Bing.

excel number

Once your Ad ID column is properly formatted, parse your existing Destination URLs for tracking parameters by using Excel’s Text-To-Columns feature under the “Data” tab. Insert empty columns to the right of your Destination URL column to ensure that you won’t overwrite any other necessary data columns. In general, most URLs’ tracking parameters begin after the first question mark, so we will delimit the destination URLs by a question mark (select “delimited” instead of “fixed width” at the first window). Hit finish to run the Text-To-Columns tool.

text-to-columns

Once that is done, remember that Bing’s Upgraded URL scheme follows Google AdWords’ naming conventions. Label the column with your landing page as “Final URL,” while adding another blank column labeled as “Destination URL”. As for your tracking template column, append “{lpurl}?” to the beginning of each tracking template cell – just like Google tracking template parameters. Label the column “Tracking Template.” In the end, your columns should resemble the below screenshot.

bing tracking urls

After running a QA on your edited ad sheet, upload the ads into Bing Ads Editor. Ensure that your columns are mapped properly with your Excel sheet when using the “Make Multiple Changes” tool, and also ensure on the confirmation page that you are only editing ads, not creating new ones. In other words, all your ads should reflect as updates to existing ads.

Finally, another quirk that has been noted is Bing Ad Editor’s auto-appending “http://” at the beginning of URL fields, including the tracking template. However, as tracking templates are not full web links, the auto-appended “http://” must be removed. Once you upload all your ads into Bing, select all your newly updated ads, and click “URL Options” on the bottom of the ads screen. Hit “replace text” and replace all instances of “http://” in the tracking template field with nothing, as noted in the screenshot below, making sure to also hit “replace all” while having all your new updated ads selected.

bing updated ads

You should now be ready to upload your ads. Good luck!

P.S. To simplify potential errors in tracking templates, account-level tracking is now available in Bing as well. In the Bing UI, enter your Shared Library to find URL Options. Under URL Options, you should find a tracking template field that will apply an account-wide tracking template to all ads. Note that if you have tracking templates set up at the campaign, ad group, or ad level, those templates will override the account template.