Today’s post is by Account Associate Aaron Woolway, sports fan and scratch golfer and one of the office’s first Bing-certified experts.

In the current world of SEM, two major networks — Google and Bing — drive most of the traffic. Google dominates with its AdWords platform and search partners (AOL and Ask), and Bing’s adCenter takes up a majority of what’s left of the market. Most SEM industry players build out their campaigns in AdWords and sync them into adCenter.

This dreaded “2nd-tier sync” has a ton of potential pitfalls and needs to be performed with care. The process has been smoothed a ton with a recent innovation to the adCenter desktop tool: the creation of an import wizard that communicates with AdWords, allowing the transfer/update of your campaigns and transforming a painstaking process into an efficient task.

Although the process of transferring campaigns AdWords to adCenter has become more effective (the wizard’s settings mean that ad copy, for instance, no longer needs to be concatenated), the settings of the sync wizard need to be handled with care in order to avoid missing or unwanted parts within your campaigns.

The import wizard’s settings screen is the key to having the correct elements of your campaigns brought over to adCenter. The process is easy when you first transfer campaigns from AdWords (because the campaign is new), but the plot thickens when you need to update certain elements within a campaign.

Potential pitfalls of syncing

Working on accounts like price-fluctuating ecommerce, where ad copy needs to be updated frequently, you would heavily rely on the import wizard. The tool needs to be mastered to navigate the differences of the settings.

import settings adcenter

Analyzing the picture above, you can see there is a fair amount of settings, and different combinations of those settings are needed to obtain certain elements of campaigns from your AdWords accounts. This is where it can get confusing.

When you update ad copy in Google, Bing’s desktop tool won’t look at this as an update; it identifies it as a new entity. The only choice with the tool is to import new items (see red arrow) — which means that if you had new keywords that you only wanted in Google, and these were synced with the selection of the import new items feature, you would have to manually delete the imported keywords in adCenter.

Another common problem that occurs with the syncing of campaigns is that tracking that has been applied in Google gets synced as well. If you want specific tracking in adCenter attached to the destination URLs of your ads, you have to be careful that your tracking doesn’t get double-appended to the end of the previous tracking with the selection of the appending setting (see green arrow above).

Bing has made this process easier with the introduction of the find-and-replace function (below the green arrow above), which helps you find the old Google tracking and apply the new Bing tracking in its place. This works well when you are syncing one or a few campaigns, but when you are syncing over 100 campaigns, you need to take this step with care.

Failing to remove the old tracking and only using the setting that the red arrow is pointing to above would cause double-appending tracking URLs – another pain that people syncing over campaigns deal with if the settings are used inaccurately.

More improvements to come?

Even with the import wizard in place, there are some common misalignments of the two platforms that cause problems in the 2nd-tier sync.

The most basic is the ad group minimum CPC threshold that has been integrated into the platforms (Google has set the ad group minimum at $0.01, and Bing’s is $0.05). This causes automatic errors when bringing over campaigns that contain ad groups with a lower minimum bid. Since the whole idea of the import wizard is to make it easier to bring campaigns over to Bing, it seems logical that Bing would align its UI by having the same basic ad group minimum. Maybe someday soon!

Overall, the process of syncing has gone through an evolution for the better with Bing customizing its adCenter platform to fit its place as the secondary entity behind Google. The better Bing gets at syncing with Google, the more attractive the platform becomes. As the old saying goes, “If you can’t beat them, join them” – which, in this case, would mean that Bing aligns every part of their UI to match Google’s innovative features.

– Aaron Woolway, Account Associate

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