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Dear Bing Ads, We Need to Talk

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Dear Bing Ads,

We need to talk.

I’ve been working with you long enough now that I feel a certain level of familiarity with your systems and processes.  So please understand that what I’m about to say comes from a place of respect and understanding.

And before we get into it, I don’t want to focus entirely on the negative.  I have a lot of praise for you.  Our Bing representative and her team is outstanding, and any issues I’ve had have been resolved quickly and professionally.  I had one today even, and that was resolved in under an hour.  You’ve been pretty good with this customer service thing, but I still have some issues.  To wit:

Please give me a keyword report that makes me not tear my hair out.

One of my biggest accounts does almost half of its business in Bing, spending over $150,000 a month across various product verticals.  Have you ever tried doing a round of bid changes utilizing your existing reports on an account that large?  It makes me want to cry.

Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit.  Every single time I go through the process of bid changes for this client, I’m met with the following issue staring at me right in the face:

Bing Keyword Limit

Every. Single. Time.

It’s almost 2013, and PPC has been A Thing for a pretty long while now.  I think that it might be helpful to throw some resources at resolving this issue.  If your keyword limit is met almost every time you try to download a report, it’s time to consider a higher keyword limit.

Sidenote - Another thing you might want to throw some resources at resolving:  a Mac desktop editor.  It’s been the top most-requested feature for a while now; it would be an easy way for you to throw the Mac crowd a bone.

But that’s beside the point.  Let’s get back to the many ways in which the keyword reporting crushes my soul.

In order to perform bid changes based out of the interface, I would have to download 44 (!), forty-four keyword reports on an individual campaign basis to get the kind of keyword data I’m looking for.  I’ve found a small workaround lately that lets me get away with merely downloading ten or so, but that’s still six more reports than I’d have to download from AdWords just to do some rudimentary bid changes.

“But Couch,” you say, “what about the reporting center?”

I’ll admit, that’s part of the workaround I’ve mentioned.  You see, you can generate all kinds of reports from the Reporting Center, including an account-wide Keyword Performance report.  This would be a fantastic leg up on AdWords if not for two things:

1)   It’s missing anything regarding Keyword Status.

This is a huge pain in the butt, and has been the cause of many a “duplicate keyword detected” upload error across the globe.  Without any method of determining which keywords I’ve already paused, I’m just re-doing the same work every week, attempting to pause (or, god-forbid, accidentally un-pause) the same keywords because no differentiation is made for enabled or paused keywords.  It seems like a simple enough thing to add, whether as an attribute column, or even as a filter.

2)   Match Type statistics in the reporting center are sketchy at best.

Match Type?

One of these might work. Might.

Notice how there are two “Match type” qualities are highlighted?  It’s a 50/50 shot whether or not either of those attributes have anything to do with the actual match type affiliated with the keywords in question.

Trying to work with either of them is like playing Russian roulette, except that here you just risk inadvertently adding 200 broad match keywords in to your account.

This situation is only exacerbated by the Bing Ads Help Center.  Here’s the definition for Delivered Match Type:

“The match type—exact, phrase, or broad—actually used by Bing Ads to deliver an ad.”

Fairly straightforward – so that’s clearly not the one to use.  But here’s the definition for Bid Match Type:

“The match type—broad, phrase, or exact—that you specified during ad creation for use with a keyword.”

Now, I may be crazy, but does that explanation make any sense whatsoever?  In an informal poll of the PPC Hero offices, the top response to the phrase above (especially the ‘specified during ad creation’ part) is “What does that even mean?”  I take full responsibility for my own cognitive failings, but that’s a terrible explanation if Bid Match Type is, in fact, regular old “Match Type”.

As it is, I’ve had to cobble together a Frankenstein’s Monster of an upload doc just to do a round of bid changes for this client.  It comprises one Account-wide report containing tightly structured campaigns (including Match Types in the Ad Group title for easy correction), and several campaign-level keyword stat reports downloaded for the poorly structured campaigns we’ve inherited.  A process that should take roughly an hour or two at most stretches on far beyond that.  I know you can do better.

And a few more things:

3)   You really have to ask us if we want conversion data included in the report?

Seriously?  I’m adding this one in just because (and by request of one Sean Quadlin).

4)   Special report segmentation can only be done one at a time.

This one comes straight from the AWB: “I could by geo data OR by search partner URL but not both, and this is par for the course.  Any special segmentation has to be done alone, which is really frustrating.”

5)   You can’t sort by destination URL on the Keyword List in the Bing Ads interface.

Just a humble request from the honourable British Sam Owen.

So really, all I’m saying is that you’re almost there.  It’s just all these little things that add up to a less-than-stellar PPC management experience.  Bing, I guarantee you that you’re not going to find anyone else here at PPC Hero more invested than I am in your ongoing success.  I’m hoping that you take some of these suggestions (as well as those found on your own Feature Suggestion Forum) and make your service in to what we all know it could be.

Sincerely,

Couch

About the Author

Eric

Eric is a Senior Account Manager and Lead Trainer with Hanapin Marketing and has been working in data analysis and marketing for nearly 4 years. His background includes customer service, client account management, quality assurance analysis, performance tracking, education, marketing, and sales. Follow him on Twitter @ecouch11 or on his Google+.
  • http://twitter.com/timothyjjensen Timothy Jensen

    Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but there is no conversion rate stat in the interface – need to calculate this manually

    • EricCouch

      You would be correct!

  • http://twitter.com/JoeAdsContent Joe MSFT AdsContent

    Hi Eric,
    Always enjoy your articles and very much appreciate the feedback on the Help Center. We are working on a change now!

    • EricCouch

      That’s great! Looking forward to seeing the changes that are in store.

  • Tom Wright

    Eric, you are spot on. We work quite a bit with Bing Ads but the interface is extremely frustrating. Hopefully some changes will be made soon. Thanks for saying what we are all thinking.

    • EricCouch

      No problem, and thanks for reading!

  • http://righteousmarketing.com robertbrady

    Amen!

  • http://www.jchweb.co.uk/ Jack Hutchinson

    Well said Eric – although BingAds are moving in the right direction, their reports still need a lot of work to even come close to what we can get out of AdWords!

    • EricCouch

      Definitely, and thanks for reading!

  • http://twitter.com/ZandoJon Jon Attwell

    Wouldn’t using something like DS3 solve all your troubles and woes? Just seems like your’re using rookie methods for advanced management.

    • EricCouch

      It shouldn’t be necessary to require an outside system on top of Bing’s because theirs isn’t usable. There are definitely ways to get around it, but the tools should be available in the system itself. As it is, they currently act as obstacles to getting things done, which isn’t helpful to anyone.

      • http://twitter.com/ZandoJon Jon Attwell

        Fair enough. Perhaps I’ve just been using DS3 for too long now to look back, hah. Also, I’m of the opinion that if you’re using Bing, you’re probably using Google too so you might as well house everything under one UX-friendly roof.

  • http://ppccampaigngenerator.com/ PPC Campaign Generator

    In my opinion, you were too nice Eric. I know you have to play a diplomatic game being a user and a vested partner to keep relationships civil. The fact is, the Bing customer support teams are incompetent. The Bing Agency support reps are less incompetent but have their hands tied because of Bing Ads system constraints and procedures.

    My own bing rep (who was from Yahoo) was tasked with white-listing a client for their own trademarked term. Keyword disapprovals were constant. She interacted with the Bing side of the business and sent me an email telling me we were white-listed. Over the course of 6 months and her telling me “everything is now resolved. … You are now White-listed” I demanded another rep and escalated the issue. Something that seems so simple was apparently so incredibly difficult.

    How many times has your rep said “the system is set up in a way that…”. The customer support reps have their hands tied and generally don’t ever know how to handle a call that’s not a fundamental question (Ex: Bing Ads error codes, Destination URL vs Param 1 now, Etc into infinity).

    Bing ads as a platform is a complete joke. It’s architecture is developed in a box. Feature implementation is overseen by bureaucratic red tape and opinions rather than what users actually want and need.

    We recently had an issue with dynamic insertion in the URL parameters ({keyword} and {adid}). We called Bing Ads Agency support three separate times to get multiple perspectives. One agent said: “In order for it to work, you have to capitalize all the letters like this: {KEYWORD} and {ADID}.” Another agent told us capitalization didn’t matter but also couldn’t figure out why parameters weren’t being inserted into the URLs. The last agent had to look these parameters up because they weren’t familiar with them.

    I think everybody here can see that Bing ads is desperately copying Adwords because they aren’t intelligent enough nor have enough perspective to build a platform that users want and need.

  • paid to click

    Great post i haven’t used bing for ppc but i am kinda glad i haven’t cause it seems like alot of trouble lol

    • EricCouch

      Not so much trouble as you might expect, just a few things that could stand to be improved. Thanks for reading!

  • Paul Albert

    So true Eric…Interface needs so much improvement, Hate it when it shows the “more keywords that can be displayed” banner…really frustrating. But then again, working with Bing can be very frustrating because of all reasons mentioned above. Wished they had Search Query Report just like Adwords interface has….

    • EricCouch

      Thanks for the feedback, and I know that kind of feedback regarding the Search Query Report will be helpful to the Bing team. You can run a Search Query performance report out of the reporting center, but an interface version would be super helpful. Thanks for reading!

  • http://twitter.com/adelaidey_ Adelaide Neto

    I don’t even want to get into trying to edit ads in an AdGroup where there are MANY ads. “Edit Ad” — Scrolls to top of screen to edit ad —- scrolls back down, now which ad was next?! —-RAH

    • http://twitter.com/adelaidey_ Adelaide Neto

      sorry Campaign* — since we all know switching between AdGroups would just take far, far too long …

  • http://twitter.com/thebigfixer Richard Thomas

    the interface – the bloody interface – great post Eric – thought it was me!!

  • http://twitter.com/gravymatt Matt Graves
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