Bing's New(ish) Automated Bidding Strategies

By Mike Matta | @MattaMike | Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing |

It seems to have flown a bit under the radar but Bing is slowly rolling out many of the fancy new automated bidding strategies that Google has been pushing as of recent.

Finding those Customers

Bing seems to be an afterthought but lately, I’ve been seeing some good success in the channel once things are tweaked. While Bing & Google are Search at the end of the day, they have their differences and it’s unfair to import your Ads campaigns into Bing and expect similar results.

My point, don’t expect these new automated strategies to perform the same as Google. It’s imperative to test the new Target CPA and Maximize Conversions bidding strategies in their unique ecosystem. Just because it has the same name doesn’t mean it’s going to perform the same!

Let’s take a closer look at what goes into these bidding strategies before jumping into both of the new options.

Platform Signals & Best Practices

Similar to Google Ads, Bing is going to take into account a number of signals to drive real-time bidding. Remember, we’re giving full control over to each platform to make bid choices in the hopes of achieving our end goal.

While both platforms use the murky “leverage unique signals” to drive their bidding decisions, Bing does offer some more specific details. Some of those signals include web browser, operating system, search query, and ad copy. Bid adjustments can be made based on time of day, day of week, location, and device.

Bing’s audience tends to skew towards desktop and Microsoft Edge (Internet Explorer) which means we likely won’t be seeing quite the breadth of information that we would be seeing on Google. That makes it a little bit easier to account for these things without automated bidding being implemented.

Note: Target CPA and Maximize Conversions are currently only available for Search; no shopping yet.

Target CPA Bidding

Very similar to Google, Target CPA bidding gives the system leeway to get conversions at whatever your Target CPA is. It is generally best practice to start with the CPA that you’ve been achieving over the last 30 days rather than your aspirational CPA goal is because it could be unattainable and you’ll likely kill off your traffic.

While I have yet to test this bidding strategy on Bing, it seems to work best on high volume campaigns that aren’t restricted by budget in the Google Ads world. This will give the system as much leeway as possible to start generating conversions.

Maximize Conversions

Just like the name suggests, this is allowing Bing to set bids with the goal of getting as many conversions as possible. There are no restrictions like “being profitable” and the goal is to get as many wins as possible.

Now that doesn’t mean things won’t be profitable but it means you’ll likely want to keep an eye on things and expect some crazy numbers the first couple weeks of testing. I would likely start with campaigns that are high priority but are limited by budget for whatever reason. This should ensure that you’re squeezing the maximum amount of performance out of that campaign.

Things to Keep in Mind

As with all things in life, there are some best practices to help ensure you’re setting yourself up for success. Bing recommends at least 15 conversions over the last 30 days to turn on these bidding strategies and the more the better. This will give the backend system more data to work with and have a better idea of who is converting.

It is also known that it takes time for the system to learn so patience Padawan. Don’t give up after a week. Bing recommends at least 2-3 weeks but likely you’ll want to give yourself a month unless this is a really high volume campaign.

One negative about these new bidding strategies is the inability to set up A/B testing like we can in Google Ads. You’re making the full switch which can add some uncertainty to any results (was it just a better/worse month in general rather than caused by bidding, etc.). Hopefully, this is something that will be rolled out on Bing in the future because it makes my willingness to test and get impactful results much appealing.

Closing Thoughts

Bing is its own animal in the world of search but they continue to make tweaks to their system and make it more inviting to advertisings to branch onto for the first time or expand their current portfolio.

As with all things, don’t give into the machines immediately and make sure you’re setting everyone up for success by following best practices and giving things time to run & learn. Because if you set yourself up for failure, it’s not really the AI’s fault now is it….

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