Microsoft Advertising is the underdog of the advertising world. With Google having a stronger market share, most advertisers will often overlook the capabilities of Microsoft, thinking of them as a secondary option at best.
But this horse is definitely worth placing a bet on.
Microsoft Advertising is a game-changer for many businesses. It’s the underutilized weapon that advertisers can use to get the best results and return on their campaigns.
To help you get the most from the platform, we’ve contacted Microsoft Partner Development Manager Anoushka Singh to exclusively tell us some of their best and most underutilized advertising features. Ready? Let’s jump in.
In-depth targeting options
Microsoft is one great big melting pot of platforms. You’ve got the Bing, AOL and Yahoo search engines, as well as LinkedIn, Skype and all of their display partners. It’s an immense pool of potential for you to reach out to.
With all of these platforms, Microsoft offers some of the best demographic options. For Bing users alone, 40% are between the ages of 35-54 and 38% have a household income of over $100,000. Better yet, they’re also more likely to spend an extra 52% online.
That’s an audience of people who have a greater household income and are ready to spend. And to top it off, Microsoft has some of the best audience targeting options out there.
Not only have you got demographic, custom, remarketing and in-market audiences that you might have used for Google, but Microsoft also offers additional targeting options like LinkedIn Profile Targeting.
This allows you to target people based on information such as the company they work for, their job title or industry. It’s ultra-specific, perfect for targeting those high-value clients or building B2B sales.
As the cherry on top, Microsoft also allows you to target locations, language and devices at ad group level, giving you more control over your targeting. In addition, you can assign different time zones to your ad campaigns, saving a lot of hassle for those running international campaigns.
As Anoushka Singh points out, Microsoft Partner Development Manager, Microsoft Search Partners is also an underutilized way to expand your reach. Microsoft’s Search Partner network allows advertisers to expand their reach with new placements. However, Microsoft also gives you “the ability to manage which partners your ads show up on and you can opt-out of individual sites that are not performing for you”.
In a nutshell, Microsoft’s targeting options are leagues above the rest.
Competition & intelligent reporting
Microsoft Advertising offers unique reports and insights that you can’t get anywhere else. These include the Competition tab, which Microsoft calls the “one-stop-shop to gather valuable information about your competition”.
The Competition Tab gives you a view of your competitor’s performance metrics and how they compare to your own, both over time (such as the past week, month or year) as well as aggregated metrics for a specific date range. These can be segmented into each hour of the day, day of the week or device type, so you can adjust your budget to the areas where you’re already outperforming your competitors.
Inline location targeting recommendations is another feature unique to Microsoft Advertising. Currently only available in the US, this feature suggests new areas to target and shows their estimated impact, such as the increase in impressions and search volume. There might be a few areas in there that surprise you.
Another underutilized reporting feature is Microsoft’s Universal Event Tracking (UET) tag. This tag is a way to track online conversions, remarketing and product audiences for your campaign. It can help improve your automated bidding, ad, broad match, and search partner performance.
Anoushka Singh states: “In order to get the most out of Microsoft Advertising you really need UET because it lights up so many big products and makes others (like in-market audiences) perform even better.”
Image Ad Extensions
There’s nothing like being able to physically show off your products. Search ads are amazing at finding customers at the right stage in the journey, but unless you’re running shopping campaigns you’ve only got words to pull your customers in.
Microsoft is different
Their unique image extensions allow you to put an image within your search ad, making your ad more attention-grabbing. What’s more, their multi-image ad extension means you can include a carousel of images for extra impact.
As well as image extensions, Microsoft Advertising offers action extensions that allow you to add a CTA button to your ad. There are up to 70 pre-defined CTAs to choose from, including Reserve and Browse, helping your customers to take immediate action.
“Adding image extensions not only makes your standard campaigns perform better, it also allows you to secure premium placements on the Microsoft Audience Network on sites like MSN, Outlook and Edge” comments Anoushka Singh.
To Anoushka, Small Budgets is a small tool that Microsoft Advertising has “had for years but is massively underutilized”.
It’s designed to maximize your resource allocation when you have lots of small campaigns that you just don’t have the time to make in-depth optimizations. This ensures that campaigns performing well don’t run out of budget, and others don’t end up with wasted budget that goes unspent.
One of the best things about managing Microsoft Advertising alongside your Google Ads is that you don’t have to start from scratch.
With their Google Import feature, users can literally import standard text campaigns, shopping campaigns and feeds from the Google Merchant Centre. If you’re also using the Microsoft Audience Network, you can also import display campaigns and assets into the platform, saving a lot of time and manual labor.
Microsoft Advertising is the platform of potential
There are plenty of benefits to using Microsoft Advertising, including its reach, the lower competition and lower CPC. Fundamentally, it can get you better results at a lower cost. It’s one of the many tools that you should have under your belt to up your sales and grow your business.
See what you can achieve with these underutilized Microsoft Advertising features.