Bing Product Ads went live on March 26th, 2014. In a little over 1 month of life, there are some very top-down observations we can make from about the program. If you’re not familiar with the program, you’re obliged to download our all-encompassing ebook and register for our upcoming webinar with Bing.
This was somewhat of an unexpected development. Typically when a new CPC program goes live, there’s a small amount of competition simply because of the sheer number of advertisers on a new program. Of course, as this program grows older, there will certainly be more advertisers in each vertical – a process which will drive CPCs up.
But the competition is high on Bing Product Ads not because of a large number of advertisers but rather because of it’s product comparison format. Bing’s limitation to just 6 displayable ads for a given search query makes its CPCs very comparable to the much more universally used Product Listing Ads.
Google clicks through to a comparison page, where potentially hundreds of different advertisers can show up:
Whereas Bing scrapped their Bing Shopping interface entirely when they launched Product Ads, restricting SERP results to just 6 product ads (even if hundreds are bidding in this product category).
This limitation drives CPCs higher despite a lower number of overall advertisers since there are only 6 slots available. Viewed in a more positive light, this gives advertisers more incentive to bid more aggressively since it’s more likely a shopper clicks on your ad when it’s compared to only 5 other ads (vs. potentially hundreds on Google Shopping).
Factors Influencing the Click
Playing off of Bing’s 6-grid format, there are only a few factors that can influence a shopper’s click on your product. We are still living in the pre-rich snippet times with Product Ads, as advertisers don’t yet have the capability to distinguish their product ads with extensions like seller reviews, price changes, promotional text (shown on the ad), etc.
This leaves product image, price, and product title as the 3 main factors at play (probably in that order of importance, too). Does this influence campaign strategy at all?
The current Product Ads format only enhances the importance of having an optimized product feed, complete with high quality product images (I’d say that the Oriental Trading listing above is disadvantaged here) and relevant, enhanced product titles.
Nevertheless, this should not deter advertisers from using the program. If anything, retail advertisers should feel more incentivized to test out Bing Product Ads before the Q4 rush. We widely view Bing Product Ads as a bottom-of-the-funnel traffic channel that should play be interesting X-factor for retailers during the holidays.
Moreover, we’ve seen high conversion rates with the program. It will be an important step to set up campaigns before August, when Google pulls the plug on its pre-Shopping Campaigns PLA format (which can be easily transferred into Bing to start a campaign).