2021 update: RIP expanded text ads 🙁
According to the crew at Bing Ads, they’ll be rolling out ETA support for all advertiser accounts in December of 2016. For the time being, they’re being piloted amongst a very small group of advertisers elected to be beta testers. WordStream was lucky to get several accounts whitelisted for this feature, so we’re in the process of setting our ads up right now.
Unlike Google’s ETA pilot (which didn’t offer full interface access at first, let alone support through AdWords Editor), the Bing Ads iteration is significantly more buttoned-up. They’ve already built ETA-creation tools into the Bing Ads interface, as well as Bing Ads Editor. At this point, it seems like they’re just testing out the kinks before releasing it to a more widespread audience.
Google’s “master plan” is to fully shift to ETAs in 2017. Advertisers can create both standard and expanded ads for the time being but that will all end come October 26. At that point, existing standard ads will be set in stone and you’ll only be able to create ETAs. Soon after, the shorter ad format will sunset and only ETAs will be served.
Not so on Bing. According to the crew at Microsoft, the engine has “not made any decision on if or when they’ll retire standard ads.” Instead, it’ll continue to serve both formats interchangeably.
In 2017, either of these ads will be eligible to show on Bing.
Why aren’t they drawing a hard line? Many suspect that this is a “survival move” for Bing—if it forces advertisers to invest a ton of time into transitioning their accounts, chances are high that many won’t bother, causing a huge hit to Bing’s bottom line.
Motivations aside, I’d like to throw out a huge “thank you” to Bing on behalf of all PPC advertisers. No one wants to spend the first few weeks of the New Year frantically composing ETAs.
Yep, when you see the new feature in the Bing Ads interface, you’ll have a moment of déjà vu. It’s strikingly similar to its Google namesake. Really, the only differentiator is the option to set a native ad preference on ads that you’ve crafted specifically to serve that particular context. Bing Native ads give advertisers the opportunity to reach beyond the Bing search network and display ads on MSN pages. Bing analyzes searchers’ intent signals to ensure that these ads are displaying to the right people in the right context.
Since the character limits for Bing ETAs mirrors that of AdWords, transitioning to ETAs should be fairly painless for most advertisers. They can use the same guidelines to build their ad messaging and it’s likely that the best practices we’ve identified for AdWords ETAs will hold true for Bing as well. Of course, we’ll be monitoring the performance of our clients in the Bing beta program closely and we’ll be sure to publish a post on discrepancies, should we run into any.
Most marketers get their feet wet with Google’s ads and then, when they’ve mastered the PPC basics, they extend their online marketing efforts to Bing. The team at Bing ads doesn’t fight this behavior, they embrace it. They know that advertisers accustomed to AdWords’ CPCs will breathe a sigh of relief when they see what a bang for their buck they get on Bing.
To facilitate this expansion, Bing has spent the last few years ensuring their platform maintains parity with Google’s and making it stupid-simple for advertisers to take the plunge. It even built a tool specifically to help advertisers import their AdWords account structure into Bing Ads.
When AdWords announced it was moving to the ETA model, many advertisers panicked that this import function would no longer work and they’d be stuck creating two ad sets forever. Of course, this would be a serious deterrent to using Bing Ads, so the team has been quick to address this problem. Upon the release of Bing ETAs, they’ve promised that import tool will be up-to-date and ready to pull in Google ETAs.
For years, we’ve relied on Bing’s impressive extension offerings to jazz up our ads and secure additional real estate on the SERP. Luckily, you’ll still have the opportunity to take advantage of these with your ETAs. Meaning, your ads will be that much bigger!
Just because you don’t have to make the shift to ETAs on Bing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother. It’s too soon to pull any real data and prove the true impact of Bing ETAs, but based on what we’ve seen on Google, we expect to see significantly elevated CTRs.
Think of it this way—you don’t have to floss your teeth every day, but it’s definitely worth your while; the benefits are tenfold. The same goes for running ETAs on Bing. Sure, your account will probably do just fine without them, but it’s likely to do far better with them.
Don’t be a deadbeat marketer—take the time to build/import expanded ads for Bing (be sure to floss, too!).
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