By Katherine Rocker

The search landscape is rather different now compared to when I first wrote a blog on Bing Ad Extensions, back in September 2014. Since then we’ve gained quite a few extensions and lost others, and Bing has become a much bigger part of the global search market (particularly in the US, with over 20% of market share). They’ve also launched Shopping, DoubleClick integration (although as of September 7th 2016, Bing ad extensions aren’t supported, along with a few other bits and pieces) and Universal Event Tracking to make it easier to measure performance. No excuses for not making the most of your Bing accounts!

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What Extensions Are Available On Bing?

In 2014, we had only three official ad extensions: sitelinks, location extensions and call extensions. These were all fairly similar to Google's own versions but with frustratingly limited functionality. As of September 2016, there are now nine that we can directly impact, plus a range of automated annotations.

Current ad extensions (September 2016):           

  • Merchant ratings
  • App extensions
  • Call extensions
  • Callout extensions
  • Image extensions
  • Location extensions
  • Review extensions
  • Sitelink extensions (enhanced)
  • Structured snippets

We’ve excluded a few things that are still in beta (including actionlink extensions and video extensions, plus a few things we’re not allowed to tell you about yet) but these will be added once they’re available to everyone.

App Extensions

Android, iOS and Windows apps are supported – Google app extensions only support Android and iOS, so bonus points for Bing here. They’re fairly clever – they detect the device / operating system and direct the searcher to the correct app store. You can track installs as conversions but unlike Google can’t track any in-app actions.

Bing App Extension Example

Call Extensions

As with Google, you can use your own phone number or utilise a call forwarding number, which allows you to track calls from that specific ad. Call extensions work well for some retailers, particularly B2B, but won't be relevant in every case.

There are a couple of options available for Bing call extensions, laid out in this handy (expandable) flow chart:

Bing Call Extensions Flow Chart

The ‘show just the phone number’ option is the same format as Google’s ‘call only campaigns’. We’ve not been able to find any in the wild, so the above image is just an example.

On mobiles, this also works as a click to call ad, and on desktop / tablet you can click to call using Skype, which is a Bing Ads exclusive feature. If you're not sure it's relevant to you it's worth reading this Wordstream blog on the 10 types of business that really should be using call tracking.

Bing Click To Call Extension Example - Desktop
Bing Click To Call Extension Example - Mobile

Callout Extensions

Another new one, we now have callout extensions in Bing as well as Google. You apply them at campaign or ad group level, and they show up separated by an interpunct (a little floating dot). You can have a max of 20 selected per ad group / campaign, need a minimum of two callouts to show, and each individual callout has a limit of 25 characters. This is a great place to add in your USPs if they don’t fit in the description lines. They don’t currently serve on mobile.

Bing Callout Extension Example

Image extensions

These are a merging of two old ad extensions – Rich Ads In Search (which used the same ad position but required a branded image) and a previous version of image extensions, which showed three larger images above the ad. Now you can make sure you have continuity between your marketing channels, for example by featuring a still from your TV ad campaign alongside the same offer in your online ads. They do have to be relevant to the keywords! Images may also show as Bing Native Ads, although this isn’t fully rolled out yet.

Bing Image Extension Example

You can have up to six images associated with each ad group or campaign, which will be rotated, although it’s not clear whether they will be optimised in any way.

There are some additional limitations to image extensions; you can get more information in the Bing image extensions guide

Location extensions

Again, this is a very similar extension to the one offered by Google. It allows you to add your business locations to campaigns, and the location closest to the searcher will be shown. However, the searcher needs to be within 50 miles of one of your business locations for a location extension to be shown, otherwise they'll just get a standard ad.

Bing Location Extension Example

Merchant Ratings (Previously Seller Ratings)

Another extension very similar to Google, with the same five star set up on the ads. This is technically an automated annotation, but has been included as whether it shows or not is impacted by the number of reviews collected for your business. You can therefore get it added (or at least eligible to show) by encouraging more people to leave reviews.

Bing Merchant Ratings / Sellar Rating Extension Example

Previously, Bing requirements were much lower than for Google (only needing 10 reviews to Google’s 30). This has now been updated to require 30 unique reviews over the past 12 months. This is still much lower than Google, as the requirements for Google Seller Ratings are now 150 in 12 months! In line with Google, seller ratings will only show if the overall rating is above 3.5. Although the eligibility limits have increased, they have now added a number of additional review sources

Review Extensions

These allow you to add a small quote or paraphrased review, plus the review source, to your ad. There are quite a lot of restrictions on review extensions but it boils down to needing to be a quote or accurate reflection of a truthful review, from a reliable source, within the past year. We've found that the restrictions on these can be quite strict, so make sure you check back regularly once you've submitted it to see if it's been approved successfully.

Bing Review Extension Example - Desktop
Bing Review Extension Example - Mobile

Official word from Bing is that these only serve on desktop and tablet; however we’ve definitely seen these appearing on mobile in a slightly different format (without the source listed).

Enhanced Sitelink Extensions

In 2014 you could only use a headline, but like Google they now allow for an additional two lines of description below each sitelink. They do occasionally show just the headlines, so make sure they make sense without the additional description.

It’s pretty much the most basic extension to set up, and is particularly useful for ads that are using very brand focussed keywords where the user hasn't indicated what they're looking for from your company. You can set them at campaign or ad group level (not account level yet), and ad group level will override campaign level.

Bing Sitelink Extension Example

Potential sitelink options include 'contact us' links, product colours, product types, special offers and promotions, other recommended products, B2B and B2C options, log in pages, or links to pretty much any section of your site that might be of interest to potential customers.

The links shown are based on their relevancy to the ad, but you can also influence this by the order you add them to the campaign. The higher up the list, the greater likelihood that it will show. They'll also only show on banner ads, and for campaigns that are performing well, so bear this in mind when creating them.

Structured snippets

Newly launched in September, these are all but identical to snippets in AdWords, right down to the headers available. You need to have at least three included to show, and can add a maximum of 10, although it's likely that not all will show at once.

Bing Structured Snippet Extension Example

One thing to note is that if you've got both callout extensions and structured snippets applied to the same ad, preference is given to callouts. 

Removed Extensions

Rich Ads In Search (RAIS) Extensions

Launched in 2011, this was an ad extension unique to Bing/Yahoo, similar to Google's Image Extensions but with a very different look. It allowed you to add two brand images to your ad - one small image on the left, and a larger one on the right. Alternatively the large image could be replaced with a video, which expanded when played. They have been replaced with image extensions and video extensions (still in beta).

Rich Ads In Search Example - Image
Rich Ads In Search Example - Video

Badges

Unfortunately, if you’re hoping to add ‘official site’ to your Bing ads, you’re out of luck, as this extension appears to have been discontinued. You’ll have to focus on making your ads look official instead.

Bing 'Official Site' Badge Example

Summary

With new Bing extensions coming thick and fast, you need to really keep on top of what’s showing for your ads on Bing to make sure you’re keeping up with (and outperforming) your competitors. Plus with lower levels of competition and generally lower CPCs, you can really use extensions to your advantage. 

If you're looking to expand your campaign outside Google AdWords, we have experts on Bing, Yahoo Gemini native advertising, Social (including Facebook & Twitter) plus DoubleClick search and programmatic bid management

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