For many years it seems that Bing Ads has been running far behind Google Adwords in the Paid Search marketplace. However, in 2016 it seems that Bing Ads is finally waking up. With a slew of new updates this year as well as some new products I’ve a few things to write about in regards to Bing Ads this year. First, they introduced new Image Extensions,
then they stole AOL away from Google where they now serve paid ads on all their properties and now they are finally doing something we Paid Marketers have been whining, for lack of a better term, about for many years.
As of March 2016, Bing Ads is finally introducing Auto-Tagging into the mix of their paid search platform. For many, many, MANY years now we have had to manually implement our own UTM tags by appending each and every Destination URL in our paid accounts with Bing Ads. Now, seemingly with the click of a button (almost anyway) we can automatically install UTM tags to all of our URLs in order to track data in our analytics platforms. Hooray Beer… I mean Bing!
So, Bing Ads now has the ability to automatically ad your UTM tags to each and every one of your destination URLs for all of your ad variations (except for the content network, so I guess not “every” destination URL). It doesn’t matter which type of ad as they all are now covered (except for the previously mentioned content network ad URLs) from text ads, to keywords, Bing Shopping Campaigns, SiteLink Extensions, and Image Extensions. So now, you can all use your analytics platforms to track your sales, conversions, and website goals. Thank You Bing Ads for finally listening to us after years of umm… whining?… yeah, whining…that’s what I meant to say.
Auto Tagging is activated at the account level of your Bing Ads account. Once auto tagging is turned on, Bing Ads will then automatically add the designated UTM parameters to each and every one of your destination URLs across the entire account. Just to reiterate, this will implement auto tagging across all text ads, keywords, Bing Shopping Campaigns, SiteLink Extensions, and Image Extensions as well. Here is a list of instructions on how to set this up, moving forward. You can also refer to the documentation that I referred to for this information at Bing Ads Help website located here ¹:
- Click the gear icon, and then click Accounts and Billing.
- If you have multiple accounts, select an account from the drop-down list at the top of the page.
- On the Accounts tab, click the edit icon.
- Then, next to “Auto-Tagging”, select “Add UTM tags to my destination URLs”.
- Either choose to replace all of your existing UTM tags from your destination URLs, or instead… keep the UTM tags on your destination URLs the way you already have them and then have Bing Ads only add any of the UTM tags that may be missing at that time.
The first of the two options will delete any of the UTM tags you already have in place and then add the UTM tags below. The second option will simply add the UTM tags below to your existing UTM tags that are appended to your current destination URLs.
- Lastly, click Save.
What UTM tags are actually added to the destination URLs you may ask? Bing actually attaches a list of the following UTM parameters to the destination URLs as it loads. These parameters are added in this specific order shown here up until the point that the maximum pre-defined length of the destination URL is reached.
- utm_source : tells you where people came from. Of course this is set to “Bing” for the current purpose, but as you may or may not already know you can change this if tracking from a different source such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or others.
- utm_medium : what medium is being used. This will be set to “cpc” as are most “paid search” measures. You will find that Google also sets their auto tagging UTM parameter to “cpc” as well. You should follow this practice across all paid search verticals.
- utm_campaign : what campaign generated the click on your ad in the first place? This information helps in identifying the name of the campaign that the keyword came from.
- utm_conent : what ad group did the click originate from? This information helps in identifying the name of the ad group that the keyword came from.
- utm_term : what keyword did the click originate from? This will identify the actual keyword term that generated the original click that brought visitor(s) to your website. Of course, all of this information is vital in identifying what is working in your accounts in terms of clicks, click through rates, conversions, conversion rates, and ultimately your overall CPA (Cost Per Acquisition (lead or sale).
Here is an example of what a URL might look like after having generated UTM parameters through auto tagging:
So, in closing… “If you don’t know… Now you know!”. The days of manually adding UTM parameters to destination URLs in Bing Ads are OVER! Let’s all celebrate with Bing Ads. Hooray Beer!… shoot…I mean Bing 😛
With thirteen years of Internet Marketing experience, Ed Cehi joined That Company as a PPC Account Manager in 2008 after previously working at another high profile Florida Web Design and Marketing Agency located in Ocala, Florida for the six years previous. He started his career in Internet Marketing as a Web Designer after graduating from The International Academy of Design and Technology in Orlando Florida with his degree in Web Design. He soon moved on to Search Engine Optimization and then graduated into Paid Advertising following that. Ed now holds the Senior SEM Manager position at Th@t Company. You can find him online with multiple social mediums like Twitter @edsaxman and LinkedIn
– Ed Cehi, Senior PPC Manager