ClickZ: Can you tell us a bit about your background and role as SMB evangelist for Bing Ads?
John Gagnon: I love data and digital marketing but especially search marketing, which is my first love. I've been at Bing for almost five years now, and before Bing I worked for Google AdWords in Mountain View, so I have a good perspective of both search engines. I love working for Bing because we're the underdog and we're going to surprise people.
The way I see my job as an evangelist is, basically, to translate nerdy optimization tactics into recommendations that small businesses can use. I am lucky enough to hear questions commonly asked and then I get to dive deep into our products to find the answer. Admittedly, I have caught myself diving into the inner workings of Quality Score on Saturday mornings while sipping a grande coffee. All that caffeine helps me gather best practices from the smartest SEMs and then share how you apply these tips and tricks to your campaigns.
CZ: Bing Ads recently went through a rebrand from adCenter. Can you tell us what Microsoft's offering is now and why it's important for SMBs to sit up and take note?
JG: My favorite number these days is 47 million. Because that's the number of unique searchers in the U.S. alone that aren't using Google but are found on the Yahoo Bing Network. And when our searchers buy, they buy more than Google searchers. So if you're an SMB or search marketer, not only are you missing out on a huge audience but you're missing out on your best potential customers. We've also spent a considerable amount of time making the import process from Google AdWords into Bing Ads as simple as possible. In a few minutes, with a few clicks of the mouse you can quickly and easily import your entire campaigns.
CZ: You're starting to add more and more features to the platform on a regular basis. What improvements have been made to Bing Ads recently that our readers may have missed?
JG: First, I'm glad you noticed because we've been working very hard! For the search nerds out there Share of Voice is a fantastic report because it'll give you a great of idea of not just where you're losing impressions, but also tell you why so you can begin to fix the problems. But fundamentals are really important, so in 2012 we released a number of improvements to our ad extensions including Sitelinks and Location Extensions.
CZ: Can you share some best practices for advertising on Bing? Is there anything different SMBs should be thinking about versus their Google AdWords campaigns?
JG: There are best practices for Bing Ads, but always start with the fundamentals: smart account structure to match your keywords properly with your ads. This step alone will help improve your CPC and ROI. If you haven't updated your Bing Ads account in a while I'd highly recommend importing or syncing your campaigns using our campaigns sync feature in Bing Ads Editor. It's a great way to keep everything current.
CZ: What does 2013 hold for Bing Ads and the industry as a whole in your opinion?
JG: We'll work hard to deliver more volume from the network. Over the past few weeks RKG Research reported that our click volume is up 39 percent, and we're committed to delivering even more. When you look ahead there will be new rich ad formats like Product Ads to drive deeper engagement on the search results page. There are ways for us to get smarter about unlocking specific audiences within our network and we're always working on ways to do that. When we look at mobile, both smartphones and tablet devices will continue to see mind-numbing growth, but smart marketers are investing in ways to tie phone calls to clicks and attribution models.
CZ: Where else can our readers keep in touch with you and the Bing Ads team?
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Melanie White is news and special projects editor at ClickZ, where she has worked since July 2012. White has been with Incisive Media (ClickZ's parent company) since 2009 where she was deputy editor/ US editor for one of the financial risk management titles, International Custody and Fund Administration (later Custody Risk).
In addition, White worked on FX Week where she was a senior reporter. She has also worked and contributed to a number of other titles, including The Accountant, International Accounting Bulletin, the New York Post, Independent Magazine (UK), as well as the broadcast title Sunday Live with Adam Boulton at Sky News.
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