Microsoft Ads Tools: 15 Free Resources to Optimise Campaigns

May 24th, 2023

Microsoft Ads (formerly Bing ads) are often neglected in favour of bigger ad networks like Google. But in the wake of Microsoft’s multi-billion dollar investment in Open AI, Bing has recently surged to 100 million daily active users. So if you’re not yet using Microsoft Ads tools to promote your business, it might be time to diversify your PPC strategy.

These Surfside PPC stats explain why it’s a good time to start advertising on Bing:

  • You’re missing out on more than 30% of search traffic if you’re not advertising on Microsoft Ads.
  • Microsoft advertising is more than 59% cheaper than Google in some industries.
  • The Microsoft Ads network gives you access to higher-income consumers.

However, it’s important to approach this platform strategically and respect its unique features. Microsoft Ads has its own algorithms, tools, and targeting options, so it’s crucial to spend time learning and optimising your campaigns to get the most out of it. For example, Microsoft’s machine learning is weaker than Google, so their CPA targeting doesn’t work as well.

When we spoke to PPC Consultant Yoann Ferrand on a recent webinar, he said:

Marketers treat Microsoft Ads like they’re pushing a bull into a china shop. You won’t see better results by using the same target CPA and inventory as Google Ads. Start small and give the platform a fair chance to prove itself before scaling up both your campaigns and investment.

Yoann Ferrand

PPC Consultant & Founder of In-House Partners

In this article, we’ll explore 15 free Microsoft Ads tools that can streamline your ad campaign management, give you better return on ad spend, and deliver more predictable revenue growth.

TL;DR: 15 Free Microsoft Ads Tools

  1. Ad Preview Tool — See what your ads will look like before they’re published.
  2. Automated Bidding —  Save time when managing campaign bids and budgets.
  3. Campaign ExperimentsA/B test your ads to improve PPC performance.
  4. Competition Tab — Learn about competitor activity for your chosen keywords.
  5. Conversion Tracking — Align and optimise your ad campaigns for your business goals.
  6. Editor — Download the MS Ads editor to update campaigns offline or in bulk.
  7. Import Tools — Import campaigns from other ad networks into your MS Ads account.
  8. Keyword PlannerResearch keywords and select the best options for your goals.
  9. Local Advertising — Attract people in your local area to your store or business.
  10. Microsoft Advertising App — Download the MS Ads app for on-the-go campaign management.
  11. Microsoft Advertising Scripts — Write custom scripts to automate repetitive PPC advertising tasks.
  12. Mobile Ad Targeting — Target mobile users to take advantage of high-intent searches.
  13. Recommendations Tab — Apply recommendations to improve chances of campaign success.
  14. Universal Event Tracking — Add a UET tag to your site to enable conversion tracking and retargeting.
  15. Web Analytics — Make data-driven decisions using an extensive analytics suite.

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15 Free Microsoft Ads Tools to Boost PPC Success

Let’s explore each of these tools in more depth, and see how they can benefit your campaigns.

1. Ad Preview Tool

The ad preview tool is a great way to run diagnostics before you start spending. Simply type in the search keyword, and the ad preview tool will show you a Bing SERP preview that includes your ad:

Microsoft’s ad preview tool can:

  • Give you helpful insights that will help your ad appear on the first page.
  • Preview the results of bid changes to help you control your ad spend.
  • Check your ad appears correctly in multiple formats, including mobile.
  • See what your live ad will look like, including headline, description, and URL.

Previewing your ads also means you don’t need to check them when they’re live. So there’s no need to skew your reporting data by creating false impressions on your target keywords.

Learn more about using the ad preview tool in this video:

2. Automated Bidding

Like Google Ads, Microsoft Ads offers automated bidding strategies designed to optimise your ad spend based on your PPC goals. Popular automated bidding strategies include:

Automated bidding can save time, but it can also give you less control over your spend. Without vigilant monitoring, PPC automation can cause your campaign to spiral out of control, targeting irrelevant audiences and even fake users.

If you decide to use automated bidding, it’s important to protect your Microsoft ad campaigns from invalid traffic that can sap your budget. Based on data we’ve collected at Lunio, Bing tends to generate more invalid traffic than Google, so this is even more important if you’re using the MS ad network.

Lunio is designed to stop bots and other fake users clicking your ads, protecting your budget and improving your performance marketing efficiency. 

3. Campaign Experiments

Campaign experiments allow you to A/B test your Microsoft ads, so you can refine and optimise them to improve your return on investment.

Campaign experiments effectively split your campaign into two: your original campaign and a modified duplicate. It uses some of your original campaign’s budget and traffic to test the duplicate, and see which ad performs best among your target audience.

Create an experiment in the experiments tab, then adjust your test variant. Try to limit your changes to one per experiment, so you can measure the impact of each specific change.

Use your campaign experiment results to make data-driven decisions around bids, ad creative, ad text, and targeting to make sure your ad campaigns are fully optimised.

4. Competition Tab

Michelle Morgan, co-founder of Paid Media Pros, says competitor analysis is often neglected in PPC advertising:

One thing I don’t think people pay enough attention to is competition. What are your competitors doing? How are they bidding on certain terms in your account? Are they bidding on your brand or not? And are they getting more or less aggressive? For my money, Microsoft Ads has the best auction insights tool.

Michelle Morgan

Founder, Paid Media Pros

The competition tab in Microsoft Ads helps you understand the advertising landscape for your product. Gain insights about competitor activity for the keywords you want to target, including impression share, average position, and the number of advertisers bidding on your keywords.

Use the competition tab to:

  • Make informed decisions on keyword targeting.
  • Identify untapped opportunities for targeting and growth.
  • Measure and improve ad performance versus your competitors.

5. Conversion Tracking

Conversion tracking is one of the most effective ways to make sure your ads are on track to meet your business goals. Here’s how it works:

  1. Create a conversion goal. This can be a website action, offline conversion, or installation of your app.
  2. Add a UET (Universal Event Tracking) tag to your website. Like Google’s global site tag, the UET tag allows Microsoft to collect data about actions taken on your website. Without it, the platform can’t track conversions (more on this in point #14).
  3. Set up conversion attribution so Microsoft knows when and how to count a conversion.

With conversion tracking set up, you can align and optimise your ad campaigns for your business goals.

6. Microsoft Advertising Editor

Unlike cloud-based Microsoft Ads tools, the MS Advertising Editor is a downloadable desktop app that can be used offline. It enables you to manage campaigns in bulk across both search and audience networks.

Download the MS Ads editor to streamline your campaign management and implement changes in record time.

7. Import Tool

The import tool is super useful if you’re already running ads on other networks, such as Google or Facebook. Import campaigns from other networks into your MS Ads account, expanding your reach while saving time on manual tasks.

See how to import campaigns from Google Ads into Microsoft Ads in this video:

Start small though. Don’t import everything right away. Import only the best performing keywords from your Google Ads campaigns, as not all keywords will perform the same on Microsoft Ads. By focusing on the best performing keywords, you can maximise your ROAS by giving the algorithms a better chance to learn and optimise. Also, don’t forget to check and preview your imported campaigns before you set them live.

8. Keyword Planner

The keyword planner is essential for creating highly targeted campaigns. Use this Microsoft Ads tool to research and select the best keywords for your goals.

If you’re familiar with Google’s keyword planner, the MS Ads keyword planner works in a similar way. But it does have some interesting additional features:

  • Multiply keyword lists — Find new keywords by entering keywords from two different categories (such as theme and product type). MS Ads will multiply the results and suggest new keywords.
  • Historical stats — See historical data for each keyword based on the targeting, search options, and date range you select.
  • Estimated CPC — Enter your bid and daily budget to get estimated impressions and click costs for each keyword.

Click Tools, then navigate to the keyword planner. Enter your keyword ideas individually or in bulk, select your targeting options, and get suggestions. Then choose which keywords to target within your campaigns:

Watch this tutorial for more tips on using the MS Ads keyword planner:

9. Local Advertising

Local advertising is great for businesses that have a brick-and-mortar store, or only ship to certain locations. With this feature, you can target potential customers in specific locations.

First, claim your business on Bing Places for Business. Include relevant information like opening hours, photos, and contact details to encourage foot traffic and drive sales. 

When creating your ads, don’t forget to include call, location, and sitelink extensions. These help drive offline conversions like phone enquiries and store visits.

10. Microsoft Advertising App

Manage your MS ads on-the-go with the Microsoft Ads app, which is available for both Android and Apple devices. Use the app to:

  • Monitor performance and make changes wherever you are.
  • Get real-time notifications for your account, such as ad disapprovals.
  • Manage all your ad campaigns and social media accounts from one dashboard.

11. Microsoft Advertising Scripts

Use Microsoft Advertising Scripts to automate repetitive tasks when creating and managing your ad campaigns. Set up custom JavaScript code to automate actions and save time. 

You’ll need some knowledge of JavaScript coding to write your own custom scripts. But Microsoft also provides some ready-made script template examples so you can automate these tasks (and lots of others) without writing your own custom code:

  • Get all the keywords in your account.
  • Find disapproved ads.
  • Get shared budget performance data.

To add a script to your MS Ads account, head to Tools > Scripts > Create Script. Replace the title with the name of your script, then copy the custom or template code into the code editor. 

Click Preview to execute the script in preview mode, so you can check the output before you run it against your live ad campaigns. This is especially important if you’re using a script to modify data, rather than just retrieve it.

12. Mobile Ad Targeting

Smartphones generate more than 60% of website traffic. So it’s essential that you’re targeting mobile users with ads designed just for them. 

Mobile searches tend to be more urgent than desktop searches. That means you’re more likely to get a rapid conversion following a search on mobile. In the hospitality industry, 89% of mobile users have immediate purchase intent. Most of them take action within 24 hours of their initial research.

Pick up these high-intent searches with Microsoft’s mobile ad targeting tool. You can:

  • Reach users near your store or premises.
  • Target specific device types and operating systems.
  • Help customers find you with location extensions.
  • Adjust bids based on user location.

13. Recommendations Tab

Like Google Ads, Microsoft offers AI-driven recommendations to improve campaign performance. These suggestions usually consist of:

  • Bid optimisations.
  • Targeting adjustments.
  • Ad group creation recommendations.

Recommendations help you identify areas for improvement. Some, like adding extensions or setting up conversion tracking, can boost your chances of campaign success. 

But make sure you understand the impact of applying a recommendation before you do it. Some (like increasing keyword bids) may improve performance, but only by increasing your spend. Others (like adding broad match keyword variants) will expand your reach without improving performance. So make sure to monitor the impact and cost of any recommendations you apply.

14. Universal Event Tracking

Universal Event Tracking, or UET, allows Microsoft to track and monitor user interactions with your ads. This includes key metrics like clicks, impressions, and conversions. UET is also essential for tracking conversions and retargeting users.

Add one UET tag to your site to track all kinds of metrics. It’s a great way to collect first-party data, which can improve your advertising segmentation and help you target users with more useful, relevant ad content. You can also:

  • Get better insights into ad performance.
  • Optimise your campaigns based on real user interactions.
  • Enhance your overall marketing strategy based on genuine conversion data.

Learn how to set up event tracking in your Microsoft Ads account in this video:

15. Microsoft Web Analytics

Microsoft Web Analytics give you all the information you need to make informed, data-driven decisions about your PPC campaigns. Track all kinds of user behaviour metrics, including:

  • Events — See what happens after customers click your ads to get valuable conversion insights.
  • Campaign analytics — Measure the effectiveness of your ads so you can plan and tweak future campaigns.
  • Understand your traffic — Use metrics like time spent, pages visited, and actions taken to learn about the traffic visiting your site.

These metrics can also show you if fake users are clicking your ads. If this is a concern, implement a tool like Lunio to deflect bots away from your ads and make sure all your traffic is made up of genuine human users.

Using data from the free web analytics tool enables you to create more effective ad campaigns, improve user experience, and boost your conversion rates. 

Is Microsoft Ads Right For Your Business?

While Google Ads is undoubtedly the biggest player in the paid search game, it’s vital to consider other platforms, such as Microsoft Ads, especially as Bing adoption grows.

Despite having lower overall search volume compared to Google Ads, Microsoft offers a lower cost-per-click (CPC), which means you can drive more engagement with your budget. And making the Microsoft Ads tools listed above will help you build your campaigns on a solid foundation.

As mentioned previously, be careful not to overload the system with too much inventory too quickly. Instead, start with a smaller campaign and gradually increase inventory as the platform learns and improves performance.

Protect Your Bing Ads From Fake Traffic

Ads are for humans, not bots. Get a demo and save up to 25% of your advertising budget by automatically eliminating fake ad engagements across all paid channels.

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