From our Paid Media team, here is Reunion Marketing’s official position regarding Bing’s removal of sidebar text ads from our Paid Media team:
In an attempt to enhance user experience on Bing and to improve value for current and potential advertisers through Bing Ads, Bing has removed text sidebar ads from their search engine results page (SERP). The update began rolling out on March 26th and mirrors a similar search engine update implemented by Google in 2016.
Bing’s official position stated that “testing showed that SERP layout excluding sidebar text ads drove overall click gains for our advertisers…with an immaterial impressions impact.”
*Note that shopping ads will maintain their position in the right-hand sidebar or top on a desktop.
Bing also announced an additional text ad at the bottom of the search results, taking the total ads on Bing’s desktop SERP from 12 to 8. In the past, sidebar ads were not eligible to show richer ad formats that included ad extensions. The additional ad at the bottom should contribute to higher overall click-throughs for paid listings and help alleviate the competitive impact of losing 4 ad positions.
What does the removal of the Bing sidebar ads mean for marketers?
Marketers could see their organic traffic from Bing drop.
- Again, Bing has said that, when testing this rollout, advertisers were receiving additional clicks when users were shown a SERP layout without sidebar ads. This also tells us that paid listings on Bing may see a higher click-share, taking traffic from organic listings.
When Google removed their sidebar ads in 2016, we noticed higher CPCs and higher CTRs and lower overall impression shares. Since this change is so similar, we expect similar results.
Increased competition may affect key performance indicators.
- Marketers should monitor month-over-month changes to click-through rate, cost-per-click, impression share and ad position. At Reunion, we will evaluate these KPIs across all clients to look for trends related to higher competition with 4 fewer ad slots available.
When Google removed sidebar ads in 2016, we saw fluctuations in these metrics, and we adjusted our strategies accordingly.
If you don’t run paid search on Bing:
It’s time to consider it. Paid listings ensure that your customers can easily find you when they’re ready to purchase. Though Bing is often written off as non-essential, it touts an impressive 24% of the desktop SERP market share, and they’ve made strives to keep that number from falling. To capture 100% of the search market, you must have a presence on Bing. Removing sidebar ads solidifies their commitment as Google’s top search engine competitor.
While you can head to Bing.com right now and search for your valuable keywords for your business to see who comes up, Reunion Marketing offers a free digital analysis for a full view of your paid search performance. We would love to show you the opportunities available to you on Bing.