PPC tips: Gaining valuable conversions through Bing’s Syndicated Partner Network

Bing created the Syndicated Partner Network to help advertisers increase their reach across a variety of other search engine platforms and publisher sites. At Croud, we tested this feature in a finance client’s Bing account, which helped us achieve 14% additional conversions and lowered the account’s overall CPA by 5%.

Whilst this has the potential to boost conversions, there are a few factors you need to consider to ensure you receive the right quality traffic and improve your account’s performance.

What is the Syndicated Partner Network?

The Syndicated Partner Network is a group of third-party publishers which utilise Bing’s search capabilities to monetise their website with paid ads. Essentially, it is Bing’s equivalent of Google’s Search Partner Network and includes:

  • Ask.com
  • Bloomberg
  • Cnet
  • DuckDuckGo
  • Ecosia
  • Gumtree
  • Infospace
  • Zapmeta

With Bing highlighting that last year one in six clicks from its network came from its Syndicated Partners, you have the potential to reach more users. For the PPC advertiser, this presents a good opportunity to receive additional conversions at a lower CPA value.

How do I know if my ads are serving on the Syndicated Partner Network?

By default, when a Bing account is first created, all ads are served through not just Bing, Yahoo and AOL, but also through the Syndicated Search Partners. Changes to ad distribution can only be done at the ad group level:

From the engine:

Once in the account, go to the “Ad Groups” tab and highlight the ad groups that you wish to view, then click “Edit”. From the dropdown menu, select “Other Changes”. The box below should appear:

There are three options that the advertiser can choose from. If you do not wish to widen your ad distribution to its fullest extent, then the second option “Bing, AOL, and Yahoo search” would be the preferred course.

From Bing ads editor:

Once the account and all its recent changes have been downloaded, click on “Ad Groups” in the Manage window. Within the “Edit the selected ad groups” tab, you should see the “Network Distribution” as highlighted below:

To make bulk changes and select only one distribution setting, highlight all the ad groups you wish to edit, then from the “Network Distribution” dropdown menu – select the option which best suits your ad delivery preference, before posting the changes back into the engine.

Why should I be cautious of the Syndicated Partner Network?

The list of publishers that advertisers can potentially receive traffic from is very extensive and therefore, there is a chance that the impressions and clicks you receive from a handful of sites might be very poor and could be considered spam traffic. The resulting decline in CTR and spend wastage from click fraud has deterred many advertisers in the past from continuing to serve their ads within a network containing some sites with dubious credentials.

Despite this, in the last few years, Bing have improved the quality of this search partner network drastically as they continually receive feedback on the publishers which provide good and poor quality traffic.

To find out more about how to identify click fraud, read “Click Fraud on Bing: How to Respond”.

How can I optimise performance within the Syndicated Partner Network?

Duplicate existing campaigns

Using the Bing Ads Editor, you can duplicate the campaigns that are already in the account. Within the original campaign, set the ad distribution to “Only Bing, AOL & Yahoo Websites” whilst at the same time set the cloned copy to “Only Bing, AOL & Yahoo Syndicated Search Partners”. This not only makes it easier to view the performance of the syndicated network in isolation but also makes it easier to identify areas for optimisation.

Exclude Publishers from ad distribution

After you have created the syndicated campaigns and have given them time to pick up traffic and data, you can view which publishers are driving poor traffic to your site. In the engine, go to the Dimensions tab and then “Show: Publisher Website”. Sort by spend or clicks and you should be able to identify the website partners that are receiving plenty of traffic but converting poorly, causing your CPA to rise.

Once you’ve identified and made a note of the problematic sites, go to the Bing Ads Editor and click on “Ad Groups” in the Manage window. After highlighting all the relevant ad groups, go to “Advanced Options” and select “Excluded Websites”.

Within the highlighted grey row in the table below, paste the URL of the site you wish to exclude from ad distribution.

Remember to leave the “www” prefix so the entire domain will be excluded from your ad distribution.

Segment data by device

Finally, it is also worth segmenting your campaigns by device. Some poor quality traffic has been known to come through mobile devices which was the case for one of Croud’s finance clients. After restricting device to desktop devices only, we not only saw spend significantly decrease but also the overall CPA of the syndicate campaigns.  

The results

After making the above optimisations within our syndicate campaigns, we left them to run as normal with little intervention throughout the whole of the following month:

By having an optimised syndicate campaign running alongside our normal Bing campaigns, we were able to acquire 14% additional conversions whilst also lowering the blended CPA of the whole Bing account by 5%.

Although the syndicated partner network can potentially generate harmful traffic, it is possible to identify and isolate the offending publishers and segments, early on. You are then left with the most efficient elements that will improve the overall efficiency of your Bing account.   

If you would like to find out more about how to approach utilising Bing’s syndicated search partner network, contact us.   

by Croud
31 January 2019



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