Bing’s New Audience Targeting Tools: What You Should Know

Remember Bing? Although the SEM industry still runs through Google, Microsoft isn’t sitting on its laurels. And just this summer, Bing Ads launched two important audience targeting features that let marketers connect with buyer-intent consumers.

Google and Facebook offer far more in-market segmenting options. Google just recently activated in-market audiences for Search Network campaigns; before, it was only available with Display Network ads. Still, the inclusion of this technology is a big step for Bing Ads.

But how do Bing, Google and Facebook determine which users should be included with in-market audiences? Microsoft has said its new targeting features are fueled by data from the tech giant’s various services, including Bing and MSN. For more of a glimpse behind the curtain, though, consider this May 23 post on Google’s Inside AdWords blog. The post briefly explains how Google uses machine learning — a form of artificial intelligence — to analyze “trillions of search queries and activity across millions of websites to help figure out when people are close to buying and surface ads that will be more relevant and interesting to them.”

Think about the vast amounts of data generated with each passing moment as people share links, click ads, read (or bounce) from content, make search queries or click search results. It’s no wonder why in-market audience features are becoming commonplace.

Bing for Custom Audiences

While in-market audiences harness the power of Microsoft’s data-collecting services, custom audiences are the virtual opposite. With custom audiences, marketers can use their own analytics data to target groups of consumers who have already visited their websites.

This may not seem as compelling as in-market audiences, but don’t underestimate how custom audiences can boost your ROI. This new feature is a form of remarketing, which has long been one of Google AdWords’ most powerful features.

In a nutshell, remarketing puts your ads in front of people who’ve already shown some degree of interest in your goods and services. Remarketing campaigns can cover anyone who visits your website during a specified timeframe, or they can focus on consumers who make it to online shopping carts before closing their browser windows. Traffic from remarketing campaigns is far more likely to convert than typical search traffic.

The downside to Bing’s custom audiences feature is that it can only pull data from Adobe Audience Manager — which means marketers with clients who don’t use that CRM are out of luck. Just like Bing has promised to expand its in-market audience segments, it has also pledged to integrate its custom audiences with more CRM platforms. Those who happen to use Adobe Audience Manage can jump right in.


Bing Ads may never catch up with Google and Facebook in terms of their sheer volume of interaction. That said, Microsoft is committed to equipping its PPC ad platform with the latest in search-marketing technology. To that end, the addition of in-market and custom audiences are welcome steps.

One more thing if you plan on trying either of these features — you’ll have to contact your Bing Ads account rep to get them activated for your account. Do that, though, and it’s easy to get started. You might need to wait on custom audiences if you don’t use Adobe’s CRM, but the in-market audience features can make an immediate impact on your digital marketing efforts.

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Author: Phil Frost

Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on,,, and many other major business media outlets.

Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.

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