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Your Updated Guide to Microsoft Shopping Campaigns

Antonella Saravia

5 years ago



Have you been using Shopping Campaigns to sell products online? If you haven’t, you’ve been missing out on the impact that product ads could be having on your business.

Microsoft Shopping campaigns drive customers to your products through engaging retail ads on the Bing Search Network. These campaigns drive revenue and boost online presence as they leverage automation to display relevant interests to consumers based on their searches.

Microsoft Advertising has two types of ads: text and product ads. Product ads, used in Shopping Campaigns, include custom images from your product catalogs, pricing, and seller details. A title to the block of product ads is included, helping draw attention to the bulk.

If a search is relevant, your product will show up in results.

These product ads showcase your company, images of products, descriptions, and prices–giving searchers all the information that they need to make a purchase decision.

Check out some of the best practices to get your Shopping Campaign up and clicking!


Images are what make your product ads stand out. Here are some hints on what images to include:

    • Use high-quality images: Images must be 220×220 pixels or larger. Test and optimize images that show the product in the most appropriate way for your customers. The picture you’re using should be easily recognizable as the intended product.
    • No watermarks: Watermarks, “Free shipping” or other promotional text should not be present in your images.
    • No placeholders: Do not use “Image Nottalve Available” or other similar placeholders. Ads with these placeholders will not display.
    • Watch your borders: Use minimal surrounding whitespace; generally only about 10% of your image. Images with greater than 60% whitespace will very likely not display.

Product Ads

Best practices for product ads are similar to what you probably already do for your text ads, with the added twist of promotional text:

  • Create more than one ad per ad group: Create multiple ads with different promotional text to see which ads are the most successful. (Not everyone has the promotional text feature yet. You will still be able to enter promotional text, but it will not always be displayed with your ads. If promotional text is not showing, don’t worry. It’s coming soon.)
  • Use meaningful promotional text: Highlight unique offers and key selling points that apply to all of the offers in a product group. Promotional text increases the ad real estate, can help differentiate the ad and capture attention and has been shown to help increase click-through rates.
  • Use negative keywords: Shopping campaigns use keywords used in the product title and description to trigger the product ads. This is why flagging negative keywords is essential to prevent your products from showing in response to irrelevant and poor-performing queries.
  • Analyze the data: Microsoft Advertising now offers four data-rich reports to help analyze your shopping campaigns. Get unique insights into your product ads as well as crucial information to better understand your ads performance.


Now that you have a shopping campaign, you need to consider the cost of your product ads along with your other ads.

  • Set your shopping campaign budget in the context of the budget for your other ads: Initially, consider allocating a similar budget to your shopping campaigns as you would to keywords for those same products. Some advertisers have found that allocating 30% of their total budget to shopping campaigns is a good starting point.


Just like text ads, you need to set and monitor your product ad bids to make sure your campaign performs as expected:

  • Don’t underbid: Because product ads compete with text ads for every query, your bids should be comparable to bids for your text ads, at least until a click history is established. So set your initial bids to an amount that is equal to or greater than your current bids for the keywords that most closely correspond to that product or group of products.
  • Reward high-performing products with higher bids: As your product ads receive impressions and clicks, you should monitor their performance and adjust your bids if necessary. You might want to place higher bids on the best-performing products to gain impression share and maximize the return on your investment.
  • Set bid adjustments for smartphones and tablet audiences: To reach mobile audiences, you should modify your bid boosts for smartphone and tablet devices (from -100% to +100%) from within the campaign UI.
  • Don’t ignore low performing ads: Review low-performing ads to ensure low bids are not limiting your ad exposure.

Optimizing Microsoft Shopping Campaigns

Here are a few more things to consider as you create your campaign, and more importantly, after it starts running:

  • Use campaign priority: Set the campaign priority to High to have specific shopping campaigns serve ahead of your other campaigns. Setting a particular campaign priority to High will cause it to display ads more often than other campaigns with a priority set to Low or Medium. Similarly, a shopping campaign with a campaign priority of Medium will take precedence over other campaigns with the Low default priority.
  • Monitor the difference in performance between your text ads and product ads over time: Text ads and product ads have different CPCs, CTRs, and conversation rates. Use Microsoft Advertising reports to monitor your performance and make appropriate optimizations to your bids, product groups, and budgets to achieve your business goals.
  • Test, test, test: Just like with text ads, testing is key to long-term success. Trial different versions of promotional text, alternative images, and the granularity of product targets. For example, you might find that product targets based on specific products or specific business goals perform better than a target that includes a broad group of products.
  • Use customized destination URLs to track Product Target performance: Similar to using specific destination URLs for particular keywords; you can also set specific destination URLs per product group. You can then track visits to those individual pages to gauge the performance of your various product groups.
  • Use the available Microsoft Advertising reports: Track performance using performance reports, including product ad and shopping campaign-specific reports. Useful reports include the shopping report, found on the Dimensions tab, the Share of voice report, and the search term report.

As mentioned, Microsoft Shopping campaigns drive customers to your products through engaging retail ads on the Bing Search Network. These campaigns will help drive revenue and boost your online presence. To learn more about how to add Microsoft campaigns to your strategy, reach out to one of our reps today!


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