Microsoft has announced a significant change  to its paid search editorial policy, which will enable marketers to bid on trademark terms across Bing and Yahoo!. The new policy permits marketers to bid on their competitors’ brand terms, however they are still not allowed to include trademark terms in their ad copy. The change will come into effect on March 3, 2011.
For example, if an advertiser such as Samsung bids on the keyword “Sony,” Microsoft’s editorial group will flag it as a trademark term and decline it. After March 3, Samsung can bid on the term “Sony” and the keyword will be instantly placed online.
Mike Jarvinen, VP Marketing Strategy at The Search Agency  believes this change will help advertisers manage their campaigns more efficiently: “Our best practice is to separate competitive campaigns for those SEM advertisers able to engage in competitive bidding. Generally, these are campaigns we have built in Google and haven’t duplicated into Bing because of their strict enforcement of trademark bidding. This change gives an opportunity to mirror over Google campaigns to Bing for traffic opportunity.” Jarvinen goes on to explain that marketers should take advantage of these changes as soon as possible: “Bing can tend to reward overbidding in the short-term for establishing placement in their index and the best bet is to bid aggressively in the initial 1-2 weeks of launching competitive terms in Bing.”
Bing/Yahoo’s new policy closely resembles the trademark policy implemented by Google in May 2010. As Ranil Wiratunga, Group Account Director at The Search Agency explains, this helps level the playing field between the top search engines: “This is a positive sign that Yahoo! and Bing have honored their commitment of creating parity in the paid search industry after their partnership. The hope is this drive for parity will continue with an investment in tools and features to help advertisers grow volume and increase efficiency on Bing.”
Search advertisers will now have to employ both offensive and defensive brand strategies on Bing similar to what they have done on Google. Patrick McCarthy, Director of SEM Media at The Search Agency believes brand campaigns will be a primary focus over the coming weeks: “For those advertisers who are successful with competitive bidding on Google, this is an obvious opportunity to roll those same keywords out on Bing. In addition to launching new campaigns targeting competitors, advertisers will also have to diligently protect their own brand terms. More aggressive bidding will ensure 100% impression share and the first position and more active creative testing becomes a necessity to measure “Official Site” messages, trademark (™) and registered trademark(®) symbols and unique Display URLs.”
With this revised editorial policy, Microsoft hopes to provide a richer search experience to its users and more control to its advertisers.
What changes will you be making to your Binghoo! campaigns in light of this announcement?
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