Have you ever been scratching your head over why CTR's on Bing are looking far lower than what you see on Google for the same search, in the same position? And why the traffic is converting at a much lower rate? The answer could be down to your ads running on Bing Syndicated Partners.
What is Bing Syndicated Partners?
Syndicated Partners (SP) is a network of websites that use Bing Ads to monetise their search engines. Whilst there isn't a definitive list of websites included in this partner network, based on the number of impressions accrued, it's fairly vast - and growing.
Here are a few examples of Bing ads across Syndicated Partner websites:
These all have something in common - they look slightly spammy, right? The stats based on these placements would suggest they agree as well, with CTRs and Conversion Rates much lower. I'll go into some stats on these shortly.
By default, Bing opts all ads into showing on Bing, AOL and Yahoo search properties, as well as Syndicated Partners.
How does Syndicated Partners perform?
Taking a holistic view of SPs traffic, it generally looks to drive in poorer quality traffic, and this is to be expected when you look into placements where ads are being served. However, in some instances it can be a great way of generating incremental conversions at a reasonable cost if you're already saturating the available volume on the standard Bing owned search platforms.
Let's take a look at some anonymised data for March 2017 (1st - 23rd), comparing the performance of Bing vs SP:
In this instance, SP spent more than Bing search, generating a significantly higher number of impressions as well. Although it drove in a reasonable volume of conversions, these were nearly twice the cost of the Bing equivalent. Conversion rate was significantly lower as well.
Client 2 spent around 75% less on SP, but again the conversion rate was noticeably lower, and in turn the CPA was over 500% higher
Similarly to Client 2, Client 3 did spend much less on SP, but the conversion rate was 65% lower - nearly doubling the CPA.
We often find when taking over management of client accounts, analysis of Bing performance is taken directly from Analytics, rather than from the Bing interface itself. Client 4 was a good example of this. Unfortunately network performance can't segmented in Analytics, and as a result I can't comment on how the SP traffic performed. But based on what we've seen from other clients, and the high proportion of spend/lower CTR, it's likely there was a a high level of wasted spend in this instance as well:
Our conclusion is, approach with caution if you're running ads on Bing Syndicated Partners. Look at the figures in the Bing interface, rather than relying on Google Analytics to give you the most correct version of the data. If in doubt, turn it off and spend your budget and time running and optimising ads on the main Bing network.