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Bing Ads was something that I signed up for sometime last year (2016) but with paid advertising being a lower priority for my startup last year, meant that I could not make use of it at the time. This year I finally got around using Bing Ads to create an ad to promote My Day To-Do and in this post I will talk about it. This post will have the following,
  • anatomy of a Bing Ads ad campaign according to me
  • number of Ad campaigns that I ran or My Day To-Do using Bing Ads
  • total amount spent and outcomes of those ad campaigns?
  • whether or not the ad campaigns were worth it?
  • future marketing goals of My Day To-Do
Before moving on, I should mention that Bing Ads is easy to use and the Bing Ads team at Microsoft are quite helpful and happy to walk you through creating your first ad campaign over the phone.

Background

I concluded my previous posts on Facebook marketing (boosting a post and page promotion) by mentioning that my next step for promoting My Day To-Do is to use Bing Ads and to do so my first step was to learn how to use Bing Ads. More than anything I perceived Bing Ads to be a good entry point into search engine marketing and what helped was the fact that it’s a not banned in China. Yes yes, I realise the best way to get further into the Chinese market would be to have an ad campaign on their most popular search engine i.e. Baidu, but hey something is better than nothing, right? at least that’s what I thought. 

Anatomy of a Bing Ads campaign

I will try explain my understanding of a Bing Ads campaign, this is a simplification from my perspective based on my understanding, for a detailed explanation you can read the official docs.

Step 1: Create an Ad campaign

When you setup a campaign, you define your daily budget ($10, 15, 20 etc), the regions where you want the ads within your ad campaign to run etc

Step 2: Define your ad groups and keywords for your campaign

An ad campaign can have multiple ad groups or keywords for it e.g. for the Ad campaign for My Day To-Do I had keywords such as to-do list, task management, checklist etc etc. Ohh and once you define the keywords for the app, you can also specify bids for either the individual keywords or just one bid for all the keywords. So what are these keyword costs? from what I understand, when someone searches for a keyword like checklist which is used by many ads, the ad campaign with the highest bid for the keyword has it’s ad appear higher in the search results. So the more money you bid for a keyword the higher your ad appears in the search results.

Step 3: Create ads and ad extensions

On the contrary to what I thought initially an ad campaign can have multiple ads in it, ohh and also there’s this thing called ad extensions. For this it’s best you read this article from the official docs, a quote from those docs says ” ad extensions are additional elements of your ad that promote your apps across PC, tablet and smartphones from your ad”

Bing Ad campaigns for My Day To-Do

The one thing that was common across all the ad campaigns that I setup was the fact that, no matter how simple the overall ad campaign setup process was, it always consumed a lot more of my time than I anticipated. Why? since I am not a marketing expert in any capacity, I never could make up my mind on what the ad should look like or how to best encapsulate (summarise) what My Day To-Do is in it’s entirety in one line. This just meant that I would setup a campaign only to realise “ahh I could try using some other words to make my ad more attractive”, naturally what follows that thought is me logging into my Bing Ads account and making certain changes to my ad. Now typically this would happen a few times in a day and as such would just take me away from what I would be working on i.e. distracting me.

Campaign 1: How to use Bing ads

As mentioned before I signed up with Bing Ads sometime in 2016 but being a one man start-up, a search engine ad campaign was simply not a priority at that time. However one of my goals this year is to make my startup financially sustainable and I see advertising my app as a step towards that goal. 
Late last year the Bing Ads team had reached out to me and asked me as to why I had not used my $50 coupon that I received when I signed up for Bing Ads. So this year when I was in a position to make use of that, I reached out to them and one of the team members was more than happy to walk me through the process of setting up an Ad Campaign using Bing Ads. 
Anyway this is what the first ad for My Day To-Do on Bing Ads looked like and it was also the least distracting for me. 
I thought all the text encapsulates the key aspects of the My Day To-Do quite well, if you think otherwise then please let me know in comments.

Campaign 2: Creating the My Day To-Do Pro ad group

For the second ad campaign, I created an Ad group for the Pro version and here’s what the first ad for it looked like.

This was the final draft of what the ad looked, this was the most time consuming thing for me as I could not keep my mind on one set of words and I kept changing the text of my ad again and again…and again. This one really consumed my time, I would setup the ad and then I would be doing some coding work and have the thought “maybe it should say this….”

The second ad in the same ad group was for another app in the My Day To-Do family of apps, I mean it is a cheaper and somewhat limited version of My Day To-Do pro, called Daily To-Do List L.

Subsequent ad groups 

At this point I was on a roll i.e. I had learned something new and I was keen to experiment and try a few things and see how I go.

In hindsight, I should have waited, been a bit patient and acted less like a trigger happy spring chicken who has just learned how to fire a gun. 

Analysis

Hmm analysing this is tricky, why? I had most of these ad campaigns running in March this year which was also the month that I saw the highest monthly downloads for the Lite version in a non-sale period i.e. when none of the My Day To-Do versions were on any sort of sale.

Here’s a regional breakdown of the download numbers for March

  1. Asia pacific total: 61% of the total downloads
    1. China: 65% 
    2. Japan: 29%
  2. USA: 13% of the overall downloads

In summary, of all the downloads in March 2017, 61% of the total downloads were from the Asia-Pacific region of which 65% of those downloads were from China, 29% from Japan, USA contributed to only 13% of the overall downloads. The way I see this, if my Bing Ads campaign was effective, I would have had many more downloads fro USA, hence I am not sure just how effective was this ad campaign.

What makes this even more tricker for me to draw any conclusion from it is that

  1. I realise Bing Ads is not banned in China, but I did not have a localised Ad Campaign for Bing Ads
  2. Someone I know sent out a tweet (or post) about my app on Sina Weibo on my request which from what I understand is Twitter for China and it’s quite popular locally. 

This makes me doubt how effect Big Ads was? maybe it was just my friend posting on Sina Weibo that did the trick?

How much did it cost me?

Yes the budget!!! I spent around $190 or so for all these ad campaigns which was significantly higher than what I expected. I suppose the reason I spent more money than  expected is because I simply could not keep track of the funds being spent, once again a one man startup is not easy. This amount spent was not the best at this stage since I did not earn back anywhere near what I spent on the ad campaigns.

What’s next

Yes based on the above paragraphs, I did have a go at advertising and if anything my lazy approach to setting up ad campaigns on both Facebook and Bing mean that I should not be doing this. The following are the next steps in marketing of My Day To-Do.

Leave things to an expert

Having done the last four ad campaigns (one, two, three & this one), I feel that I have done entirely too much work in an area outside my expertise, I think it’s best I leave it to an expert. Hence I am really glad to write that for the first time, there will be someone else other than me working on My Day To-Do!!! I have got a marketing intern on a short 10 week(+2?) contract to handle some of the marketing for me. This would at least take the app marketing off my plate so I can shift my focus on making My Day To-Do an even more engaging experience for users.

Try to expand to a certain market

One of the main areas that I want my marketing intern to focus on is the CHINESE MARKET!!!!!!!! If you have been reading some of my recent posts, it’s no surprise to you as to how important I consider that market to be. Therefore the intern being a native of China and someone with the knowledge of the social media and the marketing platforms there, I plan to use his knowledge and try to boost the downloads in that region. Apparently interns are often made to do some mundane tasks and while thinking about the work that I will be giving my intern…well, I rather do the mundane tasks and use my intern’s knowledge on the Chinese market. I will be sharing the projects that I have given my interns in a different post.

Conclusion

In this post I covered on my effort on doing some search engine marketing for My Day To-Do. I talked about just how simple it is to get started with marketing using Bing Ads. Getting started and creating ad campaigns for Bing Ads is a fairly straight forward process so much so that I could create four ads for My Day To-Do family of apps with great ease. The process being simple however a double edged sword and if you do not monitor your campaign spending carefully you can potentially spend more than originally planned fairly quickly. 
As far as marketing for my startup goes, I believe I have reached a full circle from my part for now and the next step is to leave it to an expert. For My Day To-Do that expert is the new marketing intern who’s come onboard.

Finally, I am working on My Day To-Do full-time right now so if you find my blog posts useful and want to support me you can buy the Pro version of My Day To-Do.


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