The Pitfalls of Transferring Adwords to Bing Ads

Posted on 29/09/2016 by Team Hallam

The pitfalls of transferring Google Adwords to Bing Ads. A few key points to consider when going through the process including networks, language targeting, location targeting, keywords and more

Google Adwords is the clear leader for paid search volume and when treated with respect and given the attention it deserves it can work wonders for lead generation. What is becoming ever more apparent though is that Bing shouldn’t be disregarded. As our own Eleanor Reynolds pointed out, Bing:

  • Is the default search engine for Microsoft Edge
  • Has 19% UK market share
  • Has less competition and costs less

For those clients that require a focus on paid leads, I always recommend giving Bing a try, along with Google, as not doing so is lazy and could mean you are missing a valuable opportunity.

And Bing knows this. That’s why Bing is making every effort to streamline the process of importing your Google Adwords campaigns. And it is super simple. A few clicks and you’re done. But it’s not without it’s issues. The more complex an account you have in Google the more you have to watch out for.

Import Adwords to Bing

But this article isn’t about preaching the benefits of incremental conversions from Bing.

I thought I would highlight a few pitfalls that can occur when importing Adwords to Bing Ads because although Bing Ads lets you download an error log it doesn’t point out some fundamental differences:

1 – No Display Network

This is likely to change but at the moment BingAds do not support display campaigns in the UK. This is only available in the US. This might sound simple but it also means that image ads and CPM (Cost-per-thousand) bidding will not be imported. So unless you want a large error log it’d be wise to exclude these campaigns. If you want a full breakdown of where your ads are likely to appear there’s a useful article about where Bing will place your ads.

2 – Language Targeting

In AdWords you can target loads of languages but not in Bing Ads. You can choose a maximum of one target language per ad group. If you’ve imported an Adwords account and have multiple languages targeted, Bing Ads will just select the language with the highest rank (based on ad impressions). If your chosen targeted language isn’t in the list, the campaign will not be imported.

Supported languages
English Italian
Traditional Chinese Dutch
German Swedish
French Norwegian
Spanish Danish
Portuguese Finnish


3 – Location, Location, Location

There are some differences between location targeting with Bing Ads, compared to Adwords. If Bing Ads cannot match the targeted city location, Bing gives an example of Cafelandia, it will match the parent location instead, which in this case is the State of Parana, Brazil. So check to make sure you’re okay with a broader target.

On a second but related note you will need to double check that your targeting preferences have transferred over correctly. Even though Bing supports targeting “People in your targeted location” it will default to “People in, searching for, or showing interest in your targeted location (recommended)” which may mean you pay for clicks in another country, which may not be what you want.

Location advanced


4 – Tracking

Have you appended all your Adwords with code to track conversions? It’s an easy one to forget about but it needs updating otherwise you may be incorrectly tracking conversions. Bing does say that utm_source codes will automatically replace “Google” or “Adwords” or any variants of this with “Bing” but I wouldn’t rely on this. My advice is to either:

  1. Exclude the code (an option when importing) and add your own or
  2. Click the auto tagging option which has an option to overwrite existing tags (Accounts & Billing>Account>Autotagging)


 5 – Negative Keywords

These don’t get transferred across but are supported. Simply download your lists from Adwords or Editor, whichever you prefer, and create a list in the Bing shared library. Bare in mind that Bing do not allow broad match negatives. If you do have any broad match negatives in your list, they will be converted to phrase match, so it’s worth doing a little more investigation to make sure phrase match will prevent your unwanted search terms.

Campaign negative keywords2

6 – Ads

Standard text ads will be imported as normal. Bing will automatically adjust the Adwords description in line 1 and 2 on to one line as the Bing Ads character limits are relative to Adwords.

Attribute Character limit
Bing Ads Adwords
Ad title 25 25
Ad text 71 35 description 1
35 description 2
Display URL 35 35


If you’ve created expanded text ads in Adwords, you may find Bing Ads haven’t rolled it out to you yet but I’ve been told it will be happening very soon. When they do roll them out, they should be imported to your account from Adwords without any issues. Although Bing Ads and Adwords have different naming conventions they both have the same character limits:


Attribute Character limit
Bing Ads Adwords
Title/Headline part 1 30 30
Title/Headline part 2 30 30
Description 80 80
Path 1 15 15
Path 2 15 15
Host URL 35 No limit


The final thing that’s of interest is bidding types, as Bing Ads have Manual CPC (cost-per-click) and Enhanced CPC and not CPA (cost-per-acquisition). When a CPA bid is imported, Bing Ads will change it to a CPC bid. So, make sure you are happy using the CPC figure, otherwise you may get a nasty surprise!


I think more businesses will start using Bing Ads and since Adwords tends to be the go to platform initially, knowing the pitfalls of transferring Adwords over to Bing Ads can be useful. However, both platforms are always making changes, so make sure you keep on top of these too.


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The Pitfalls of Transferring Adwords to Bing Ads

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