How to Use the New Microsoft Ads Audience Network Planner

Google might be the biggest player when it comes to search engine marketing, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ignore your other options. Microsoft Ads, formerly known as Bing Ads, controls around a third of the market.

If you’re only using Google, you could be missing out on traffic and more. Microsoft recently introduced some new tools to help you connect with your audience.

Even if you’ve used Microsoft Ads for some time, you might not have had a chance to use their Audience Network Planner yet. This new tool uses cutting-edge AI to help you locate the perfect audience.

Ready to make the most of this powerful tool? This guide will help you master it so you can get more out of your Microsoft Ads campaigns.

How to Use the New Microsoft Ads Audience Network Planner

What is Audience Network Planner?

Before you can use the Audience Network Planner effectively in your digital marketing strategy, you need to know what it is, and what this tool offers you.

Audience Network Planner can provide more data to assist you with your Microsoft Ads campaigns. It offers you the insight you need to target audiences more effectively. The data it offers can also help you expand your reach to new audiences.

This can be useful if you want to run a Microsoft Ads Audience Campaign, but you’re not quite sure who you’re targeting. The planner tool can help you answer key questions about demographics. Then you can create those custom audiences.

The planner leverages AI and Microsoft Graph to help you reach more customers. This technology also gives you the ability to personalize ads more and connect to your customers on a deeper level.

Microsoft Graph draws in data from different platforms, like Windows and Android. Types of data collected include:

– Search history

– User activity

– Demographics

Microsoft Graph even includes LinkedIn profiles. This creates more knowledge about who is using a particular platform and how they’re using it. From there, it’s easier for advertisers to find people interested in their products.

How to Access the Planner Tool

Before you can use the Audience Network Planner, you’ll need your Microsoft Ads rep to set up access to the Audience Network.

Once you complete that step, you’ll have access to the tool. To find it, go to “Tools” in the Microsoft Ads interface. The planner is on the drop-down menu.

Setting Up the Planner Tool

Once you have access to Audience Network Planner via your Microsoft Ads account, it’s time to set it up.

When you first access the planner, you’ll find all targeting options enabled. The tool presents:

– Estimated monthly audience

– Estimated monthly impressions

– Demographics for age and gender

– Location graphs, which you can refine

Interest segmentation graphs

– Device information

This initial information gives you a comprehensive view of everything on the Audience Network. The estimates reflect what your campaign would look like if you decided to target all of that.

However, chances are you don’t want to target such a broad audience. Even large brands may find it difficult to manage a campaign with such a broad scope.

It’s a better idea to create ads that target particular segments of your market or particular niches. This is why you’ll want to use some of the planner’s filtering tools.

Filters allow you to adjust what you’re planning to target. Suppose you’re interested in selling a new beauty product to young women on the West Coast. You can adjust along the left-hand toolbar to create this audience:

– Adjust location information

– Change age ranges to those you want to target

– Limit gender

You’ll see other options to narrow your list down further. Marketers who are working for B2B companies may want to narrow the list by industry or job functions.

You can also target or exclude people at certain companies. You might find this useful if you want to weed out competitors. You can also exclude people you’ve already sold to or even members of your own organization.

You’ll also have the option to include or exclude audience lists you’ve already created. If you’re already running Microsoft Ads Audience Campaigns, then you may not need to estimate how well that audience performs.

You may want to take a moment to compare the target audience against your own CRM data or customer personas. You can make further adjustments to ensure you’re getting the most accurate estimate.

Reviewing Estimated Performance

Once you’ve filtered your audience, it’s time to get an estimate on performance. That’s what the Audience Network Planner is really for. It lets you compare estimated performance across audiences before you launch.

In the right-hand corner of your screen, you’ll find the estimates for your campaign. The estimate will recalculate every time you make a change to the target audience. If you change your campaign audience from women aged 19 to 25, to those aged 25 to 35, you’ll see the estimated change.

To get the most accurate estimate, it also helps to enter your daily budget and a bid. You can use a suggested bid or enter a custom one. You’ll enter this information in the estimator section of the screen itself.

The estimates appear as monthly ranges. The estimator will provide:

– Audience size

– Impressions

– Clicks

– CTR percentages

– An average cost-per-click

– Total spent

Keep in mind that the ranges can be quite large. You may see a low-end estimate of around 50,000 impressions and a high-end estimate of almost 200,000.

How the Planner Tool Helps You

Since the estimated ranges can be so large, you might wonder if the Audience Network Planning tool is all that helpful.

There are a few ways it can assist you. If you already have a particular audience in mind, it can be quite useful to see if those audiences actually exist.

Think about that fictional company we spoke of trying to market to young women on the West Coast. Using the estimator, they may find there’s not much of an audience for this demographic. The company would then want to rethink its campaign and who it’s trying to target.

One way to do this would be to revise the audience parameters. Maybe this company needs to expand the location of its audience from the West Coast to the entire United States. Maybe they need to rethink their definition of “young” and expand the age demographic information.

They might even consider expanding their demographics by gender.

Discovering New Niches

This is the other strength of the Microsoft Ads Audience Network Planner. It can help you discover new audiences your ads will resonate with by letting you compare.

The company that thinks its products speak to young women may be surprised to learn that women of all ages want their product. They may find they’ll get even more attention and reach more women in the 50 to 59 age bracket.

They might also discover pockets of interest outside of the area they think is their target location. Maybe they’ve focused on the West Coast, but people in New York City, Atlanta, and Chicago are also interested.

As mentioned, they may also find that men are interested in the product too. Their own demographic data might have missed this opportunity. Maybe there are lots of men who would buy this product as a gift for their girlfriends or wives, if only they knew about it.

For those marketing B2B products and services, you might be able to discover an interest in an industry you’d passed over before. You’ve focused your marketing on some core demographics. As it turns out, there’s actually a need for your product in the finance sector or telecommunications.

The planner tool lets you filter your audience in many different ways. You can then see how your ad will perform with different audience parameters. This can let you know where your audience most likely is.

Determining Your Budget

Finally, the Microsoft Ads Audience Network Planner can give you some insight into your budget. If you’re not getting the estimates you want for a planned campaign, you may need to adjust your budget.

This could mean a higher bid, as well as a larger daily budget. You may have stiff competition from other brands for the attention of certain groups. That will drive up both bidding and your budget.

Adjusting Your Creative for Your New Audience

Targeting the audience is, of course, only half the battle when it comes to ad campaign success. Once you’ve used the Audience Network Planner to see who you’re most likely to reach, you can turn your attention to your ads themselves.

Figuring out your target audience is important for deciding on your budget. It also factors into setting up your campaign parameters. It’s even more important for your ad creative.

If you’re targeting women between the ages of 19 and 25, your ad is going to look a lot different than if you’re aiming at another age bracket. Women in their 30s and 40s are going to respond to different ad copy. Women in their 50s and 60s are less likely to react to the emojis you’re using in your ad copy.

The same is true if your audience ends up being in a different location. New Yorkers have different sensibilities than Californians. An ad that resonates with your audience in California may go over like a lead balloon when you show it to your audience in NYC. The same is true for people in the Southeast, in the Midwest, in Texas, and so on and so forth.

If you thought you were primarily speaking to young women, your ad copy might miss the mark with young men.

Using the planner lets you see how likely you are to reach any of these audiences. From there, you can begin to plan the messaging you want to use. In turn, the ads you show any group will actually resonate with them and get them to click.

Using the insights from the planner, you can craft better CTAs and eye-catching ads.

Setting up an Audience Campaign

Once you’ve used the estimator to discover who is most likely to see your ads, you can use that information in a Microsoft Ads Audience Campaign.

If you’re already running an Audience Campaign, you may use the information from the planner to tweak your audience. In turn, your ads should perform better.

You might also decide to run a secondary campaign or add a new audience. You can target a brand new audience, so you’ll want to use a different ad.

You might even consider running some A/B testing using the same ad and a couple of “lookalike” audiences. You can use your CRM data or customer personas to craft one audience. Then you can use the planner information to create a more expanded or more niche audience.

Finally, if you haven’t used Audience Campaigns before, now’s your chance. You have the information you need to craft a campaign that will perform for you on the Microsoft Ads platform.

You can even use estimates to convince your teammates that Microsoft Ads Audience Campaigns are worth it. While the information is only an estimate, it can show the value of running a campaign when it’s targeting the right audience.

Improve Campaigns Across the Board

The arrival of the Audience Network Planner is big news for anyone planning to run a Microsoft Ads campaign. It can help you refine your current audience targeting, as well as discover new audiences. In turn, you can expand your reach, tweak your ads, and create more successful ad campaigns.

Wondering how else you can improve your ad campaign performance across networks?

It’s time to book a digital marketing review with an expert team. You’ll learn what you’re doing right and what you could be doing to drive even more success.

Owner and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry. With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.


About the author...

Located in the heart of the Emerald Coast - Destin, FL, founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization / and PR campaigns, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry.

With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.

Jason Hall

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