Monthly Archives: May 2017

Bing Relaxes Policy Restricting Use of Trademarks as Keywords

8-Blog-Bing

On March 27, 2017, Bing’s update to their policy on using trademarks as keywords went live. This means advertisers and marketers are now free to use trademarks in their ads, with a number of restrictions of course. The new changes applied to 10 countries. These countries are Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, France, Italy, UK, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore.

In Bing’s official announcement made by their Program Manager of Search Demand Policy, Melissa Alsoszatai-Petheo, the company made it clear that they would continue to disallow the use of trademarks in ad copy. They mentioned that fair use of a trademark in ad copy will continue to be allowed specifically for:

  • Informational websites such as product reviews.
  • Resellers of an authentic good or service.
  • Ordinary dictionary use of a term.
  • Comparative advertising, but onlywhen supported by independent research.

One of the factors the company seems to have considered before making the change is it will make it easier for advertisers to transfer their campaigns between the major search engines without having to optimise as much. The benefits are not restricted to the advertisers as the company expects that consumers will have a better experience. According to the official announcement, Bing had found that consumers often search for trademarked terms expecting to receive broader results.

Bing has always been stern with piracy, phishing, scams, scareware, misleading content, and other unethical practices. For instance, in 2016, their ad quality review reported that 130 million ads were rejected with 175,000 advertisers blocked. This is nowhere near Google’s 1.7 billion bad ads blocked in the same year but the company does its part. Bing’s decision to update their policy restricting the use of trademarks in keywords could place them on a level playing field with Google’s AdWords. However, Google is certainly way ahead of them, having allowed trademarks in keywords since 2014.

On the advantages of Bing’s update, Paul Smith of Search Creative points out that:

  • Advertisers will be able to optimise search engine results to their advantage by leveraging on trademarks that do not belong to them.
  • Enforcement of trademarks will become more consistent globally.
  • Advertisers will be able to transfer campaigns between search engines without having to tweak optimisation as much.
  • Consumers will benefit as they would begin to get a wider range of results, presenting them with more choices and improving the overall search experience.

Smith insists that while more advertising campaigns may be annoying, making searches broader can only yield better results. He advises that brand owners be aware of the development and consider focusing their efforts on retaining a strong online presence, especially through multiple search engines.

Google is Making AdWords Smarter with Exact Match Keywords


The days of having to enter loads of exact match keywords are soon coming to an end. Over the next few months, Google will effect a series of changes to the way AdWords processes keywords.

What happens now is if you sell children’s clothes, you’ll likely include “children’s clothes” in your list of keywords. For a potential customer to find you, they would have to type “children’s clothes”. If you want to ensure more people find you, you’ll add different variations such as “clothes for children”, “kids’ clothes”, and so on. Of course, this can get tiring and on many occasions, you may be unable to target all the possible keywords.

Because Google understands that this can be a difficult matter for advertisers, they’ve decided to expand close variant matching to help advertisers reach more of their customers. These are the changes they’re making:

Ignoring function words

Google is going to start ignoring function words as long as they don’t change the meaning of the keyword. Function words are prepositions such as “to”, conjunctions such as “but”, articles such as “an”, and other words that don’t alter the intention behind the user’s search. For example, the “in” in “restaurants in Vancouver” can be ignored because it doesn’t change the meaning. However, the “from” in “flights from Vancouver” doesn’t have the same meaning as “flights to Vancouver”.

Words can appear in any order

An exact match keyword will be matched with different queries even if the words are reordered. The only condition is the meaning must remain the same and retain the intent behind the user’s search. Using the same examples above, “restaurants Vancouver” is the same as “Vancouver restaurants”. However, “Vancouver to Toronto” is certainly not the same as “Toronto to Vancouver”.

These changes are to be effected over the next few months starting with English and Spanish, with other languages following through the rest of the year. Google expects to see up to 3% more exact match clicks.

What do advertisers think?

On day 2 of Search Marketing Expo (SMX) West, Mindstream Media’s Stephanie Cheek shared her thoughts on Google’s AdWords update. She explained that advertisers would have to retrain themselves to use and think of exact match keywords differently. Mindstream Media’s report from the panel discussion states that many advertisers were uncomfortable with giving up the level of control they have with exact match.

Scotty D on Google’s advertiser community believes the update is certainly a step in the right direction. He points out that 20% of searches in the US are now by voice, making it harder to pinpoint all query variations that may capture a user’s intent.