Bing Ads Optimization: A Crucial Exclusion That Marketers Should Consider Avoiding

By Greg Finn

Are your Bing Ads underperforming? Hopefully you've applied sensible targeting, targeted terms, and a heap of negative keywords. However with Bing, you'll likely want to analyze a specific setting that may be contributing to unwarranted spends.

One of the most compelling arguments on why search engine advertising works is due to the fact that people are actively looking for something.  However the out of the box setting with Bing Ads will show ads outside of Bing  (or Yahoo!)  results pages. In reality the default Bing Ads settings display in not only Bing & Yahoo!, but also in "Bing and Yahoo! syndicated search partners." This allows your ad to display in search results from thousands of websites, not search engines.

Want to know if this is happening to you? Follow these instructions:


  • Go to the reports page in Bing Ads
  • Choose the Website URL (publisher) - This will allow advertisers to view a list of each placement where they've appeared.
  • Choose the Accounts/Campaigns that you'd like to target
  • Run report


If you find placements that look like the following, you may want to reconsider your targeting:[divider]


The only actual search engines in that list are the Bing and Yahoo! placements, all other impressions are occurring on other websites. In the following steps  we'll run through the process to remove this setting.


  • Login to your account
  • View your ad group. This setting is not applied at the campaign level, rather at each individual ad group level.



  • Once you've entered the ad group you'd like to change, click on the settings:[divider]
  • Once in the settings, scroll down to the "Advanced Settings":[divider]bing-targeting-option
  • You will see the following options:
    • All search networks (Bing and Yahoo! search and syndicated search partners)
    • Bing and Yahoo! search (owned and operated) only
      This option only applies to websites in certain locations. Learn more
    • Bing and Yahoo! syndicated search partners only


Select the Bing and Yahoo! search (owned and operated) only if you'd like to only appear in actual search engines. You are now all set! No longer will you be spending on alternate sites.

It should be noted that there may well be a time and a place for the syndicated search partners -- however we would recommend using it along the lines of a contextual campaign and to segregate and adequately test each. We've seen some folks come in with highly un-profitable campaigns thanks to this setting as impressions and clicks can take off, especially for generic terms.

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By Greg Finn


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Meet the Author

Head of Performance & Innovation / Partner

Greg Finn

Greg is the Head of Performance and Innovation for Cypress North's digital marketing team and one of the founders of our agency. In 2010, he and Matt Mombrea started Cypress North in Buffalo. Greg oversaw the opening of our second office in 2022, located in his hometown of Rochester.

As Head of Performance and Innovation, Greg co-manages our digital marketing department and works closely with our team to ensure all our clients achieve the best possible results. He is always looking for ways to test new digital marketing techniques and technology, and oversees all teaching and training efforts to ensure our agency stays ahead of the curve.

Greg is also a co-host of our weekly Marketing O'Clock podcast, where he and the team provide updates, insights, and hot takes on the latest SEO, PPC, and social media marketing news. In addition to weekly news shows, Greg hosts our Marketing O'Torial digital marketing tutorials and often co-hosts bonus Marketing O'Talk episodes that bring together panels of digital marketing experts.

With nearly two decades of experience, Greg is a known and trusted voice in the digital marketing community. He’s a contributor for Search Engine Land, a member of the Search Marketing Expo (SMX) programming team, and has been a featured speaker at some of the largest search engine conferences, including SMX, eSummit, and Pubcon. 

When he’s not working or staying updated on the latest trends, Greg enjoys watching his kids play sports and coaching their soccer team. He’s been named the runner-up “Greg of the Year” on Marketing O’Clock’s annual Clockscars Awards four years in a row. While the coveted award has evaded him for many years, Keanu Reeves has not. Greg once saw him at Gabriel's Gate tavern in Buffalo (and noted he was very tall.)