Adobe AdLens, a key com­po­nent of Adobe Media Opti­mizer within the Adobe Mar­ket­ing Cloud, has been opti­miz­ing Bin­gAds Sitelinks since the start of Microsoft’s beta period and was also the first Yahoo!-Bing Pre­ferred Part­ner to imple­ment robust man­age­ment func­tion­al­ity for this fea­ture set. This has enabled our adver­tis­ers to eas­ily imple­ment Sitelinks at scale, result­ing in wide­spread adop­tion across the AdLens user base.

With pre­vi­ous case stud­ies show­ing a 10% increase in click-thru rates as a result of Sitelinks addi­tion, we were inter­ested in pro­vid­ing fur­ther per­for­mance insights across mul­ti­ple adver­tis­ers as to what kind of lift one can expect as a result of imple­ment­ing Sitelinks.  For this, we looked at data on over 800 mil­lion impres­sions across 30 adver­tis­ers, com­par­ing click-thru rates (CTRs) pre and post– Sitelink addition.

We found that the lift in CTR as a result of adding Sitelinks to a cam­paign takes on a moun­tain shape with respect to aver­age posi­tion, peak­ing at a posi­tion of between 1.5 to 2.  The CTR lift num­bers shown have been adjusted con­trol­ling for pre-post change in aver­age posi­tion.  Note that val­ues given are medi­ans, with some adver­tis­ers see­ing a lift of 30% or more.


These results can be explained by a com­bi­na­tion of two effects – like­li­hood of Sitelinks expo­sure, and mar­ginal effect on ad rel­e­vancy due to Sitelinks addi­tion – which together form the shape as seen above.

The rea­son why the CTR lift would be less at lower posi­tions is easy enough to under­stand – Sitelinks are only shown for ads occu­py­ing the top main­line sec­tion of the search page, which is lim­ited to a max of top three ads for any given impres­sion.  This means that the pro­por­tion of impres­sions that qual­ify for the top posi­tions with poten­tial Sitelinks expo­sure dimin­ishes with lower aver­age posi­tion, result­ing in a smaller over­all effect on CTR.

Why the top­most posi­tions also see less lift may be some­what less intu­itive.  Upon closer exam­i­na­tion, we found that – pre­dictably – cam­paigns that are bid up to an aver­age posi­tion of 1.2 or higher are mostly brand cam­paigns with an already very high audi­ence inter­est (as rep­re­sented by CTR), which means that the mar­ginal improve­ment in ad rel­e­vancy to be gained from adding Sitelinks to these cam­paigns is less than that of generic cam­paigns at lower positions.

Of course, this does not mean that adding Sitelinks for brand cam­paigns should be any less of a pri­or­ity.  They are posi­tioned high for a rea­son, typ­i­cally dri­ving a large por­tion of total rev­enue.  A 6% lift in scal­a­bil­ity for a cam­paign dri­ving 20% of total rev­enue would have greater net impact than a 12% lift for a cam­paign dri­ving 5% of total rev­enue.  Expected rev­enue lift can be esti­mated by a com­bi­na­tion of cur­rent rev­enue and aver­age posi­tion for the cam­paign accord­ing to the above buck­ets, so as to pri­or­i­tize Sitelink test­ing efforts in order of poten­tial impact.

These results sug­gest that audi­ence recep­tiv­ity and the effect of adding Sitelinks to CTR varies by cam­paign.  An opti­mal Sitelinks strat­egy – link text, land­ing page, etc. – should be tai­lored closely to the spe­cific cam­paign in order to max­i­mize per­for­mance benefits.

To Sum­ma­rize:

  • Cam­paigns across a wide range of aver­age posi­tions have poten­tial to ben­e­fit from addi­tion of Bin­gAds SiteLink Extensions.
  • The effect of adding Sitelinks varies by cam­paign, but it is pos­si­ble to esti­mate this using rev­enue and aver­age posi­tion.  Pri­or­i­tize efforts accord­ingly, and tai­lor your link text and land­ing pages so that it matches audi­ence context.
  • Plat­forms with Bin­gAds Sitelinks sup­port can greatly speed up the process of cre­at­ing and test­ing mul­ti­ple Sitelinks across a large num­ber of cam­paigns, which is inte­gral to find­ing an opti­mal strat­egy at scale.

Adobe’s Kohki Yam­aguchi (Busi­ness Ana­lyst, Media and Adver­tis­ing Solu­tions) and Kiyoshi Ihara (Senior Prod­uct Man­ager of Search, Adobe AdLens) high­light Bin­gAds SiteLink per­for­mance and pro­vide some imple­men­ta­tion tips. For ref­er­ence, Adobe AdLens is the first uni­fied ad man­age­ment sys­tem for dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing efforts across search, dis­play, and social media. It offers insight, con­trol, and automa­tion for cross-channel cam­paign optimization.