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.

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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.

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