Make Valentines Day count with Bing Ads

It is that time of the year where the unexpected can happen – where the heart takes over the pocket and those bold enough do all with the power of cupids bow.  It is also a time where you chocolatier, the jeweller, the restaurant owner, the travel agent, the florist …. (Need I Go On !!!!! ) can lend a  helping hand as cupids little helper and ease the purchasing decision with a little help from Bing Ads.

So to get your PPC campaign of to a flying start here’s a heart felt Infographic to help you get the most out of the Yahoo Bing Network.

You will find a little magic with our insights into device trends, some insights into the most romantically searched hotel destinations and discover negative keywords with love.

So make your mark and let Bing Ads help you spread a little love.

 

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Where are you online??

With a move away from mapping into Search Advertising – primarily Bing Search Advertising as the UK lead for Bing Search Ads I have a wider perspective now, which is continuously developing, as to how businesses can take advantage of a wider set of digital marketing tools available to complement their social strategy.  Here are my initial thoughts…..

Today, digital presence, when mentioned mainly sparks up the notion of having a website, social media page of some form or the ability to be searchable via LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, Bing or other search engine.

The latter is not always considered by many businesses nowadays with a focus more on social media than search engines and is often left to the end when there is a real need for businesses to advertise their products or services. In today’s dependency on technology it is important for all businesses whether a one man band or large plc. to ensure they have all the bases covered. It is also important that all forms of your presence in an online world takes advantage of all the services available as you may be missing an opportunity somewhere.

We all consider Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr etc. or even ancillary services such as About.Me, etc. as the ideal forms of creating awareness of what we do as a business but often what is left to the end is advertising primarily Search Advertising (PPC or SEM). Search Advertising is seen as a burden on the pocket or balance sheet, however, more recently even social media channels have been looking into and have started to invest in their own advertising offerings. Facebook has invested heavily in providing advertising support for their corporate and enterprise customers as have Twitter and LinkedIN. At the end of the day advertising is the oldest social medium that still exists.

It’s also worth noting that when developing an advertising strategy that you consider all channels – Google is not the only medium. More and more customers are considering the value of the Yahoo Bing Network as an additional and alternative platform to Google. Covering 35 markets today and growing the Yahoo Bing Network , catering for both Search (Yahoo and Bing) and Display advertising (Xbox Live, Skype, MSN, Windows 8 and Windows Phone) you have the ability to spread your reach far and wide.

It does not just end there, with mobile being integral to the ongoing growth strategy of Microsoft and Bing, Bing Search is constantly developing new avenues to expand its reach – Cortana, as well as testing areas that are successful today on the PC – bridging the experience gap between PC and Mobile. As you know search on Mobile is very soon due to surpass traditional search on the Web due to the growth in portable devices be it tablets, phablets or mobile phones so undoubtedly this opportunity cannot be missed which in turn provides a greater opportunity for you and your business.

Consider the options, utilise the resource and ask the question. Advertising is an opportunity to expose your brand to the world so why limit your resources, take advantage of all that is available as you may be missing a trick somewhere.

Bing Maps for Travel

Bing Maps has been an integral component for many travel companies across the globe. Whether it be used for searching for holidays or for agents to help in booking your next trip, Bing Maps has been seen as the platform of choice.

Our focus in providing solutions to our customers at an enterprise level and supporting the developer channels has been a key reason why organizations such as Marriot, British Airways, EasyJet have benefitted from the Bing Maps platform. Working with these organizations has also helped us further understand a number of other factors why Bing Maps is the platform of choice:

  1. The provision of a robust platform that is scalable to their business.
  2. Enterprise Support that is knowledgeable in not only supporting the ongoing use of Bing Maps but also aiding the initial development of their application
  3. Flexibility in the API’s to support multi-device and multi-browser environments.
  4. Global Footprint that aligns to their business – Bing Maps provides Global Imagery updated frequently to provide the most up to date and high resolution images
  5. Platform that allows them to be creative with the different styles available through Bing Maps be it through Birds Eye or Satellite Imagery or Road Maps.
  6. Bing Maps allows them to be Inspirational, Creative, Flexible and Dynamic. A great example of this is the EasyJet InspireMe service.
  7. Searching for Point of Interest is made easier as Bing Maps provides access a large categorized array of key businesses complementing the travel business such as Museums, Hotels and Restaurants etc.
  8. Accuracy is crucial in maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty. Through the Bing Maps Geo-coder and Routing services Travel Companies have the added comfort that their consumers can find & reach their desired location.

These are just some of the statements that we have heard from our customers. With the introduction of Windows 8 Bing Maps is ideally positioned to allow companies to extend their reach to their consumers by differentiating their service through the content they host and hold themselves. The British Airways Inspiration Application is a great example which is detailed further in this report.

Venue Maps in Bing Maps

Bing Maps is constantly striving to improve and enhance the services it provides to its customers. As well as the ongoing improvements new features and services keeps the platform ahead of the game and 1 such feature is the introduction of Venue Maps.

Born from a desire to show more than just finding your route from A to B, Venue Maps is designed to provide the user with another dimension to their location.

We are typically used to finding our way to the airport or amusement park by adding our location and the destination. However, would it not be great to actually see where the duty free store is at the airport once you check in or the actual location of Magic Kingdom when visiting Disney World?

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First introduced in summer of 2011 in the US, Bing Maps now has over 4000 Venue’s worldwide ranging from Airports to Malls to Sporting Venue’s and this number is growing. Providing an additional dimension to mapping, Venue Maps is another key feature that Travel companies are keen to get their hands on to add value to their consumer offering.

From allowing users to simply navigate their way around the airport to travel companies monitoring visitor numbers to a specific resort or analyzing the best location for placing their promotional pod in a mall, Venue maps adds another layer of flexibility and functionality for improving the services they offer or how they manage their business.

Bing Maps also provides travel companies to embed their own Venues within their Bing Maps application, should it be the map of a resort or the layout of the Airport Lounge, through the use of a tool developed by the Microsoft Research Labs called MapCruncher.

All of these features – High Resolution Imagery, Points of Interest, Geocoding, Global Coverage, Venue Maps etc. have now all been extended to support the development of applications through the Windows 8 platform to gain presence in the Windows Store.

Bing Maps for Window Store

Bing Maps is integrated with Windows 8 out of the box. There are two development API’s available, The first one is commonly referred to as the Native control that allows you to use C#, Visual Basic, or C++. The second API uses JavaScript and is based on the Bing Maps V7 AJAX web control. This makes it easy to take existing web applications using Bing Maps and re-use a lot of the code to create a Windows Store application. If you are interesting in using Bing Maps to create a Windows Store app take a look at our training kit.

British Airways has created an excellent Windows Store application called The British Airways Inspiration App. This application is a great example of how a Windows Store app can be used to create an enhanced user experience and drive customers to your site. Rather than redeveloping their booking engine into a Windows Store app they took some of their great destination guide information that is often over looked on their website and turned it into an app where users can get ideas of places to travel to. They include information about destinations such as average temperatures, cost of a round trip ticket and a map of the location. If the user selects a month to travel to the destination they will be taken to the British Airways website.

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Bing Maps for Mobile

The Bing Maps V7 AJAX control was designed with mobile in mind. The base control weighs in at only 38kb in size and makes use of HTML5 when available. It’s supported on all the major mobile platforms such as iOS, Android, Blackberry and WP8. Pairing this map control with tools such as jQuery mobile or PhoneGap will allow you to create excellent mobile map applications that have a mobile friendly user interface.

There are a number of great mobile applications already out there using Bing Maps. Two applications that make use of venue maps to show users the maps of airports are the United Airlines application for Windows Phone 8 and the FlySmart app for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry. These are definitely worth checking out.

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Add Bing Maps to your Travel App

Now that you have seen all the great value Bing Maps can add to travel apps add it to yours. The Bing Maps platform has a number of API’s available to suit your needs. Read through the documentation or jump right in and try the interactive SDK. For more information or development assistance see the Bing Maps blog or forums. If you have any licensing questions contact us here.

Vikas Arora, Bing Map Solutions Specialist

Ricky Brundritt, EMEA Bing Maps Technology Solution Professional

Innovators in mapping

The success of Bing Maps within the Enterprise space is not only down to the platform and it’s features, development toolkits etc…..but also down to those organisations and individuals who grasp the toolkits and add that element of creativity, flair and magic or in my mind they give it the “Houdini Effect”, adding an element of magic to present and display information in such a way that truly does take your breath away.

Over the years we have worked with a number of organisations that take control of the resources available and start to mould and build amazing solutions.  The solutions that really take your breath away are those

I personally have had the honor of working with a number of Certified Partners and Agencies that have created some amazing solutions with Bing Maps but have also taken that leap of faith by integrating other Microsoft Solutions and Serivces such as Silverlight, Pivot, Photosynth etc.

These organisation range from creative individuals to creative design agencies that have the vision to see beyond what maps can offer.  You will see a selection of these partners and specialists in my Developer Links resource.  If you require further support please feel free to contact me via vikasar@microsoft.com .